Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to a modicum of debt relief for struggling Greece, but there is division on the exact reforms required to hit fiscal targets.
The Eurogroup has met to asses how far the country has advanced with reforms before the next tranche of loans are released.
A second review looking at potential changes to Greek labour laws is still ongoing:Napoleon Maravegias is Professor of European Economics at the University of Athens:
“Once the second review of the program is completed too, and one way or the other it will be completed, things will get better. We will see improvement in the investment environment, QE, return to the financial markets. In a couple of years we will feel this in our pockets. But don’t get the idea that we are talking about a state of prosperity.”
The ECB believes that the 3.5 percent target for the budget surplus excluding debt-servicing costs is achievable within the bailout time frame.
Something the Greek government baulked at or so it seemed, euronews reporter Symela Touchtidou is in Athens: “The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in June: “It is absolutely impossible to maintain a primary surplus of 3.5% after 2018 if we are not to drown the Greek economy.” Now the government has made a 180 degree turn and has committed to this target for the forseeable future.”
Economists fear the constant tax hikes are killing business and with it the Greek economy.
Michael Massourakis is Chief Economist of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises:
“In 2017, we expect new taxes of 2,5 billion euros. We worry about the effects of this taxation on economic activity. Any government trying to achieve ambitious goals like the surpluses of 3,5%, if they continue to increase taxation they might kill the Greek economy for good.”
Ordinary Greeks feel shackled by the bailout and burdened by debt, frustration and anger.
Protest is always in the air, the latest general strike in the country goes ahead on Thursday.