June 17th, 2011
06:31 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Part of the backlash against this week's austerity measures in Athens stems from a breakdown in trust between the Greek people and its elected politicians.

But what the Greek government says and does now has little bearing on the country's financial future. As current Creditor-in-Chief the International Monetary Fund is the one setting the terms.

This begs the question: how much support does the Greek bailout have inside the IMF?

Publicly the IMF says it stands ready to continue its support for Greece – subject, of course, to the “adoption of the economic policy reforms agreed with the Greek authorities.” On Thursday the IMF pledged it would release payment in early July that would allow Greece to honor its debt payments through September.

In an e-mailed statement, the fund said that progress was being made in the discussions to ensure the full financing program. The IMF said it “anticipated a positive outcome on this” at the next Eurogroup meeting which will take place in Luxembourg on Monday.

Yet behind closed doors, some economists at the IMF describe the Washington institution’s decision to grant Greece financial assistance in the first place as “deeply unpopular.”

One economist, who wished to remain anonymous, told me they “did not know one single person” among their immediate colleagues in favor of the Greek bailout program.

The economist also expressed concerns that, years from now, the “IMF would be blamed” for whatever happens in Greece. Either way, they said the ongoing financial support for the country was “unsustainable."

The man running for the top job at the IMF also concedes as much.

Speaking to me from Beijing Agustin Carstens, Governor of Mexico’s Central Bank and one of only two IMF Managing Director candidates, said that there would come a point at which handing Greece more money would be counterproductive.

“The difficulty is that if more resources are offered and we don’t reach a point of sustainability then it would not be advisable to provide these resources,” said Carstens.

“Needless to say, adding more resources might make the burden on the country much worse. It would not give us the bang for the buck so to speak.”

The IMF economist I spoke to admitted many inside the fund were unsure whether indeed there was a solution to Greece’s ongoing woes.

“Some would say the hope is that if the can gets kicked down the road for one or two years, say, then Spain and Italy may decouple,” said the IMF economist. “That’s the hope, at least.”

It’s nice to hear those at the IMF have hope but do they any answers?

That’s the question that’s bugging me.



soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Sergeia

    Greece people are lazy , work very few hours, and they dont produse anything, only drink coffe, beach, tourism, they only live in pleasure, look china how hard is working and other asian countries, same Italy and portugeese, same work few hours, drink coffee , have fun, – how much it will be like that , time to work, and not to give all work to asians

    June 17, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  2. Alec Mally

    Great report. As a former US diplomat working on bilateral Greece-US relations I often dealt first hand with the inability of the Greek public administration to deliver as promised. But let's face it, the IMF is being rolled on this. Its professionals know that the structural reforms Greece undertook to deliver, in writing, have been long delayed. It seems that since the disbursement of the third tranche at the end of 2010 there as been a sense that things were going to move in swiftly the wrong direction. But now we all understand the game for what few really knew before...its just gap filling in the hope/hope the Greeks get their act together. There is no Plan B. Watch Greek bank deposits!

    June 17, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  3. Antonio Rodrigues

    The economies of Greece and Portugal are now in a very similar situation. Both countries have no money and the IMF seams like the only way out. More money will not help, since money is only good if you know how to manage it. Both Prime Ministers George Papandreou (Greece ) and newly appointed Passos Coelho (Portugal) are working in/for a socialist society that have no clue how to manage the current situation. Since the politicians in these countries are not able to manage the money they have or will borrow (with a absurd spread), and so the situation will deteriorate and the only solution lies in a revolution that will "wipe clean" the politicians in both countries. I personally wish that both prime ministers were replaced by former CEOs from TOP successful companies around the world

    June 17, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  4. a

    Is that a man or a woman? The arm is hairy but the pants seem to be empty.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  5. alex

    The policeman on the right needs a bit work out and diet! So does the one on the left background! We could call that austerity measures!

    June 17, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  6. georges madi

    antonio rodriguez please add venezuela to the two countries portugal and greece in similar situation across the atlantic...it is a global situation and yes politicians are unable to deal with the situation. and they won't let go... it is a disaster

    June 17, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  7. youslashbe

    according to new resercheas greeks are the most hard working people in europe so please shut up... an avarage greek works 42 per week greeks were never like everyone in europe they liked to have fun and now because of our politicians these 30 years we are in this situation... europeans have depression for years and so do we these days... the only lazy greeks are our politicians smartass!

    June 17, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  8. markjuliansmith

    Greeks need to go to an election and a referendum.

    A referendum for the Greeks citizens to decide who pays for the debt they I underline they have incurred – the rest of the world or themselves and if pigs fly or they do not.

    The combination of whatever answers to the referendum means an adult is responsible for their actions 'I did not know' after so many years simply does not cut it and the Government they elect will not be able to give them anymore money unless they want to sell to Turkey. I suppose they would rather burn their cities to the ground as they are doing now – but both options will not solve their problem – they are responsible so act responsibly.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  9. cofee drinker

    Not just greece or portugal but spain , italy , belgium almost all eastern european countries and many U.S states are in bad situation. Are they all stupid or lazy ? Of course not it seems that the global financial system is dragging countries economies down and in the near future we will definitely see many greece-like countries begging to be saved.

    June 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  10. Lisa

    European nations are all situated amid the nature's lap. Perhaps this is the reason why most of the Europeans are lazy and spend more time in rejuvenating their semi-tired souls that actually didn't need any sort of revitalization. And yes, most of the post makers above mentioned correctly that these European inhabitants are all outsourcing their work to the Asian who are undoubtedly hard working and ready to break themselves to the utmost to work as hard as possible.

    My site: http://www.css4me.com

    June 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  11. Guest

    Time to bite the bullet and swallow your deeds and let the time roll...lessons learned from this crisis. Manage people’s expectations...cut the programs and benefits. So others could follow.

    June 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  12. Guest

    Time to bite the bullet and swallow your deeds and let the time roll...lessons learned from this crisis. Manage people’s expectations...cut the programs and benefits. So others could follow

    June 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  13. Sam

    Coverage of this is completely skewed. The demonstrations in Syntagma Square were peaceful until the riot police placed their own people on the outside to incite trouble. There was no need for tear gas or force when 99% of those present were singing and dancing in a show of unity.

    Greece should not have been given the loans from the IMF when there is no way of enforcing payments or collateral. Greece may not belong with the European Union and the fact there is no exit strategy for countries who cannot conform, nor should they, is a mis-service.

    Interesting that in a place where democracy was started, we now see citizens calling for a new form of democracy. Many other people around the world are asking and will ask the same thing of their people. Let the people make the decisions that affect them. A new democracy is about to emerge, based on listening to the citizens of the world.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  14. Steve

    Dear Sergeia please stop making up stereotypes.
    You say that greek people are lazy,but that is not the case.
    The case is that people pray to find a job but they can't because shops are closing rapidly and simply there can't be enough jobs for everyone.The total number of businesses in Greece isn't enough to give jobs to all people.
    There are people who search every day in all mediums looking for a job,but they can't find anything.
    And those who work,doesn't even get enough money from their jobs to cover their basic needs.
    The average worker in Greece works from 10 to 12 hours a day,6 days a week,and gets a salary that isn't enough to cover his basic needs. You will see 30 year old men leaving with their siblings and parents because their salary isn't even enough to pay the rent. The only reason Greeks are surviving and we don't have a starvation genocide is because people tolerate living with their family even that old,because without living with someone else to split the bills,even people that work would be homeless.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Jim

    I strongly dislike the characterization that Greeks are lazy. Most of it is coming from Germans and countries that had aligned themselves with the Nazis, and traditionally have had strong racist and bigoted sentiments among their citizenry. I am Greek. I personally do not know of a single Greek that works less than 40 hours per week. In fact, most work 50-100 hours per week; myself included. I take two weeks vacation every year unlike my German counterparts who take one and a half months or in simpler terms 350 hours every year of NON-work!!! Let us be realistic and see here what is really happening. Greece historically has had close ties with Russia in the political, economic, and religious sense. With the Greek/Russian gas pipeline deal in place and Europe's uneasiness with Russian politics and motivations, the picture becomes much clearer. With Greece purchasing Russian made defense items instead of European and American ones, the picture becomes even clearer. This is nothing more than bullying tactics and an attempt to bring Greece down to its knees. But Europe needs to worry more if Greece re-instates a devalued Drachma, which would solve all of Greece's problems and throw the rest of Europe into an economic spiral. Watch Italy's and Germany's unemployment rate skyrocket at that point, and when your people are hungry and jobless, who will you call lazy then ??? This is nothing more than West vs. East. This is an old story that gets retold again and again; the Roman Catholic church vs. Eastern Orthodoxy. Rome vs. Byzantium. Western Europeans have a facination with taking things that don't belong to them by force. Example: Germany taking $200 Billion dollars worth of gold from Greece during WWII and never repaying it. Or what about the countless of ancient Greek treasures that exist in their museums to which they profit from on a daily basis?! Yet they have the audacity to claim that Greeks are lazy?? The thief breaks into your home, steals everything you own, and then has the balls to call you lazy?!! Here in America, Greeks are among the hardest working, richest, and most educated classes of people. We pay taxes. Invest in business. Invest in our communities. We enrich the neighborhoods we live in. Our lives revolve around work and family and we are a proud people, speaking the same language for 3,000 years. Even during the middle ages, we enjoyed more culture than the rest of Europe. While Germans where barely grunting at each other, the populations in Greece, rich and poor, enjoyed theater and music. YES WE LIKE TO PARTY HARD!!!! WHY??? BECAUSE WE WORK OUR ASSES OFF!!!Let me remind you that the first battle won during WWII was Greeks kicking your Fascist asses in Albania. The heroes in those battles were not only Greek soldiers, but farmers, children and OLD LADIES who carried artillery shells on their backs up mountain sides!! I pray for the Drachma's return and Greece's exit from the EU. It would bring prices down in Greece, and jobs back. Then your tourists will be spending money visiting our beaches and resorts,and wondering why they don't have any back home?

    June 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  16. Richard

    Greece needs to pay their own way and quit looking for handouts. The banks and anyone stupid enough to buy Greek Bonds should take their losses. No institution or country is "too big to fail" and in the end we are just pushing it down the road. Eventually Geece WILL be bankrupt as will any country with too much debt. The people in Greece can riot all they want, in the end they are living beyond Greece's means and the other countries are either goin' to pay Greece's way and distroy their own currency or Greece will default and all of those rioters will have to realize the money has run out. Go home their is NO MORE. Unless a country has the industry and means of funding on it's own soil then the people living their can't retire young with a good pension. Greeks get real your country does not have the funds to give you. In the end one way or another you will revert back to living within your home country's means, which is a LOT LOWER standard of living than you are expecting.

    June 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  17. Richard

    The U.S. is in the same situation. Eventually they will realize they have spent more than any other country is willing to help fund it. Why is the U.S. spending ridiculous amounts of money outside it's own borders when it's own citizens should be getting the benefit of their own tax dollars. Defence is getting way more funding outside the U.S. borders than it warrants and why are we giving so many billions to foreign countries when the money is needed within the U.S. borders. Flooding and distruction in New Orleans, the mid-West. Tornados and Hurrican distruction. In the end like any household that gives away and wastes it's own money it will run out and the people will suffer. Unlike Greece the U.S. HAD a lot more funding and unless it diverts it to within the U.S. borders it will run out and go bankrupt. What is more important Old age pensions, Health Care and the U.S infrastructure on U.S. soil or Wars in the middle East. It's one or the other or eventually the U.S. will not have funds for either.

    June 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  18. Realistic

    To all haters against Greece! Listen people, Greeks are not lazy!! They are hard workers, they all know the meaning of life! You don't live to work, you work to live!!!! Therefore, they rather have a healthy lifestyle then taking antidepressants like o other people in other countries because of the stress of work!!!!! Don't be jealous because Greece is a friendly nation with Culture, religion, dignity, love, hospitality, philosophy, psychology, education, manners and many more blessed gifts this nation was given!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  19. Ted Hamilton

    Many Greeks are sending their money out of the country and the rest are leaving the country. There is a substantial exodus of executives and professionals even going to France via prestige career sites like http://www.qual.fr and portals like topjobs and monster. If the Greeks don't believe in the financial future of their country, it makes no sense for the European taxpayer to believe in it either.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  20. Walter

    @Jim
    As a foreigner living in Greece, let me share my opinions.
    * "Greeks are lazy": Although I hate stereotyping, it is true. Most of the public workers (9:00 to 4:00) and shops (only 5 days a week and 3 hrs extra siesta half of the week, opening at 10:00) are working less than 40 hrs. Add unbelievably frequent coffee breaks, demonstrations, strikes (even before the crisis), using them – and the traffic jam caused by them – as an excuse not to go to work, unbelievably long phone chats with friends, especially during birthdays and name days (yes twice unlike the rest of the world). I didn't even come to their laziness or inefficiency, this is just the working hours they are supposed to be at work. During my 10 years in Greece I never get a quality or on-time service – public or private. It's not 99% of the time that they failed, it's simply 100%. I like Greek people but I'm sorry, you are lazy. Just compare yourself with Albanians working in Greece.

    * Russians. I wouldn't trust them. They have long lasting claim on leadership in the Orthodox world. And with better pipeline deals with Turkey, they may sell you off in a blink.

    * Drachma. They day Greece returns back to Drachma, all bank accounts will be blocked, peoples money in the banks will be converted to drachma and with instant devaluation, you will loose at least – with the most optimistic estimate – 50% of your money. Many Greek banks will collapse, the whole economy will go underground, Greece's dept will double, inflation will soar. After experiencing decades of three digit inflation rates you may hope to recover.

    * WWII and Germans. This is true. Ditto for the theft of ancient artifacts.

    * Greek culture. Greece boasts with 4000 years of history and culture, forgetting to mention last 2000 years of decline. Today's Greeks has nothing to do with ancient Greeks. All I see is it became a consumption society without producing. Even you lost your Mediterranean kitchen, surrendering to fast food. Just have a look at the bellies of Greek girls. The only thing you've preserved is your language. Unfortunately you don't use it well; all empty and unbearingly long talks. A scene comes to mind: Two elderly Greek women exchanging "kalimera", "ti kanis" in the middle of the street for so long that they don't even recognise how the traffic is lining up behind them. Speaking of language, there is no Greek equivalent for the word "consideration", as a very old Greek man told me once.

    * Greeks in other countries. I don't know them well but I heard that they are hard working. It seems that only bad seeds are left behind with all those bribing, fakelakia, corruption, being employed in undeserved jobs through party connections, tax evasion (every Greek I know do it) etc.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  21. Paris

    Ted,
    I am one of those you speak of, had to move abroad to find a job and make a living. I am sorry if I try to make a better living for myself. People say Greeks are lazy and do not work and then come out and say that Greeks are going to the farthest corners of the world to find a job. Which one is it then?

    June 18, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  22. James

    Years ago EU officers find out that Greek Government balance was incorrect. Greeks said that it was a tradition from the Ottoman Empire.They used to say lies to give less tax. They do the same thing for their government also.
    They love good way of life, but do they give the worth of the things they buy?
    No.
    You gave votes to corrupt politicians and you selected them.
    And you are the corrupt officers and public prosecutors.
    Not the Germans or else.
    So, don't blame any one else.
    Be a MAN.
    Not cry baby.
    It is your fault and you have to work hard and spend less.
    You may work more hours but you do nothing and produce nothing during your work hours.
    Just chat, gossip and complain....
    I know it is very very very hard for you to work like the Germans do, but you have to.
    There is no other choice.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  23. Johan

    @Realistic. Greece a friendly nation? We saw on tv the riots, how the city is being completly trashed by people. So don't start with dignitiy, love, manners etc. We also noticed that the Greeks are somewhat angry at Finland, Germany and Holland, and for what? We in Holland already have to tighten our belts, and now there is a chance that our taxmoney is going to be given to country who lived the luxury life! I'm surprised people in Holland aren't demontrating, maybe it's because we are the ones who actually have manners.

    June 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  24. bp

    greeks, turks, italians, spaniards, portuguese = are all lazy
    immigrants carry these countries
    work hard, play hard

    June 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  25. S M Shetty

    Whatever has happened is history. The situation is not new to the world. Bailing out is necessary in the interest of global order. Ultimately it will be one more contagious episode. Debt swap? one cent a dollar?

    June 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  26. southwind

    to @Sergeia-
    What a stupid stereotype!
    You'll find that portugal is 3rd(after japan)in OCDE countries with more work hours,and,
    in a recently study in france they they found out that a portuguese worker not only works more than a german,it also retires later.
    You are a idiot.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  27. Victorianism

    Based on what I saw and heard about Greece, Europe, and the Western as well, and also based on the human common sense, all their current economic problems are not caused by their people's laziness, recreation, or incapability, but rather by their own government's wrong handling of their countries, their economies in particular. Because, for me, it is very hard to believe that the real reason that all the unworking people whose burses are getting zero-loaded and who are going hungry, resting homeless, and stand unable to pay for their own loved kids the cost of one or more of their basic needs like education, food, clothes, etc. are not working is because of their unwillingness to work or their unquenchable impulses to go after fun-though I have to admit some of them maybe but that number should be very, very small-I would rather choose to believe those people can not find a job, that is to say, they are forced to be unemployed. The people who accused the unemployed of their laziness, leisure or unwelleducatedability, or whatever they can manage to fabricate, for the losses of their country rather than look for reasons in the governments or in the unhonest high-level politicians, I personally think, are either uneducated or miseducated, or at the very least, the relatives of the prerogative-enjoyed, who are truly responsible for all these messes.

    June 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  28. Wilson

    The solution is so obvious. Either cut them off and they can have back their worthless currency... or give them the money promised with the condition that all refugees from Libya/Africa will be shipped to Athens. Then they will at least have some people willing to WORK hard for a better life. I have never been to Greece as the Turks are better people.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  29. kel

    The thing with the germans stealing your gold is the most stupid and absurd excuse for your economic crisis i've ever heard of.

    Germany had to pay like 10 times more (especially east germany) to the "winners" than they have stolen from other countries. They still deliver "free" submarines to Israel. Repayed for the WW1 Versaille Treaty until the year 2005 etc.

    And even "IF" germany had stolen your gold, it would change nothing and you'd still have an economic crisis. Gold doesn't make your country being productive again.

    sorry

    June 19, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  30. Panayiotis

    First of all, I am a Greek.

    I surelly agree that Greeks have adopted a way of living that is for the average Greek full of a lazy, inefficient, fraudulent public sector, clubs and Greek song clubs named "skiladika", significant transactions that are under the table so that no taxes are implied, etc.

    However, imagine the following:

    1) tha major banks in Greece have been financed the fraudulent tax evation transactions, when for example someone wants to buy a house, in Greece usually a part of the price is included in the contract and the rest is not and forms the part of the black money of the transaction,where no tax is paid. When the banks give a mortgage loan they finance both the legal and the black money of the transaction. No legal actions have been taken against these practices since noone wants to put pressure against the banks.

    2) The last years majot fraudlent transactions have been discovered and namely Siemens, Ferrostal, where significant amounts were given to politicians in order for major contracts to be signed with these companies. No actions have been taken against these companies and their Certified Auditors for the damage of the Greek State.

    3) Thousands of Greeks using politicians have been employeed illegaly in public sector institutions and naturally only a small percantage is working all the others are as the most of you named it lazy. I remembered when I went to the municipality offices for a simple task, I realised that from the 8 employees only 1 was actually working.

    4) it is believed that the Greek deficit is not 350 billion Euro but almost 1 trillion Euro, because noone has informed you that the deficit of the social security funds which is linked to the public sector has not yet been accurately calculated and is expected to increase the total deficit at least by 200-400 billion Euro. Furthermore, in Greece the companies use commonly post dated cheques for their transactions in a way that is global originality and it is believed that a huge ammount of the post dated cheques in transit are default and finally the Greek State will be charged since the majority of the companies going default do not pay their taxes on the first hand. Finally, the quarrantees that the Greek state has given in the favor of institutions that are expected to go default has also been not included in the total deficit.

    4) I can name you many many cases where it is prooved that the average Greek has a sort of big or small link to corruption.

    However, I have to say that if the German and France banking institutions have not financed the Greek corruption by buying Greek bonds all these years, the party would have been stopped when the deficit of Greece was 100 or 200 billion. I totally agree with a member of the German Parliament that "you don't give more drinks to a drunk man if you want to help him" and the whole world was giving to Greece all these years the "drink" that was keeping all this corruption alive.

    Why don't we ask the European Commission and Eurostat what have they done in order to aviod a corrupted country to enter to euroze with fake financial data?

    If they have done their work properly Greece would not have enter the Eurozone and the party would have been stopped years before.

    I totally agree with you that as Greek citizen, I am responsible to pay my country's deficit, but remember that amount for myself is almost 300 000 Euro (the calculation is as follows: 4 000 000 Greek employees minus those that are poor and those that are very rich and do not pay their taxes amounting let's say to 1 000 000 = 3 000 000 so a deficit of my country of 900 biillion devided by 3 000 000 is 300 000 Euro) and it is a huge ammount for someone that actually has not been asked whether he wanted to accept it because some guys wanted to finance the corrupted Greek State and not China let's say.

    So please don't give us any more money because you are continuing to do the same thing that all these years have done, financing corruption and actually not stopping the party.

    Thank you and sorry if I have told stories hard to be told.

    June 19, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  31. Constantijn

    @Walter

    Your ignorance saddens me. The historic inaccuracy about 2000 years of cultural decline, comming from someone who lives in this country, clearly depicts the Anglosaxon colonialist mentality. I guess the Byzantine empire & culture (expiring 1453) were insignificant (dont wanna think what your ancestors were doing back then- just have to watch Monty Python's Holy Grail – ooh, Dennis, thats some lovely dirt).

    I am a Greek living and working abroad. I agree with everyone who has refered to corrupted governments, ridicullously large & inefficient public sector, politicians that lied their eyes out to Greeks and Europeans alike. I do agree a large part of the population is directly or indirectly dependant on government jobs. That has been the graveyard of ambition for the last couple generations of Greeks – they all dreamt of becoming public servants! That is sad, but it doesnt mean all Greeks were lazy (as the Germans depict them). The average Joe in Greece works 40-45 hrs, gets 2 weeks holidays per year and ends up (due to ridiculous tax & SS fees) with a montly salary of 700E. Hence, I dont blame him if he dreamt of becomin a public servant for double the salary and half the working hours.

    I have been working abroad for the past ten years in blue chip companies, and I am convinced its the meritocracy and progress opportunities that allow Greeks of the Diaspora to advance. Back home, I would probably be in the same position, working my bum off for a tenth of the money I make now.

    Perhaps this whole situation is a blessing in disguise, for young talented Greeks to wake up and smell the coffee. Whether a brain drain, or a start-from-scratch scenario, its about time things change. The moral bankrupcy is much wose than the fiscal one. Trim the public sector, bring opportunities of employment, allow productivity to rise by cutting down on corruption and red tape.

    Just a note to all of you keyboard warriors pretending you know whats going on thousand of miles away, without having a clue whats cookin in your oven: the age of capitalism as we know it is over. Superprofits can no longer be made on a private sector level, hence the next source of "generating incremental returns" as our brother inv bankers put it, is to start chewing on the state wealth. Things like education, health, social services are next. Governments (and international bodies such as the EU) prove weak vs speculators. If you think Greece is getting rammed, because Greeks are lazy, good night and sweet dreams. I wont spoil it for you, and when its hitting you, just blame Zorbas....

    June 19, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  32. PJ

    The Greek people have to realize the party is over. They now have to pay the price for decades of tax evasion and overspending. I think it foolish to harp on about the great history of Greece. Rome had a great history too and now it is only a City. I would not give money to Greece unless the steepest of austerity measures along with high tax revenues were demonstrated. Greece should be ashamed of itself for dragging Europe to the depths it has done and is now mooching off the rest of the world. Expulsion from the EU should also be considered.

    June 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  33. Campi G L

    EU has already saved Greek Stat,the rest is a long tale to make speculation and fill news.In late summer 1€=1.65$.In Fall Us marckets crack.

    June 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  34. jigsaw

    Greece is one of the few places did not benefit from the Euro. Euro created inflation people started to suffer. It is good to see that some places people have Bawls to fight not to be owned by bankers. The reason is debt equals slavery. fight on. to bad americans like it up the but on how they handle matter over here.

    June 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  35. Greek Crisis

    SPECIAL REPORT: The Fate of Greece

    http://forexfilms.com/special-report-the-fate-of-greece/

    June 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  36. sgtgismo

    Hope Greece does not fall down in heavy grease with this financial problem.

    June 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  37. RivaFeniks

    How long will Greece live at expense of other nations, namely in EU? And how fair is it to other EU countries for Greece to drag them down? Another question I am asking myself is what have they done for other countries rather than always looking only after their own interests...

    June 20, 2011 at 3:24 am |
  38. brij

    Turkey and other neighbouring states must buy greek cities, to help them pay debt. No more free money to lazy and corrupt people.

    June 20, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  39. Vassilis Serafimakis

    "GREEKS ARE LAZY"2: Statistics compiled by independent agencies refute this myth. Greeks are actually as hard working as the next European, on average, despite extreme outreaches in the distribution curve. If we stop respecting numbers, there is only a discussion between competing, arbitrary opinions.

    "GREEKS RETIRE EARLIER THAN EVERYONE ELSE" : Again, a myth, according to the widely available figures for each country.

    "GREEKS LIVE BEYOND THEIR MEANS": This is actually too hard to understand. Tax evasion is indeed much more widespread in Greece than the European average, by most estimates, while the black economy could be as high as 40% of the GDP. This is indeed lamentable but only from a social and political point of view - not economically! Supporters of the free market and individual enterprise are against high taxes. And from the proper macro-economic point of view, they are right! How can the same group of people who are pro-free market accuse tax-evading Greeks for causing the crisis?? I am against tax evasion but not because it "causes economic crises".

    So who or what is to blame?

    When all is said and done, the Greeks themselves, collectively, as a nation, are only guilty of precipitating their country's economic woes, of accelerating the inevitable - but not of causing it! Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the other countries in line for their own crisis, are different from Greece (less corruption, less bureaucracy, more business-friendly legislation, etc) but they're still in an impasse.

    The reason is that all these countries have abandoned their fiscal sovereignty and thus lack the means to both run counter-cyclical policies (and smooth the free market's bumpy ride) and more importantly to bring forth economic growth. (Germany and France violated Maastricht's fiscal limits precisely to kick-start their economies!) The EUROZONE is a dead end. Without fiscal union, which necessitates an economic and political union, it's insane to have a currency union.

    Time to go back where we took a wrong turn and start again towards the right direction : Abandon the Euro and work towards Europe's economic union. If we can't do that, let's content ourselves with what we have –a customs, trade and labour union.

    June 20, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  40. val

    hello to all contributors in these acticle.
    it is time for greeks to correct there mistakes and stop blaming the Germans,the whole world knows that they are lazy for nothing people,consumer nation,depend on already made without producing,cheaters,liers,hardly u will see any greek tells u the truth never,enjoyment all day and day,caffe and caffe,disco,buzuki,searching for excuse to avoid going to work,is these life,,,,how long should EU should stop bailing and bailing to a country that never plans for there future generation?is a shameful thing anyway,they always like to be blaming,not only the politicians are corrupt also the citizens too are corrupt,when they will be planing to go hollidays they will go and borrowed money from bank just for holiday can u imargine there mentalityyyy????no greek person goes to shop and buy something and paid cash all is credit without paying,tax evation all not only the politicians,sometime they blame the immigrants in there country as source of there economic woes all this excuse sounds stupid,lazy people is lazy people,are they not immigrants in all over the world why should they be complaing about immigrants,every countries has immigrants,they are enjoying in other countries but never u as immigrant be happy in greece.the whole money UN and EU is given them unbehalf of immigrants none was given rather they will push an immigrant to the wall and corrected the little one u have to suvive,how a country like these should progress????a lot need to be done in Greece socierty because none tells each other the truth,all lives with bribe and corruption,lets them wake up ans stop blaming,is time for them to wake and keep there country fit,i wish them all the best anyway,a world is for a wise and beware of greek gift,

    June 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  41. Luke

    I don't know how hard-working are the Greeks.

    But if any Greek has long stayed and worked in an Asian city like Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, etc, then you'll really realised what type of work ethics/culture can really be defined as hard-working.

    42 hours per week or not doesn't matter, what matters is your productivity/efficiency and willingness to not waste time during office work.

    Anyway, to us Asians, Greeks system of welfare for the past decade are simply unbelievable and is liking to "living in Heavens". We hope to have enjoy that types of good life but at the same time, hard-working and personally earned for it.

    Difficulties that Greece is undergoing right now cannot be solved by strikes and endless complaints. The whole population needs to prepare to SACRIFICE personal welfare, for at least 20 years, for the benefits of your next generation.

    October 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  42. Hard Coffee drinker and Drachma Supporter

    I strongly dislike the characterization that Greeks are lazy. Most of it is coming from Germans and countries that had aligned themselves with the Nazis, and traditionally have had strong racist and bigoted sentiments among their citizenry. I am Greek. I personally do not know of a single Greek that works less than 40 hours per week. In fact, most work 50-100 hours per week; myself included. I take two weeks vacation every year unlike my German counterparts who take one and a half months or in simpler terms 350 hours every year of NON-work!!! Let us be realistic and see here what is really happening. Greece historically has had close ties with Russia in the political, economic, and religious sense. With the Greek/Russian gas pipeline deal in place and Europe's uneasiness with Russian politics and motivations, the picture becomes much clearer. With Greece purchasing Russian made defense items instead of European and American ones, the picture becomes even clearer. This is nothing more than bullying tactics and an attempt to bring Greece down to its knees. But Europe needs to worry more if Greece re-instates a devalued Drachma, which would solve all of Greece's problems and throw the rest of Europe into an economic spiral. Watch Italy's and Germany's unemployment rate skyrocket at that point, and when your people are hungry and jobless, who will you call lazy then ??? This is nothing more than West vs. East. This is an old story that gets retold again and again; the Roman Catholic church vs. Eastern Orthodoxy. Rome vs. Byzantium. Western Europeans have a facination with taking things that don't belong to them by force. Example: Germany taking $200 Billion dollars worth of gold from Greece during WWII and never repaying it. Or what about the countless of ancient Greek treasures that exist in their museums to which they profit from on a daily basis?! Yet they have the audacity to claim that Greeks are lazy?? The thief breaks into your home, steals everything you own, and then has the balls to call you lazy?!! Here in America, Greeks are among the hardest working, richest, and most educated classes of people. We pay taxes. Invest in business. Invest in our communities. We enrich the neighborhoods we live in. Our lives revolve around work and family and we are a proud people, speaking the same language for 3,000 years. Even during the middle ages, we enjoyed more culture than the rest of Europe. While Germans where barely grunting at each other, the populations in Greece, rich and poor, enjoyed theater and music. YES WE LIKE TO PARTY HARD!!!! WHY??? BECAUSE WE WORK OUR ASSES OFF!!!Let me remind you that the first battle won during WWII was Greeks kicking the Fascists in Albania.
    The heroes in those battles were not only Greek soldiers, but farmers, children and OLD LADIES who carried artillery shells on their backs up mountain sides!! I pray for the Drachma's return and Greece's exit from the EU. It would bring prices down in Greece, and jobs back. Then your tourists will be spending money visiting our beaches and resorts,and wondering why they don't have any back home?

    November 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
  43. tim

    Greek is lazy people....admit it...if not why your country depend to others? you are shooo ashame of you...blame to other people for your excuse

    November 8, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  44. Dimitris Eleas

    The Modern Greek state was formed in 1821 after 400 hundred years of Ottoman rule. During that rule, corruption entered all ‘underground or legal economic activities’. The Greeks had to try to cheat against the high taxes they had to pay to the Ottoman rulers. This behaviour continued for a long time and still does for a number of people. Greece is also a country that the capitalist system was adopted in a later stage, in comparison with the other European members.

    For many decades after the war Greece was bleeding, it lost its best workers and brains to countries like Germany, Australia and the U.S.. But at the same time, Greece managed to be a respectable economic power. In the 1970’s, as an example, Greece had enormous economic power in shipping (the famous motto for the Greeks back in history was, from "sheep’s to ships"), the textile industry, the cement industry, and the tourism. But ‘the needs’ of the modern European Union, and the bad Athenian management made Greece to give up its heavy industries, by keeping only the summer tourism. Here, even Britain, the mother of the industrial revolution gave up many strong industries. The other major factor that put Greece down to its knees, is the need to maintain a huge army in order to control the hostility of its neighbours (mainly Turkey).

    The Greek economy is the 34th in the world (source: the CIA Factbook, 2009). Also the role of the American bank Goldman Sachs back in 2001-2002, needs to be investigated, in case that its advice regarding a then consolidation of the national debt damaged the Greek state. And as soon as the New Year 2010 started, the same bank again, made the Greek government to believe that the financial needs of Greece will be sorted out from the Bank of China and the China Investment Corporation. However, the 'foxy' Goldman Sachs at the same time, was betting against the fall of euro and collapse of the eurozone by undermining the Greek debt and driving the small country towards a financial collapse!

    I met George Papandreou at London School of Economics in a conference. I saw/felt his ‘knowledge based style and qualities’ which made him Prime Minister of Greece in October 2009. I think he is the best man for the job. In times of crisis like this, when the country has a DEBT of 350+ BILLION EURO.

    All the Greeks need to give up a small part of their wealth. Money from the European Union went into apartments, swimming pools and flashy cars. A big number of people in Greece, still today, they don’t return proper taxes to the state. All the Greeks need to help the country. This is the time!

    It's a Greek tragedy. Mr. Papanderou has to correct also many mistakes that his father did. The son came to correct the mistakes of the father. The PASOK Members of Parliament need to support him. Papandreou's policies of change are needed for the benefit of the country.

    ALL THE GREEKS ARE NOT LAZY, A FEW ARE!

    http://dimitriseleas.wordpress.com

    November 10, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  45. Richard Steiner

    The number of hours at work does not equate at all with the amount of work done during these hours.Being at work does not mean in itself that work is being done.Bailing out Greece will just be the first of many bailouts for countries. Why take from the successful countries and give to the failing countries. when the European Common Market started the poorer countries expectations were that they would be able to live just as well but this is not realistic for countries expectations to automatically come true.While Greece and many other groups and countries were robbed and mistreated in WW Two may others put plans into action to rebuild.The people leaving Greece for better jobs and opportunities are those with aspirations and motivation just like many other movements in the world's history. The rich always stay and the population being lost is probably the people most needed for the country's future success.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

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