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Greek businesses issue crisis warning

Monday, June 22, 2015 - 02:13

Greek business owners say the failure to agree an aid-for-reforms deal with international lenders will be the final blow to the country's stuttering economy. Hayley Platt looks at the impact on two businesses in Nikaia a suburb of Athens.

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TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~** Tassos Pallas runs a printing firm with his two brothers in Nikaia Greece. His father started the business in 1949. But in recent years trade has been hit by years of recession. Since 2010 turnover has shrunk by around a quarter. Tassos has had to cut prices and learn to live on less just to stay afloat. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) BUSINESS CO-OWNER, TASSOS PALLAS, SAYING: "With all this political turbulence, with the elections, with all this terrifying uncertainty, there is, again, a trend of restraint and a marked decrease in turnover." Greece had been making good progress after a debt crisis and six years of recession in 2014. But elections in January this year brought in a new government with a different approach. The radical left Syriza party promised to end austerity. And it's failed to satisfy its international creditors on a plan of reforms. The mounting uncertainty has led citizens to withdraw billions of euros from the banks, leaving small business fearful for the future. Constantinos Michalos is from Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATHENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY PRESIDENT, CONSTANTINOS MICHALOS, SAYING: "We can't possibly withstand another year, successive year, of recession, and it's only the private sector that will be able to create new jobs, new jobs that are desperately needed by the Greek state, simply because we've got a negative, absolute negative record within the European Union, currently standing at 25.8 percent unemployment." Many small and medium businesses have closed down. And - with one in four unemployed and one in four young people - even if Greeks have a job they've had their wages slashed. Giorgos Gamanis runs a local car repair shop. He's seen turnover fall 80 percent since the crisis began. And he's worried if they'll be anything left to pass on to the next generation. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) BUSINESS OWNER, GIORGOS GAMANIS, SAYING: "There aren't any young people, our children are all leaving, there's no work, we're in debt, how are we going to go on? There is no future." Greece has little over a week remaining to strike a deal with its creditors or face defaulting on its 1.6 billion euro loan repayment to the IMF.

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Greek businesses issue crisis warning

Monday, June 22, 2015 - 02:13