Confidence vote will decide Greece bailout

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2011, 12:00am


Greece is in trouble again. A few months ago we saw how it battled to find the money to pay its bills. It managed to borrow some cash from its neighbours and was told to reform its big-spending ways.

The nation's people were furious. Their pay and pensions were cut and they were told they needed to work longer before they could retire.

Yet Greece's bills are due again. It lacks the funds to pay, so is seeking a US$17 billion loan from global banks and is planning further cuts.

Greece is part of the European Union (EU) and, if it fails to pay its debts, people will lose confidence in the EU and not want to trade with it.

The Republic of Ireland and Portugal also have financial woes. And countries where Greece owes money will be angry that it is not repaying its debts.

People in Greece can vote on whether the government is doing the right thing over the new cuts in a 'vote of confidence'. If they say 'no', European banks will probably not give their country the money it so desperately needs. But if they say 'yes', they face even more cuts to jobs, pay and pensions.

Europe's leaders are keen to show that the EU can work, but many non-members think it cannot. Non-members say the gap between rich nations, like Germany and France, and poor ones like Greece, is too great. They think a one-size-fits-all policy is doomed to fail.