Monday, February 6, 2012

Greece negotiations will test how much citizens will tolerate in order to stay part of the Eurozone

Imagine for a moment what Tea Partiers would say to the idea that a group of European leaders wants U.S. workers to take a pay cut and give up some of their retirement benefits?

But this is essentially what the negotiations going on in Greece today are about, and it will interesting to see how much the Greeks will tolerate should the government agree to European demands. The reward, from the perspective of Eurozone leaders, is that Greece gets more bailout funding and gets to continue to play in the Eurozone club.

Police line up to face Greek protests (and a dog) in this 2010 picture. More protests can be expected this week.

According to the BBC report, negotiators want further government spending from Greece, reductions to Greece's minimum wage of up to 20 percent, cuts in civil service jobs, and cuts to the size of pension programs.

In response, two Greek labor unions have called for a 24-hour strike for Tuesday, and protests are expected today in the capital.

Already the parties involved in the negotiations have missed a self-imposed deadline, but quickly the sides back tracked and claimed that there was, in fact, no deadline.

The only deadline is to have a staff agreement for the second bailout and the agreement of the political leaders before Eurogroup," said an anonymous official in an Athens News report.

This is essentially true as the next payments are not due until March 20, any deadlines imposed now are merely designed to rush negotiations.