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Deja vu as Greece and lenders race to agree deal

Friday, February 17, 2017 - 01:48

European Union officials have urged Greece and its lenders to conclude a long-overdue bailout review quickly to safeguard economic recovery. But as Ciara Lee reports, with days to go until a key meeting on Monday, Athens is saying it won't ask for ''a euro more'' from its austerity-wracked citizens.

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It was the farmers turn to protest this week. They descended on Athens with many grievances and one clear message. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) FARMER FROM CRETE, SIFIS STAVRIANOUDAKIS, SAYING: "We can't make ends meet. Until now we've just managed to break even, but if they implement these new measures, even the food we set aside for ourselves will be taken from us." The new measures include increased taxation and social security contributions, along with reduced pensions and higher production costs. It's a similar story across most sectors. The Greek government has been implementing tough reforms in order to qualify for the next instalment of its 86 billion euro bailout. It says it can't pay a "single euro more." (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN, DIMITRIS TZANAKOPOULOS, SAYING: "The government is negotiating with responsibility and resolve, for an agreement which will consolidate and stabilize the Greek economy and allow us to finally exit the crisis." Senior EU officials have been in Greece this week. And a finance ministers meeting on Monday is seen as the last chance saloon, with European elections clogging up the diary after that. Nerves are creeping in as that deadline looms, with EU officials urging speed to avoid catastrophe. Debt relief is again a sticking point, Greece's lenders are split over the issue. (SOUNDBITE) (English): WORLD FIRST, CHIEF ECONOMIST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "In the grand scheme of things, something will have to give. And the politics in Greece has always given in the past. The politics of anger, the politics of distrust, that we now have in the euro zone make it a really interesting powder keg moving through the summer. Is this the year where the Greek politicians actually say 'no, enough is enough'?" There are reports Germany may have a plan to get around the problem. But there's little public sign of compromise - and just days to go.

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Deja vu as Greece and lenders race to agree deal

Friday, February 17, 2017 - 01:48