The 16 euro countries have reached an agreement to help Greece with its debt, according to European Council President Herman van Rompuy. That is the main goal of a meeting of the European Union’s 27 leaders, central bank chief and EU officials — in Brussels.
Today’s gathering was called last month, meaning to discuss the EU’s 2020 growth strategy. The Greek crisis was not even officially on the agenda.
If Greece defaulted on its debt, further serious trouble could be in store for other high debt, rising deficit euro zone countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Athens needs to borrow 53 billion euros this year to cover its 12.7% deficit and to refinance debts. The EU wants to do this without relying on the International Monetary Fund. However, any package of support is likely to impose major economic adjustments on ordinary Greeks.
Protesters have hurled accusations of treachery at the socialist government, demanding that Prime Minister George Papandreou scrap emergency measures including a wage and pension freeze.