News / Europe

Greeks March Against More Budget Cuts, Privatization

A pensioner joins a demonstration against new austerity measures in Athens June 9, 2011
A pensioner joins a demonstration against new austerity measures in Athens June 9, 2011

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Angry Greeks are taking to the streets, demanding the government back off plans to save the economy by privatizing their government jobs.



Anger and frustration boiled over into the streets of Athens Thursday, with workers at state-run companies marching to save their jobs.

One trade union leader, Spiros Papaspiros, warns the proposed austerity measures will end in disaster.

He says selling off state-run companies will drive up costs and cut off a needed lifeline for many Greeks.

Still, many officials say something must be done as the economy continues to stagger.  The government said Wednesday the unemployment rate rose to more than 16 percent in March, and to nearly 43 percent for young people aged 15 to 24.

Despite the vocal opposition, Prime Minister George Papandreou's plans for higher taxes and more privatization may not be enough.

Greece is already living on last year's $158 billion bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. And Eurozone finance chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday "it is obvious" Greece will need a second bailout in order to survive.


Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

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