The Greek people have reacted with a mix of resignation and outrage to a painful new government austerity package in exchange for an EU/IMF loan package.
Higher taxes and more public sector job cuts as well as a wage and pensions freeze prompted newspaper headlines like “Suffocation” and “The great sacrifice.”
In Athens one small businessman said the cutbacks are another burden: “I don’t expect much. I’m completely despondent. I make jewellery and my phone hasn’t rung – no orders – in nearly a month. Every day we are losing money.”
Around Europe there was a muted reaction in the financial markets to the unprecedented but widely expected bailout package.
Brussels and the European Central Bank are now hoping that this will be enough to stop the erosion of confidence in the euro.
Fund manager Alexandre Iatrides explained: “The market was expecting everything in this plan, so there was not a positive or negative reaction to this announcement. The only issue is – do we have a European debt problem with other countries that would maybe need help from the EU or IMF?
The value of the euro dropped against other currencies on concerns that Greece government will not be able to implement the tough austerity measures it has proposed.