Troika inspectors meet in Greece for progress report
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Jeff Horwich: When the people coming to visit are known as ‘the Troika,’ you can be pretty sure it’s not a social call. The Troika is the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF and they have started meetings in Greece today — they’d like to know what’s happening in return for billions in bailout money.
Dimitris Doulos is an economist at the American College of Greece. He’s with me from his office near Athens. Hello.
Dimitris Doulos: Good to talk to you.
Horwich: We report on this seemingly constant stream of supposedly do or die moments for Greece — how pivotal is this one?
Doulos: All the meetings with Troika are serious — there’s no doubt about that. This time they just came to check if we had any progress in the period before and after the elections as far as the structural changes we are supposed to proceed with.
Horwich: So it has been about a month since those elections you mentioned, is the new government having any better luck than the previous one at solving this conflict between the austerity they promised and the pain that many Greeks seem to be refusing to accept?
Doulos: I think the government shows that it is serious in proceeding with changes. The good thing is that they are realizing that there is not a lot of room for negotiation and so now they have started proceeding with the changes — at a slower pace than they should of course, but they have shown some progress.
Horwich: Despite the fact that all the sides here are continuing to talk, continuing to work together, it sounds like many Greeks are resigned to ultimately leaving the euro. If you could speak to your fellow Greeks right now and grab them by the shoulders and shake them a bit and say this is what’s going to happen if we leave the euro — what would you tell them?
Doulos: Inflation will erode their incomes, people don’t realize that, but if we go back to a national currency, the national currency will devalue and purchasing power of their incomes will decline. Things that we import, like gasoline for instance, will be very, very expensive, so that will automatically cause a huge decline in the standard of living.
Horwich: Economist Dimitris Doulos from Greece, thank you very much.
Doulos: Thank you very much.
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