Greek newspaper headlines say it all: “A Painful Deal,” says one. “Sacrifice,” says another.
With the deadline extending hour by hour over whether Greece will strike a deal to save the country from default, patience is running out. Private sector worker, Anna Kalpakia, states:
“I believe they’re not negotiating as they should – I believe we need to press harder because the stakes are really high – for them as well. The future of the euro is at stake and the future of other countries, not just Greece, is also at stake.”
Greek ministers must agree to new austerity measures in order to qualify for a second EU/IMF bailout of 130 billion euros.
They’d been given until midday to accept a reduced minimum wage, to end holiday bonuses, and fire public sector workers. But the deadline passed without any announcement.
George Karatzaferis, an opposition party leader, was still refusing to accept the terms on Sunday night:
“I will not contribute to a revolution out of misery that will then burn the whole Europe.”
Many Greeks say they can’t take any more, either. Pensioner, Dimitris Nakos, says:
“They are dragging us through the mud. I just don’t get it.”
Another citizen, 35-year-old accountant, Kostos Bakalas, says:
“I don’t see how the measures that the troika are proposing can help reach a solution. We’re looking at a very hazy picture, so I don’t know whether going back to the drachma would be a good thing or a bad thing.”
The talks have now dragged on for weeks and Greece needs a new loan by March 20.
While the country has agreed to halve the value of Greek debt in return for new bonds with an interest rate of less than 4%, if it can’t meet the next phase of reforms, a messy default could ensue, sending shockwaves through the global economy.
See Wall Street Daily’s Martin Denholm for more on the Greek bailout negotiations.