Magazine article Newsweek

The Road to Greekovery

Magazine article Newsweek

The Road to Greekovery

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbie Latza Nadeau

Antonis Samaras is optimistic about Greece. But many of his countrymen aren't buying it.

A YEAR ago "Grexit" was the summer catchphrase among Europeans who had largely written off Greece as the first casualty of the European economic crisis. By the books, Greece's economy is not much better this year. But thanks to austerity measures and more than a little bit of smoke and mirrors, this summer's slogan--perhaps overly optimistic, yet noteworthy nonetheless--is "Greekovery."

The man responsible for this attitude adjustment is Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the 62-year old head of the New Democracy Party who narrowly won a runoff election against left-wing politician Alexis Tsipras last June. Samaras has spent his first year in office walking a tightrope between his constituents and the European Union and International Monetary Fund, which pushed Greece to adhere to the stringent conditions attached to a $315 billion bailout the country needed to stay afloat.

Samaras, who is visiting President Obama on August 8 in a state visit to America meant to build confidence in the beleaguered nation, faced perhaps his biggest challenge this week when everyone from cops to coroners walked off the job to protest a parliamentary bill that included 25,000 additional job cuts. The protest began Monday, with hundreds of police officers using their motorcycles and patrol vehicles to block Athens's busiest streets. …

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