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A group of analysts from the three institutions responsible for granting the country with its next package of financial help, known as the troika, has arrived in Greece to inspect the progress in regards to the budget cuts schedule previously proposed.
If the government doesn’t carry out the timeline proposal agreed by both the government and the troika, it is very possible the latter will not give Greece a vital loan to allow the country to continue with its normal activity. Without that loan, the government will go bankrupt and, therefore, neither Greece’s bonds investors, civil servants, pensioners, and the like will not be paid on time.
For those reasons, the troika, a group comprised of experts from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank, started to examine the national accounts to verify that the schedule was being followed on September 28.
After September 2, they decided to leave Greece because the government was not applying the measures agreed upon by both parts, thereby putting Greek leaders under more pressure. One of the measures agreed upon was reducing the number of civil servants by 30 percent before 2015 with the immediate layoff of 30,000 employees out of 900,000 employees.
Other measures prescribed will reduce civil servants’ wages and salaries up to 25 percent and include compulsory retirements. These cuts will affect all public services from the health system to education and transportation. Those cuts have caused a deep sense of unease among the Greek population who decided to mobilize themselves to preserve whatever they could from public expenditure cuts.
For instance, the group had to change the place and hour for a meeting with the Transports Minister, Yannis Ragoussi, because some civil servants were protesting against mergers and acquisitions of public companies with private ones, which would result in a decrease in the number of employees by about 10 percent and the liberalization of truck and taxi driver licenses.
In Greece, an unusual day is one without demonstrations. A few days ago, a group of 250 retired soldiers took over some offices in the Ministry of Defense until the minister himself, Panos Beglitis, threatened to resort to the use of force to make them flee. Another example is the students’ strikes, which have taken over more than 400 schools and 100 faculties to protest against cuts in the education system.
All these tug of war games are creating a complicated situation in the country. On one side is the troika, always asking for more and more cuts and new measures to reduce public deficit. On the other side are civil servants who feel as if they are on the verge of being fired, and citizens who see more and more cuts day after day that are worsening the public system.
In between is a government with feet of clay, coping with ministers’ resignations every month, social strikes, and the pressure of the troika. The government is playing a dangerous game: promising a high performance to the troika that they know is impossible to carry out in real life and watching the time pass day after day without being able to find solutions to satisfy both sides.