Greeks are very unhappy with their government. They’ve been protesting and throwing stones, shoes, bottles, rocks, and even garbage at their country’s police. This past week, thousands and thousands of people went on strike. Trains, buses, and ferries were hardly operating in Athens, the capital of Greece. Even the airport was shut down for part of the time. The people are unhappy because the Greek government has decided to further raise taxes, cut jobs, reduce salaries, reduce the pension it pays to retired people, and more. Why is the government doing all these things that are upsetting its citizens?
In 2002, Greece gave up its currency called the drachma to adopt the euro (sign: €). The euro is a currency that has been adopted by 17 European Union (EU) countries and a few non-European Union countries. Once Greece adopted the euro, it became easier for it to borrow money. The government spent much more than it could afford, and kept borrowing to make up the gap. As a result, the country accumulated a big debt. Last year, the country did not have enough money to pay off part of its loan that was due. Greece’s debt was a concern for other European countries because if Greece did not pay back its debt, it would hurt the value of the euro, which in turn would hurt all the other countries that use the euro. The EU along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to loan Greece money, as long as Greece controlled its spending.
Now it is time for Greece to get its next round of money from the EU and IMF, but they refuse to give more money until Greece’s government further reduces the money it spends. Therefore, Greece’s government has come up with another plan where it will reduce salaries and raise taxes even more. This is what has upset the citizens of the country.
The Greek civilization has been around for over three thousand years. The Greeks have given us many things. The Olympic Games were started in 776BC in Olympia, Greece, and continue to be one of the world’s most popular events. The Greeks also gave us democracy – a society where citizens can vote and make decisions about laws, and can choose their rulers. Without the Greeks, w mght b wrtng lk ths – because they gave us vowels! Even the word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet – “Alpha” and “Beta”.