ECONOMY

Optimism slowly growing in Greece

BRUSSELS – Greeks may find the present bleak but are more optimistic about the future, according to Eurobarometer data published yesterday in Brussels. The statistical report from the European Union is showing a small but clear swing of the country’s public opinion toward optimism. Three out of four Greeks (76 percent) believe that the economy is bad or very bad and another 74 percent believe that in the next 12 months it will be the same or worse. However, the rate of pessimism has fallen since the Eurobarometer report of last spring. At that time, 82 percent saw the economy as bad and 83 percent thought things would not improve. Those who believe the economy is fine at the moment have increased by 6 percent and those who expect an improvement next year have risen by 10 percent. In total 38 percent of Greeks believe that their life will improve in 2008, 44 percent expect no change and 17 percent expect a deterioration. The government enjoys the trust of 46 percent of Greeks to find a solution to their problems, against 54 percent who do not. This shows an improvement of 5 percent from the previous poll in the spring, when 41 percent trusted the same government (before the September general elections) and 59 percent did not. The Greek government enjoys a relatively high score of trust in the European Union, where the average rate stands at just 34 percent. The Greek leadership stands in ninth place among EU countries’ governments. Cyprus ranks seventh, with 49 percent of Cypriots trusting it. The problems that Greeks deem as pressing for a solution are as follows: Unemployment is top with 42 percent, while 79 percent of the Greek people think that in 12 months’ time things will be be the same or worse, followed by high costs (34 percent), the economy in general (33 percent) and pensions (17 percent). Unemployment and high costs are the biggest problems for most Europeans, too, followed by the health system, lack of security and the general economic situation.