Friday, December 18, 2009

we are not iceland, we are not dubai!!!

NYTimes | Greece struggles to stay afloat as debts pile on. Ever since Greece’s credit rating was downgraded last week, its new Socialist government has fought back, saying it has the mettle to tackle the soaring deficit and structural woes that have earned the country a reputation as the weak link in the euro zone.

“We will reduce the deficit, we will control the debt and there will be no need for a bailout,” the Greek finance minister, George Papaconstantinou, said in an interview in his office here this week. “We are not Iceland; we are not Dubai.”

But Mr. Papaconstantinou may have good reason for the traditional Greek metal worry beads he fingered during the interview. Outside his office, garbage was piled high in Syntagma Square, a result of a two-week strike by trash collectors that ended Friday.

A student demonstration was advancing on the square a day after pensioners had taken to the streets. This week, protests for the first anniversary of the death of an Athenian teenager shot by the police turned violent, but did not cause as much damage as disturbances last year.

Common in Greece even during better times, such protests are expected to increase drastically once the government introduces austerity measures in its 2010 budget, including wage freezes and measures to scale back public sector hiring, steps it says are needed to bring Greece’s finances under control.