Feb. 10 - Greece's deal on economic reforms designed to help it secure a second EU bailout has sparked protests on the streets of Athens, but euro zone finance ministers are demanding further action before the aid is released. Joanne Nicholson reports.
Protestors in Greece clash with police outside the parliament in Athens - following demonstrations against the austerity measures the government has agreed in order to get a second bailout from Europe. Greece needs to shore up its finances before the end of March to meet its 14 billion euro bond payments. Greece's labour minister George Koutroumanis says concessions were necessary. .(SOUNDBITE)(Greek) LABOUR MINISTER, GEORGE KOUTROUMANIS, SAYING: "Yes, of course there is a reduction in pensions, in wages, but you must see the final result in relation to the first proposals and demands. We can't just say no to everything, but we can argue certain points where we can make the necessary changes." Still, despite a deal being reached in Athens pledging spending and wage cuts, euro zone finance ministers are refusing to release any new bailout money until parliament ratifies the package and identifies a further 325 million euros in savings. Thomas Costerg is a European economist at Standard Chartered Bank: (SOUNDBITE) (English) THOMAS COSTERG, EUROPEAN ECONOMIST, STANDARD CHARTERED, SAYING: "It's also a question of reforming the economy, more generally speaking, carrying privatisation reforms and the Greek government has lagged on those growth enhancing reforms and on the privatisation programme" France's central bank says Greece must commit to the austerity programme. Governing council member, Christian Noyer: (SOUNDBITE) (French) EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK GOVERNING COUNCIL MEMBER CHRISTIAN NOYER SAYING: "Greece needs to accept all of that, all the political parties must enforce a restructuring plan which is reasonable." With a parliamentary vote on the latest deal looming in the coming days, Greece's finance minister, Evangelos Venezelos says his country must soon decide whether to accept the pinch of austerity or face leaving the euro. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters