Although vicious austerity measures were voted for by a 199–74 majority in the Vouli (parliament) on Sunday night, the Greek ‘bailout’ is still not a done deal.
The furious reaction of hundreds of thousands of Greek workers and youth alarmed the bankers who, since the vote, have made it clear that the money is not going to be immediately forthcoming.
The day after the Greek Parliament passed the bill, a spokesperson for Germany’s finance ministry said final approval for the deal won’t come before early March.
That means it’s still weeks before it’s known whether Greece will default on debt repayment, and be drummed out of the euro.
Greece passed a package of severe cuts late on Sunday, as demanded by the EU and IMF, in return for the promise of a 130 billion euro bailout.
Reacting to the vote in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert said: ‘These decisions show the will and readiness of the Greeks to make great efforts of their own . . . to put the country on the right track.
‘These measures, and we really have to note this, are not just saving for the sake of saving, they are not cutting for the sake of cutting – this is about reforms in every political area.’
The bailout deal hinges on Greece implementing a series of spending cuts that include slashing the minimum wage by 20% for workers and 30% for youth, as well as eliminating one in five public sector jobs.
China held talks with EU leaders in Beijing yesterday on the crisis of the EU.
Premier Wen Jiabao offered China’s co-operation to help stabilise debt-ridden EU nations, but made no specific promise to invest in a European bailout fund.
EU leaders were seeking Chinese money to bolster a planned fund of about 500bn euros ($665bn; £420bn).
In a joint news conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Wen said China was willing to ‘increase its involvement’ in attempts to stabilise the eurozone.
Analysts said it appears the EU delegation failed to get the solid commitment they wanted from China and were absolutely desperate to get.