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Greece

Yearbook 1997

Greece. According to Countryaah, socialist Prime Minister Kostas Simitis continued his efforts in 1997 to wash away Greece's stamp as a spoiled extractor in the EU and to get the country into EMU. Economic tightening sparked protests during the winter and spring. Teachers and other groups that traditionally support the socialists strike while peasants blocked roads in protest of, among other things. reduced subsidies. Simitis made no significant departure from his plans and was hailed by many judges as a responsible and mature politician.

Greece also had a pragmatic attitude on the international level. The country improved its relationship with both Albania and Macedonia, the latter a country Greece long claimed did not exist. Against Turkey, there was also an icing in the spring, when Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos surprised the outside world by saying that Turkey's desire to join the EU is legitimate. But the tension increased again in October, when G. and Cyprus held a joint military exercise in Cyprus. When Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos flew to and from Cyprus, his plane was chased by Turkish F16 aircraft.

The Conservative Party New Democracy (Nea Demokratia, ND) changed party leader in March after losing many of its constituents in the Greek corporate sphere to the All-Greek Socialist Movement (Panellinion Socialistikon Kinima, PASOK) in the 1996 election. Miltiades Evert was succeeded by Kostas Karamanlis, whose Uncle Konstantinos Karamanlis was both President and Prime Minister.

1997 Greece

2010 Collapse of public finances

The October 2009 parliamentary election was a stinging defeat to the incumbent Conservative government, falling 8.4% to 33.5% of the vote. The Social Democracy, Pasok went 5.8% to 43.9%. Pasok's leader, George Papandreou could subsequently take over the post of prime minister. He inherited some enormous financial problems, which brought the country to its knees in the spring of 2010. The departed Conservative government had for several years swindled with the statistics it provided to Eurostat. At the same time, it had for many years paid Goldman Sachs hundreds of millions of euros to carry out financial transactions that obscured the volume of public debt. Therefore, how serious it was was only discovered when Pasok came to power. It turned out that the country's budget deficit was up 12.7% of GDP - four times more than the EU allows - and government debt reached $ 410 billion. US $ equivalent to 125% of GDP. Unemployment passed 10% and youth unemployment exceeded 30%. The global economic crisis caused this bubble to explode as revenue from both tourism and shipping fell by 15% in 2009.

Through the spring of 2010, governments implemented a series of tough cuts to public budgets:

  • The government will save 30 billion € in 2010-12
  • It sells out of state companies
  • The public sector must be slimmed down by up to 30% over a number of years and contract staff will not be re-hired
  • Wages within the public sector are frozen until 2014
  • Public employees lose their holiday bonus, which equals two monthly salaries. Others get their holiday bonus cropped
  • Private companies are given the opportunity to fire 4% of their employees against 2% today
  • The retirement age is raised in line with the rise in the average life expectancy. To receive full pension, the Greek worker must have worked 40 years against 37 today
  • In March, VAT was raised from 19 to 21% and in May from 21 to 23%
  • Tobacco, alcohol and gasoline taxes were increased by 10%

The government's assault on the work population triggered each time strikes culminating in the general strike in May. The strikes were led by the militant labor front PAME.

At this time in spring 2010, the EU had to intervene because the Greek crisis threatened to pull the euro down. At the beginning of May, it became clear that Greece would not be able to pay down the interest and interest on its loans at the end of the month. The EU therefore put together an aid package that immediately gave Greece EUR 45 billion. € in loans in 2010, followed by another € 65bn. € in the following years. The loans were heavily debated in the other EU countries, which had difficulty understanding why they should help Greece. This was especially true of Germany. At the same time, the crisis revealed profound structural problems at EU EMU. It could work during times of upturn, but the entire EMU project had difficulty managing crises. The consequence was that the euro was pulled down in global currency markets because of global capitalism speculators lost confidence in the Euro project.

It was not the first time the EU had to resort to relief packages. In 2009, the Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia and Lithaun - received tens of billions. € in loans to prevent them from going bankrupt. But with Greece it was the first time one of the major countries was falling.

During the early summer, the Greek crisis spread to Spain and Italy, which also had major financial problems. The United Kingdom also had a budget deficit of the same magnitude as Spain, and the Irish were even bigger.

Greek truck owners and drivers went on strike in late July 2010 against the government's decision to liberalize the transport sector - a demand from the EU and the IMF. The consequence was rapid gasoline shortages in most of the country and incipient food shortages. The government intervened hard on the strikers. They were sought by police who threatened prison for up to 5 years, the military deployed and the government then implemented an exception law to force owners and drivers to resume work. Greece is otherwise a member of the ILO and has ratified the International Labor Organization Convention on Striking Law.

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