10 Feb 2012

Greece must cut further to earn bailout billions

3:13 pm on 10 February 2012

Eurozone finance ministers have set out three conditions which they say need to be met before they can give Greece €130 billion in bailout funds.

The 17 ministers have been meeting in Brussels to decide on a second bailout package for Greece - and will meet again next week.

Before then, the Greek parliament has to approve a package of further austerity measures and find an extra €325 million in savings for 2012.

€130 billion to avoid debt default

Greece needs €130 billion ($US170 billion) from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to avoid defaulting on its debt next month.

It is the second such bailout and the additional austerity measures are part of the conditions on the loan.

Two labour unions have called a 48-hour strike to protest against the cuts.

The prime minister held talks for eight hours on Wednesday night with the leaders of the three parties in his coalition - Pasok, New Democracy and the Laos party.

But the talks ended with no agreement on pension reform.

However, government officials later said a compromise had been reached, but gave no further details.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said Prime Minister Lucas Papademos had spoken to him about the deal.

Details will now be presented to Eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says the deal is very encouraging.