In exchange for multibillion-euro bailouts, Greece was required to sell state-owned assets. But the sweeping privatization process is behind schedule. In addition, European governments are nervous that Chinese, Russian and Arab companies are lining up to take advantage of the Greek fire sale.
Greeks are feeling the squeeze. The social repercussions of three years of austerity measures imposed by international lenders are hitting hard. Thousands of businesses have shut down, unemployment is nearly 27 percent and rising, and the once dependable safety net of welfare benefits is being pulled in.
With further cutbacks and tax hikes about to kick in, Greece's social fabric is being torn apart.
Nowhere are cutbacks more visible and painful than in health care.
Escalating political violence from both the left and right is raising fears of political instability in debt-burdened Greece. The conservative-led government is cracking down on leftist groups, vowing to restore law and order.
But the opposition says authorities are trying to divert people's attention from growing poverty and despair.
Take the latest explosion in Athens — a firebomb at a crowded suburban mall last month that slightly injured two security guards.
In this winter of austerity and Depression-era unemployment, a fog of woodsmoke hangs over the Greek capital on cold nights.
It's coming from the tens of thousands of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves Athenians are using to heat their homes. Most can no longer afford heating oil, the price of which has risen 40 percent since last year. The government also cut a fuel subsidy for low-income families earlier this month.