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Greece crisis: Tense wait in Athens as crunch eurozone talks continue

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By Euronews
Greece crisis: Tense wait in Athens as crunch eurozone talks continue

Greek churchgoers on Sunday may well have been praying for a miracle.

Their near-bankrupt country needs every bit of help it can get, with Athens in a battle of almost biblical proportions to convince sceptical creditors it can stick to reform pledges in return for a bailout.

Yet even if a deal is reached, the effects of more austerity are feared.

“I think we will reach a conclusion,” said Kostas Stamatopoulos, a historian from Athens.

“But I’m not optimistic as there is a saying: ‘He went to buy hair but came out with a shaved head’. And effectively that is what will happen. All that we have achieved is to burden the people with much more serious measures than we would have had to agree to previously. But of course an agreement is better than no agreement at all.”

Many Greeks blame Germany for their country’s debt woes, and in past years some Germans have cancelled trips to Greece because of fear of hostility from the locals.

Not so, German tourist Henry Littig from Duesseldorf who was watching the ceremonial changing of the guard outside the Greek parliament on Sunday.

“I think there has been a huge loss of trust by the German government and other European partners,” he said.

“They won’t say ‘Yes, okay’ straight away…I think it is going to carry on into next week.”

For Roger, a Belgian tourist, Greece can do no more to settle its huge debt.

“Given that the average salary is down from 700 to 450 euros, it is impossible for a population of ten million to repay an amount like that,” he said.

So can Greece get back in step with the eurozone or is Grexit an inevitability? For now, no-one knows and as the wait continues, the temperature in Athens – and Brussels – is rising.