Greece’s economy is crumbling!
Everyone knows that the Greek economy has been in dire straits for the last few years, but now, news has emerged that Greece has only time till three weeks break a deadlock with creditors. Otherwise the nation’s debt crisis can get worse, and it could lead to an immediate economic collapse.
Aristides Hatzis, a professor of law and economics at the Athens University said, “It is critical that a compromise is found. If these negotiations are not wrapped up by 20 February [when eurozone finance ministers next meet] we could be looking at potentially disastrous political turmoil, which would bring back the scenario of Grexit with a vengeance.”
Increasingly, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is finding himself isolated at international events. Even his biggest supporters in the European commission are giving him the cold shoulder treatment.
Greece is currently struggling to deal with the current €86bn (£73.3bn) bailout package. Accepting the bailout has come at a tremendous cost for Prime Minister Tsipras. He has found himself passing the harshest cuts and austerity measures to the public, which he had vowed that he would never do. His popularity has skydived in opinion polls nationally.
Now there is a €10.5bn in debt repayments to be done this month, which Greece is finding to be an impossible task. There is no question that Greece’s economic future looks very grim, especially in the immediate future.
The austerity measures have come at a great cost for ordinary Greeks. There has been a drastic cut in pensions and there is a fear that it could go even further. 53 percent said in a recent poll that they wanted the old drachma back and the euro replaced. This is understandable as the social conditions in the country are getting from bad to worse.
George Pagoulatos, professor of European politics and economy at the Athens University, says, “The risks are quite considerable. If there is no agreement by the end of February, Europe’s electoral calendar could kick in and freeze talks until May, by which time it will be too late.”
There are considerable risks. 2.5 million Greeks have no healthcare coverage today. Even basic blood tests are not conducted at many hospitals in the country. Wages have been cut and the morale is low.
Dr Yiannis Papadatos, who runs a paediatric hospital in Athens, says, “The biggest problem is shortage of staff because people are retired and never replaced. Then there’s the problem of equipment and, periodically, lack of supplies like gloves, catheters, and cleaning tissues.”
And yet, not everything is lost. Regardless of how difficult things are, there are acts of kindness, humanity and compassion seen every day.
As Dr. Papadatos explains: “I was brought up partly in Kenya by parents who emphasised the virtues of helping others. These days I spend a lot of time going round asking friends, or the private sector, for help when our hospital runs out of supplies. The monitors we use to track heart rhythms, blood pressure, that sort of thing, were all donated. People like to give. It makes them feel good.”
Author: Raghav Hegde – India