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Europe, explained
 

Athens aftermathEnlarge
Athens' firemen continue to douse down flames following last night's riots in protest against further massive austerity cuts (ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Greek parliament voted to bite down harder on the austerity bullet and passed a further 3.3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) cuts to government spending. The headline measures were a 22 percent reduction in the minimum wage and another 15,000 government employees being laid off,

On top of that euro zone finance ministers are saying the Greek government must find another 325 million euros in savings if it is to receive an EU funded 130 billion euro bail-out ($172 billion).

No wonder there were violent demonstrations last night.

In the midst of the violence and political upheaval - dozens of politicians defied their party leaderships to vote against the package - some improving numbers on the Greek economy have failed to get much notice. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos presented these to his EU counterparts last month, Greek newspaper eKathimerini reports:

"Despite the steep recession, the Greek government managed to drastically reduce the budget deficit. According to the latest Eurostat (official statistical wing of EU) and troika (EU, IMF, World Bank) data, the budget deficit in 2011 had declined by 6.5 percentage points since 2009: from 15.8 percent of GDP in 2009 to 9.3 percent in 2011."

It also points out: "Within two years, 2010-11, Greece managed to regain over 50% of the competitiveness lost between 2000 and 2009."

For those of a wonky disposition a full explanation with charts can be found here.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/europe/greek-debt-crisis-deal-riot-and-some-not-widely-known-improving-s

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