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Greece grinds to a halt as major public sector layoffs loom

Greece's international lenders last week approved the latest tranche of aid for Athens, but stipulated tough conditions in return for the assistance, including a dramatic reduction in the size of the country's civil service.

IMF reviews its Greek bailout policies

The International Monetary Fund is out with a report reviewing the Greek bailout program that it helped set up in 2010 and maintained through early 2012. The report is critical of the program set up by the IMF and the "troika" of creditors (the other two members being the European Union and the European Central Bank) for Greece.

Europe's black market economy is booming

Punitive tax regimes, increased labor market regulation and a growing lack of trust in governments are causing many Europeans to abandon formal employment and enter into the murky, illicit world of shadow economies worth billions of dollars, according to a pan-European study published on Tuesday.

Frenchman self-immolates after being denied joblessness benefits

A forty-three year old French man lit himself on fire outside of a state unemployment agency on February 13th, killing himself after discovering he was to be denied joblessness benefits.

Euro zone debt crisis could see 'watershed year' in 2013, says Standard & Poor's

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's wrote in a Wednesday research notethat 2013 could prove to be a "watershed" year for the ongoing euro zone debt crisis. Changes in 2013 "could mark the start of the region sustainably overcoming the market volatility and fragmentation that has affected it over the past few years," the agency declared.

Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande: Europe’s newest odd couple

BERLIN – It started with a handshake, not a kiss. When Chancellor Angela Merkel and new French President Francois Hollande finally met in person on Tuesday evening, there was little of the warmth that marked her meetings with Nicolas Sarkozy in recent years. Aides had downplayed the rendezvous as simply aimed at getting to know one another rather than about hammering out any policy. Yet the future of Europe could hinge on whether these two leaders find a way to work well together.

Ahead of elections, a demand for growth over austerity

LONDON — Shares rallied again by midweek, but not before urgent new debate was triggered over whether austerity measures pushed by Germany were preferable to policies aimed at boosting growth. It’s an argument that could swing upcoming votes not only in France, but also Greece and the Netherlands. It could also determine the future of weaker economies such as Portugal, Spain and Italy — all teetering on the brink of bailouts.

Greece bailout: what now?

Today's Greek deal was a long time coming. Here's what you need to know.
Euro symbol statueEnlarge
The Europe sculpture of Belgian artist May Claerhout outside the European Parliament building on November 17, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

For months now, Greece has been at the center of Europe's exhausting debt and euro crisis.

Figuring out what to do about the mess in Athens has, of course, caused fits from Berlin, to Paris, to Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, London and beyond.

So today's bailout — while by no means a cure — is a welcome development for everyone involved. And due to Europe's central role in the global economy, that means just about everyone on earth.

But that happy note aside, it's important to keep Europe's challenges in perspective. 

GlobalPost's Paul Ames put it best:

Now all (the EU) has to do is help the country pull out of a five-year recession, get the one-in-five unemployed Greeks back to work and make sure that Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy don't end up sharing a similar fate.

That will be no easy task.

As GlobalPost's Ken Maguire reported today from Athens, plenty of Greeks feel like sacrificial lambs — enduring economic pain so the EU can save the euro.

“Psychologically, I am close to collapse because I am concerned about my family,” Dimitris Paras, a 38-year-old investment banker who was laid off one month ago told Maguire. “Now, I either work for a coffee shop or go abroad.”

“There will be a point when people won’t take it anymore,” he added.

Even more troubling — for European unity, anyway — is a growing divide about where to go from here.

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