Across Europe, people are complaining that they are unfairly paying the price for the mistakes of their governments while they are growing increasingly resentful of the international banks and the preferential treatment they seem to receive. And they are getting louder.
“They took everything, and we have to pay,” said Katerina Fatourou, 30, an elementary school music teacher in Athens, summing up a common sentiment here after a large and sometimes violent general strike. It is not likely to be the last in Europe this summer.
In a vicious cycle, the rising political turmoil is sowing unrest in global financial markets, raising the interest rates paid by heavily indebted nations in Europe to ever higher levels and threatening their solvency.
European officials are also worried that if Greece’s politicians bow to popular anger and reject the austerity route, other countries might follow, with potentially dire consequences for Europe’s banks and the common currency.