BBC World Service

Germans reacting to protests in Greece

Steve Evans Feb 14, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Greece today is trying to find another few hundred million dollars worth of budget cuts. It’s got less than a day to convince European leaders that it deserves more bailout money. Meanwhile, the rating agency Moody’s has downgraded the credit ratings of six European countries, which is likely to make matters worse.

The BBC’s Steve Evans joins us now from Berlin with more on all of this. Good morning.

Steve Evans: Good morning.

Hobson: Steve, we know there’s been a lot of anger in Greece over everything that has to be done to get more bailout money. How are the Germans feeling about all of this?

Evans: Well they don’t like it. They see pictures on the television of the German flag being burned. So ordinary people say: hold on a minute. We’re giving them all this money — or we’re promising them all this money — and this is the kind of gratitude we’re shown? Ordinary people are annoyed about it.

Having said all that, the government is very, very sensitive about these things — obviously, German power, there is historical baggage. So the people, I think, are angry; the people think their generosity’s being abused. The government treads very carefully.

Hobson: And Steve, just as we get close to a big moment like this, along comes the rating agency Moody’s, and it downgrades a number of European nations, making things potentially worse.

Evans: Yeah, but we’ve been here before; you’ve been here before. I think there’s much more of a feeling now that the downgrades don’t have the catastrophic effect that we once feared — either in the U.S. or in Europe. So clearly politicians don’t think it’s very helpful, but they don’t think it’s going to send the train off the tracks either.

Hobson: The BBC’s Steve Evans joining us from Berlin. Steve, thanks a lot.

Evans: You’re very welcome.

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