The figure for the amount of money Greece will get in emergency loans will be revealed at this Sunday’s eurozone finance minister’s meeting.
But the price will be more taxes and deeper cuts in public expenditure, beyond the three packages already announced in Prime Minister Georges Papandreou’s austerity blitz.
He told parliament on Friday Greece’s toes were up against a red line, and that it was now a question of survival, pure and simple. It appears the Greeks are in for several very tight years indeed, with plans to cut the deficit by 10 percent of GDP by next year, raise VAT further, freeze civil servant’s ages, and scrap public sector bonuses that add two months pay to salaries.
On the front line are small businessmen like Spiros, whose family restaurant has been serving Greeks and tourists for the past 130 years; “I believe the pride, the ego of all Greeks has been wounded. What has happened to our country is very bad but I believe we will overcome it.”
Spiro’s place is one of Athens’ oldest restaurants, but even that tradition may not ensure its survival if things get worse. Greeks know they will have a fight to survive, but will they be willing to face the music, or will they resist the belt-tightening?