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Greece

Yearbook 2012

Greece. The economic crisis continued during the year to force wages, pensions and jobs to new bottom levels. The share of unemployed was 25% in November and every day another 1,000 jobs disappeared. Many people stood outside the welfare system. They applied for soup kitchens, children fainted at school due to a nutritional deficiency and many seriously ill became without medication as the pharmaceutical companies curtailed the credits to the state health insurance fund. Many residents found it particularly difficult to pay their electricity bills because, among other things, the property tax was collected that way. At the same time, crime statistics skyrocketed. The number of burglaries increased as people began to store large sums of money at home due to mistrust of the banks.

2012 Greece

Among the most vulnerable were young people who were outside the labor market and the elderly, whose pensions had been cut and whose adult children, often unemployed, could no longer support them. The number of suicides increased especially in this group. The desperation also hit hard on refugees. Several thousands of paperless refugees were locked up in camps, and the human rights organization Amnesty International accused Greece of treating them as criminals. The number of racist hate crimes also increased.

According to countryaah, the popular dissatisfaction shook the country's leadership. During the winter and spring, a large number of MPs jumped off the established parties PASOK (All-Greek Socialist Movement) and New Democracy (ND, Conservative). Two new elections became necessary, the first May 6. ND and PASOK shared the message that the country must continue to swallow the austere austerity medicine in order for it to be integrated again into the world economy. Challengers, with the left-wing Syriza in the lead, said that austerity was exacerbating the situation by beating consumption. Syrian manager Alexis Tsipras promised that if he won, he would break all agreements with the lenders.

ND and Syriza both went forward while PASOK shrank. The world was shaken by the news that the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn took 7% of the vote. ND, Syriza and PASOK failed in success to form government and a new election was held on June 17. Both ND and Syriza again advanced strongly; ND took 29.7% of the vote and Syriza 27.9. ND leader Antonis Samaras was able to form government with the support of PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR).

At the same time, negotiations were underway between Greece and the so-called troika, ie the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On February 21, the eurozone finance ministers gave a sign of a second and severely conditional rescue package, worth € 130 billion. Private lenders - i.a. banks, insurance companies and pension funds - were expected to contribute another 100 billion euros by reducing part of the debt in exchange for securing interest payments on remaining loans.

On November 27, the euro area countries gave the go-ahead for yet another rescue package worth SEK 43.7 billion to be paid in installments. That grant would allow Greece to buy back government securities at a discounted price from private banks. The overarching goal was that by 2020, the Greek central government's share of GDP would reach 120%, which many analysts hoped to be unrealistic.

In exchange for the rescue package, the new government under Samaras pushed through new austerity in parliament, including a further reduction of the statutory minimum wage by 20% to EUR 751 per month, a reduction of the public sector by 150,000 jobs up to 2015, and savings in health care and an increase in the retirement age from 65 to 67 years. Each partial payment of the rescue package was conditional on additional austerity measures.

The country's GDP continued to shrink for the fifth consecutive year. The decrease for 2012 was expected to be in line with the decrease in 2011, which was 6.9%. In October, however, the urgent risk of Greece going bankrupt and forcing the euro to be eliminated was considered.

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