A perplexed Greece

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Greece's fiscal calamity - triggered by economic mismanagemnt and overspending - has the debt-laden country running from pillar to post seeking yet another lifeline that international donors are reluctant to throw. Earlier Germany, and now France, had strongly reprimanded Greece for going slow in introducing austerity measures that would give the lenders the required assurances for writing another hefty cheque to fill its fast depeleting coffers. The beleaguered government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is trying to finalise a package of 11.5 billion euros of spending cuts over the next 24 months in order to make it eligible for the forthcoming tranche from the IMF and other European associates. This is no mean task. Athens will have to further tighten its belt. The cuts in subsidies and scaling down of the public sector has hurt its citizens who've been suffering austerity measures for three years running with no salvation in sight. They are now hinting at exiting from the euro zone in order to retain their fiscal autonomy. This somersault in public opinion comes barely two months after their pro-euro vote. This time around, the preconditions set by European leaders that their magnanimity would depend on Greece's performance report on the health of its economy has irked the establishment in Athens. The reason: There's hardly anything left for the government to cut. The macro-economic deal that the troika - the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission - want from Greece in the form of listing its budget deficit and putting a cap on borrowing limits from independent sources has made any headway in regulating a cash-starved economy impossible. The piecemeal prescription of fudging of books and then doling out a new tranche is no solution. The euro is losing its power and it's time the tender is rescued. The crisis is not restricted to Greece alone. It's across the eurozone. Spain, Italy, Finland and Ireland - and now even Austria and many of the central European states - are getting jittery over its gradual capitulation at the hands of policies that are split into the haves and have nots. The growth engines of Europe, namely France and Germany, owe more than consolation lectures to the docile member states of the eurozone. Germany has talked at length on pooling of domestic policies for a united vision. It's time it walks the talk.

Khaleej Times

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