This topical article written by Matthew Chance and Oliver Joy – two London-based British CNN journalists – covers one of the latest manifestations of the extensive unrest and disquiet evidenced in more than one European country. This is because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Eurozone, which comprizes those European countries having the Euro as their currency. Greece is the worst affected, with the most critical national debt situation, although other countries such as Italy and Spain also have a major debt problem, and may – like Greece – have to request a “bailout”.
The article reads as though the readership is familiar with this European financial crisis. The authors do not explain the fundamental background – the excessive past borrowing by national governments which has led to the present crisis that has been widely reported in the international media for some considerable time now. Readers with an understanding and knowledge of that background can no doubt appreciate the content of this article and be more able to read it in the context of the overall crisis, but for anyone not that familiar, it is likely that the full and wider import of the story may not be appreciated.
The article describes protests staged by up to 25,000 Greek citizens in Athens, the capital city, to coincide with the visit by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor on Tuesday October 2nd 2012. Ostensibly, Merkel was in Athens to show Germany’s solidarity with Greece, but the protestors see her as the enforcer of the severe austerity measures imposed on Greece in return for bailing out their crippled economy. According to the article, Greece is being forced to make budgetary cuts of some $14.49 billion, in return for a further “bailout” payment this month.
The general impression gained is that this article has been written without undue bias; i.e. it seems to be reporting the facts of the current situation (especially the very topical issue of the mass protests) without showing strong support for either those arranging the compulsory austerity measures or those Greeks either protesting or recounting the hardships caused by the measures. It has somewhat more content (including some photographs) about the mass protests than the financial situation facing Greece, but then that is the title of the article, and of course protest pictures capture a reader’s interest more readily than blocks of text. It does refer to the ongoing doubts about whether Greece can survive the current crisis and remain within the Eurozone, or whether it will be forced to abandon the Euro altogether. The majority of experts appear to think the former is more likely.
With regard to the circumstances of individual Greeks, the article reports that already (as of May this year) in excess of 53 percent of Greeks under 25 were unemployed and that many pensioners have lost about one third of their pensions. One protest banner suggested that around 3,500 Greeks have committed suicide because of these austerity cuts.
On the other hand, the article also reports the views of people who support the visit by Merkel and the austerity measures being imposed as being of eventual benefit to Greece in the longer term. To widen the scope somewhat, the article also mentions that a body called the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – the Eurozone’s permanent fund for bailouts – is likely to receive imminent approval to go ahead, and that the first country to make use of it is expected to be Spain.
Overall, the article provided (in 1300-plus words) a fairly detailed account of the protests and the situation in Greece that led to them, albeit – as mentioned earlier in this review – with very little attempt to include or explain the background to the origins of the Eurozone financial crisis.
Chance, M., and Joy, O. Protestors rally as Merkel voices support for austerity-hit Greece. (October 9, 2012).). CNN (International) Business. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/09/world/europe/greece-merkel-visit/index.html?hpt=ibu_c2