Greece’s eurozone partners and the IMF this weekend agreed to a $146 billion bailout to stem the Greece crisis. But in return, the country’s leaders have been forced to implement a harsh austerity program.
After 400 years of Ottoman rule and a recent history spent buffeted by bigger powers, Greeks are sensitive to the suggestion of foreign domination. But with the country on the verge of bankruptcy, leaders have had little choice but to put themselves in the hands of Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
After three months of tense negotiations, Greece’s eurozone partners and the IMF this weekend agreed to a $146 billion bailout to prevent the Greek crisis from crippling economies throughout Europe. But in return, the country’s leaders have been forced to implement a harsh austerity program that will include deep cuts to pensions and civil servant pay, as well as increased taxes.
“I would like to make it absolutely clear to everybody. I have done and will always do whatever it takes for the country not to go bankrupt,” Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou told an emergency meeting of the cabinet Sunday, calling on the Greek people to make sacrifices in order to preserve the country’s future.
European nations agreed to the rescue as much to save the euro as to save Greece. But the crisis has highlighted deep cultural differences among the eurozone’s members and shaken faith in the common currency, used by 16 of the European Union’s members. Frugal Germans initially balked at bailing out what they see as spendthrift Greeks.
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