Sofia Echo

South Eastern Europe

Greece faces increasing austerity in 2010

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Tue, Jul 13 2010 7 Comments, 3287 Views
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Greek public sector workers will stage another protest against the vote on the government bill to reform the pension system in a three-hour strike involving symbolic occupations of municipal buildings, Greek media reported on July 13 2010

Between 10am and 1pm on July 15, all city halls in Greece will be symbolically occupied. Additionally, the union of Greek judges and prosecutors are also poised to stage a two-hour walk-out from all courts and prosecution offices in the country, also in protest against pension reform.

Ministry of culture staff are also on strike, so the Parthenon in Athens and other major archaeological sites across the country will remain closed until 12pm.

Meanwhile, international experts have given a boost of moral support to Greece's fiscal consolidation programme, claiming that it is on track and thus will allow the country to qualify for a second tranche of international aid in September 2010, according to euro zone finance ministers.

"The Greek government program ... is impressive and has outpaced our expectations," Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said, during a debate on Greece among the currency area's 16 finance chiefs.

"The Greek program of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms is on track," European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said.

The Greek government is imposing a range of austerity measures in return for a 110 billion euro bail-out from the EU and IMF.

Greece has been plagued by massive general strikes that have left the country reeling in what is transpiring as a nightmarish 2010 summer for the tourist industry.

Just last week, the panhellenic seamen’s federation (PNO) staged the now seemingly traditional 24-hour strike, which seriously hindered incoming and departing tourists at the port of Piraeus.

The decision to strike on July 8 occurred after tensions peaked during a session of PNO’s executive committee between federation members and representatives of the Greek communist party KKE -affiliated group Pame.

Greek media have reported that to date, 16 000 companies have declared bankruptcy in Greece since the turmoil around the country's budget began, while by the end of 2010, they are expecting a total of 60 000 firms to go under, with a further 110 000 people losing their jobs.

However, Juncker said he was confident that Greece would receive the second aid instalment in September, although an official mission of the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank must first give their final answer by August.

Greece has nearly halved its central government budget deficit in the first six months of 2010 as severe spending cuts were implemented.

"Hopefully we will not only hit the target of deficit reduction but even do slightly better," Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou told Reuters.

"We will have done all the reforms that we have committed to and already we passed a major pension reform a few days ago, and we will see whether growth is better."

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    • Anonymous
      Sasha Rating:
      #7 10, 03, Thu, Jul 15 2010

      Greece is going through what we in the rest of the Balkans are yet to experience. The economic credentials in my native Macedonia is but a stone throw from going down the same road. The only plan the Balkans have is the EU. Good Luck Greece and God help the rest of us.

    • Anonymous
      economic hitman Rating:
      #6 18, 51, Wed, Jul 14 2010

      I am tired from all this corruption in Greece in which totally all Greeks took part with many ways such as begging the politicians to hire their kids on a job without any kind of exams; by voting corrupted politicians; by not paying their tax (all Greeks steal the tax office); by going on strikes every day (usually people who were hired with political means for a period of time go on strike in order to blackmail the goverment to make their contract permamnent!) etc. Greece has been destroyed because of its 1.5 million (most of them lazy) public servants [...]

      Read the full comment who (most of them) were hired with political means and also the doverment paid million of euros for their high wages and pensions! Most of these public servants have a permnent job! Also many of them are corrupted and in Greece you need many times to bribe the corrupted public servants with money in an envelope, the ''fakelaki'', in order to finish your job faster. Finally Greece has been destroyed by the labor union leaders that not only are paid for their job, but also all belong to certain political parties and fulfil political interests (many of them become politicians and ministers). My unkle says that Greece is the most wonderful country, but is inhabited by the worst people in the world (the neo- greeks in english: nova - greeks!).

    • Anonymous
      Aries Rating:
      #5 20, 48, Tue, Jul 13 2010

      The usual journalistic tendency of
      "making a mountain out of a mole hill" strikes,unions and so on exist and will exist in every part
      of a democratic world about half
      the nations are or will be taking extra fiscal measures(austerity) in the near future as a result
      of overspending or bad credit allocation,bubble stockechange politics,and overspeculation quicker one gets back on real economy and production the sooner
      the vicious circle will fade away
      self alimentation of preoduction
      is the ony cure.

    • Anonymous
      David Fifield Rating:
      #4 19, 32, Tue, Jul 13 2010

      The continued actions of the Greek unions and workers show nothing but naivety and ignorance for fiscal matters. It may not be the workers fault the country is in the position it is (although things such as tax dodging and excessive wage increases over several years IS their responsibility and is a contributor) but it is only they who can pull the country round. They should consider themselves lucky that the EU and the IMF have offered them the safety line they have. Their strike actions only lr=ead to international lack of confidence in the country, that can cost them [...]

      Read the full comment dearer with lower credit ratings and higher interest rates. As for government workers and pensions, they should consider themselves lucky to still be employed, a smaller pension is better than no job and no pension. Get real you Greeks and show some real savvy, nuckle down to some real work and saave your country from further woe.

    • Anonymous
      Mikael/Sweden Rating:
      #3 17, 20, Tue, Jul 13 2010

      Greece, do not expect any sympathy from other countries' citizens. Only your strikes your land costs incredible amounts of money.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #2 12, 01, Tue, Jul 13 2010

      yeh we remember.

      Thrace and Macedonian are both Bulgarian.

      now jog on

    • Anonymous
      Macedonian Rating:
      #1 11, 48, Tue, Jul 13 2010

      I predict a Greek bankruptcy and maybe, just maybe, a new junta to hold the country together. Greece does not have a history of democracy, or austerity, just a history of starting wars to take lands from everyone else (Remember Thrace and Macedonia? )

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