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

Multimedia

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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid