The mood on the ground in Athens has shifted palpably over the past few months. Everyone has firsthand stories of sorrow and bitterness to tell, as austerity measures bite. They speak of retired parents on rapidly shrinking pensions struggling to meet higher taxes and prices, or of young siblings with multiple masters degrees forced to work in call centers or cafes.
Greek bonds led a rout in the euro area’s most indebted countries as opinion polls suggesting the nation’s governing coalition is losing support reawakened concern the regional debt crisis is far from resolved.
Spain plans to borrow 207.2 billion euros ($266.5 billion) next year, the Budget Ministry said today, as pressure builds for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to tap the European rescue fund instead of financial markets.
A political storm brewing in Italy has the potential to disrupt the calm that has prevailed in the euro area. Europe’s leaders can only hope that markets will somehow prevent the currency union’s third-largest economy from backsliding too far on efforts to keep its debts under control.