Most Greeks think IMF help will hurt country

ATHENS (BestGrowthStock) – Just over half the Greek population think resorting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for aid to pull out of a debt crisis will hurt their country, an opinion poll showed on Friday.

Greece, facing a debt crisis that has rocked the euro zone, is holding talks with European and IMF officials on the terms of a 40-45 billion euro financial backstop.

The cash-strapped country is still pushing to finance its debt through market issuance but economists are increasingly convinced it will have to tap the package. The IMF said the crisis could spread into other euro members if left unchecked.

The poll by Public Issue for Skai TV showed that 51 percent see the IMF’s involvement as harmful while only 27 percent think it would be beneficial.

“As regards other countries which borrowed from the IMF, 52 percent of those asked think they did not benefit, while 28 percent said they did,” Skai TV said.

Only 47 percent of those asked said they trusted Prime Minister George Papandreou to handle the economy compared to 55 percent in a similar poll in February.

The poll showed that 87 percent of Greeks were worried about the country’s public debt, which based on government projections will hit 120 percent of GDP this year.

A bigger percentage thinks the overborrowed country could go bankrupt compared to February — 55 compared to 38 percent.

“As to the time it will take for Greece to effectively tackle its debt, 32 percent of those asked think the country will need five to 10 years, with 20 percent saying three to five years,” Skai TV said.

Based on the poll, conducted nationwide April 20-21, 96 percent of Greeks expect unemployment to rise, 71 percent think social unrest is likely and 78 percent said it is better for Greece to stay in the euro zone.

Thousands of striking Greek civil servants marched on Thursday to protest against austerity measures, warning of a social explosion if the government agreed further cuts in aid talks with the EU and IMF.


(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Charles Dick)

Most Greeks think IMF help will hurt country