Greek workers strike as talks on debt crisis begin

City A.M. Reporter
Thousands of Greek civil servants staged a 24-hour strike shutting schools and grounding flights yesterday, but a protest march was poorly attended, offering some hope Athens can tackle a debt crisis shaking the eurozone.

Today’s meeting among the EU’s 27 leaders, economic advisers, the central bank chief and other senior EU officials is expected to reach a political agreement on helping Greece , while the financial details will be hammered out at Monday’s meeting of finance ministers in Brussels.

Today’s summit, called in January by Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the EU, has become a major focus for financial markets, with Greece facing the threat of a debt default and the EU uncertain about how much or whether to help.

With Athens needing to borrow around €53bn this year to cover its deficit and refinance debts, default would have far-reaching repercussions for the euro. Yields on Greek debt have soared recently – though they have fallen in recent days as the possibility of EU support has increased – while concerns persist that Greece’s problems could spill over to Portugal and Spain.

Wednesday, 10 February
Greek prime minister Papandreou met with French counterpar Nicolas Sarkozy.

Thursday, 11 February
EU summit in Brussels starts at noon. The agenda includes a discussion of Europe 2020; a follow-up to Copenhagen; and coordination of help to Haiti. A statement from the meeting could call for the Greek other governments to try and regain the market's confidence but a rescue package is unlikely to be unveiled.

14-15 February
Ecofin meets to formally endorse the Commission's assessment and recommendation of the Greek budget and promises of further action.

22 February
Greek media have suggested that the government will try and issue a 10-year bond to raise sufficient funds to get through April and May. Rumours continue about a possible private placement as well.

10 March
€1.65bn in coupon payments.

10 March
Deadline for the Greek government to spell out the implementation deadline for the additional measures announced last week, including the public sector wage bill, excises on fuel and the pension reform.

Second half of March
If the government has not been able to raise the necessary funds in late February, then this would be the most likely period for the euro-zone governments to implement Article 122 and disburse the suggested €20bn to the Greek government.

10 April
€8.5bn in redemptions and coupons.

10 May
€10.8bn in redemptions and coupons.