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Greece to vote on rescue package

Oct. 31, 2011 at 8:16 PM   |   Comments

ATHENS, Greece, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said he will let the Greek people decide whether to accept the European Union's rescue package.

After months of negotiations in Europe's capitals and tensions in stock markets around the globe, European leaders Thursday announced they would expand an international rescue fund for eurozone nations to $1.4 trillion, grant $182 billion in fresh aid for Greece and require $100 billion in recapitalization for Europe's largest banks.

The plan also called for a voluntary write-off of 50 percent of Greek bonds.

However, Greece has been subjected to numerous national strikes to protest a series of austerity measures that are provided for under the terms for the agreement's international loans.

The terms are set by the so-called troika -- the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund. Since the bailouts began, Greece has cut benefits, raised taxes, slashed spending, laid off workers and sold assets, all to meet the troika's terms.

In his announcement Monday, Papandreou said, "Let us allow the people to have the last word, let them decide the country's fate," The New York Times reported.

Stock markets in Europe and the United States fell on the news -- in contrast to what occurred Thursday, when markets around the globe soared after the rescue package was announced. On that day, Papandreou called the accord among the 27 European Union nations, "a new day for Europe and for Greece."

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