Greek local authorities were on the brink of revolt Tuesday against the central government’s move to use cash reserves from state agencies — including hospitals and kindergartens — to help the country make ends meet.
At an emergency meeting in Athens, angry mayors called for blank refusal to comply, staging protests or taking the radical left-led government to court over its order to have spare reserves put in a central bank account.
According to reports, mayors hurled abuse at the deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas when he announced that the “internal loan” would be enforced “for at least two months.”
“Is this your democracy?” protestors were heard saying.
“Not a single municipality should deposit even one euro at the Bank of Greece,” said Ioannis Lolos, mayor of the northwestern town of Igoumenitsa.
Citing an “extremely urgent and unforeseen” need for cash, an emergency government decree Monday rendered funds from state entities — such as the national opera, the national art gallery and even hospitals and kindergartens — available for short-term loans to the state. That is expected to raise up to 2.5 billion euros