The new government has had a turbulent first few days as European leaders, international media and markets displayed unease at SYRIZA’s first moves in office. However, this scepticism is unlikely to lead to an immediate shift in tone or direction for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his ministers.
Foreign policy, rather than bailout terms or debt relief, is emerging as the first potential point of conflict between Greece and the European Union after the SYRIZA-led government indicated displeasure over calls for further sanctions against Russia due to fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Greek private sector deposits fell for the third straight month in December, when they declined by 2.4 percent month on month (MoM). Balances reached 160.29 billion euros, according to the Bank of Greece (BoG).
Over a third of Greek homes are mired in poverty and debt, largely due to disposable incomes nose-diving below the poverty line and the pilling up of household bills, a survey from a country’s largest small- and medium business association has found.
Greeks are the most pessimistic among their European Union counterparts about the future of the 28-member bloc, view it mainly in a negative light and most don’t see themselves as European citizens, according to the results of a biannual survey from the European Commission.
He or she is aged between 30 and 44, works full-time in a business run by a sole proprietor and grosses less than the average salary in the private sector. These are the general characteristics of a typical employee in Greece in 2014, according to figures presented by the Labour Ministry this week.
“We want people on the streets, we want you to protest,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras told the crowd at his last campaign speech in Athens on Thursday. He and his party envision that popular will can be the rising tide to lift SYRIZA in its battle with the troika and struggle to tame domestic opponents. The thinking goes that if the people are visibly on SYRIZA’s side its bargaining position will be impregnable.
When the counting of votes gets underway in Greece’s election on Sunday night, most eyes will be focused on election favourite Syriza’s tally to see if the leftist party stands a chance of gaining an overall majority in the new parliament.
It is easier to write down big questions on Greece’s future; harder to answer them. One thing we can be sure about though. The scene is set for a political showdown, the likes of which the Euro-crisis has not yet seen.