Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Greeks react angrily to latest austerity measures

Today the ruling PASOK party announced the latest round of austerity measures meant to put Greece financial house in order. Yet more increases in VAT (this time on basic food items such as bread and milk), a road tax hike, lower tax bands as well as a new privatisation plan.

In other words more of the same kind of policies that have brought about an economic decline unprecedented in post war years and created an army of desperate unemployed who are being left to the mercy of the marketplace. Despite German media reports to the contrary Greece's not a paradise for the jobless with fewer than half those without work entitled to unemployment benefit. While other help is available, at least on paper, bureaucracy and lack of funds means that many who require help do not receive it.

Despite the continued fall in the economy and a spiralling debt load Athens continues to follow the recipe led down by its IMF. EU and ECB creditors which has brought little but disaster and suffering to millions of Greeks on lower incomes.

Tomorrow there has been a call for a Spanish style street protests here in Thessaloniki (6pm Wednesday outside the White Tower) so it shall be interesting to see if people respond. On the one hand there is certainly enough anger and indignation in Greek society but the experience of 18 months of severe economic downturn has sapped people's will to protest.

1 comment:

caramelo said...

A spanish style protest? Like in madrid? That's great. That means we won't see bombs thrown inside banks, cars smashed, shops on fire, etc?