Bank of Greece Governor Yiorgos Provopoulos tells Skai television that Greece's political leaders knew the extent of the deficit since before the 2009 election; that leaving the eurozone would be sheer folly for Greece; and that since Greece entered the euro in 2001, not once did it achieve the required three percent deficit threshold. Government expenditure climbed seven points between 2001 and 2007, Provopoulos revealed, but governments did nothing to forestall high deficits because the economy was growing sufficiently quickly to overshadow the problem.
Siege today, Strike tomorrow
Contract teachers were besieging the education ministry this morning in protest at the expected reduction in hiring this September, against the social security cuts and against the austerity measures announced by the finance minister on Sunday. A separate group was protesting outside the Athens University downtown campus with banners and loud music. Representatives of PAME, the Commuist Party of Greece union arm, unfurled two giant banners from the walls of the Acropolis reading "Peoples of Europe Rise up. Civil servants are on strike today and tomorrow.
The civil servants' union will be joined by the General Confederation of labour tomorrow, leading to a standstill for a number of services including ministries, banks, lawyers, journalists, local government, Athens International Airport, pension funds, hospitals and schools. Public transport will operate from 10am to 4pm.