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Sunday, October 21, 2012

On Greece: More Austerity, More Recession, More Extremism

by Calculated Risk on 10/21/2012 09:42:00 AM

The first two articles discuss the rise of extremism in Greece as the country suffers through another year of recession (the unemployment rate in Greece is over 25%). The third article notes that the next tranche of aid is expected by mid-November.

From the NY Times: Amid the Echoes of an Economic Crash, the Sounds of Greek Society Being Torn (ht Ann). An excerpt:

The government just passed a law allowing supermarkets to sell expired food at discounted prices. The price of home heating oil has tripled since 2009, and many apartment blocks are voting not to buy any since too many tenants can’t afford it.

As he stood outside a supermarket in a middle-class neighborhood here, a man who gave his name only as Stefanos, 70, said that his biggest fear was that Greece would reach a point “where for every five people unemployed, only one is working.”

“When that one person comes out of the supermarket, the other five are waiting for him outside to grab his groceries,” he said.

As the talks drag on between the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Greece’s foreign lenders over politically toxic new austerity measures in exchange for more aid, the news media are filled every day with leaks about possible cuts to salaries and pensions, leading to a state of constant, low-grade panic.
As she shopped for vegetables at an outdoor market recently, Angeliki Christaki, 58, said she was growing more worried. “We’re heading toward a scenario of civil war,” she said. “But that’s only natural when the rich are against the poor, when the extreme right wing fights the extreme left wing.”

“I was personally crushed when I saw young kids in a Golden Dawn protest,” she said. “I could not believe my eyes.”
And from the WaPo: Anti-immigrant Golden Dawn rises in Greece
At first glance, the shop on a nondescript street in this chaotic capital looks standard-issue military. Fatigues. Camouflage. Hunting gear. Deeper inside, the political message emerges. Black T-shirts emblazoned with modified swastikas — the symbol of the far-right Golden Dawn party — are on sale. A proudly displayed sticker carries a favorite party slogan: “Get the Stench out of Greece.”

By “stench,” the Golden Dawn — which won its first-ever seats in the Greek Parliament this spring and whose popularity has soared ever since — means immigrants, broadly defined as anyone not of Greek ancestry.
From the Athens News: Samaras: Certainty of next loan tranche by mid-November
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday expressed certainty that a 31.5-billion-euro tranche of the EC-ECB-IMF bailout package will be disbursed by mid-November, preferably in its entirety, as soon as a report by the troika is adopted.

Speaking in Brussels at the end of a two-day EU summit, Samaras explained that a new summit will not be required to approve the disbursement, adding that the country's current cash reserves would run out on November 16.
emphasis added
Summary for Week Ending Oct 19th
Schedule for Week of Oct 21st