The Greek cabinet met on Tuesday to finalise details of economic reforms to be passed in parliament.
The measures were the price for securing the second 130 billion euro bailout from the EU and IMF needed to save the country from bankruptcy.
The parliament is being asked to approve cuts including a reduction of pensions, the minimum wage and health spending. The vote is due to take place today.
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos maintains that the measures are the only way forward: “Now we need to rebuild this edifice so that Greece and the Greeks can recover what they had before, if not better, but this needs work, work, work.”
The markets have reacted cautiously to the agreed deal knowing that Greece faces further hurdles and many more years of sacrifice. There are fears that growth has been all but stifled by two years of austerity measures.
Many Greeks think enough is enough. Franco-Greek film director Constantin Costa Gavras met with French socialist MPs yesterday.
“This is not a message”, said Gavras, “it’s a prayer to stop humiliating the Greek people who are suffering a lot. Especially the poorest. That’s it. And I think France can do better.”
The price for Greece is undoubtedly high. In the northern town of Ioannina on Tuesday dairy farmers handed out free milk to crowds and police at an independence day parade. It was meant as a protest at dwindling profits but the mood soon turned angrier and scuffles broke with officers in scenes that have by now become commonplace.
Also read – Greek bailout factbox