Greece


More than 5000 people rallied in Brussels on June 21.

As Greece's anti-austerity SYRIZA-led government seeks a deal to give it badly needed funds to pay creditors and avoid a collapse of its banking system, 40 groups from across Europe are petitioning for Greece's debt to be cancelled.

The groups say the crisis-hit southern European country is not in a position to repay the debt and it should not have to shoulder a burden accumulated by previous governments.

A preliminary report on the audit of Greece's debt initiated by the Greek parliament declared on June 17 that the debt was “illegal, illegitimate and odious”.

The debt imposed on Greece and its people by creditors directly infringes the human rights of Greeks and is “illegal, illegitimate and odious”, a preliminary report issued by the Audit Committee on Public Debt declared on June 17.

The finding came as talks between Greece and its creditors finished without a deal on June 18. The International Monetary Fund is threatening the near-bankrupt country with default unless it pays the US$1.7 billion it owes by the June 30 deadline.


Thousands protest in Athens against austerity and in support of the SYRIZA government, June 17.

Thousands of Greek people took to the streets of Athens on June 17 to reject austerity measures and support the SYRIZA-led government, TeleSUR English said that day.

For a while in late May, it looked as if negotiations over terms for releasing the last €7.2 billion owed to Greece under its second bailout package with the “Troika” of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund might have some chance of success.

The commentary from the SYRIZA-led Greek government's negotiators and from its creditors was of “fruitful discussions” and “meaningful progress”. Greek government spokespeople even spoke of reaching an agreement “within a week or two”, at the latest by the June 18 meeting of the eurozone finance ministers.


Greek pensioners joined the march for a better healthcare in Athens.

Will Greece's SYRIZA-led government reach a last-minute deal with its creditors, the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) - the “Troika” - to release the last €7.2 billion owed to the country under Greece's second bail-out agreement?

“Greece avoided another financial crisis by paying about €500 million in wages to public sector workers, but suffered another downgrade of its credit rating,” The Guardian on May 16.

The payment came with Greece's SYRIZA-led government, that is seeking to break with austerity, locked in difficult talks with its creditors. Greece is seeking to release €7.2 billion in bailout funds to avoid a default and exit from the eurozone.

In a three-hour appearance on private TV channel Star TV on April 27, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke extensively about the challenges confronting the anti-austerity government led by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

The program began with a grilling of Tsipras by interviewer Niko Katsinikolao and ended with questions from a 50-strong audience.

A lot of questions reflected growing concern that talks with the country’s creditors — mainly the “Troika” of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) — were stalled.

About 800 refugees were drowned in the Mediterranean on April 18 when a boat carrying them from Libya, and trying to reach the south of Italy, capsized. Just three days earlier, more than 400 people drowned when another boat on the same route sank. Refugee deaths in the Mediterranean are rising sharply. “According to the UN and the International Organisation for Migration, 1,776 people are dead or missing so far this year, compared with 56 for the same period last year,” the April 24 Guardian reported.

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