CNN is reporting that Greece, “is preparing to sell off billions of dollars worth of state assets including airports, highways and state-owned companies, as well as banks, real estate and gaming licenses, to meet international lenders’ demands that it raise funds.” The proposed government sales come as the result of stricter requirements the European Central Bank is imposing in its second bailout package to the financially crippled nation. The new stipulations require the Greek government to raise $71 billion (50 billion euros) by 2015 through privatization of state assets.
The reforms proposed by the ECB plan will still need to make their way through the Greek Parliament, where political opposition could be a concern as Prime Minister George Papandreou continues to lose support from constituents and diplomatic allies at home. More from CNN, “The Greek government’s popularity has plunged recently, and anti-government protests turned violent Wednesday, as demonstrators threw gasoline bombs at the Finance Ministry and police fired tear gas at protesters.”
Public unrest continues to brew in Greece as record levels of unemployment plague the nation and may only continue to spike as more public sector jobs are likely to get the axe in the next round of government led budget cuts. Current estimates target a cut of 150,000 public sector jobs, with wage reductions, decreased hours, and cutbacks in social benefits and entitlements likely to effect many more in the larger workforce.
The Greek Finance Ministry estimates that these cutbacks will help the government save 28 billion euros over the next three years, and reduce sovereign spending to 3% of GDP.
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