Greece has avoided an immediate catastrophic default on its debt after private creditors strongly backed a plan that leaves the path clear for a new international bailout.
The Finance Ministry in Athens says well over 80 percent of private creditors have agreed to a bond swap deal. Under the rules, the unwilling minority may be forced to accept it.
The result should mean that Greece receives 130 billion euros from the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
“It is more than expected I think and I think it is a
resounding success. It is very important, not
the transaction ‘per se’, but the fact that this is the beginning of the restoration of confidence in the economy,” said financial analyst Michalis Massourakis.
In order to cut the national debt drastically, private investors are accepting huge losses in exchange for new bonds.
On the streets, some are angry at what they see as one rule for the government, another for ordinary people.
“They chase people for owing 100 euros to a bank, yet those who owe billions are exempt? Aren’t they ashamed of themselves? I spit on them,” said one man.
“It’s good for them. What about for us? Nothing! Everyone looks out for himself. In a while people will be on the streets. Do you know there are more than 2,000 homeless?” said another.
The unemployment rate is twice the eurozone average; more than half of young people are out of work.
Austerity measures ordered by international creditors have fuelled many people’s anger.