Greece agrees €24bn cuts

GREECE has agreed a draft €24bn (£21bn) austerity package, including a three-year wage freeze for public sector workers, in return for a multibillion-euro loan from the Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.

The measures, aimed at slashing Greece’s deficit by 10-11 percentage points of GDP over three years, pave the way for Greece to access €120bn in loans as an EU and IMF  joint bailout package over threee years.

The concessions by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou came as Germany’s three main opposition parties yesterday agreed to fast-track consideration for €8.4bn in German aid for its debt-laden Eurozone partner.

The fast-track decision makes it possible for the German Parliament, the most reluctant of the nations to approve aid, to begin debating the bill on Monday, with the aim for a vote by the end of next week.

German finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there was no alternative to aiding Athens. “We are not defending Greece, we are defending the stability of our currency,” he said,