Greece's Prime Minster says the economy has turned a page and is poised to show 'exceptionally high' rates of growth this year. But as Sonia Legg reports, their problems are far from over.
The signs of anger and hardship are everywhere in Greece. Last week it was doctors and hospital staff on strike over health service cuts. But this week the Prime Minister says the economy is on the up. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "For the current year, the forecasts show the Greek economy will see exceptionally high rates of growth after many years of recession, the highest in the euro zone." Alexis Tspiras was putting a brave face on delays in a bailout review with the country's lenders. Minutes earlier official data suggested the economy shrank more than expected in the last quarter of 2016, contracting 1.2 percent on a quarterly basis and 1.1 percent year on year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VICKY PRYCE, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR, CEBR, SAYING: "The IMF is not participating in the third bailout at present. It wants more contractionary measures, more debt relief. So more austerity therefore may well come onto the Greek population. So how you can get 2.7 percent growth in 2017 beats me." The rift between the EU and the IMF over Greece's fiscal progress is a big part of the problem. So too the country's refusal to adopt more austerity or labour reforms. It's revived fears of a new crisis, even if the Prime Minister was having none of it. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "It is clear that no matter how they may want to stall negotiations at a technical level, there is no turning back. Greece has already turned a page." These workers might take some convincing. They say hospitals are under staffed and short on supplies. And that many Greeks have no access to health care because of changes to the social security system.