6 March 2010, Saturday /SAMI KOHEN MILLIYET
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou clearly and bitterly said Greece is on the brink of bankruptcy and that a process which will be painful for the Greek nation has started, adding that it is a struggle just to stay alive. Papandreou quickly began introducing new measures in the country.
The “supplementary package” is truly going to be a “bitter pill” for the Greek nation. Prices will go up for everything from fuel to cigarettes. Value-added tax rates will rise to 21 percent, holiday bonuses will be reduced, salaries will be cut and the retirement age will go up, among other changes. Greece’s second option to overcome this crisis is to receive financial support from the EU, of which it is a member. But so far the EU has only extended verbal support, and highly trusted Germany has shown that it isn’t quite ready to extend loans. But the collapse of the Greek economy will rattle the euro region in which it is located. Is the EU and its powerful members ready for that? What kind of a union is this? This situation is a serious test for the EU. As the organization and as member countries this union needs to identify a “consolidation strategy” that is in line with the EU’s purpose and objectives as a response to the “Greek tragedy.” And they need to do this at once.