Greeks unhappy but resigned: 'What can we do?'

Greeks react to bailout deal
Greeks react to bailout deal

People near Parliament in Athens on Monday were resigned: Greece's new $96 billion bailout deal comes with big strings attached, but the country's options were limited.

"Nobody's happy, but what can we do? We have no other choice," said Aris, 28, who requested that his last name be withheld.

Theodore Papadimitriou, 63, had a similar reaction: He is not pleased with the agreement, but it's better than giving up the euro.

Both spoke just hours after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reached a bailout agreement with the leaders of the 18 other countries that use the euro. The deal will require Greece to implement further, tough austerity measures.

Many people in Athens said this is a better outcome than a "Grexit." But they worry about the exceedingly difficult economic reforms ahead.

Virginia, 27, said she thought Europe was asking for too many concessions.

"I believe we belong in [the eurozone]. But I don't believe it's a fair agreement," she said. But "it's in our DNA to be optimistic" so the country will simply have to make compromises and soldier on, she said.

greek debt deal

Others question the government's ability to follow through on its promises to reform the economy.

"People have gone through too much austerity. I don't know if they're going to take more," said Stergios Dratsas, 55, a local high school teacher.

Dratsas said his students had romantic ideas about Greece's independence. They didn't like all the rules imposed by eurozone lenders after Greece received two previous bailouts worth roughly $258 billion.

That defiant attitude helped Tsipras come into power earlier this year.

Now it's "back to reality," said Dratsas. "[Tsipras] underestimated the reactions and rules that govern the European community. He tried to change the rules ... now the country pays for his mistakes."

In the evening, hundreds of protesters congregated outside Parliament to show their opposition to the bailout deal. Some said they wished they could get out of the eurozone entirely.

But the crowds were smaller than previous protests.

Kostas Psilopanagiotis, 35, said he thinks the gravity of the situation hasn't sunk in yet.

"People are disappointed. People are in shock," he said.

Psilopanagiotis, along with others, believe the prime minister went against his promises and went against the will of his people by signing this new deal.

Parliament will vote again Wednesday on whether to approve key parts of the agreement, which includes pension reforms and hikes to sales taxes.

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