ATHENS – Greeks – in their usual contradictory way – say they are pessimistic about their future but 41 percent satisfied with their lives, a Eurobarometer poll has found.
The survey showed they were more unhappy in November than June even though Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he’s created a “success story” and looming recovery from a crushing economic crisis and as crushing austerity measures have led to still near-record unemployment, deep poverty and lingering despair for many, apart from politicians, the rich and tax cheats.
The poll published on Dec. 17 showed that 75 percent of respondents reported the state of their household finances was “very bad,” up 8 percent from the summer survey and more than double the European Union average of 32 percent.
Greeks are also unhappy with their jobs and prospects, though not much more so than the average European, with 98 percent saying the overall employment situation in the country is “bad” compared to an EU average of 73 percent. And 53 percent of Greeks find their current employment situation “bad” (EU average 25 percent).
Oddly, 5 percent fewer Greeks said they had lost faith in Samaras’ coalition of his New Democracy Conservatives and its partner the PASOK Socialists in the last five months even though political instability and the prospect of early national elections looms unless the government can get its candidate for Greek President elected by Parliament.
The situation is better, though not by much, in the rest of Europe, where an average of 29 percent of respondents backed their respective governments.
Pessimism was also very high across Europe, with only the Danish, Germans and Maltese appearing relatively satisfied. The Greeks, French and Spanish found the situation “very bad” at a rate of 98 percent.