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Spotlight on Greece as Barroso heads to Athens

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Spotlight on Greece as Barroso heads to Athens


European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is due in Athens today, as the pressure mounts on Greece to follow through with austerity measures needed to obtain the second bailout.

As he meets with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras, it will be Barroso’s first trip to Greece in three years.

In opposition, Samaras criticised austerity, but now he may have no choice but more punishing cuts that are already hitting some people hard.

“We get our earnings statement every month and we don’t know what we’ll receive the next month. Every day there are cuts and we don’t know why they’re happening.

“There’s no vision. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel so that we can know we’ve reached the bottom and the only way is up, so that we can work on regaining what we had,” said Athens resident and tax inspector Yannis Hatzisalatas.

Greece’s economy, already in a deep recession, is expected to shrink by a further seven percent – making proposals to cut pensions, state funding for healthcare and public sector jobs an even tougher pill to swallow for ordinary people.

As inspectors from the EU, European Central Bank and IMF that make up the troika assess whether Greece has done enough to receive the 130 billion euro bailout, only money to meet the country’s financing needs in August has been approved.

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