Thursday 22 March 2018

Protests show need for action

THE seemingly magisterial and languid approach adopted by Brussels in handling the EU debt crisis and the corresponding austerity measures were shattered yesterday by events on the streets of Athens. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it abundantly clear that she is not for turning on the bailout terms.

But as 20,000 marched in demonstrations on the streets of the Greek capital and police fired tear gas and led baton charges, the question was being asked about whether the EU could afford to delay dealing with the debt crisis indefinitely. The Greek government has not helped its case. Promised reforms have not yet been implemented. "Before we can talk about further aid, Greece has to make sure that all reform measures are duly implemented," Michael Meister, a deputy caucus leader of Ms Merkel's conservative party, said.

"I would like to have a signal that this is finally happening," he said. One fears he got his signal in the protests on the streets yesterday. The point will not be lost on the EU and IMF officials in Athens for key talks.

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