Greece has long been recognised as a sea-faring nation. And – despite surviving a key vote of confidence on Tuesday night – the government in Athens will need all its maritime skills to navigate the choppy waters ahead.
In Athens itself, there is resignation. “I don’t think the austerity measures will help,” one woman said, “because we owe so much money already. I didn’t vote for the government but now there is a need, I will support them.”
Many think the biggest challenge facing Prime Minister George Papandreou is marshalling support for a vote on further austerity measures next week.
New Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has pledged to crack down on tax evasion – an attempt to share the burden more fairly across the population.
Economists say Greeks do not seem to be against the economic reforms per se, but oppose an austerity mix that has concentrated on personal measures like wage freezes and pension cuts.