Athens has been quiet this morning, apart from the demonstrators, as the 24-hour public transport strike bites deep. It is the latest expression of opposition to the Greek governmenrt’s emergency austerity plan.
Greece is struggling to stave off bankruptcy and currency speculators who are using its economic woes to attack the euro.
Prime Minister George Papandreou flies to Germany today to seek support from Chancellor Angela Merkel; he needs all he can get. The latest opinion poll suggests Greeks, previously supportive, may have lost the stomach for cuts.
“The measures may be necessary but the people can’t take much more.”
“Will the strikes really do anything? They are going to pass the measures anyway so it is a wasted effort. It’s just to make noise,” were just two expressed opinions.
Papandreou insists it is not financial support he is looking for in Germany, merely the signal of confidence from a fellow EU member that sends a message to the markets, and allow Greece to borrow money at a lower interest rate.
In any case the Germans have said they will not be opening their pockets as many in Germany feel the Greeks have been living beyond their means for years. Yet for protestors burning the EU flag in front of the Greek parliament, Brussels is to blame for their plight.