Greeks Fear The Worst Is Still To Come

Jason Farrell, Sky News correspondent, in Athens
Greeks Fear The Worst Is Still To Come

Greek creditors are bracing themselves the possibility of heavy losses but it is the Greek people who fear they may be the biggest losers if they default on their debts.

In Athens , there is an increasing concern about the country's prospects of staying in the eurozone.

Polls suggest over 75% of the Greek population want to stay in the single currency, but many fear their country is close to an exit.

"We may lose our jobs and our savings," graduate doctor Irene Tzanetos told Sky News.

"We will start not getting paid, things will slow down and many will have to emigrate."

Ms Tzanetos wants to become a paediatrician but she is waiting for a ministerial decision on where she will go for her residency. While there is no government in Greece her life is on hold.

Asked if she would move her savings out of Greece she told Sky News: "I haven't done it yet, but maybe I would because if we came out of the euro my money would lose its value."

Another graduate doctor, Nick Sverkos, said: "Maybe in the next elections people will change their vote.

"People were voting last time to express their disappointment with the past government, but this time they will be taking into consideration that we might fall out of the euro."

The country's President Karolos Papoulias has spoken of "fear that could develop into panic".

Minutes of Mr Papoulias' negotiations with political leaders showed that people were withdrawing euros from banks, apparently afraid of the prospect of rapid devaluation if the country leaves the euro.

Central bank head George Provopoulos said savers had withdrawn at least 700 million euros on May 14, the president told party chiefs.

Economist Kleoniki Terzou, 40, said: "They are worried that we might go back to the drachma, they are putting their money into safety deposit boxes. It's crazy. It's as if there is a war coming."

But student Christos Bakoulas told Sky News: "It's not going to happen. We will stay in the euro whatever happens.

"The other countries value us. They just tell us we're about to go from the euro to try to scare us."

Greek newspapers have published headlines highlighting the dangers of the upcoming elections, with one declaring: "Elections in a minefield."

Mr Papoulias was forced to call a new vote after failing to cobble together a coalition government . Polls suggest the radical left wing are poised to win the re-run.

The latest poll gives anti-austerity party Syriza the lead with 20.3% and New Democracy at 14.2%. It would mean a strengthening of power for Syriza but they would still need a partner to form a government.

With no clear route out of the political vacuum Greece's future is far from certain.

One economic commentator has suggested Greece was "playing a game of chicken with Germany", but right now in Greece there is no one behind the steering wheel.

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