Eurozone Fears Spread of Resistance If Greece Wins Concessions on Austerity

Posted May 20, 2015

MP3 Interview with Costas Panayotakis, professor of sociology at New York City College of Technology, conducted by Scott Harris


The Syriza party, the Coalition of the Radical Left, won a decisive victory in Greece’s January national election on a pledge to challenge harsh Eurozone austerity measures imposed in exchange for a bailout of the battered Greek economy. Now negotiations are being conducted between Syriza’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as "the troika."

Pressure is growing on Greece, which is fast running out of money, to make a deal before the end of May, as the government is due to make a payment $1.67 billion to the International Monetary Fund by June 5. If negotiators cannot reach an agreement on Eurozone demands for more austerity measures and reforms, some $8 billion in bailout funds won’t be released that could cause the country to go into default. Speculation about default and the unknown consequences of Greece’s possible exit from the Eurozone, has hobbled the nation’s fragile economy.

For its part, the Syriza government faces tough choices on how to reach a compromise with Eurozone creditors without violating the party’s campaign pledge to reverse some austerity measures and raise the minimum wage. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Costas Panayotakis, professor of Sociology at New York City College of Technology, who talks about what’s at stake in current negotiations between Greece's Syriza government and Eurozone officials – and concern in the EU that if concessions are made to Greece, resistance to austerity policies could spread across Europe.

For more information, visit Costas Panayotakis' City Tech website at citytech.cuny.

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