Thursday, November 22, 2012

Greece feels ‘humiliated’ over eurozone bailout delay

ATHENS, November 22, 2012

The failure by eurozone finance ministers to reach a decision overnight on the release of Greece's next loan tranche prompted an outpouring of angry reaction from Athens on Wednesday, with the main opposition saying the country was being "humiliated." "The government is doing all their favours and is being humiliated in return," said Dimitris Papadimoulis, from the radical left SYRIZA party.

SYRIZA, which has been ahead in opinion polls, has said that it would cancel the reforms and fiscal measures passed by Greece's three-party coalition earlier this month as part of the country's efforts to meet the terms of its bailout agreement with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a show of increasing frustration, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said delays could not continue and called on the eurozone and the IMF to live up to their commitments.

"Greece did what it had to and what it had committed to," Mr. Samaras said in a statement "…Our partners now have a duty to meet the responsibilities they have assumed." The failure by the eurogroup to reach an agreement means that Athens has to wait to find out if the loan instalments will be disbursed next month. The government has said it will run out of cash reserves towards the end of November.

The president of the Ministers' eurogroup panel, Jean-Claude Juncker, said he remained confident that the aid would soon flow, blaming the delay on the need to carry out "precise calculations" and the wish by some ministers to consult with national leaders.

He said he intended for the ministers to resume their talks at noon on Monday. When asked about when Greece would finally receive the repeatedly delayed bailout tranche, he said: "I don't know when this will happen." But he was quick to add that he is "massively interested in Greece getting its next tranche and I assume that it will be so."
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