As the Greek economy lies in tatters, the government is planning savage cuts. Could this be what soon lies in store for us? Matthew Cookson reports
Greece is braced for major struggle. Its government, which is deeply mired in the economic crisis, is planning a major assault on public spending.
The Fitch financial corporation reduced Greece’s credit rating to BBB+ from A- last week because of worries about the country’s perilous state.
This prompted a financial market sell-off of Greek stocks and saw the interest rates on its debt soar.
Greece is facing the biggest crisis of any country in the eurozone since the currency was launched almost ten years ago.
Some commentators claim that it could be the next Iceland or Dubai and see its economy collapse. There are fears that it may have to leave the euro.
The budget deficit is 12.7 percent. Pasok, the New Labour-like party that was elected in October, has pledged that it will reduce the deficit to 9.1 percent next year.
This will mean massive public spending cuts that will hit ordinary people.
And the plans are sparking resistance from workers and students, whose militant actions shook the previous right wing New Democracy government to the core and wrecked its neoliberal programme.
Panos Garganos, the editor of the Workers Solidarity socialist newspaper in Greece, told Socialist Worker, “Parliament is to begin discussing the budget measures on Thursday.
“While the Greek TUC has not called a strike, other unions have called a day of action, including the teachers’ unions, building workers, and some local government and hospital workers.
“Their strike will combine with the movement of students that has flared up again around the anniversary of the police killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Athens.
“Huge protests and strikes against his killing intensified the New Democracy government’s crisis last year.
“The anniversary protests saw 50,000 people march in Athens on Sunday 6 December with other protests taking place around the country too.
“The police repression of protesters increased people’s anger and students at a number of universities and schools went into occupation – these are continuing.
“The students will be joining the demonstration against the budget on Thursday. Everybody knows that Pasok’s budget will just be the first round of cuts.
“The government wants to freeze wages in the public sector for people earning over 2,000 euros a month. Many temporary workers will also lose their jobs as a way of saving money.
“But the bankers will not be satisfied with it. The European Central Bank is saying that it is not enough to freeze wages, they must be cut.
“There will be a special budget in the new year where more cuts will be announced.”