Greek government approves EU/IMF bailout

Prime Minister George Papandreou announced on Sunday (May 2nd) that his government will implement a series of reforms in return for EU/IMF aid. “We are approving the agreement for an unprecedented rescue package in exchange for unprecedented efforts on the part of the Greek people. Big sacrifice is expected from our citizens,” Papandreou said in a televised speech, confirming the EU/IMF deal will be sealed Sunday. Without imminent reforms, “the alternative would be a catastrophe,” he said.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou says the government will freeze public-sector wages, raise some taxes, including the value-added tax, impose a new levy on businesses, cut pension payments and raise retirement ages for some public-sector workers.

Eurozone finance ministers hold an informal meeting in Brussels Sunday evening and are expected to approve the Greek government’s plan and to announce the exact amount the country will receive over the next three years.

On Saturday, protestors demonstrated against the austerity measures at Labour Day demonstrations in Athens and Thessaloniki. Police in both cities ended up using tear gas to disperse unruly pockets of people.

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