The EU is to work with Greece to help salvage the country’s floundering economy
by Despina Doukas
n reaction to Greece’s deficit, leaders of the European Union are ready to act in order to reinsure the nation’s economic stability, however, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou claims this is not enough.
According to BBC News, PM Papandreou told cabinet members at a televised meeting in Athens “the EU lacked coordination and undermined Greece’s credibility”.
At a summit in Brussels on Thursday, the EU offered their support to aid Greece in regaining their economic stability, but offered no official details on how they plan to do so.
“In the battle against the impressions and the psychology of the market, it was at the very least timid,” Papandreou said about the EU’s efforts at the summit.
He also said at a news conference following the summit that Greece was ready to take additional measures to reduce the deficit, some of which, according to the BBC, have proven to be unpopular with Greek citizens and workers.
Some of the unpopular proposed methods to decrease the nation’s deficit include cuts in worker’s bonus pay and raising the age at which workers can collect pension. As it stands in Greece, women can collect pension at 60 and men can do so at 65. The Greek government wants to increase the age, so that everyone can retire at 65.
The latter motion caused a big uproar amongst workers who organized a strike. Thousands of public sector workers staged a massive 24-hour protest last Wednesday.
According to The Montreal Gazette, umbrella civil servants union ADEDY that called the strike, 500,000 workers were on strike, although the number cannot officially be confirmed. When strikes begin in Greece, often non -union workers often join the picket lines.
Government offices, schools, and courts were closed through the strike, though public transportation continued to operate.
ADEDY vice-president Ilias Vrettakos said in a statement that he recognizes Greece’s problem, but it is not the workers who should pay. He said the bankers created the problem for Greece and they should be the ones held accountable.
Greece’s deficit is, at 12.7%, more than four times higher than eurozone rules allow.