Greece Strikes a Deal

By Rowan Williams
  • – Greece secures €86bn bailout funding
  • – PM: Funding on drones and SAS should be increased
  • – China trade figures fall, though exports rise


Eurozone leaders have managed to strike a deal with Greece over a third round of bailout funding. Following overnight talks, funding of up to €86 billion was agreed for Greece, with harsh austerity measures to be implemented as a condition of the agreement. European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker said that the risk of a Greek exit from the eurozone had been averted. Greece has until Wednesday to implement reforms that include raising tax revenues, streamlining pensions, and liberalising the labour market. Some of the measures to be introduced will be those voted against by the Greek public in an earlier referendum on whether to accept bailout terms. Critics have said that the austerity measures interfere with the national sovereignty of Greece. Eurozone Finance Ministers will meet again on Monday to discuss interim funding for Greece while details of the main bailout package are finalised.

More money should be spent on drones and the Special Air Service (SAS) in the war on Islamic extremist group the Islamic State (IS), Prime Minister David Cameron has urged defence chiefs. The Prime Minister has asked further funding to be explored as part of the strategic defence and spending review, amid fears IS could increase its influence beyond Iraq and Syria. The review follows the government’s decision to spend two percent of national wealth on defence until 2020, with two percent the minimum spending required for NATO membership. The Prime Minister also asked the spending review to consider threats from cyber attacks and an increasingly aggressive Russia. The review is set to conclude by the end of 2015.

China’s total trade fell in the first half of 2015, though exports rose in June. Two-way trade for the first six months of 2015 fell 6.9 percent to US$1.85 trillion. The figure falls far below China’s wider growth target of 6 percent for the year, though trade growth figures in recent years have been lower than China’s wider growth figures. In June, China’s imports fell for the eighth consecutive month, down 6.7 percent on the same period in 2014. Exports increased by 2.1 percent, however, ending three months of decline. China’s stock markets continued to grow modestly on Monday, following government intervention to stabilise market turmoil.

The Papers

Greece and UK anti-terror measures are two of the major stories in headlines today. The Guardian writes that EU ministers have taken “revenge on Tsipras” during Greek bailout negotiations. The paper reports that the Greek Prime Minister has been hit with a “Draconian austerity package”, with the “Harsher” terms the result of Greece’s “no vote” to austerity in a referendum. The Financial Times writes that the eurozone’s future is “uncertain”, Germany “steps up pressure” on Greece. France struggled to “broker compromise” in the talks, the paper reports. The Daily Telegraph leads with news that Prime Minister David Cameron has boosted the UK’s Special Forces as part of the war against Islamic extremist group the Islamic State (IS). Increased defence spending announced in Wednesday’s Budget will be used in part to fund more special forces, drones, and spy planes. The Independent leads with the same story, writing that the Special Air Service will “lead Cameron’s new assault” on IS. The escalation follows fears the jihadi group “is seeking to export its influence to other countries”. The Times leads with news that one of the leaders of union group Unite is clearing the way “for unlawful strikes”. The chief of the organisation has said that the union “will not submit to unjust laws”.

British Media on China

On China’s crackdown on lawyers: authorities’ apparent detention and denouncement of human rights lawyers in China has received some coverage from UK media. The BBC titles its piece “Rule of law in China, a country which locks up its lawyers”. The detention of lawyers “seems to be a co-ordinated roundup”, the BBC writes. The Guardian reports “strong attacks in state media” against those affected by the action. The detentions have sparked fears of “an unprecedented crackdown”, the paper writes. The Daily Telegraph’s agency piece reports that one lawyer has “allegedly confessed” to disturbing social order for personal profit.

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