This is the hottest summer ever in Greece. Because the high temperatures go hand in hand with the heated debate about the Greek debt. Hundreds of opinions and proposals worsen the uncertainty. The big players,, ECB-Chief Jean-Claude Trichet and German Chancellor Angela Merkel keep playing with our nerves as they don’t seem to agree on the participation of private sector in the second Greek bailout. At the same time, millions of Greeks keep wondering where they will get the money from to pay back the second bailout. The average Greek has gone broke just trying to pay the interest rates of the first rescue package.
“Summer holidays? Oh let’s wait and see if we’re bankrupt on Thursday” says Spyros, a kiosk owner in my neighborhood in a middle class suburb of Athens. And his brother Kostas adds that this year they’ve planted lots of vegetables in their field in the village, somewhere on the Peloponnese. “I see a hard winter coming” says Kostas with a sneaky grind.
The kiosk brothers are lucky to have a fertile field on a village. Many Athenians cannot claim the same. A fertile field to grow an austerity back up. So they have to save money to come along. Save money and pay taxes. Quite some people wish a solution, at last. A Haircut? A Euro-bond? A Debt Restructuring? A selective default (Default in Greek is translated with bankruptcy)
The majority of the Greeks has no clue what all these terms mean? But the immediate question arise: “How will these affect my life?”
“I don’t watch the news anymore” says Maria. “I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. My only concern is that I won’t lose my savings at the bank”. Her friend, Tassoula, jumps in the middle of the discussion and says in an angry voice: “All of them, they should go …. Our politicians, the EU politicians. My nerves! They play with words, they play with our nerves. Today this, tomorrow that. I can’t make any plan for my life anymore because of this uncertainty. ”
Maria and Tassoula complain about the Greek government. “They said the second memorandum (MoU voted in May) will save Greece from bankruptcy and now they talk again about bankruptcy. Nobody cares about us, the little people” says Maria.
Maria is totally right. In Brussels, Frankfurt and Rome the discussions about the future of the Greek debt is about the BIG Money. Not about Maria’s 15, 000 euro at bank deposit. Maria, mother of two, got 15,000 euro compensation after she was fired in last February.
Of course, the bank cares about Maria’s savings but not for the benefit of Maria, but for its own. Then the bank wants to have liquidity, should the men and women in Brussels and Frankfurt decide upocn a haircut in Greek debt.
The international press speaks of a possible haircut of 30% for the Greek bonds. The powerful men in black make their arrangements behind closed doors, in view of the upcoming Eurogroup meeting on Thursday.
“What does it mean for my savings? ” Maria asks. I am not able to tell her.
, so much that even I can be sure whether I will be able to join some friends for a weekend on Pilion.