Tuesday 26 September 2017

Why Greeks are wary of a troika bearing bailouts

The treaty is intended to provide the justification for the Merkel doctrine of slashing spending, writes Pat Cradock, former Irish ambassador to Greece

Supporters of the Greek Communist Party in Athens last week as June 17 was set for a new election
Supporters of the Greek Communist Party in Athens last week as June 17 was set for a new election

IN ATHENS, the debate about austerity and growth is not theoretical. As regards growth, it's simple. There isn't any. The IMF thinks the economy will shrink again this year by 6 per cent. Unemployment is more than 20 per cent and rising.

What does austerity mean? It's like this -- your pension of €600 a month is reduced to €400. A tax of €400 is levied on your two-room flat and added to your electricity bill. No pay, no power. Rents are not paid. Shops close down. People are laid off. They line up for food donations, they go into deep depressions, they commit suicide.

Now you may reasonably ask: is it not the Greeks' own fault? Isn't their administration bloated and inefficient? Isn't there a lot of corruption? By and large these charges are true, but given time and a realistic programme for change, the Greeks would have backed a serious plan of reform.

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