Greek situation 'pretty hopeless': economy minister
Greece's situation is "pretty hopeless", Greek Economy Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said in a newspaper interview released Wednesday, but insisted Athens was doing everything to "ensure our country's survival."
"On the one hand, our situation is pretty hopeless," Chrysochoidis said in a prerelease of an interview to be published in the weekly Die Zeit on Thursday.
"We're cutting people's incomes ever more drastically. We've already cut pensions several times and raised taxes. So it's a very painful time for Greeks," the minister said.
"On the other hand, we hope that this will enable us to secure our country's survival."
Nevertheless, the government was not in a position to say when people would start seeing light at the end of the tunnel, Chrysochoidis added.
With its reforms, the government was feeling "very much alone," the minister said.
"The conservative opposition claims it would renegotiate the conditions for our loans. And the leftists want out of the EU. They say EU represents capitalism. We're very much on our own," he said.
Greece's main problem was uncertainty, Chrysochoidis continued.
Every time there was speculation that Greece might go bankrupt was "a small earthquake" that endangered social and political peace in the country.
But default was not an option, he insisted.
"The bankruptcy of a eurozone member would be a catastrophe, it would lead to a domino effect. For that reason alone, we can't opt for a default," he said.
German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler is to travel to Greece this week for talks about German investment in the country and technical assistance for reforms.
© 2011 AFP