Greece Braces for 'Violent Modernization'

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Greece reacted
with a mix of resignation and outrage on Monday to a painful new
austerity package from the government that newspaper editorials
said would force a long-delayed "violent modernization"
on the country.

"The time
to pay the bill has come, the time of responsibility for all of
us tackling this crisis must become the big opportunity to modernize
our public life, even if we have to bleed," said financial
daily Kerdos.

Prime Minister
George Papandreou’s government unveiled the plan to overhaul Greece’s
debt-ridden economy on Sunday after talks with officials from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU).

It foresees
a massive fiscal adjustment driven primarily by cuts in the country’s
bloated public sector, which makes up roughly a third of the workforce.

A public sector
pay freeze was extended until 2014 and treasured holiday bonuses
will be scrapped for many employees. Pensions will also be cut.

newspaper Eleftheros Typos said the government was telling Greeks
that they must die in order to live, describing the economic medicine
it was doling out as "more harmful than the disease".

Ta Nea, a centrist
daily, said the way of life Greeks had become accustomed to had
come to an end on Sunday, while centre-left Eleftherotypia deemed
the measures unfair because they would hit average wage earners
and pensioners hardest.

Ethnos said the austerity would mean "asphyxiation" for
the Greek people and a "violent modernization" for the
economy, which according to new government projections will contract
by 4% this year and 2.6% in 2011.

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4, 2010

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