15th June 2011
The debt drama engulfing Greece deepened as Euro group finance ministers met in emergency session to discuss ways of resuscitating the country's ailing economy and protesters in Athens threatened to thwart passage of further austerity measures by blockading parliament on the eve of a mass general strike, says the report.
Tensions escalated as George Papandreou's socialist government confronted negative polls and a relentless stream of demonstrations began showing signs of becoming increasingly explosive.
Mindful Money blogger Shaun Richards says on his blog: "Today a general strike is planned for Greece and the protest group called the "Indignants" who have held rallies in Athens as well as other cities plan to block all entry routes to the Greek parliament. This is because today is the day the new 6 billion Euro austerity package will be voted upon. Even if the vote takes place the majority of the PASOK government is reducing as its theoretical majority of 6 has seen one resignation and one statement of intent to vote against the plan in the last 24 hours.
"…Many of the various tactical mistakes the Euro zone has made since this crisis began have been caused by the strategic mistake made at its beginning. As we stand it is the people of Greece, Ireland and Portugal who are feeling the pain from this and on what is likely to be a very difficult day I would like to wish the people of Greece as good a day as is possible in these circumstances."
Greek police have thwarted efforts by striking workers to encircle parliament and block access for MPs due to debate new austerity measures, says a BBC report.
Prime Minister George Papandreou is trying to push through fresh policies as part of the conditions for the EU and IMF's bail-out package. Ports, public transport and banks are badly disrupted as the main public- and private-sector unions go out on strike, the report says. Mr Papandreou faces the risk of a backbench revolt over the plans.
European finance ministers left their options open on Greece after an informal gathering in Brussels, though a second, €100bn (£88bn) aid deal seems certain to be agreed at a formal meeting next week, adds the Independent.
Greece, meanwhile, managed to get a €1.6bn government bond auction away, even as there were increasing signs of cabinet resistance to the EU and IMF's demands for radical privatisations.
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