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***Five Minutes To Midnight in Athens Greece: Could Take Down Europe***

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User ID: 841671
12/15/2009 12:24 PM
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***Five Minutes To Midnight in Athens Greece: Could Take Down Europe***
Events are rapidly coming to a head in Greece, and the consequences could ripple through all of Europe.
Leading Greek economists and bankers yesterday warned George Papandreou, prime minister, that he had to announce bold initiatives to rescue the country's collapsing bond market and avert the possibility of defaulting on a rising public debt.

Yannis Stournaras, an Athens University economics professor and former chief adviser at the finance ministry, said: "Other countries in trouble have already taken measures. If we don't quickly follow suit the adjustment will be imposed by markets and it will be violent."

How violent? Maybe not as violent as the protests in the streets of Athens. Already there are student, pensioner, and public worker protests and strikes. Remember that the current government is only two-months old, after the old government nearly collapsed under the pressure from street riots.

This puts the current government in an extremely difficult situation. The public debt is set to rise next year to 124 per cent of GDP, with a fiscal deficit of over 12%. Meanwhile, the public pension fund is expected to go into the red as early as 2011. The fiscal squeeze requires draconian cuts, but the public workers of Greece are not a wealthy group. They will have no choice but to turn out into the streets en mass.

Premier George Papandreou recognizes that.
"Salaried workers will not pay for this situation: we will not proceed with wage freezes or cuts. We did not come to power to tear down the social state," he said.

On the other side are the foreign creditors, and they don't care about Greece's internal problems.

“It’s five minutes to midnight for Greece,” Buiter, who will join Citigroup Inc. as its chief economist next month, said in a Bloomberg Television interview today. “We could see our first EU 15 sovereign default since Germany had it in 1948.”

[link to www.economicpopulist.org]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 841678
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12/15/2009 12:39 PM
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Re: ***Five Minutes To Midnight in Athens Greece: Could Take Down Europe***
it's about time the euro fell back down to earth!