Three million Greeks on brink of poverty in 2010: The crisis is dealing a cruel blow to Greeks: just over three million of the country's 11 million inhabitants were on the brink of poverty or social exclusion in 2010, according to figures published by the national statistical office, Elstat. Some 3.031 million Greeks are poor or at the borderline of social exclusion, ie 27.7% of the population, show statistics for the first year of what is commonly referred to as the Greek crisis', which also marked the country's third year of recession. In the European Union, this percentage is exceeded only by Bulgaria (41.6%), Romania (41.4%), Latvia (38.1%), Lithuania (33.4%), Hungary (29.9%) and Poland (27.8%). Spain ranks just ahead of Greece with 25.5%.

Spain: Banks need another 50 billion in reserves: Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said in an interview with The Financial Times, on 5 January, that Spanish banks need additional reserves of up to 50 billion to clean up their balance sheets. "If you take international criteria, as in the case of Ireland, at best we can speak of needs of an additional 50 billion in provisions," said the minister. "In the great majority of cases, they can provide these reserves out of their own profits," and "this can be done, not in one year, but over several years," he added. Spanish banks invested heavily in property that lost value with the burst of the real estate bubble in 2007-2008. A number of Spanish banks have already launched capital increases to reinforce their stability, as requested by the national banking authority.

Greece facing "uncontrolled default" in March in absence of wage cuts, says Papademos: Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned...

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