ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is in a "Great Depression" similar to the American one in the 1930s, the country's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Sunday.
Samaras was speaking two days before a team of Greece's international lenders arrive in Athens to push for further cuts needed for the debt-laden country to qualify for further rescue payments and avoid a chaotic default.
Athens wants to soften the terms of a 130-billion euro bailout agreed last March with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, to soften their impact on an economy going through its worst post-war recession.
By the end of this year Greek GDP is expected to have shrunk by about a fifth in five consecutive years of recession since 2008, hammered by tax hikes, spending cuts and wage reductions required by two EU/IMF bailouts. Unemployment climbed to a record 22.6 percent in the first quarter.
"You had the Great Depression in the United States," Samaras told Clinton, who was visiting Greece as part of a delegation of Greek-American businessmen. "This is exactly what we're going through in Greece - it's our version of the Great Depression."
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Triumph of socialism: Greece now in "Great Depression", PM says