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Page added on June 29, 2015

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Greeks awake to no money and no certainty

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The long queues for cash of the night before had given way to shuttered banks and unresponsive ATMs on Monday as Greeks woke up to a new period of uncertainty.

“I’m worried, of course we are all extremely worried,” said Iason, 25, an environmental engineer who preferred not to give his surname; he had taken enough money out over the weekend “to be OK”, he said.

“It’s not only the restrictions on what people can withdraw from their banks, but the prospect of this referendum. Either answer could bring huge changes to this country. It’s really alarming.”

The debt-laden Greek government on Sunday night announced the banks would stay closed until 6 July, the day after a planned referendum in which voters will be asked to accept or reject the latest proposal from the country’s creditors.

ATMs would remain shut for the duration of Monday, the government said. When they reopen, cash withdrawals will be limited to €60 (£42) for holders of Greek bank cards (no limit will apply to foreign cards).

“We really should be ashamed,” said Dimitris, 34, an electrical engineer, who said he had enough cash at home to last him and his wife “two to three weeks, in case the worst comes to the worst” and was thinking seriously about trying to emigrate.

“Everyone is frankly scared now. Really worried. We just don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t have enough accurate information. No one has information. Ask 10 people right now what they think will happen, and you’ll get 10 different answers. It’s a mess.”

Shops, pharmacies and cafes were open as normal, but Efi, behind the counter at a cafe on Voulis Street in Athens, said: “No one is talking about anything else. We can’t really believe it, any of us. It’s like a bad dream that you can’t wake up from. I don’t know what else to say. It’s awful.”

Iason said the decision by the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, to call a referendum on the creditors’ proposals next Sunday, breaking off talks just days before Greece was due to repay a €1.6bn loan on which it will now certainly default, was “a very high-risk decision – a decision it was really not rational to take”.

Worse, he said, it will inevitably “set the Greek people against each other. The result is not going to be clear cut. It will be something like 50-50, I think. So the country will be divided, deeply divided – and we just don’t need that now.”

After five years of crisis, said George, who works at a Greek investment bank, “the Greeks have fallen for a guy who put his hand in the honey jar – but instead of coming back with the honey, he’s broken the jar”. George said he had “diversified” his assets some time ago: “I have my children to think of.”

But Iliana, a curator, said that while she was “worried for myself and my family, of course”, she felt it was time to make a stand. “They must think we’re stupid in Brussels,” she said. “They don’t see that when someone is angry enough and desperate enough, he just doesn’t care any more.”

She said she would “prefer to have my dignity. I don’t want any more money from the EU, because we won’t be able to pay it back. OK, we’ll have a hard time for a year or so, but we’ll bounce back. It’s a simple question of human dignity now. They can’t put us through any more of this.”

She had not taken her money out of the bank, Iliana said. “To start with, I don’t have much in there. But if it gets really bad, I’ll go to my mum’s in Thessaloniki. She has a garden, with lots of vegetables. We’ll survive.”

Guardian



20 Comments on "Greeks awake to no money and no certainty"

  1. Rodster on Mon, 29th Jun 2015 3:28 pm 

    “Greece… Mattered: Surveying The Carnage”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-29/greece-mattered-surveying-carnage

  2. joe on Mon, 29th Jun 2015 3:45 pm 

    This is why in 6 days Greece will vote to accept the deal. Well played banksters.

  3. Plantagenet on Mon, 29th Jun 2015 6:08 pm 

    The Greeks were foolish to elect a group of far leftists like Syria to run their government. The rhetoric sounds great, but when it comes to actually running the government—-not so much.

  4. Davy on Mon, 29th Jun 2015 6:27 pm 

    Come on Planter you don’t think it is that simple do you? Sounds like your usual Obama routine this time copied and pasted on the Greek Tragedy de jure.

  5. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Jun 2015 6:31 pm 

    Plant, given you come from a state that elected Sarah Palin you’re the last fucking person who should be giving political advice. How’s that wildfire treating y’all? Shara said AGW is a leftist conspiracy to steal y’alls freedom.

    Sarah Palin It Snowed In Alaska In May, So There Is No Global Warming

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQgN6dJkTl4

  6. Makati1 on Mon, 29th Jun 2015 11:01 pm 

    Cyprus was one of the ‘news shorts’ that was part of a trip to the movies when I was young. Most were late and missed it or were busy drinking their soda or eating their popcorn when it was on and it went mostly unnoticed. Now we get the ‘coming attractions’ in the form of Greece. How long before the main feature begins? Today? Next year? Surely before 2020. It will be a blockbuster.

  7. Beery on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 6:33 am 

    A failed capitalist state – the precursor to the global failure of capitalism. There’s a potential for meaningful change in Greece, and maybe we’ll be able to see the way forward for the rest of the world. Hopefully they can make a peaceful change to a nation that puts people ahead of profit.

  8. Kenz300 on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 9:25 am 

    Tax avoidance in Greece became a national pass time. It has finally caught up with them.

    The wealthy with big homes, yachts and cars were reporting income of taxi drivers and getting away with it……….. depriving the state of much needed revenue.

    It is time for the tax collectors in Greece to do their jobs.

    You can not borrow your way to prosperity.

  9. JuanP on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 10:14 am 

    I have been saying for years that there is only one way out for Greece, and that is to default on all its debts, leave the Euro, and learn to live within its means from now on. I believe Greeks will go about it in a much better way than we will here in the USA, but it will still inevitably be an awful mess. Being one of the first countries to collapse has its advantages, at least they are collapsing in a world that is not there yet.

  10. Davy on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 10:47 am 

    Juan, you healing up after the surgery?

  11. BobInget on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 11:18 am 

    Eurogroup to consider Greek bailout request during teleconference

    Brussels (DPA) — Eurozone finance ministers will hold an emergency teleconference at 7 pm (1 PM ET) to discuss the Greek government’s new aid request, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem writes on Twitter.

  12. BobInget on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 11:51 am 

    Moody’s looking closely at India’s rapid 7.5% growth forecasts.

    NEW DELHI — Flagging subdued rural economy as a ‘credit negative’ for India’s sovereign rating, global giant Moody’s today said there are growing concerns about risk of policy stagnation and “some disappointment” has emerged over the pace of reforms under the Modi government.

    In its latest ‘Inside India’ report, Moody’s Investors Service said the consensus view on India’s economic growth prospects is relatively optimistic and in line with Moody’s baseline forecast of 7.5 per cent expansion in current fiscal.

    “Forecast represents the highest projection amongst G20 economies, and provides a key pillar of support for the Baa3 sovereign rating and positive outlook,” it said. This is the lowest investment grade rating, but a ‘positive’ outlook indicates room for further upgrade.

    However, the results of the latest polls conducted by it has showed “some disappointment…with regard to the pace of reform under the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and increasing concerns about the risk of policy stagnation.

    “Specifically, almost half of the poll respondents identified sluggish reform momentum as the greatest risk to India’s macroeconomic story.” Moody’s said “the multi-party, federal democracy in India underpins a gradual pace of policy implementation” and many of the policies are positive for India’s institutional strength. However, the direct impact of growth-enhancing reforms is only likely to take full effect over a multi-year horizon, it said.

    Moody’s further said it expects India’s weakened rural economy to remain subdued through the fiscal year ending March 2016, particularly if the risk of below-average monsoon rainfall materialises.

    “A sustained soft patch for India’s rural economy would weigh on private consumption and non-performing assets in the agricultural sector, (which is) a credit negative for the sovereign and banks,” Moody’s Vice President and Senior Research Analyst Rahul Ghosh said.

  13. JuanP on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 1:17 pm 

    Davy, I had to travel for an emergency and postponed the surgery because they fucked my pre op lab work, and my blood pressure was too high, too. I feel just like in that comment you made a few days ago about how we all inevitably have to go through our midlife crises. Hernia and high blood pressure, one after the other, my time has come to start taking better care of myself. I am glad I enjoyed almost perfect physical health for over 45 years and consider myself luckier than most all the same. Thanks for asking!

  14. BobInget on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 1:31 pm 

    Second talks break down. Greece will most certainly leave the EU.

    Best move now? Switch to USD’s
    Nations already using US currency;

    Bahamas (Bahamian dollar always = $1 US)

    Belize (Belize dollar always = 50¢ US)

    Bermuda (Bermudian dollar always = $1 US)

    Cambodia (quasi official in major cities)

    Cayman Islands (Cayman dollar always = $1.20 US)

    East Timor (tiny island country between Indonesia and Darwin Australia)

    Ecuador

    Federated States of Micronesia (South Pacific)

    Marshall Islands (near Micronesia actually)

    Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS dollar always = 37¢ US)

    Palau (east of the Philippines)

    Panama

    Zimbabwe

  15. BobInget on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 1:34 pm 

    We hope you get better soon Juan.
    Your contributions are always valued.
    Bob

  16. beammeup on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 2:01 pm 

    Kenz said “Tax avoidance in Greece became a national pass time. It has finally caught up with them.

    The wealthy with big homes, yachts and cars were reporting income of taxi drivers and getting away with it……….. depriving the state of much needed revenue.

    It is time for the tax collectors in Greece to do their jobs.

    You can not borrow your way to prosperity.”

    Agreed. However, while it’s true that the tax dodging wealthy class in Greece bears part of the blame for the current fiscal crisis, the average Joe is complicit as well. Back in the early 90’s I spent quite a bit of time in Greece and Cyprus, and I’m amazed that both countries went along as far as they did before hitting a financial wall. What struck me the most was the widespread, overwhelming belief among ordinary citizens that private sector jobs were for losers. Everywhere you went, the cafes and restaurants were filled with 30-somethings complaining about their lousy, poor-paying private sector job, and the steps they were taking to work their way into a higher-paying government job so they could retire in their mid-fifties and “enjoy life.” Among 40-somethings that already had a government job, the conversations were dominated by the number of years/months/days/minutes left until they could retire. Customer service was deplorable by the standards I’ve encountered anywhere else in the world, including Northern Europe, the US, Asia, Latin America and even Africa.

    When the average Joe looks the other way to the sins of the wealthy, because he doesn’t want to upset the same system that allows him to go through his working career on cruise control and retire early, then Joe bears just as much blame as anybody else.

    Greece needs a robust private sector generating wealth. Many pundits believe their best bet is tourism, which would be aided by having a currency whose value they can control. They need to transition to something financially sustainable, and changing the expectations of the average Joe will have to be part of that transition.

  17. joe on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 2:10 pm 

    While greece may need reform, I’m sure the euro is the correct currency to allow them to reform. The Euro causes inflation in periphery states exactly because it makes credit so easy to get during good times like the current Euro round of QE, but, to pay this money back these nations have to always be economically weak.

  18. joe on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 2:11 pm 

    Re phrase, ‘I’m NOT sure’.

  19. Davy on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 2:13 pm 

    Juan, anyone that does kitesurfing is in good shape but I know what you mean. At a certain age the health focus changes from cavalier youth to old and you know it..

  20. GregT on Tue, 30th Jun 2015 7:25 pm 

    “You can not borrow your way to prosperity.”

    Nope, but if you’re a central banker, you can most certainly print your way to prosperity. At everyone else’s expense.

    Greece never should have joined the EU.

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