Europe sighs relief as Greece moves austerity measures forward

By June 30, 2011

Greece (MNN) — Greece approved more austerity measures
needed to avert default next month.

Parliament's vote Wednesday calmed markets but triggered a
second day of riots. Paul Jenks with AMG International says, "The
austerity measures passed by a very narrow margin. This was so important
because, as those in the European Union have said, there was no ‘Plan B.'"

Greeks voiced outrage over the bill to cut spending and
raise taxes by $40 billion by 2016. At the same time, they would privatize certain
services in order to raise another $71 billion.
Even though it sounds hard, Jenks says, "A bullet has been dodged,
and we praise the Lord for that."

Europe held its collective breath as the vote was
taken. Greece was in a position to cause
a domino banking crisis effect among the economies of the European Union. "If Greece didn't vote to do these hard
things–the $12 billion, the next portion of their loan would not have been
transferred to them and they would have had a radical default."

While a step in the right direction, it's not over yet. Government officials have to pass the details
today before the next disbursement of the loan.  

The government's debacle has hit AMG's St.Luke's Hospital in
Thessalonica hard. The government is
behind roughly nine months on what it owes St. Luke's for services. The negative impact on cash flow forced the
hospital into its own cost-cutting measures.

However, some good news finally started to show
through. Jenks says, "A law passed in
the last part of March allowing the hospital to use some of its tax credits to
improve its cash position, so that has
helped a lot."

This means that the hospital is in a better position with the
banks to get a line of credit going until the government catches up. This side of the story didn't emerge right
away, Jenks explains, because "it takes a while for that to filter through. It
was only enacted in March, and for the hospital to feel the positive influence
of that took the next two months."

With the threat of another series of national strikes and
more violence, uncertainties threaten to
distract their partners. Jenks says because
St. Luke's provides a platform for the Gospel, "Be
diligent in praying for the country that revival will break out. This is a
country that's had the good news of the Gospel in their own language since the
time of Paul, and so many call themselves ‘Christians,' but they have no
personal relationship with God."

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