Greece has around one sixth the population of the UK, yet is has about the same number of military personnel on the payroll. The Greek military comprises around 170,000 active personnel paid by the state, with a further 280,000 in the reserve forces. Maybe instead of heaping ever more misery on the Greek private sector in an effort to pay for the very high Greek public spending the government should take a look at this cost.
The Greek navy has around 80 warships. The army has more than 1200 tanks. The airforce has around 1000 planes and helicopters. (these are figures taken from public websites). The question is, who should pay for all this?
If Greece had armed forces proportionate to her size of country she would have far fewer military personnel and military vehicles, ships and planes. She would save a lot of money , bringing her budget deficit under better control.
Greece argues that she needs this large military as she does not trust her neighbours. The west could offer her security guarantees – indeed they already do in effect. I do not believe the west would stand by and watch any invasion of Greece, nor do I think one is any more likely than it has proved in the last few decades. She probably argues that with recession now would not be a good time to sack a lot of soldiers. Greece believes that the EU and the IMF should pay for her military for a bit. She also believes her creditors should pay permanently for her past maintenance of these large forces, by writing off great chunks of her debts.
I am surprised the west has not suggsted other options to nervous Greece. If her allies could persuade her that any threat to Greece would be countered by UN combined action, the country could consider a substantial down size of her forces. There is no immediate need to lose the capability to mobilise rapidly if ever needed, if many more of her forces went over to being reservists.
The plan could be to ask many on the current military payroll to go over to part time contracts, encouraging them to find other work for the time they are not being paid in the military. Success in finding other work could be followed by conversion to reservist, where the individual was paid a retainer and came for a specified period each year to keep up basic training and learn any new requirements.
Paying for this large military machine seems to be imposing strains. Maybe it is time to look at other answers for Greek security.