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Greece: Between the Troika and a Hard Place

As negotiations between the Troika of international lenders and Greece remain at a standstill, the next day looks bleak. The Greek coalition government may hope that by making new proposals, our creditors will back down, but in reality, they don’t seem in a hurry to show more leniency.
Today, in an act of desperation, Athens agreed to the proposed raise in value added tax on certain products and services. Books, newspapers, theaters and hotels that currently have a 6.5% VAT, may go up to 9.5%, despite immediate reactions. Even medicine belongs in that category, but the coalition government tries to save that. If it’s enough to appease our creditors, let’s do it. Or rather, let’s add another nail to the coffin of that thing called Grecovery.
It seems ironic that every measure or reform proposed to revive the Greek economy and bring us out of recession, adds a new burden on a population that keeps paying and paying.
Greece is currently facing two options: We either forget about new measures and taxes and continue to borrow under the strict supervision of our lenders, or we take the risk and receive a credit line from the European Union and go to the international markets, borrow at high rates and may God help us. In other words, we either stay in the hated Memorandum or leave the Memorandum and sail to the unknown.
But do we really want any of these options? After five years of austerity and suffering for many, after all these sacrifices, it would be cruel, to say the least, that the government spokesperson tells us tomorrow that we will have to keep rolling that rock uphill like Sisyphus. Or, on the contrary, they come out and tell us that we are out of the Memorandum, state funds will last until March and we need to start printing drachmas.
What is really sad is that on one side we have the government telling us that despite all the sacrifices, all we have achieved is still in jeopardy and on the other side, the opposition insists that we have been on the wrong course all these years. With the Troika laughing in the middle and the Greek people wallowing in uncertainty.
Let’s hope that it’s all a bad dream brought to us by the Christmas ghosts. And maybe tomorrow, in the Christmas spirit, the Troika will perform a miracle, agree with us on everything and let us go to the December 8 Eurogroup on a high horse.

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