June 6 - Greece´s Prime Minister begins a campaign to secure a new international bailout, by imposing years of fresh austerity measures, as citizen protests against the cuts increase. Joanna Partridge reports.
Greece´s economy is dying - according to many angry citizens. Protests against the government's austerity measures have taken place every day now for almost two weeks. An estimated 80 000 people joined this demonstration outside parliament. Unemployment has risen to 16% - and many are blaming the politicians, who they think are corrupt, and have mismanaged the economy. SOUNDBITE: Protester, saying (Greek): "Something has to happen so they leave. Our kids don´t have jobs, what will they do? We are old but what about our children? Things are tough. They have to go so better days can come." But things may get worse before they get better. Greece´s Prime Minister George Papandreou began on Monday a campaign to secure a second international bailout from the EU and the IMF, to avoid defaulting on its debt. That would come with strict conditions - like more austerity measures and privatisation which will last at least until 2015. The medium-term plan includes tax increases and a reduction in the number of civil servants. Unease is growing in the government about the consequences of the new budget cuts - as Greece aims to impose over 6 billion euros of austerity this year alone. And worries about the euro zone debt crisis and the global economic recovery continue to weigh on investors´ minds. Robert Halver, a Frankfurt trader, doesn´t think another bailout is the answer for Greece. SOUNDBITE: Robert Halverm Baader Bank, saying (English): "We need a business plan for Greece in the next couple of years and I guess agriculture, tourism, solar energy and an export hub for the Middle East could be the best business case for Greece in the next couple of years. To pump even more money into Greece is no solution." But Greece is pushing for a second bailout and hopes to clear the plan in cabinet on Wednesday. The economic measures need support from all sides - and the government warns if political disagreement leads to early elections the new bailout deal with the EU and IMF could unravel, and that could push the Greek economy off the cliff. Joanna Partridge, Reuters