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ECONOMICS REPORT - Greek Protests Intensify, But So Is Pressure on Europe's Banks

Written by Henry Ridgwell, Mil Arcega -- Friday, October 7, 2011 -- Views:

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Protesters shout slogans during demonstration in Athens, Oct. 5, 2011.
Protesters shout slogans during demonstration in Athens, Oct. 5, 2011.

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

Violent protests in Greece have added to tensions over the debt crisis affecting Europe.

(SOUND: Protests)

Tens of thousands of people marched in Athens Wednesday to protest the government's latest proposals for budget cuts. The deep spending cuts have been demanded by the nation's creditors.

Many government workers and union activists oppose the measures, which include plans to cut thirty thousand government jobs.  Greece also wants to cut wages for government workers and increase taxes.

Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou has struggled to win support from his own party to pass the unpopular legislation.  And public anger has been widespread.  The two largest labor unions in Greece have called for another strike on October nineteenth.

This week, the Greek government announced that it would not meet the deficit reduction targets it had promised its lenders.  This increased doubts that Greece will be able to pay its creditors.  And it has European bankers worried.  Many European banks hold Greek debt securities.

Finance Ministers from countries using the euro met in Luxembourg early this week to discuss issues including the Greek debt crisis.  European Union Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said it is important to examine the measures that Greece has in place.

OLLI REHN: ""It seems that Greece is likely to miss the target this year, next year and concrete measures agreed to so far are going a long way to meet all the fiscal targets.  As I said, it is essential now that we will assess the measures, we will review the figures."

Olli Rehn says it is too early to tell if Greece will be able to meet its deficit reduction targets.  European finance ministers put off a decision on whether to provide an eleven billion dollar loan to Greece that is part of a rescue plan agreed to last year.

The Greek debt crisis has already severely hurt the French-Belgian bank Dexia.  The bank has lost more than four hundred million dollars because of Greek debt.  But those losses could increase if Greece fails to pay on its debts in the coming months.

Dexia is one of Belgium's biggest lenders.  Now French and Belgian officials are discussing how to split the bank up and create a so called "bad bank" that would hold its worst assets.

Dexia is not alone.  Two big banks in France, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, have reported losses of more than one billion dollars.

On Tuesday, the European Central Bank said it would offer new emergency loans to Europe's banks to help them deal with losses from Greek debt.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. Find more business news along with transcripts and MP3s of our reports and learn English at www.unsv.com. I'm Mario Ritter.


Reader's Comments (10):
Author: Youncy
On Thursday----on Tuesday?
My fahter once served as an employee for the construction bank of China for several tens of years, so he know something about how the money is done throught the currency. The construction bank of China, or any other bank running at the moment, at first draws in some money from the persons in the society who have some extra money they don't use and then they lend the money to companies who need the money to run their business.
The bank gives a certain percent of money to the people who saves money in the bank according to how much money they have saved. And the bank receive money from the companies who borrow the money in another certain percentage. The percentage according to which the bank receives money is higher than the percentage according to which the bank gives money to the people who save money in the bank. So if there are enough people to save money in the bank
and there are enough companies to loan the money, the bank would make a profit. With this money, the bank can feed the employees serving for the bank and earn some extra income and to buy some more sophisticated office essentials like computers. Some of the judges in the bank place much emphasis on making a profit without paying something on the essentials that are important to the successful running of the system. When I was a little kid, I did a blunder.
In the room where my father lived, there was a computer, quite old, so old that I didn't think it could be of use to employees to do something useful. So I deleted a lot of information in the PC which later I came to know that they were very important. The next day, the secretary in the department needed the computer to draw up some tables by when she started to notice the difference in the desktop between then and the day forward. It was so old a computer
that I recognized it to be an old thing that should be dumped instead of being used. Even after my father told me that the employee specializing in computer expertise had to copy the programs I had deleted in the bank upward, I did not believe that the computer could be of use to people. The manager of the bank eared a lot of money, but they failed to improve the working conditions in the bank, with part of the reasons they wanted to make a profit among which
they put into their hands. Nowadays the society is corrupting. People everywhere every day make money, but the money produced by the labor force was grabbed by the top people of the society. The one percent of the top people receive the ninety-nine of the money created by the working people. The gap between the richest people and the poorest members is quite huge. But the government hasn't paid enough attention to the corruption in the society.
Author: sunny
you make me clear in this dark world.
Author: sun_city
This is the real world where we live in. Thinking to change it is difficult, but we will try, isn't it?
Author: smartguy
Author: zoe
Author: Bile
Author: Cathy
I think it's so terrible.No wonder there are so many corruptions in our society
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