Hopes of a refinancing deal between Greece and its international creditors gave the Athens stock market an early boost on opening.
However, there was no such positive mood on the streets of the capital where people were coming to terms with the latest austerity measure. Those queuing to pay a new electricity tax reflected the gloom across the country.
One woman said: “Disaster, catastrophe. Can’t you see how bad it looks? We have to queue now to pay our electricity bill!”
A man in the same queue said: “I have no hope. How can I fight back? I’m just a young man. But I will struggle on, live on and contribute to society. But I can’t even look one day ahead.”
Those who cannot pay the new electricity tax face having their supply cut – a grim prospect amid freezing temperatures.
It is even worse for the homeless of Athens, whose numbers have increased by 20 percent since the crisis began, according to city authorities. There is now real concern that the cold snap could have fatal consequences.