Feb. 9 - Greek leaders finally agreed a long-awaited deal on reforms and austerity measures needed to secure a second, 130 billion euro bailout to prevent a chaotic default. Joanna Partridge reports.
Greece has finally agreed to accept more reforms and austerity measures to secure a second bailout from the EU and the IMF. Greek political leaders clinched a deal after days of delays, just hours before Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met his European counterparts, Greece's financial backers. SOUNDBITE: Greek Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, saying (English): "We have finally a agreement with the Troika for a new, strong and credible programme. We have also a deal with the private creditors on the basic parameters of the PSI. We need now the political endorsement of the Eurogroup." Not everyone in Greece was pleased with the agreement. SOUNDBITE: Alexis Tsipras, Leader of the Far Left "Syriza" party, saying (Greek): "This crime being committed against the Greek people, against the country, cannot be allowed to come to pass. The bankruptcy programme will not pass." Greece's international lenders have been frustrated by the delays in Athens agreeing to more sacrifices in return for a new 130 billion euro rescue package, says head of the IMF Christine Lagarde. SOUNDBITE: Christine Lagarde, Head of the International Monetary Fund, saying (English): "Well there is clearly some very encouraging news coming out of Athens and it's, you know, after the very heavy duty work that's been done lately I think it's positive." Greece desperately needs the money to avoid defaulting on its debt on March 20 when large repayments are due. But political analyst Dmitris Katsikas says the euro project was always going to encounter problems. SOUNDBITE: UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS POLITICAL ANALYST DIMITRIS KATSIKAS SAYING, (English): "It's a bit ironic to be discussing now how badly Greece did in terms, in economic terms when from the beginning it was known that euro zone as a whole would not meet the economic theories, if you like, requirements to have a common currency." Greek party leaders may have agreed to more austerity - but Greek citizens have had enough. The country has fallen deeper into recession since it received the first bailout deal in May 2010 - and more than one in five people are now out of work. It's even worse for young Greeks, half of 15-24 year olds are unemployed. Labour unions have called a 48 hour strike to protest the newest reforms and are warning that more austerity could spark serious social unrest. Joanna Partridge, Reuters