Greece’s government is very firmly between a rock and hard place.
Its plans for a harsh package of tax hikes and spending cuts intended to avert catastrophic bankruptcy have unleashed mass demonstrations. But Euro zone finance ministers meeting into the early hours of Monday insist the Greek parliament must approve the measures in return for a further emergency loans.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, saying:
“We are ready to help Greece and give it the time it needs so that the country goes through a reform program and through a strengthening of its economy. This is the key, also, to secure the financing on the financial markets but of course that must be done in a way that makes clear the risk is not borne by the taxpayer alone. That’s why we’re looking for a solution.”
The Euro zone ministers met in Luxembourg as Greece’s government warned it needs more cash by mid-July to avoid defaulting on its debt.
The nation received a bailout package worth more than $155 billion just over a year ago.
Greece, in line for more emergency handouts, now has a lower credit rating than countries like Pakistan and Ecuador.
The Greek prime minister’s warned the consequences of bankruptcy or exit from the euro would be catastrophic for households, the banks and national credibility.
Bottom line: Euro zone finance ministers postpone final decision on an emergency loan to Greece until it introduces harsh austerity measures.