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Greeks Remain Pessimistic About Economy

People are spending more time in cafes to avoid family life  at home.People are spending more time in cafes to avoid family life  at home.

The curious saying “beware Greeks bearing gifts” alludes more to the fable of Troy’s wooden horse than to the warmth and hospitality for which Greece is famous.

But the Greeks themselves can be a little wary about receiving gifts themselves, particularly in the form of economic assistance, BBC reported.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the country’s shattered economy could grow by 2.8% next year if the Greek government implements all the changes demanded by its eurozone creditors.

The IMF also predicts unemployment will begin to fall in 2017.

Many Greeks have greeted the forecasts with astonishment. “I don’t believe it,” said Vasiliki Iliopoulou, a retired pharmacology professor.

The government slashed her pension by more than 50% and she now has to support her seriously ill husband, her two elderly parents and her two sons, both graduates in their mid-20s.

Professor Iliopoulou runs a social clinic dispensing life-saving drugs to seriously ill people without medical insurance.

She said: “It is very difficult for young people who are 25 years old to be told, ‘Come back to your house and live altogether with your parents, and grandparents’.

“What has then become of our lives? They are in cafes because they live altogether in one house and they need to get out! It is too difficult to live like this,” she explains.

It is understandable why so many Greeks remain pessimistic about the economy.

More than 23% of working-age Greeks are unemployed and public sector pay and pensions have been cut by more than 40% in many cases.

At the same time, taxes have gone up by around 25%.

Greece has paid a heavy price for a debt crisis that emerged more than six years ago.

 Milestones

There was more good news this week when eurozone finance ministers agreed to release another €1.1 billion ($1.21 billion) later this month in the latest tranche of the €86 billion loan bailout that was agreed last year.

That was the third bailout since the crisis began.

Ministers also gave the go-ahead to a further €1.7 billion but this had been delayed due to what has been described as “technical reasons”.

So far Greece has received €33.5 billion from the total bailout agreed last year with its creditors.

But the deal has come at a price. The money is in return for 15 changes to the Greek economy and economic governance demanded by eurozone ministers.

The so-called “milestones” include privatization of government assets, energy sector changes, and changes to labor laws.

 

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