2012-02-15 / World

Countries voice doubts over Greek bailout

BRUSSELS (AP) — Some eurozone countries have strong doubts over whether a second massive bailout can actually save Greece, officials said today, even as Athens rushed to meet tough conditions to qualify for the (euro) 130 billion ($170 billion) rescue.

The wrangling over Athens’ aid money comes after almost two years of frantic efforts to save Greece from bankruptcy and secure its place in the 17- country currency union.

But circumstances have changed since the eurozone agreed on a first (euro) 110 billion ($145 billion) rescue for Greece back in May 2010.

Several politicians — especially in rich euro countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Finland — have grown tired of Greece repeatedly missing budget targets and failing to implement promised spending cuts, economic reforms and sales of state assets. The measures that have been put into practice, meanwhile, have pushed the country into steep recession, with its economy shrinking 7 percent in the final quarter of 2011 from a year earlier.

At the same time, at least some policymakers are optimistic that the eurozone is now strong enough to handle a default by Greece, which is one of the smallest economies in the currency union, responsible for only about 2 percent of its economic output.

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