Gloomy Greeks brace for tough ‘06

With the start of the new year around the corner, a Eurobarometer survey showed that Greeks are pessimistic about the upcoming 12 months, saying that the state of the economy leaves little room for hopeful beginnings. The survey, made public yesterday, found that 63 percent of Greeks see the economy taking a turn for the worse in 2006, while only 39 percent of EU residents share this opinion. Unemployment remains at the top of the concerns list, as about two-thirds of Greeks expect jobless lines to get longer. The same concerns exist across the 25-nation bloc but to a lesser extent. «Unemployment is still the dominant concern, but significantly less so than in spring 2005,» the report said. The Eurobarometer poll, conducted twice a year on behalf of the European Commission, questioned 1,000 people in Greece and almost 30,000 people in the EU. One of the stronger messages to come out of the survey showed that EU citizens are questioning more and more decisions to add new member states. «A further narrowing of the gap between supporters and opponents of further enlargement can be observed, pointing to a more critical attitude toward it,» the survey said. More than half of those surveyed (55 percent) said that they are against the idea of Turkey entering the EU, up from 52 percent previously. Opponents to Turkey’s induction in Greece reached 79 percent of those polled.