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Greece Delays Decision On Terms Of Bailout

IMF representative Bob Traa is seen inside an elevator as he arrives a government office building before meeting Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens on Monday.
Petros Giannakouris

Much to the dismay of the economic world, Greece said it was delaying negotiations on the terms of its bailout package today. Basically, Greece's political leaders could not agree on accepting tough, new austerity measures that are tied to receiving the 130 billion euro bailout.

The Guardian reports:

"With Greece staring at the spectre of bankruptcy – barely six weeks before it has to make bond repayments worth €14.5bn – EU officials expressed disbelief that politicians could not finally put their name to an accord.

"Unable to conceal her own exasperation, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said: 'I honestly can't understand how additional days will help.

"'Time is of the essence. A lot is at stake for the entire eurozone,' she said after holding debt crisis talks in Paris with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy."

"Unfortunately the negotiations are so tough that as soon as one chapter closes another opens," Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Reuters.

Earlier today, Greece announced that it was prepared to enact some austerity measures. The New York Times reports that the country said it would cut 15,000 government jobs.

But those cuts are controversial. The country's biggest labor unions have called for a general strike on Tuesday.

"The strike is expected to disrupt transport and other public services," reports the Times. "Three separate protest rallies have been planned for central Athens alone."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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