Is Greece a Failed State? asks Nick Malkoutzis in Foreign Policy
Two years ago, Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou compared his country’s travails to “a new Odyssey.” Since then, about half a million Greeks have lost their jobs, tens of thousands of businesses have closed, the economy has shrunk by more than a tenth, Athens has witnessed several riots, and Papandreou’s government has collapsed. If Greece is truly following the course of the mythical adventurer, then it’s in danger of being eaten by the monster Scylla or sunk by its partner Charybdis.
Papandreou’s successor, technocrat Lucas Papademos, is attempting to steer the country to calmer waters. European Union leaders are expected to give the final approval at the end of this week for a new 130-billion-euro loan package Papademos brokered to prevent the disorderly bankruptcy of Greece, which is also seeking to slash its huge debt by more than 100 billion euros through a bond swap involving private investors. Though it’s the biggest sovereign bailout ever, it doesn’t disguise the fact that some of its eurozone partners have accepted Greece is a lost cause, a failed state that should be cast adrift. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble recently referred to Greece as a “bottomless pit.” His Dutch counterpart, Jan Kees De Jager, expressed grave skepticism about Greece’s ability to live up to expectations. “Promises are not enough, not anymore,” he said. Images of a neoclassical building housing a famous cinema being burnt during rioting in downtown Athens in February and the repeated delays by coalition leaders to agree to the measures the European Union (EU) demanded for a new bailout added to the impression that Greece had gone off the rails…
via Is Greece a Failed State? – By Nick Malkoutzis | Foreign Policy.
In 2015, 85% of Greece’s debt will be owned by European taxpayers – Telegraph Blogs
Graph 1 shows that at the start of this year, 36% of Greece’s debt was held by taxpayer-backed institutions – the ECB, the IMF and the European Financial Stability Facility (the eurozone bailout fund).
via In 2015, 85% of Greece’s debt will be owned by European taxpayers – Telegraph Blogs.
Cuts drive Greek unemployment to record high | Reuters
Greece’s jobless rate rose to a fresh record of 20.9 percent in November, highlighting the pain imposed by austerity on ordinary Greeks as the country negotiates a new pain-for-gain package with its EU and IMF lenders.
Industrial output also got worse, statistics service ELSTAT data showed, while inflation eased slightly.
“The unemployment rate worsened at a much faster pace than expected, while employment shrank further. The fall of employed people by an annual 9.4 percent in November was shocking,” said Nikos Magginas, at National Bank.
“The main reasons behind this deterioration – which is expected to continue until the first quarter of the year at least – are the increased uncertainty over Greek economy’s prospects, the prospect of additional austerity and a possible increase in the grey economy.”
The young were the hardest hit, with close to one in two of the 15-24 year old unemployed, more than twice as much as in 2008, before the country’s severe debt crisis exploded.
Greek labor unions say the austerity is choking the economy and have called a general strike for Friday and Saturday to oppose the new belt-tightening plans. They have stage repeated strikes and protests over the past two years to protest the measures but the government has stuck to the tough path required to get aid…
via Cuts drive Greek unemployment to record high | Reuters.
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