The Greek parliament has approved the first civil service layoffs in more than a century. The debt-troubled country has to slim down its bloated public sector to receive another tranche of its international bailout.
Greece's finance minister has said in a newspaper interview that even though Greece will need a "new arrangement" on its debt in the summer, he understood that international creditors would not entertain a debt haircut.
The Greek government says it will bring legislation before parliament next week designed to help deal with the crippling effects of years of austerity. These include widespread poverty and unemployment.
Despite the eurozone's accepting a four-month extension to Greece's bailout program, the plan still must be passed by key European parliaments. Greece's toughest critic, Germany, could prove the hardest challenge.
Portugal's austerity policies have helped turn the country around - and there are good economic signs ahead. But aid groups and unions say this progress has come at a high social price for the country's poor.
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