Greece Approves New Money-Saving Measures For 2012

February 26, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. bailout (n.) –a financial rescue by a person or company to help another person or company out of financial difficulties
Example: The small company asked for bailout from larger partner corporations to avoid losing money.

2. austerity (n.) – in economics, it is a thrift or cost-saving plan or policy
Example: As a form of austerity to cut energy cost, some establishments make use of only natural lighting during the day,

3. clash (n.) –a verbal or physical conflict with somebody
Example: The politicians from opposing parties had a clash of words during their argument.

4. vandalism (n.) –willful destruction of somebody else's property
Example: Some students were punished for their vandalism of University property.

5. pledge (v)- to promise something sincerely
Example: The city mayor pledged to give donations to the victims of the recent flood.

Read the text below.

Greek officials approved new austerity measures despite angry protests from citizens. Greece currently owes a total of €330 billion in debt, and eurozone nations want to see money-saving laws enforced, before they can agree to a bailout deal for the country.

As police were controlling demonstrators in the streets, lawmakers passed austerity plans that aim to heavily cut down government spending. Greece needs to save money because it has to repay €14.5 billion of its debt by March. In effect, citizens’ pensions and wages will also be reduced.

 The outbreak resulted from people's frustration over their financial struggles that never seem to end. In Athens, the number of people who are becoming poor and homeless is increasing day by day. Now, with the austerity measures, people will have to make more sacrifices.

Several establishments including a bank, cafes and a movie theatre were set on fire. Twenty-five protesters and 40 officers were injured in the clashes while 30 people were arrested by authorities.

Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos said he would not tolerate vandalism and violence amid such an important period in Greece. Before Parliament voted on the austerity laws, Papademos told lawmakers that Greece needs the eurozone’s bailout deal, despite how tough the austerity measures will be on citizens. Without the bailout, the Greek government will not be able to pay salaries and provide basic services.

The €130 billion bailout package is expected to put Greece back on stable ground, and   also help reduce Greece's debts from the current 160% of Gross Domestic Product, to 120% of GDP by 2020.

But even if Parliament has voted to push through with the austerity plans, eurozone nations will only give bailout if Greece can continue meeting requirements. According to Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and head of Europe’s group of finance ministers, Greece's political leaders must pledge that they will continue to carry out the measures even after the upcoming Greek elections.

Analysts, however, warned that Greece has already had difficulty keeping up with a previous bailout plan in 2010, and additional austerity and economic reforms would only make its people suffer even more.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why do you think countries spend more than they afford?
·         What services or projects do you think governments should prioritize? Why?

Discussion B

·         Would you be willing to sacrifice your earnings to help solve your country’s economic problems?
·         Can you think of ways how you can help strengthen the economy of your country?


February 26, 2012