Talks Falter as Greece Warns: We Can't Take Any More Cuts

Bailout discussion foundering despite austerity deal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2012 4:05 AM CST
This historic cinema was one of more than 100 buildings torched by rioters in Athens on the weekend.   (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
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(Newser) – Greece has made "superhuman" efforts to comply with EU and IMF conditions, but it just can't make any more cuts, the country's public order minister says. An austerity package was passed over the weekend, sparking violent protests across the country, but bailout talks with EU finance chiefs have fallen apart amid demands for yet more budget cuts, the BBC reports. The finance ministers are asking Greece to make another $425 million in cuts, and to grant assurances that the austerity package won't be repealed if opposition parties win elections this spring.

Greece's prime minister has warned that the country faces economic catastrophe without a $170 billion bailout package, although some analysts believe the catastrophe is already happening, with Greece's economy on course to shrink as much as America's did during the Great Depression. "They're suffering. It's nasty," a director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research tells Reuters. "If you could say with a reasonable probability that the worst was over, then that would be different. But you can't say that. They're in for a long nightmare." (Read more Greece stories.)

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