The Washington Post published an article on January 1 entitled, “Greece: Numbers improve, problems worsen in 2014.” The article referred to, among other things, the Greek Prime Minister’s New Year message to the Greek people, in which he said that during 2014, Greece will return to the markets and exit from its 6-year recession.
According to the article, one of Greece’s main problems is that the, “financial tailspin wiped out nearly a quarter of its economy and roughly a million jobs.” It continued, “More than 70 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for more than a year, leaving most to rely on charity after losing monthly benefit payments and health insurance.”
They go on to highlight bureaucracy as a significant problem in Greece. “Pro-bailout governments have tried to stimulate employment by slashing the minimum wage and axing long-standing labor rights and market protection rules — liberalizing everything from truck licenses to permits for neighborhood bakeries. But unemployment numbers continue to get worse and critics argue that the system remains bogged down in excessive bureaucracy.”
Political instability doesn’t help either. “Greece is being run by its third pro-bailout government in two years, as unpopular austerity measures wear out public support for the parties backing them. Conservative Prime Minister Samaras heads the current coalition government and has seen his support in the 300-seat parliament dwindle in the past 18 months from 179 lawmakers to 153.”
Moreover, the article highlights the fact that even after the scandals surrounding Golden Dawn in late 2013, the party still regularly receives around 9% support in voting polls.
Greece still faces a huge debt problem, although on an optimistic note the article concedes that, “Greece’s fiscal situation is slowly improving, with overspending under control and the size of the once-massive public sector reduced.”