From Elstat, the Hellenic Statistical Authority:
While Greece’s retail trades, the bulwark of the middle class, have continued to fall since the start of the Great Recession, the lenders of the Troika continue to battle over terms of the next round of bailout cash, even though Greece has already sold much of its public holdings [rail and transit systems, ports, and even islands] while imposing draconian pay and pension cuts while downsizing its civil service.
From Greek Reporter:
The “serious disagreement between the IMF and European institutions” puts the chances of Greece’s economic recovery at risk, said Bank of Greece governor Yiannis Stournaras on Monday.
Stournaras spoke about the Greek economy at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce conference and talked about the crucial negotiations on the second bailout program review. He warned that “a possible failure to reach an agreement could halt the upward trend of the economy, resulting in the return to uncertainty and would undermine confidence.” He said that the disagreement between euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund on debt relief measures is pushing back decisions.
The central bank chief urged Greece’s European partners to make decisions on the measures that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the state debt and reduce the target for the primary surplus to 2% of GDP from 3.5%, in order to enhance the prospects of growth.
Stournaras said that, Despite the mistakes and setbacks, despite the significant economic and social costs of the crisis, Greece has made significant progress over the last six years in terms of budget adjustments and external imbalances.”
However, he said, the harsh measures Greek governments have implemented and the burden Greek people have shouldered are at serious risk. “Despite positive forecasts for the second half of 2016 and 2017, serious risks for the Greek economy still lurk. The main danger is a possible failure to reach an agreement for the second evaluation of the program and delays or setbacks in the implementation.”
More from To Vima:
The head of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem argued that European lenders should be “realistic” in the fiscal targets they set for Greece after 2018, when the program of financial aid will end.
“We need to be realistic” Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the economic affairs committee of the European Parliament, saying that the International Monetary Fund has a point when it says “running a primary surplus of 3.5 percent for a very long time is a huge thing to ask”.
Dijsselbloem’s remarks come a few days before a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on 5 December, when Europe’s Finance Ministers are set to decide for how long Greece should maintain a primary budget surplus – which excludes debt servicing costs – of 3.5% after 2018, when its current program of financial aid expires.
Even Barack Obama, who has otherwise shown himself a faithful apostle of neoliberal “reforms,” is calling for the banksters to back off and give the beleaguered Greeks some measure of debt relief.
And well he should, considering that it was the avarice of Wall Street banksters who caused the crash in the first place.