The troika of Greece’s main creditors have made their latest inspection of the figures and have pronounced Athens has made progress in its Olympian task of debt reduction and economic reforms.
The Greek government is preparing the next stage of cutbacks amounting to some 11.5 billion euros, which will kick in next year and the year after, at the behest of the IMF, ECB, and EU.
The troika met in the finance ministry for the last time after two weeks of discussions. Talks will resume in September with many of the measures for the next two years unfinalised. They will need to be resolved if Greece is to get the next slice of its second aid package, 31.5 billion euros, due next month.
But progress in the corridors of power is not being seen on the streets.
“At first I got 950 euros a month retirement pension. Now it’s only 719. It’s difficult to pay my basic expenses; everything in my life has become difficult. The last time I went to hospital for tests, I had to pay 56 euros out of my own pocket,” said pensioner Marios.
With revenues collapsing and prices rising the Greeks are facing an unprecedented squeeze in every aspect of daily life.
“My life has changed completely. I can’t even do everyday stuff, like going for a coffee with friends,” said Matoula, another pensioner.
The proportion of elderly people in Greece is Europe’s highest, costing 15.9% of GDP, but many now find their children and grandchildren coming to them for help.