Rioting in Greece over Austerity Measures

Greek politicians have been voting to bring unpopular austerity measures that are designed to rein in their current debt levels, which could threaten stability in the country’s economy.

They are harsh cuts proposed by the government’s Prime Minister, George Papandreou, to help meet the requirements needed for their international rescue loans.

The goal is to cut public spending by at least $20 billion while raising the same amount in taxes and privatization. This means households will have higher levies and increased VAT. Sharp hikes in tobacco prices, fuel and all alcohol are soon to follow.

The public sector will see huge job losses with these spending cuts along with welfare benefit restrictions and huge numbers of school closures. They will also be selling off the states assets including key ports and their federal postal service.

Without these measures the debt would keep going up and there would have been a good chance of Greece defaulting on repayments. This would have had a severe impact on the economy.

Times are very tough on the people of Greece and there is a lot of anger and frustration because of the predicament that carries over into civil unrest.

Street violence broke out in 2010 because of austerity measures. The leading unions in Greece have been organizing all the strikes and protests, which lead to rioting in Athens yesterday. Demonstrations today have turned into sporadic violence.

Wednesday’s vote will cover the first phase of the austerity package, which includes raising taxes and the harsh cuts to public spending. Tougher decisions lay down the road.

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Posted by on Jun 29 2011. Filed under Featured News, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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