NEWS

Confidence in 2007 running low

Greeks are not facing the new year with confidence, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Kathimerini, which also found that voters are split over the government’s privatization program. Just over half (55 percent) of those questioned as part of the survey carried out by VPRC said that they are unhappy about the way the the democratic process is working in Greece. The poll suggests that there is an even greater sense of dissatisfaction and pessimism when people assess their expectations for their jobs and the economy as a whole. Only a fifth of the respondents said that they expect the situation at their current place of work to improve over the next 12 months. A third said they expect things to get worse. Four in 10 Greeks expect a downturn in the the country’s economy during 2007. Three in 10 expect things to improve this year. Almost half (47 percent) expect the tourism sector to carry Greece’s hopes and develop more than any other industry over the next decade. The next most popular choice was agriculture with only 9 percent expecting it to grow over the coming years. Greeks also appear concerned about their personal development in the future. Two-thirds of those questioned said they feel insecure about their future and 67 percent said that they did not save any money during 2006. A third of respondents said that they can get by on their current salaries but 54 percent said that they are having trouble making ends meet with their existing wages. According to the survey, Greeks believe on average that a post-tax monthly wage of 1,540 euros is needed for someone to «live with dignity» in Greece. This is much higher than the average wage in Greece at the moment. The basic monthly wage is just over 650 euros a month. On the political front, 30 percent of those polled believe that the government should focus most of its efforts on sorting out Greece’s education problems over the next few years. A quarter of respondents think that the main emphasis should be on reforming the health system while 18 percent said that the government should make tackling unemployment its priority. Greeks appear to be divided over whether the government should proceed with its plans to privatize Olympic Airlines, OTE telecom and a range of other public utilities. On average, 47 percent said they agree with the privatization program but 43 percent disagree. Ten percent said they were undecided. However, more than half (55 percent) of the 599 respondents said that the private sector needs to be bolstered to improve the performance of Greece’s economy. A quarter said that the public sector needs strengthening and 17 percent believe that both areas should be boosted equally. The poll indicates that the government needs to do more to convince voters that it has an organized program of reforms that it wants to carry out as 49 percent of respondents said that they think the ruling conservatives probably do not have a cohesive plan compared to 38 percent who have been convinced by the government’s actions.