Greek leader holds government meeting as recession returns
Greece's prime minister held his second ministerial meeting in as many days yesterday, when official data confirmed the cash-strapped country is back in recession amid concern over much-delayed bailout talks with creditors.
Alexis Tsipras has said his radical left-led government has done as much as it can to strike a deal to get more bailout loans, insisting the ball is now in the court of the creditors.
At stake is a 7.2 billion euro ($8 billion) rescue loan installment, and failure to reach an agreement could lead Greece to default on its obligations within weeks, triggering a chain of events that could force the country to leave the euro.
The head of Greece's GSEE umbrella private sector union, Yiannis Panagopoulos, said the country's drop back into recession, at the most crucial point of the bailout talks, highlights the need for a swift agreement "so that Greece can remain in the euro."
Official flash estimates showed that the economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first three months compared with the previous quarter. Following the 0.4 percent contraction in the last quarter of 2014, the country is now technically back in recession less than a year after it emerged from a downturn as severe as the Great Depression.