News / Europe

    Greece Reacts to New Austerity Plans

    Protesters shout slogans during a rally against the austerity economic measures and corruption, in front of the parliament in Athens' Syntagma [Constitution] in Greece, June 23, 2011
    Protesters shout slogans during a rally against the austerity economic measures and corruption, in front of the parliament in Athens' Syntagma [Constitution] in Greece, June 23, 2011

    Greek parliament has until the end of this month to decide on a fresh wave of austerity measures that are a precondition for international loans. Those loans are to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debts. Greek citizens already are feeling the pain, however, from a year of heavy spending cuts and tax increases.

    The financial hardships are evident in the capital, Athens. The streets are littered with deserted storefronts, even in the wealthiest shopping districts. Homeless people sleep on pavements and one in six across the country are unemployed.

    One of those is 29 year-old Areti. She was in a car crash two years ago that killed her fiancé and almost took her life. Since then she hasn’t been able to work.

    “Having the car accident, losing your fiancé, losing your health, you need something to get out of the home and get out of the Internet, make new friends, have something to make your mind work again," said Areti. "If you don’t have a job, this is very difficult because your life is only the hospital, the sadness… it’s very difficult.”

    She said many of her friends also are without work. She said all their energy and ideas for the future of Greece are wasted.

    “It’s like you’re sleeping for a very big period and you are dreaming and every day you feel less strong and less happy.”

    It’s a dream that Greece seems unlikely to wake up from anytime soon.

    The country is in major debt and is relying on its partners in the European Union and on the International Monetary Fund to keep its economy afloat. An aid package worth over $100 billion is designed to keep Greek creditors at bay.

    But that won’t solve Greece’s long-term problems, and despite the pain inflicted by tax hikes and spending cuts over the past year, they’ve failed to put a dent in the deficit.

    Now, the EU and the IMF say before additional money is handed over, more cuts will have to be made. Lawmakers have until the end of the month to decide on around $40 billion worth of new spending cuts and economic reforms.

    Many Greek citizens say austerity is bringing the country to its knees. Stefanos Manos is a Greek politician and a former government minister.

    “When is it going to be over, no one has given an answer. And the government says this is it, many times," he said. "And every time they change their mind. That was not it, let’s have some more measures. So people are now very unsure of the future.”

    But Manos said that despite the pain, more cuts are necessary. He said the Greek public sector is too large and inefficient, and in order for the country to get its economy in shape, public sector costs have to be downsized.

    He said if that doesn’t happen, Greece may be forced to default on its debt and risk losing its place in the European Union.

    “I hope it doesn’t happen. I think it would be a disaster for Greece," said Manos. "Therefore, I would go all out to cut the spending so that we are never forced to either default or be pushed out of the European Union.”

    Manos isn’t the only one hoping to avoid that outcome. European politicians are struggling to find a way forward that will prevent the union from unraveling. But for now, Greek citizens are the ones taking the hit from their remedy.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.