"It is through the departmental rules that we will analyze the request they presented to hold the event and in all cases it is the management, based on the convenience and to safeguard the moral and ethical principles of our society, that will authorize or not the event."
"Representatives of the Christian churches, Evangelical and Catholic of Honduras, have asked that we not authorize the permission because he is not a good family example,....this is not the type of family that the laws of Honduras and Honduran society want to construct and promote in the young and the rest of the population."
By Juergen Baetz Wednesday, 28 September 2011
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted that the second Greek bailout package might have to be renegotiated amid increasing market speculation today that European leaders want to force private holders of Greek bonds to take bigger losses.
Merkel didn't rule out altering the terms to the €109 billion ($148 billion) package, saying the decision must be based on how Greece's debt inspectors, the so-called troika, judge Athens' recent austerity efforts.
- UK opposes EU financial transaction tax
- Banks warn on future lending
- Very difficult to leave euro, says Hague
- Banks 'should build up cash levels'
- Greek leader seeks mercy on mission to Germany: we'll do what we have to
- Markets shrug off mixed signals as hopes of euro rescue deal spark rally
- David Prosser: Moving into the eurozone endgame
- Hamish McRae: Europe can still have a prosperous future
- Christina Patterson: We can't let the monster of the markets rule the world
- Search the news archive for more stories
"So we must now wait for what the troika finds out and what it tells us: do we have to renegotiate or do we not have to renegotiate?" she said in an interview with Greece's ERT television Tuesday night.
Merkel added that she "cannot anticipate the result of the troika."
Greece was saved from default last year by an initial €110 billion bailout, and the planned second rescue package includes a voluntary participation by private bondholders, who agreed to write off about 20 percent on their Greek debt holdings.
But many economists and analysts maintain that Greece — mired in a deep recession worsened by the same austerity measures implemented in return for bailout loans — must have its total debt reduced by as much as 50 percent if it is to have a chance of recovering.
The Financial Times reported that as many as seven of the eurozone's 17 members want the banks to take a bigger hit on their Greek bond holdings to allow this to happen.
Citing unnamed senior European officials, the newspaper said Germany and the Netherlands are at the forefront of the calls for the private sector to take a bigger hit, with France and the European Central Bank said to be fiercely resisting the move.
Greece "will not get back on its feet without a serious reduction in debt," said Ottmar Issing, a former chief economist of the European Central Bank, who has served as an adviser to Merkel in the past.
Athens needs to see its debt cut "at least 50 percent, probably more," Issing was quoted by Germany's Stern magazine.
Germany's banking association insisted there was no need to renegotiate the terms of the second bailout package. Banks in Germany and France are among the biggest holders of Greek bonds.
Greece's international debt inspectors will return to Athens on Thursday after they suspended their review of the country's finances early this month amid talk of budget shortfalls.
Once the fact-finding mission has made its conclusions, the finance ministers of the eurozone will organize a special meeting in October to assess them.
A positive review is required before the troika — the IMF, ECB and European Commission — can release the next batch of rescue loans Greece needs to avoid bankruptcy.
In Athens, another 24-hour public transport strike left commuters struggling to reach work without buses, subway services, taxis or trams.
Greeks have been outraged by the announcement of new austerity measures — including pension cuts and a new property levy — after more than a year of spending cuts and tax hikes.
Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos said he will be unable to pay the new emergency levy without selling property, and argued the country's ability to pay additional taxes to cover budget gaps has been "exhausted for some time."
To help Greece and restore confidence in the euro, Jose Manuel Barroso, who heads the executive European Commission, said the 27-nation EU must develop a stronger central government.
"If we do not move forward with more unification, we will suffer more fragmentation," he told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. "I think this is going to be a baptism of fire for a whole generation."
"Today, we are facing the biggest challenges that this union has ever had to face throughout its history — a financial crisis, an economic and social crisis, but also a crisis of confidence," Barroso said.
The crisis, which began in Greece some 18 months ago, eventually spread to engulf Portugal and Ireland, which also needed bailouts. It now threatens to mushroom further, prompting criticism from analysts and leaders including President Barack Obama that the EU is acting too slowly.
Among the most important measures that European countries have been slow to clear is a proposal to give the eurozone's €440 billion bailout fund more powers — the ability to buy government bonds, bail out banks, and lend to troubled governments quickly before they are in a full fledged crisis. Lawmakers in Germany will vote Thursday, while Finland's parliament approved the move on Wednesday.
The proposal, along with Greece's second bailout, was agreed by eurozone leaders on July 21. But the delay in voting and implementing the decisions spooked financial markets in recent weeks.
In the meantime, the ECB has shouldered the burden, buying over €150 billion ($205 billion) in government bonds to drive down borrowing costs for Italy and Spain.
Fears that the eurozone's third and fourth largest economy, Italy and Spain, may get sucked into Europe's debt crisis had stoked concern they would lose access to market funding and be forced into requesting bailouts.
A default by Greece or another country would send shock waves through the global economy, particularly in Europe, authorities fear. Banks would suffer such large losses on government bonds they hold that they would cut off credit to the wider economy and cause a new, sharper recession.
Protesters chant slogans against the new austerity measures during a rally in front of the finance ministry in Athens. Photo: Getty
Telegraph Staff and agencies 7:55AM BST 29 Sep 2011
State TV NET reported that nearly all major ministries were occupied by protesting staff, including the ministries of finance, development, justice, labour, health, interior affairs and agriculture.
The occupations began early this morning before official opening hours and were to continue until Friday, NET said.
Greek civil servants oppose a new round of pay cuts and layoffs imposed by the government as it struggles to slash a runaway deficit.
A high-level mission from the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank, which saved Greece from bankruptcy last year, have returned for a report that will determine if the debt-hit nation can again escape default.
Four weeks ago the auditors quit the country abruptly, unhappy with the government's efforts to tackle its debt mountain.
Protesters plan to occupy the LSE 28 Sep 2011
EU financial transaction tax 'would harm UK' 28 Sep 2011
This week the Greek parliament approved a controversial property tax that aims to plug a budget hole and help unlock bailout funds.
The finance ministry said Greeks have €400bn invested in property, roughly the size of the nation's sovereign debt which is more than €350bn. It has estimated the tax is only 0.2pc of the real value of property and was "a completely tolerable burden".
"The important thing is to meet the 2011 and 2012 budgetary targets," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told the parliament ahead of the vote.
Greece needs an €8bn loan, part of a €110bn rescue package set up in May 2010, to keep paying its bills in October.
EU and IMF negotiators will resume their talks with Greek's leadership on Thursday, amid mounting social tension and what the European Union describes as the biggest challenge of its history.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested a second Greek bailout may even need to be renegotiated.
Berlin, Paris and the European Central Bank are also at odds over how much Europe's banks should lose in the event of a default, which would require massive recapitalisation of bankruptcy-threatened lenders.
Asian markets gave a mixed response on Thursday following weak leads from Wall Street as worries returned over whether eurozone leaders can agree on measures to resolve their debt crisis.
As Greece waits for the funds from the first bailout approved last year, a few eurozone states have yet to sign off on a second €159bn Greek rescue package that was agreed in July.
German lawmakers vote today on expanding the scope and size of the EU's current rescue fund - the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
It has already helped rescue Ireland and Portugal and will be tapped for Greece's second bailout.
Finland's parliament finally approved changes to the fund on Wednesday, despite deep-rooted reluctance there to bailing out eurozone strugglers.
But another seven of the 17 eurozone states still have to approve the measure.
Even if auditors decide the Greeks are doing enough to merit more financial aid, eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund will still have to sign off on the money.
Finance ministers meet on Monday in Luxembourg, but EU economic affairs spokesman Amadeu Altafaj indicated that the talks in Athens would not be concluded in time for a decision by then.
The head of the German banking federation criticised talk that eurozone governments may now push private holders of Greek government bonds to accept losses of 50pc instead of 21pc as agreed in July.
"If governments now unravel the deal that was reached on private-sector involvement, then the loss in confidence for the financial markets would more than negate the benefits of any such action," Andreas Schmitz told the German daily Bild.
A Greek government spokesman said the country, where austerity measures have met fierce resistance, would escape default.
"This is the beginning of a legislative alliance between the Congress people supporting Ricardo Alvarez and Miguel Pastor, and for now it is only for legislative affairs, but I hope that later on it will become an electoral alliance."Mario Barahona, another member of the caucus, said
"Miguel Pastor and Ricardo Alvarez are a guarantee of triumph and we understand this..."
"I'm very sorry that we haven't finished even the second year of governing and we are already in this debate, but such are politics,"