Greece is to issue its first sovereign bonds in four years on Thursday, as the country seeks to send a message to the financial world that it is putting its debt crisis behind it.
The announcement by the finance ministry coincided with another general strike against austerity measures.
The unions have their sights set on the Greek government as well as foreign creditors including Germany, whose Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Athens on Friday.
The 24-hour stoppage called by two unions – one from the private and one from the public sector – closed schools and disrupted hospitals, ferry services and public transport.
“While the government boasts about the country’s return to the capital markets, the reality is being experienced by working people in Greece who are living in misery,” said Odysseus Drivallas of the Greek Union of Civil Servants.
“People my age are either unemployed or work for 200 euros a month. Nothing will change unless this government goes,” one young woman said as she joined other protesters in marching on parliament.
The coalition government can take solace that protests against austerity measures have waned.
It is also managed to strike a deal with the international troika – the EU, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank – securing further rescue loans after it passed more reforms last month.
Euronews correspondent in Athens Stamatis Giannisis said: “With the Greek economy steadily improving over the past 12 months, the government is attempting a symbolic return to the capital markets by issuing bonds. But this seems to mean very little to the country’s workers who’ve been experiencing severe pay cuts, amid unemployment that is over 27 percent of the workforce.”
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