Majority of Greeks Oppose Austerity

An overwhelming majority of Greeks oppose austerity and view their debt-laden country’s and their own economic future with pessimism, a survey released in Athens showed on Friday, as a deal on additional measures in return of vital international loans nears, according to government sources.

Greece is heading in the wrong direction, said eight out of ten respondents in the poll conducted by Public Issue for the daily Kathimerini and SKAI radio. Only 11 percent saw the country as being on the right track.

In addition, 72 percent of Greeks reject imposed austerity in exchange for bailout funds from the European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders.

By a similar percentage, they said their households suffered after rounds of cuts on salaries, pensions and tax hikes introduced to tackle the debt crisis over the past two years which fuelled unemployment and recession.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents expressed anger at the current situation, 24 percent disappointment and 15 percent anxiety, as the government inches close to an agreement with international creditors in Athens over a new austerity package worth 13.5 billion euros (17.5 billion U.S. dollars) for 2013-2014, according to local media reports.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has since Wednesday inched closer towards a deal necessary to unlock fresh bailout aid in the coming weeks, government sources said.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras aims to have a final agreement secured before joining the EU summit in Brussels on Oct. 18 to push for the release of the funds and bargain a two-year extension to conduct necessary fiscal adjustment.

According to the poll, despite their disagreement with the measures and their call for alternative “socially fair” ways to counter the crisis, 83 percent of respondents believe that the package will be sealed by the parliament, since the three-party coalition government holds a majority.

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