EUROZONE finance ministers met today to thrash out terms for Greece’s next slice of bailout loans.
Greece needs another €7 billion (£6.1bn) to pay debts due in July and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the country has “done everything” required by the EU and European Central Bank — referring to an extreme programme of cuts to public spending, pay and pensions as well as the privatisation of most of the country’s assets.
Mr Tsipras said Greeks were “full of hope and expectation” ahead of the meeting, as thousands of pensioners marched through Athens in protest at a further round of cuts to pensions which leave them with just €300 (£260) a month.
Many are so poor that they can no longer afford to get to hospital, according to paramedic Dimitris Dimitriadis, meaning an increase in call-outs to ambulances — but savage cuts to health spending mean half the capital’s ambulances are out of action.
Germany doesn’t want to advance more cash unless the International Monetary Fund gets on board — but the IMF says Greece’s debt is unsustainable and it won’t help unless the EU offers more debt relief.
Eurozone group chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who clung to his post despite his Dutch Labour Party losing 80 per cent of its votes and three-quarters of its seats in this year’s election, said a bailout figure was unlikely to emerge from yesterday’s meeting.
Mr Dijsselbloem previously outraged Greeks by claiming the debt crisis of southern European nations was due to their spending all their money on "women and drink."