Despite the market's exuberant hope that everything will be contained and business-as-usual will resume shortly in Europe, the message from the wealthiest Greeks is very different... As The FT reports, not since the nation's civil war has Greek society been riven by deep divisions between left and right as Greece's financial plight reopens old wounds."The government are incompetent and are ruining the country because they are communists and do not understand reality," said Maria, a banker. "But there has to be a deal. The EU has to save us," she said, fingering her golden necklace. "Right?"
As The FT reports, for the affluent, life without the euro is almost unimaginable...
The single currency made it easier for them to send children to study abroad and purchase property and luxury goods elsewhere in Europe.More than that, it distinguished Greece from its impoverished Balkan neighbours, confirming its place at the centre of a prosperous Europe. But as the crisis has dragged on, other Greeks — particularly supporters of the left-wing premier Alex Tsipras — increasingly equate membership of the currency with crippling public spending cuts and social inequality.Until now, much of the country’s elite had assumed Mr Tsipras’s defiance to the country’s creditors was a calculated bluff to extract more aid from EU leaders fearful of the ramifications of a Greek exit from the eurozone.
But the wealthy Greeks are now revolting too...
But at the north Athens party, it was dawning on some that many Syriza supporters feel they have nothing to lose, and are therefore willing to take a leap into the unknown with a potential default rather than suffer the ignominy of a climbdown and more cuts to public spending.“The working class with no money to spend and empty bank accounts . . . has nothing to lose,” said Patroklos Koudounis, founder of Adequate, a political risk consultancy. “Hence, they support the government and, as polls clearly show, half of them are in favour of a Grexit.”Mr Koudounis found himself joining a pro-EU protest on Thursday night in central Athens, organised in response to a demonstration the night before by Syriza supporters. It was an act, he admitted, he “never would have ever imagined myself doing”.
“Those who have something — or a lot — to lose are becoming quite irritated,” he remarked. “They feel that they are under extreme danger and are now ready to get off the comfort of their couches and protest in the streets.”
Fear of what might come this week, including warnings of capital controls for Greek banks if no deal is reached on Monday, has prompted rich Greeks to move the bulk of their personal wealth and business accounts abroad, or hoard piles of cash in their homes.
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