Sunday, January 31, 2010

Greek Farm Protests

As if Greece needed additional problems - it now has farmer blockades. Apparently the farmers are refusing to be part of the government deficit cuts that need to happen to get Greek finances back in order. This blockade is getting expensive costing an estimated 25 million Euros a day causing strain in economic exports.

On an absolute dollar scale I am not sure this is that big of a deal but it shows the problems in trying to fix a deficit problem when it has gotten this big. Imagine the pushback if the U.S. government tried to cut subsidies or government funding programs.

From the Uk Guardian:

Talks to resolve a crippling three-week tractor blockade of highways and border crossings in Greece by farmers collapsed today, increasing the pressure on a government grappling with the country's worst financial crisis in decades.


Tonight, the Greek agriculture minister, Katerina Batzeli, signalled that while she remained "open to dialogue", the government was in no position to meet their demands for some €1bn (£867m) in extra subsidies and tax breaks. "The government is determined to get the country out of the crisis," she said. "It can't afford the money they are asking for."

The blockade, which is believed to cost €25m a day, has disrupted transport, damaged commerce and strained relations with neighbouring Bulgaria, where exports have also been hard hit.

The activist farmers, who have appealed to resume marathon negotiations with Batzeli today, have barricaded some 23 highway junctions across northern and central Greece with their tractors. Last week, they stepped up their "battle for survival" by marching in their thousands through Athens.

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