We have lost one-fourth of our GDP, practically one in three people are unemployed, half the population is around or below the threshold of poverty

George Katrougalos, Greek deputy interior minister

After six years of depression, spending cuts and job losses, Greece is deciding on whether to accept a new bailout deal to make the country's $355 billion debt more manageable.

Despite receiving two bailouts worth $266 billion since 2010, the unemployment rate has more than doubled and pensions and benefits have roughly halved.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was elected in January on a promise to end years of austerity, called the referendum last week - asking Greeks to decide on whether to accept creditors' proposals for more austerity in exchange for more loans.

Tsipras' decision however, to campaign for a "No" vote, has led to the European Central Bank (ECB) to withdraw emergency lending, forcing Greece to cap bank withdrawals.

George Katrougalos, the Greek deputy interior minister told Counting the Cost that austerity had "practically destroyed Greece."

"We have lost one-fourth of our GDP, practically one in three people are unemployed, half the population is around or below the threshold of poverty," he said.

"We had made all the necessary concessions. The fact that our partners did not opt for this resolution makes me think that some of them, not all of them, had a hidden agenda - to destroy the first left government in Europe in order to show that there is just one economic policy in Europe - neoliberalism - and that there is no alternative."

Source: Al Jazeera