Monday, September 12, 2011

Greece unveils more austerity measures

by Anthee Carassava

Los Angeles Times

September 11, 2011

Under intense pressure from international lenders, Greece on Sunday announced a new set of austerity measures to meet deficit reduction targets and stamp out speculation that it would be forced out of the European single-currency zone.

The measures, which include a two-year property tax, are intended to make up for revenue shortfalls that come to about $3 billion this year alone.

Though designed to target mainly high earners, the new tariff could further anger the crisis-weary middle class and pose political risks for the socialist government, which repeatedly has pledged to protect Greek households from being hurt by further austerity measures.

"We know that these measures are unbearable," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said after a heated six-hour Cabinet meeting in the northern city of Thessaloniki. "But once more, we all have to rally together in a national effort."

That could prove tricky.

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