EU battle over Greek austerity begins

Global Business

The election of the anti-austerity Syriza party in Greece has caused alarm in Brussels, where E.U. officials said they are prepared to talk with Greece’s new pending government but that they were unprepared to agree with some of its tougher demands. CCTV’s Jack Barton reported from Brussels.

EU battle over Greek austerity begins

The election of the anti-austerity Syriza party in Greece has caused alarm in Brussels, where E.U. officials said they are prepared to talk with Greece's new pending government but that they were unprepared to agree with some of its tougher demands. CCTV's Jack Barton reported from Brussels.

Greeks celebrated the start of what their soon-to-be new leader Alexis Tsipras called an end to the national shame of austerity. At the same time finance ministers assembled in Brussels to assess whether compromise was possible.

Greece’s new government wanted to renegotiate the country’s bailout and default on up to half of more than $300 billion worth of public debt.

“We have already done a lot to lift the debt burden of Greece over the past few years, (such as) interest, maturities, lengths of the loans,” Netherlands Finance Ministers and President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem said. “We’ve always said that we continue to work with them if the Greeks commit to what we’ve agreed with them.”

Greece’s new government has made it clear it does not want to commit to what’s already been agreed to. No one doubted that Greece would start rolling back austerity, but that doesn’t mean Brussels is expecting the country to exit from the eurozone anytime soon.

Officials from the troika of lenders that bailed out Greece– the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission — on Monday played down speculation of a ‘Grexit.’

German chancellor Angela Merkel has said her government will listen to Syriza’s demands, but when asked if Greece will be allowed to re-write the terms of its bailout or debts her answer was an absolute ‘no.’

Greece has about 7 billion euros worth of outstanding debt to pay in the months ahead and will need funds from the so-called troika to cover it.


Katerina Sokou on the possibility of Greece’s exit from the eurozone 

CCTV America interviewed Katerina Sokou, D.C. correspondent of Greek Daily.

Katerina Sokou on the possibility of Greece's exit from the eurozone

CCTV America interviewed Katerina Sokou, D.C. correspondent of Greek Daily.


Greece election: Anti-austerity Syriza wins election

Greece election: Anti-austerity Syriza wins election

A new day, new beginning, and new government that Greeks expect to lead this country to calmer seas: Greeks delivered a historic win to the leftist Syriza party on Sunday. The party won over 36 percent of the vote, rejecting the previous government's austerity policies. Syriza promised to end austerity with a series of feel-good policies that could set the country on a collision course with its European partners and trigger another eurozone crisis. CCTV’s Filio Kontrafouri reported from Athens.

A new day, new beginning, and new government that Greeks expect to lead this country to calmer seas: Greeks delivered a historic win to the leftist Syriza party on Sunday. The party won over 36 percent of the vote, rejecting the previous government’s austerity policies. Syriza promised to end austerity with a series of feel-good policies that could set the country on a collision course with its European partners and trigger another eurozone crisis. CCTV’s Filio Kontrafouri reported from Athens.

Despite fears that the leftist party win could spell trouble, citizens were already feeling a sense of relief that the pain of five years of austerity measures might finally melt away.

“Everything is really positive. That’s what should have happened because people reached their limits with this situation and reacted. It was expected,” Greek fisherman Paraskevas said.

Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, swept to power Sunday night on promises to end austerity pain and renegotiate Greece’s bailout. Hours after his victory, he formed Greece’s new coalition with a small, right-wing party, Independent Greeks.

Harsh economic policies have stirred a populist backlash across Europe. Syriza is the first anti-austerity party to take power in the eurozone, and hopes their win can boost other populist parties in neighboring countries.