With headlines such as “White Collar Executioner” and “Carbon Copy of the Past”, the Greek press has not given the warmest of welcomes to new prime minister, Lucas Papademos.
And on the street, reactions seem equally unenthusiastic. People appear all too aware of the problems still facing the country. Despina Paidoussi, a pensioner living in Athens, is not convinced Papademos will make things considerably better for citizens:
“He is excellent and he is well educated in economics.” She said “He said what he said in a nice way but he said the same things. The same economic measures in a different way, perhaps better. He reached out to us, but he did not convince us of a better future for wage earners and pensioners.”
Dimitris Efstasiadis, another Greek pensioner, said he thought Papademos deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt:
“I believe the prime minister was right to raise these issues which are our priorities, of course all the political parties need to support him, not only in words but in essence, in order to get off this difficult path.”
New technocrat leader Papademos said that Greece has no choice but to stay in the Eurozone, telling lawmakers that reforms are the only way to mitigate painful austerity measures which have deepened the recession.
But Greece’s Conservatives, lead by Antonis Samaras, have vowed to reject any further austerity measures that are required in order to receive more bailout funds. This is a sign that Greece might not have the kind of cross-party agreement that lenders would hope for.
The stance of Samaras suggests a continuation of the in-fighting between his party and the socialists, which nearly pushed Greece to the brink and caused EU leaders to seriously consider Greece’s exit from the Euro.
Greece: how much difference will Papademos make?