By Ray Fleming

MANY well-informed observers now think that a financial default would be the best thing for Greece and for the eurozone and EU. There would be currency devaluation and serious problems for banks holding Greek debt -- but there would also be a big boost for its tourism. At the moment everything hinges on the reaction next week of Greece's parliamentarians to the government's detailed programme of austerity measures, including the sale of many of the nation's “crown jewels”. The opposition New Democratic Party, which is within 12 votes of the government's Pasak party, has said it will oppose these proposals. If they are not substantially approved all the supportive plans of the IMF and the EU for bail-outs and more will be almost worthless.

Have the Greeks the will to fight back from financial ground zero? Apparently the new finance minister, Evangeles Venizelos, was rebuked by other EU finance ministers last Sunday for his failure to recognise either the scale of his country's crisis or their frustration at its failure to meet previous pledges.

On BBC's Today on Wednesday, a government party MP, Elena Panaritis, said calmly that Greece's problems were no different from those of other EU countries, that there was good “dialogue” between the parties and that there was nothing to get excited about. Her complacency was unbelievable, suggesting that default may indeed be inevitable.

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