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Austerity vote 'won't end Greek unrest'

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Austerity vote 'won't end Greek unrest'


Serguei Doubine, euronews: “We’re joined now from Athens by Alexei Bogdanovsky, Russian journalist and commentator, who’s been witnessing events in Greek capital. The reaction of the Greek people to this vote was far from favourable, and even now, in the background of our interview, we can hear the noise of another protest. Can the prime minister really implement his plan in this context?”

Bogdanovsky: “For now, that would seem rather difficult. Europe has lost confidence in Greek leaders, there has been little understanding between the two sides in the last couple of years. In spite of substantial, multi-billion loans Greece hasn’t implemented all the reforms that were asked of it. And, on the hand, Greek politicians think these reforms were incorrect, and the recipe offered by the EU and the IMF was erroneous, because, in essence, Greece was asked to cut its GDP, to cut its economy, domestic demand, in the hope of someday returning to growth. And, finally, the mass protests that we’ve witnessed will continue in one form or another and worsen the situation even more”

euronews: “In his address to the nation PM Papademos claimed that the country is on the brink of collapse. To what extent do Greeks agree with him, and are these riots and indication of that?”

Bogdanovsky: “Many Greeks still disagree with him. They see him as… maybe not a direct agent of EU policies, but at least a supporter of EU interests, and they think that the EU is here primarily to save its banks and not at all the Greek citizens. And they think also that social implosion in Greece, ‘pauperisation’ and so on, are imminent anyway, they see no point in further implementing the measures that have proved themselves not so successful in the past. So, the fear of that collapse is real, but many Greeks think they’re already on the brink, so I don’t think they can be any further by that prospect.”

euronews: “And so, if this atmosphere of mistrust exists between Greeks and their politicians, how can it be resolved – by social unrest, endless civil disobedience, or is there a more orderly way, perhaps through the coming elections?”

Bogdanovsky: “The enormous, vast majority of people were protesting peacefully. Some 100.000 were marching in the streets and only roughly 1,000 of them were trashing the shops and setting fires to buildings. So, that tells us that Greeks are first and foremost inclined to peaceful protest. On the other hand, there are hotheads. But, politically, whoever gets elected – the established parties or some form of protest movement – the situation will remain difficult, and Greece’s European partners try to make it clear that whoever wins the April election will have to carry on with the agreed cuts. It means that Greece still has several hard years ahead, years of hard economic policies.”

euronews: “Indeed, there’s no indication that the current situation will improve anytime soon. We’ll continue to monitor events in Greece here at euronews. Thanks, Alexei Bodganovsky, for your thoughts.”

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