Is more belt-tightening worth it?

Published on 12 September 2011 at 11:16


“Cuts and more cuts, the strongest will survive,” runs a headline in Greek daily Eleftherotypia, following the government’s announcement of new budget cuts, totalling €1.7 million, aimed at bringing the deficit down to 7.6% of GDP as demanded by the troika (the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund).

The announcement, which ended 48 hours of suspense, was made at a time of a tense social and political climate and at a time when Greece’s European partners are talking more and more openly about the problem posed by remaining within the eurozone at any price and of exiting the single currency to return to the drachma, the paper says.

The new measures “show the triple failure of the government,” notes Eleftherotypia. First, it was unable to renegotiate with the troika the terms of its austerity plan in order to reduce its debt-reduction goals for 2011. Secondly, the executive recognises that it depends entirely on the demands of the troika and that it will have to adopt new austerity measures. Finally, the government’s austerity policies are unable to lead the country out of the crisis. “Adopting reforms, back against the wall, selling our sunshine to the Germans and being resigned to having a single salary per family will not suffice to contain the anger of the Greeks regarding these new, never-ending measures,” concludes the Athens paper.

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