For Greek Masses, Little Applause for Debt Deal

Posted October 27th, 2011 at 3:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Greece’s debt may have been halved, but on the streets of Athens there is little applause for Thursday’s middle-of-the-night resolution of the European debt crisis.

Greek leaders, including Prime Minister George Papandreou, praised the agreement that cut the government’s debt by $140 billion. But many Greeks view the deal as leading to outside control of the country’s finances and years of austerity that will diminish their lives.

News agencies quoted several people who voiced their anger at the country’s plight. One woman said she was “ashamed to be Greek,” asking, “What kind of country is this? Not a European Union country.”

Another said that “Europe has betrayed us.” A third person said that the agreement “will add more burden on my family.”

Greece, mired in years of recession, has acceded to the demands of its international creditors to adopt widespread spending cuts, tax increases and elimination of government jobs in exchange for more financial aid to keep it from defaulting on its obligations. But the austerity measures have spawned a series of work stoppages in protest, culminating last week in two days of violent demonstrations outside the parliament in Athens.