By Mick Krever, CNN
Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who announced Monday he would abdicate, prevented the country from falling prey to extremism and made sure it remained democratic, Constantine II, former king of Greece, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
“His legacy is very, very important,” Constantine II, who is Juan Carlos’ brother-in-law, said. “He went through a very difficult period to do that. But I was convinced that he would overcome all the difficulties, and he has done that.”
The monarch will step down after 40 years on the throne and hand power to his 46-year-old son, Crown Prince Felipe.
“Although I'm not party to his decision,” Constantine II said, “I suspect that he considered that forty years is quite substantial.”
“And so the difficulty is to find the right moment; I believe that he has done that. He has found the right moment.”
By Mick Krever and Annabel Archer, CNN
Greece is determined to rid its police of “any racist elements,” Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
“We have ordered a full-scale investigation by the internal department of the Greek police,” Dendias said. “Please allow me to say that we are adamant in our target to clean up the Greek police from any racist elements.”
Elements of the Greek police have been widely criticized as not only targeting minority groups, but being complicit with right-wing groups like the Golden Dawn, which has a neo-Nazi following.
Greece has seen a rise in racist attacks, which are up 20% according over last year, according to the head Greece’s National Commission for Human Rights.
But the dire economic situation in Egypt, Dendias said, is no excuse.
“Unemployment does exist. An economic crisis does exist. The Greek people, the Greek society is under considerable stress,” Dendias told Amanpour from Athens. “But that is no excuse, and it will not be accepted as the excuse for the reappearance of a neo-Nazi phenomenon. Neo-Nazism is completely unacceptable.”
It may surprise you, but the best-performing stock market in Europe in 2012 was Greece’s.
The Athens index rose 33%, outpacing even Germany’s DAX.
But the news is not symptomatic of Europe’s health as a whole, where the overall economy continues to contract.
And after so long underwater, the Greek market may just be making up for lost ground.
Greek officials now predict that the economy will start growing by October, as European support lends a measure of confidence to foreign and domestic investors.
So, is a Greek exit from the euro – a Grexit – finally off the table?
Judging by events unfolding there, not yet.
A nationwide strike on Wednesday shut down government services throughout the country. Roads and railways were bare as transportation came to a standstill.
Once again, the young took to the streets to do battle with police – some 60% of them remain without jobs.
Greece has the highest unemployment rate in Europe. The country owes more than it makes: the national debt is 161% of GDP.
The human factor is tragic: Suicides, and people losing their homes, unable to pay for food, or for heavily-taxed heating oil.
In the video above, former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou speaks to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the early days of the country's economic crash and future of Greece in the eurozone.
(CNN) - Greece is not looking for a bailout by the rest of Europe as it struggles to bring down sky-high budget deficits and public debt after years of profligate spending, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said Monday.
"We are asking for the support of the Euro-zone so that we can borrow on the markets, as every other country (does), basically with the same rates that other countries are borrowing", Papandreou told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
"We have asked for the necessary time and political support to implement our program and, whenever necessary, measures we need to take."
His comments came as finance ministers from the 16 countries that use the Euro met in Brussels to try to find a way to end the crisis that some analysts say could also spread to other heavily indebted nations, such as Portugal, Spain, and Italy, and even undermine the Euro.