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Euro zone nears deal on Greece

Monday, July 08, 2013 - 01:49

July 8 - With fresh promises from Greece to redouble its reform efforts to keep international financial aid flowing, euro zone finance ministers are meeting to decide if Athens gets the cash it needs all at once or by drip feed. Sonia Legg reports

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Greece's public sector workers aren't making life easy for their government. Thousands of police officers were among those who walked off the job as a crucial meeting took place in Brussels. SOUNDBITE)(Greek) MUNICIPAL POLICEMAN FROM KOZANI PREFECTURE IOSIF TOURNAS, 32, SAYING: "The mistakes of those in power are being paid for by the people underneath them. Greece is not a business, it's our homeland." Greece has failed to meet public sector reform deadlines. And the country's next 8.1 billion euro instalment of aid depends on it. Its international lenders - the so-called troika - have been in Athens assessing the situation. It's thought they may decide on a drip approach - Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROGROUP PRESIDENT, JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM SAYING: "We can always sort of cut up the instalments in different portions, but whether that's necessary, whether it's helpful, we will see on the basis of what troika will present to us." Euro zone leaders are keen not to reawaken the crisis. But there have been differences of opinion over how to handle Greece, especially after the near meltdown of Portugal's government last week. IG's Alastair McCaig believes they need to be mindful of the effect reforms could have. (SOUNDBITE) (English): Alastair McCaig, IG Index, saying: "To place 12,500 civil servants on leave with 75% pay and then by year's end, if they haven't managed to be transferred to other departments, then effectively make them redundant. This is the first step in what could be a bitter battle as far as the civil servants are concerned - it won't just be the 12,500 who will voice their opinion - it will be a great proportion of civil servants - and there are plenty of those in Greece." Divisions among euro zone leaders aren't the only worry. Greece's coalition government can't agree on how best to shrink the public sector. That's cast doubt on Athen's ability to meet the demands of programme however it's paid.

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Euro zone nears deal on Greece

Monday, July 08, 2013 - 01:49