Greece Bailout Brings Relief and Skepticism

Posted February 21st, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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The $172-billion bailout for Greece was met with a mixed reaction on Tuesday, with Greeks expressing relief and skepticism about whether the measure will put the country on the road to recovery.

Hours after Eurozone finance ministers passed the measure, protesters lined up in front of the labor ministry ministry shouting and holding a sign “Troika Thieves Smugglers — They Blame Everything on Us and Have Immunity.”

The austerity measures undertaken by Greece to secure the bailout will cost 15,000 civil servants their jobs and reduce the country's minimum wage by 22 percent. It will also cut the pension of retirees like 67-year-old will Achilleas Adam.

“I am not at all optimistic because I believe this loan will go back into the pocket of those who gave it.''

But Athens University professor Dimitris Katsikas says this is an opportunity for Greece to prove it can revive its economy with the right financial aid packages.

“I think its a good deal it achieves a target of 120 percent debt to GDP ratio by 2020, so pretty much it fulfills and completes the package that we have been waiting for a long time now. Of course that does not mean that Greece is out of the woods yet.''

Analysts questioned the impact of the bailout and the intentions of Eurozone leaders. Natalie Doyle is acting director of the Monash University's European and EU Center in Australia. She told VOA Germany has drawn up this plan to leave the impression it is saving Athens again. But Doyle says Germany is easing Greece out of the Eurozone.

“I think everybody knows that Greek can not overcome its debt problems. It's certainly not sustainable. Everybody knows it. It's just a question of time.”

Greek unions strongly opposed to the second bailout are calling for new protests on Wednesday.

“What money? The money that they bring will be placed in a safe so they can take the interest. They are loan sharks.''

“These fines are crazy and ridiculous. The fines for every single gas station in 2011 added up to 380 million euros. We must sell more than half of the gas stations in order to pay these fines. The shortcoming and mistakes of the system cannot be paid by these millions.''