Greece Cuts Nearly 15,000 Jobs to Receive Next Bailout Installment

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Greece expects to emerge from a recession and return to bond markets in the second half of 2014.

The euro traded at $1.30 on Monday morning as the eurozone headed into the week facing several pressures.

Growing speculation about the European Central Bank's meeting, scheduled for Thursday, is weighing on the common currency. Most are expecting the bank to cut its record low 0.75 percent interest rate at Thursday's meeting following a string of poor data that showed the eurozone's powerhouse economy, Germany, was being dragged down by the current economic climate.

Eurozone Finance Ministers will meet on Monday to discuss whether or not to approve the next installment of aid in Greece, worth 2.8 billion euros. Greek government officials rushed to pass a bill on Sunday evening which will lay off nearly 15,000 civil servants over the next two years. Trimming the nation's swollen public sector is a part of the terms Athens agreed to in order to receive bailout funding.

The bill also aimed to help businesses and households by allowing softer repayments for those that owe money for social-security and taxes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these cuts are just a fraction of what's to come in Greece. The nation has its sights set on cutting the public sector workforce by 150,000 before the end of 2015.

On Sunday, the country's public sector union took to the streets to protest the new bill, claiming the cuts will destroy the welfare state. School teachers, who will be required to work an extra two hours per day in order to cover costs, joined the protest and threatened a strike that coincides with the nation's university entrance exams which will begin on May 17.

The euro found a bit of relief when an Italian government finally began to materialize after months without leadership following gridlocked elections. The new Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, will speak in parliament on Monday at 3pm where he is expected to receive banking from his center-left Democratic Party and Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom Party.

Berlusconi and Letta have been forced into a coalition, causing uncertainty within Letta's party. Although Berlusconi will not be in the cabinet, he is expected to have a powerful influence over policy decisions. Since he is currently facing legal charges for tax fraud and paying for sex with a minor, many are uncertain about his role in government.

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