Where will the axe fall? That’s the question on the Greeks’ minds today as their coalition government meets to decide how to share out the pain of an estimated 11.5 billion euro cut in public spending over the next two years.
Repeated meetings by the coalition partners over the last two months have failed to come up with an agreement, but time is running out as Greece’s creditors have a set a deadline that expires next week.
A notably large protest by the blind, paraplegics and others with physical disabilities today insisted they could not survive another round of cuts. Their average monthly costs just for medicine, equipment and regular nursing care are 640 euros a month.
“We need protection. The measures they want to take with the disabled don’t exist anywhere else. The disabled are a part of society which needs constitutional protection yet here they want to cut what meagre incomes we have,” said Petros Vasamis from the Pan Hellenic Association of Paraplegics.
Since the crisis broke the Greeks have gone from denial to anger to resignation, but with this latest round of cuts anger is coming to the fore again.
Yesterday’s violent clashes shook the stockmarket and euro, adding pressure on the fragile coalition, and the tens of thousands who peacefully took to the streets in protest show that emotions are running high.