The Greek prime minister has dismissed claims by striking farmers for more money. On Monday farmers continued ten days of protests by marching through Athens demanding extra subsidies.
In an interview with Euronews, George Papandreou said he believed the farmers would understand the need for change. “The way we have organised the sector has not made it competitive and this is one of the reasons why our farmers are protesting. But I believe we will have the support because people understand that we must make a change.”
The government has also been trying to tackle the wider problem of the Greek national debt, which exceeds the country’s GDP. The prime minister appealed to the EU.
“We need the political – not economic – support of the rest of the European Union – a solidarity if you like because there is a wider crisis and this crisis is not just Greek,” said Papandreou. “There is also a wider crisis which everyone is feeling, so I think we need to see at a European level how we move forward out of this recession and revamp our economies to become competitive.”
The Socialist government has been trying to introduce a range of austerity measures to try to cut the country’s deficit. They include cuts in public spending and a reform of pensions. It has also decided to tap debt markets again next month, encouraged after its first bond issue of the year soothed market concerns.