Cycle of death and destruction in Ukraine must stop: UN official    Rise of disinformation a symptom undermining public trust: Bachelet    SFD signs development agreement and inaugurates three projects in Mauritania    Dr. Al-Sheikh to join 140 minsters in education pre-summit at UNESCO    KAUST announces lineup of LLI programs this summer, fall    GCC has an opportunity to play a role in resolving the Russia-Ukraine crisis    Saudi Arabia takes part in UN conference by opening 'Blue Saudi' pavilion    Governor of Riyadh Region to Inaugurate 93 Environmental and Water Projects, Tomorrow, Estimating SR 8.5 Billion    Eight Event Zones at Jeddah Season are Available to Visitors throughout the Year    Jordanian awqaf minister visits Halat Ammar, lauds services provided to pilgrims    ACES signs 10 year Neutral Host agreement with AlMoosa Medical Group    Makkah Emir Prince Khaled inspects Holy Sites    NAUSS Organizes Symposium on Alternative Punishments to Freedom-depriving Punishments in Rabat    SFDA warns against herbal product 'Montalin Jamu' due to containing active medicinal ingredients    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Chairs Cabinet's Session    Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development Participates in 2nd Workshop on Arab Classification of Persons with Disabilities    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Higher at 11,671.15 Points    SFDA Warns Against Herbal Product "Montalin Jamu" Due to Containing Active Medicinal Ingredients    SDRPY reviews pioneering Saudi projects and initiatives in Yemeni cities    Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Sends Cable of Condolences to Jordanian King on Victims of Gas Leak in Aqaba Port    Fertilizer shortage hits African farmers battling food crisis    Jordanian Prime Minister: Life back to normal in Aqaba after chlorine gas leak    OIC Secretary General Meets Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan    As Part of HRH Crown Prince's Vision to Transform Al-Ula to a Global Heritage Destination, Al-Ula Royal Commission Launches the Arts Valley Project    Al-Hilal lifts MBS League title for 3rd time in a row, beating Al-Faisaly    Al-Ahli relegated for first time in history    Ithra expands 'iRead' competition to participants from all Arab countries    Saudi Arabia's women's badminton championship begins with participation of 60 players    NEOM, McLaren Racing announce strategic title partnership to drive innovation in electric motorsport    Aramco Opens ARC KAUST to Accelerate Low-Carbon Energy Research    Saudi Export Development Authority Hosts More than 80 Egyptian and Nigerian Importers    Morocco and Iraq to the finals of Arab Futsal in Dammam on Tuesday    Saudi US Joint Exhibition on Photography Concludes in Tabuk    Venice-based art exhibition sheds light on upcoming Saudi talents    Makkah Municipality offers animal sacrifices permitting service through Baladi platform    First Saudi-American Joint Exhibition of Photography held in Tabuk Region    FIFA Accredits Saudi Football Association Among Expert Federations in VAR Tech    Belgian blogger: Saudi Arabia is safer than America and Europe    SFDA Extends Period for Submitting Requests for Compliance Forms for Food Transportation during Hajj    Jeddah is Set to Host the Finals of World Boxing in August, Organizers Announce    Saudi National Olympic Team Crowned AFC U23 Asian Cup    Samrat Prithviraj: Why did a Bollywood film on a popular Hindu king fail?    Saudi Council of Senior Scholars slams Indian ruling party leader's remarks against Prophet    Drug charges dropped against Shah Rukh Khan's son    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques addresses citizens and all Muslims on the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Greeks divided over cuts, Sarkozy vows support
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 06 - 03 - 2010

Greeks are divided over the government's increasingly harsh austerity measures, polls showed on Saturday, a day after thousands marched in Athens to protest against steps to rein in the country's swollen budget deficit, according to Reuters.
One poll, carried out by Kapa Research for the To Vima newspaper, showed 46.6 percent of 1,044 people surveyed backed new tax hikes and spending cuts worth 4.8 billion euros ($6.5 billion) while 47.9 percent disapproved.
The surveys indicated strong opposition to some specific measures, however, showing the government cannot expect an easy ride grappling with a budget crisis that has rocked the euro.
Police clashed with dozens of stone-throwing youths in Athens on Friday but protests were much more low key than riots in 2008 and an estimated total turnout of about 12,000 was a small fraction of the capital's population of 3 million.
Unions representing half the country's 5 million strong workforce have brought forward a national strike to March 11.
Saturday's surveys came after EU leaders expressed confidence on Friday that the new measures would be enough for Greece not to need a bailout from its European neighbours.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou received political support but no promise of any specific financial aid at talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and with Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg.
Papandreou pledged on Saturday not to let Greece default.
But French President Nicolas Sarkozy made clear he was ready to help if Greece's financial situation were to deteriorate.
Papandreou is due in Paris on Sunday as part of a tour to seek backing for his country, whose debt has swollen to about 300 billion euros, well above its annual economic output.
"If we created the euro, we cannot let a country fall that is in the euro zone. Otherwise, there was no point in creating the euro," Sarkozy said at a meeting with farmers. "The euro has no sense if there is no solidarity."
A second survey by pollster Alco published in Sunday's Proto Thema newspaper showed 50 percent of 1,000 respondents had a negative view of the government following the latest bout of belt-tightening while 41 percent had a positive view.
A survey conducted by the same pollster in January but asking different questions showed Papandreou's PASOK party enjoyed support of 34.7 percent. Two polls carried out in late February before the latest cuts showed just over half of Greeks believed the government was tackling the crisis effectively.
On the downside for the government, the latest Alco poll showed 86.2 percent considered the new cuts unfair, 71.9 percent described them as tough and 64 percent said Papandreou had yet to convince them the package could pull Greece out of crisis.
Both surveys showed strong opposition to measures immediately affecting voters such as higher value added tax, cuts to public sector holiday bonuses and a pension freeze.
The results echoed a survey published on Friday which also showed strong support for measures such as higher taxes on tobacco, alcohol and luxury goods.
The Proto Thema newspaper concluded that its poll showed strong opposition to the measures but that government support was holding firm and in line with levels seen at the time of last October's snap general election.
Papandreou's socialist PASOK party has 160 out of 300 seats in parliament, ensuring his latest budget measures were passed on Friday, and replaced a conservative administration accused of concealing the full extent of Greece's economic woes.
Ratings agencies and other EU governments have said ability to deliver will be key to determining whether Greece can re-establish its credibility diplomatically and as a borrower.
Economists also say the performance of the Greek economy, and the extent to which the cuts hamper any recovery from recession, will be a major risk in the coming months.
"The choice facing all Greeks today is collapse or rescuing Greece," Labour Minister Andreas Loverdos said in an interview published in the Greek Isotimia newspaper on Saturday.
Workers spent the night boarding up broken shop windows and painting over graffiti in Athens after Friday's protests but Papandreou saved his condemnation for financial market speculators, pledging to lead any EU efforts to rein them in.
"It is not just unfair, it is also undemocratic that while the government is putting in a superhuman effort, a few kids in New York and elsewhere, seated in front of their computers, undermine it," he told the Kosmos Tou Ependyti newspaper.
"We won't let Greece default," he added.
Public opposition to the government cutbacks has so far been relatively muted by both Greek and European standards.
In Ireland, which has also slashed spending aggressively but did so much more quickly, some 100,000 protesters last year marched through Dublin, which is one-third the size of Athens.
The latest protests in Greece have been much less violent than those seen in December 2008, when dozens of people were injured, hundreds arrested, scores of shops destroyed and more than 15,000 police deployed on the streets of Athens alone.

Clic here to read the story from its source.