Factbox: Greeks react as government asks for EU/IMF aid

(BestGrowthStock) – Greece asked the European Union and the International Monetary Fund Friday to activate a 45-billion-euro ($60.5 billion) aid package, the first financial rescue for a member of the euro zone.

A poll showed Friday that 51 percent of Greeks oppose the package and think it will reduce their living standards.

Here are some comments:

SOFIA HATZAKI, 54, MINISTRY EMPLOYEE

“I hit the roof when I heard it. I feel rage, want to scream. This means more austerity measures are coming. I think recovery is still far away. Many people will be dead by that time,” said Sofia Hatzaki, who lives on just above 1,000 euros monthly.

“My salary has already been cut and I have obligations, I have loans, I had planned my life differently.

“(Prime Minister George Papandreou) could have borrowed from someone else, from countries. Now he is at the will of the IMF and the European Union.”

CHRISTOS HASIOTIS, 39, COSMETICS SHOP MANAGER

“It was inevitable. There was no other way out. It would have been better if we had avoided it; now we owe them more money.

“I only hope that this will get us out of the crisis, but I have the feeling things will be worse for us. We will be further squeezed and people won’t accept more measures.”

MIHALIS MIHALOPOULOS, 32, PRESS DISTRIBUTOR

“This decision might actually give an impression that better days are coming and people might feel comfortable and start spending again.

“People are scared. It’s not that they don’t have money, but they don’t spend it because they are afraid.

“On other hand it’s a good excuse for them to impose more austerity measures. It will be easier for people to accept them.”

YANNIS ARNAOUTAKIS, 52, PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEE

“There was no other solution. It was a dead-end, regardless of whether we liked it or not.

“I think this aid will help us but there will be more measures, more cuts announced.

“We will tolerate it because we have no other choice.”

GREEK LABOR UNIONS

ILIAS VRETTAKOS, PUBLIC SECTOR UNION (ADEDY), VICE PRESIDENT

“The government’s choice to resort to the aid mechanism and the International Monetary Fund means new barbaric measures that will burden workers. This is a new attack against their income, their employment rights and pensions.

“Fighting is the only solution for workers to prevent this policy. We will strike in early May.”

STATHIS ANESTIS, PRIVATE SECTOR UNION (GSEE) SPOKESMAN

“This is undoubtedly a sad development, but we hope that it will get the country out of the spiraling crisis.

“We want to make this clear: They (the government) shouldn’t accept terms and demands which will further cut workers’ salaries, deepen the recession and spark the explosion of unemployment. These recipes are destructive.

“The private sector will certainly be affected by this. We have already called a strike in May and we will move to more strikes if necessary.”

Stock Market

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Factbox: Greeks react as government asks for EU/IMF aid