Thursday, February 9, 2012

FT & NYT report that Greek leaders reach austerity deal

While most news organizations are reporting that the Greek coalition leaders were unable to reach a deal on the latest bailout, refusing to make cuts to pensions, the Financial Times is reporting that, in fact, an agreement has been reached.

"We now have an agreement. Concrete details of measures to be finalized within next 15 days," Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was quoted as stating this afternoon (local time).

If you think this will end, even for a while, the drama ongoing in Greece you would be wrong.

The unemployment figures are now in from November and the numbers are not good: 20.9 percent are unemployed.

"The main reasons behind this deterioration - which is expected to continue until the first quarter of the year at least - are the increased uncertainty over the economy's prospects, the prospect of additional austerity and a possible increase in the grey economy," said Nikos Magginas, at National Bank.

"The fall of employed people by an annual 9.4 percent in November was shocking," Magginas said. Bank.

The newly agreed to terms for the next bailout will only make the situation worse.

The Athens News outlined the measures to be taken:
  • A direct cut to the minimum basic wage by 22 percent at all levels of pay contracts
  • A further reduction of 10 percent on the basic wage of first-time employees between the ages of 18-25, bringing the total reduction on this category to 32 percent
  • Reduced basic wages to remain frozen throughout the 2012-2015 period
  • A timetable of negotiations with social partners until July for the drastic revision of the National General Collective Labour Contract (EGSSE) “to harmonise it with that of countries at similar competitive position”
  • A reduction of 2 percent on social insurance contributions to the IKA private sector fund
Both the Athens News and have continued to be good news sources for English language readers, though Twitter is clearly the most timely format.

Many journalists have begun tweeting their news reports directly, partially as a way to alert their media outlets that other sources have additional information.

Less honorable news outlets, however, have been using Twitter to simply drive traffic to their own websites, then have a shell of a story online that is really just a link to the original story produced by another outlet. This might be called piracy by some, but modern media executives call it journalism.

Update: The official announcement from the Prime Minister (with the inevitable poor Google Translation):
Αθήνα,9 Φεβρουαρίου 2012
Ολοκληρώθηκαν σήμερα το πρωί με επιτυχία οι διαβουλεύσεις της κυβέρνησης με την τρόικα, σχετικά με το θέμα, το οποίο είχε απομείνει ανοικτό για περαιτέρω επεξεργασία και συζήτηση. Οι πολιτικοί αρχηγοί συμφώνησαν με το αποτέλεσμα των διαβουλεύσεων αυτών.
Κατόπιν τούτου υπάρχει γενικότερη συμφωνία για το περιεχόμενο του νέου προγράμματος εν’ όψει και της αποψινής συνεδρίασης του Γιούρογκρουπ. Όπως είναι γνωστό, το πρόγραμμα συνοδεύει τη νέα δανειακή σύμβαση με την οποία η Ελλάδα θα χρηματοδοτηθεί με 130 δισεκατομμύρια ευρώ.

Athens, February 9, 2012
Completed this morning with the success of government consultation with the Troika on the subject, which was left open for further elaboration and discussion. The political leaders agreed on the outcome of these consultations.
Therefore there is a general agreement on the new program in view of tonight's meeting and the Giourogkroup. As is known, the program came with the new loan agreement with which Greece will be financed with 130 billion euros.