Finally in the early hours of today, February, 21, 2012, EU ministers thrashed out a new debt deal for Greece. Earlier deals did not go far enough for lenders in the EU, plus lenders wanted firm assurances that Greece would stick to any terms agreed.
Of course the problem is that whilst politicians may agree such a deal, the Greek people may not. With an election on the horizon there are reports that extremist groups are on the rise in Greek politics.
The national election has been delayed but it will be held in April 2012. Who would want to try and head this country during some its darkest financial days? Can a newly elected parliament improve the lot of the Greek people?
Greece and its population rely heavily on tourism for economic growth but sadly tourists are turning their backs on Greece. Wth media reports of a volatile situation some seeking Mediterranean Sunshine are looking elsewhere. Add to this the precarious nature of the European currency, the Euro, and you have a recipe for disaster. Yet without tourism and tourists Greece will be a much poorer place.
Currently opinion polls in Greece suggest that it would be a hung Parliament if an election were held NOW. Coalition governments may work sometimes, as long as the political bedfellows have some common ground, but a Greek coalition of the socialist and new conservatives, for example, would be doomed from the start.
The changing face of Greek politics means that just which political parties will stand in an election is hard to determine. The Socialist party is out of favour with some of its traditional voters, being blamed for the mess that Greece is now in. If only life and politics was that simple or that black or white.
Sky News has a report of the debt deal that was thrashed out. In one fell swoop a debt of 89 billion Euros, owed by Greece, was wiped away as payback for promised cuts. To a lay person such as this blogger this makes no sense. It all smacks of "jiggery pokery" as they say. Of course whilst countries such as France have said they would be happy for Greece to exit the Eurozone there is no easy mechanism to enable them to do so. So Greece is left battered and bruised to say the least. The latest package it is claimed will in the long term improve the economic prospects of Greece. Only time will tell if that is true.
As Communist and Militant groups grow in numbers in Greece you have to wonder where this will all end Laura Davidescu, Euronews correspondent in Athens, said: “Pushing for still more austerity, as demanded by the creditors’ Troika, amounts to suicide for Greece’s political parties. Not pushing looks like shirking responsibility, since without an international transfusion, Greece faces social chaos.” Yes a no win situation.
Reuters has reported on the latest deal but is less enthusiastic than some stating that there are still many doubts. Perhaps Reuters quote from a man on the street in Greece is most telling, "Anastasis Chrisopoulos, a 31-year-old Athens taxi driver, saw no reason to cheer the deal."So what?" he asked. "Things will only get worse. We have reached a point where we're trying to figure out how to survive just the next day, let alone the next 10 days, the next month, the next year." Of course in true style the markets responded positively which is their own form of blackmail.
The Greek tragedy continues to play out on the World stage. The next huge problem though could be the Greek election and what political course Greece takes.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog