NEWS

Glum outlook prevails in Greece

Greeks are among the most dissatisfied in Europe with their daily lives and the most pessimistic about their future finances, according to a survey published yesterday. The fall 2008 Eurobarometer report, conducted for the European Union, found that few Europeans are as unhappy as the Greeks. Only 53 percent of people in Greece said that they are content with their daily lives. The EU average is 76 percent and only the Romanians, Portuguese, Hungarians and Bulgarians are less enthused by the situation they are in. The Bulgarians are the least satisfied (38 percent), while the Dutch are the most content (98 percent). Nine in 10 Greeks have a negative view of their country’s economy and they are the most pessimistic in the entire EU (89 percent) about the state of the global economy. The survey was carried out in October and November last year – before this week’s European Commission forecast that the Greek economy would grow by just 0.2 percent. According to the Eurobarometer poll, six in 10 Greeks say they have problems paying their bills and 83 percent that life will be more difficult for their children, also the highest rate in the EU. The negative climate surrounding the Greek economy is something that the government wants to start combating, sources said yesterday. Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou insisted yesterday that things would not turn out as badly as many are predicting. «The naysayers will be proved wrong, exactly as they were a few years ago when the international media had predicted the failure of Greece in organizing the 2004 Olympic Games or that due to excessive spending on the Games, Greece’s economy would later find itself in bad shape,» he said. Papathanassiou is due to meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis tomorrow in one of the regular meetings, also involving Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias, that the premier wants to help shape the government’s economic policy.