Immigrants as scapegoats
As Greece is forced to make more budget cuts, right-wing extremism is on the rise
Protesters in wheelchairs jeered and whistled as officials from the “troika”—the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank—arrived at the labour ministry on October 2nd to press for yet more public-expenditure cuts. Beleaguered Greeks are set to endure a sixth year of recession in 2013. Greek budget planners forecast a 3.8-4% contraction, the IMF a more pessimistic 5%.
本月2日，欧盟委员会（European Commission）、国际货币基金组织（IMF）和欧洲央行（European Central Bank）这“三驾马车”的官员代表抵达希腊劳动部，敦促其继续削减公共开支。与此同时，众多残障人士坐在轮椅上，对于此举又是吹哨又是嘲讽。由于陷入欧债危机，希腊人民直至明年不得不继续经历连续第六年的经济衰退。据希腊财政部预计，本次衰退规模为3.8%至4%，而IMF则给出5%这一更为悲观的数字。
Yannis Stournaras, the finance minister, is under huge pressure to find an extra 2 billion ($2.6 billion) of last-minute savings to appease the troika. Antonis Samaras, the centre-right prime minister, has an even harder task: persuading the coalition government’s left-wing partners to accept tighter austerity. Both still sound confident a deal will be reached, though the timetable is likely to slip by a couple of weeks.
对此，希腊财长斯托那拉斯（Yannis Stournaras）肩负重担。他必须从辛苦积累下的财政基金中挤出20亿欧元（约26亿美元），以应付那三驾马车。而处于中右势力的希腊总理萨马拉斯（Antonis Samaras）所面临的任务则更为艰巨，即游说联合政府内部的左翼派接受更进一步的财政紧缩方案。但两人仍然相信能就此问题达成协议，只是达成时间可能会向后顺延两周。
Delays are not helpful for Mr Samaras. He has struggled during his first 100 days in office to keep his fragile coalition together while Mr Stournaras put together a 13.5 billion austerity package in return for Greece’s second 130 billion bail-out. At the European summit on October 18th, the premier promised that he would seek a two-year extension until 2016 for implementing the new measures, thereby softening their impact. But European leaders will not grant Greece’s request until the package has been agreed to with the troika and approved by the parliament in Athens. As a result Greece’s next 31.2 billion loan tranche, needed to recapitalise Greek banks so that they can start lending again, may not arrive until mid-November.
The draft budget for 2013 already includes almost 5 billion of cuts in pensions and public-sector salaries. Mr Stournaras hopes they are deep enough to achieve a primary budget surplus (before making debt repayments) of 1.4% of GDP. The troika chiefs are concerned tax revenues will be lower than forecast, and that the budget still leaves space for spending overruns by the defence and health ministries and in local government.
Once again the government has shied away from sacking civil servants, despite a commitment to cut the bloated public-sector payroll by 150,000 over the next three years. Instead a total of 15,000 civil servants are to be eased out of their jobs, taking early retirement after a year on 75% of their previous salary. It is an unsatisfactory solution reached to accommodate Mr Samaras’s coalition partners.
Greece’s official unemployment rate hit 24.4% in June, the EU’s second-highest after Spain. The jobless rate among young Greeks rose to 55.4%, overtaking Spain’s for the first time. Many private-sector workers, among them teachers and nurses, complain of not being paid regularly. “In our profession, you can’t not turn up for your shift,” said Yolanda, an intensive-care nurse taking part in a protest outside the health ministry, which owes more than 1 billion to private clinics for looking after state health-service patients.
Public-sector trade unions are planning rolling strikes to protest against the latest wage cuts. Extremists are stirring up trouble. Opinion polls show that Golden Dawn, the far-right, anti-immigrant party that won seats in parliament for the first time at the June general election, has overtaken the socialists to occupy third place behind Mr Samaras’s New Democracy and Syriza, the main opposition party.
国有部门的各个工会为抗议近期的工资削减正在计划集体罢工。极端分子也不断招惹事端。 “金色黎明党”（Golden Dawn）是希腊极右翼的反移民政党，它在今年6月的国会选举上首此赢得一席之地。据民调显示，该党人气已超过社会主义各大党派，直逼执政党“新民主党”（New Democracy）和第一反对党“希腊极左翼联盟”（Syriza），成为希腊第三大党。
Golden Dawn is opening more offices in provincial towns to increase support among the unemployed young. Recognisable by their black T-shirts with a swastika-like emblem, its members are growing bolder in their harassment of immigrants. One group recently attacked several stallholders at an open-air market in Rafina, a port near Athens, after posing as plain-clothes police checking their permits. The police were not much help: as often happens with Golden Dawn’s transgressions, sympathetic police officers looked the other way.
Golden Dawn is not only stepping up its vigilantism and attacks against immigrants. Nikos Michaloliakos, the party leader, encourages displays designed to show Golden Dawn’s social conscience, through public distributions of food parcels to the needy. But beneficiaries must first register with the party and prove they are Greek, by showing their identity cards.
Nikos Dendias, the citizens’ protection minister, says that Golden Dawn’s storm-troopers will not be tolerated. Shopkeepers around Plateia Amerikis, where some immigrants run small businesses, are not convinced. “Racist violence is on the rise, and many people are in need of protection,” says Javed Aslam, a Pakistani community leader. Few immigrants trust the police any more.
对此，希腊司法部长丹迪亚斯（Nikos Dendias）表示，金色黎明党的那些“突击队员”不能被姑息。在Amerikis广场，一部分移民经营着小买卖。对于政府的态度，当地的店家表示不太放心。“种族暴力行径不断增多，许多人都需要保护。”某巴基斯坦社区领导Javed Aslam称。大部分移民对于希腊警方都表示不信任。 翻译：沈骜