Why is Greece's economy so important to us?

The economic instability in Greece is dominating the headlines at the G-20 Summit in France, ABC7 looks at why.
November 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's a modern day Greek tragedy is playing out, not only in the streets of Athens, but also on a global stage. Right now, Greece is the focus of the G-20 Summit of world leaders. If that country fails, the implications are far reaching.

Greece only accounts for 3 percent of the European union's economy, but it risks losing it's position within the EU and a lot more if it doesn't meet its commitments.

"If Europe has a recession, if Europe has a problem, that automatically means it's bad news for the rest of the world," said Axel Merk, of Merk Investments.

Merk is watching how the markets react to the chaos unraveling in Greece. Earlier on Thursday, Greece's prime minister considered taking the European bailout plan to the people for a vote. He later changed his mind. That move angered and re-affirmed to President Barack Obama and others that the bailout plan, with built in protections, is necessary.

"The most important aspect of our task is to resolve the financial crisis here in Europe," said Obama.

Merk says the best way to do that is to be prepared if and when Greece defaults.

"They should be moving on and better preparing the banking system to absorb the shock of a default, rather than trying to help Greece," said Merk.

But for many Greeks living in the U.S., it's not that easy. And watching the images of police clashing with violent protesters is painful.

"My in laws, my family that are pensioners have seen pensions cut multiple times now, so planning is almost impossible," said Andreas Stavropoulos, an Atherton resident.

"I'm worried about the people. I'm worried about everybody who has spent their whole lives working," said Diamantis Kourkouzelis, a San Carlos resident.

Kourkouzelis is also angry and saddened by what's become of Greece. He said, "It's not entirely the Greek citizens' fault. It's wrong policies over the last 30 years that basically led Greece and the Greeks to actually have less dreams."

Meantime, the prime minister's future is in question. He faces a confidence vote in parliament at midnight Friday. Analysts believe he'll resign.


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