Don't look now, but 2016 may bring a host of new troubles for Greece, which just last week barely overcame a dispute with its international creditors.
Struggling to meet the demands of its bailout terms, the Hellenic Republic was forced on Thursday to scrap an effort to alleviate the burden of its austerity program on poorer Greeks.
The demise of its so-called "parallel program", although a short-term defeat for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, triggered the release of 1 billion euros ($1.085 billion) in new bailout funding, expected to be disbursed as early as Monday. The money was part of an agreement that was sealed last summer.
Now, momentum shifts to pension reform, which is expected as soon as next month. The battle will take shape just as the Greek government appears to have won a hard-fought consensus with creditors on other outstanding issues such as deregulation and the establishment of a privatization fund – which must gather 50 billion euros ($54.5 billion) by 2030.
A pension system overhaul, however, is shaping up to be a big hurdle for Greece, a hard sell at a time when the country's economic crises have sent unemployment skyrocketing above 25 percent and average income plummeting 25 percent over the last four years.
"Both the government's willingness to reform and its internal cohesion appear to be weak which does not bode well for the prospects of reform," said Stathis Kalyvas, a professor of political science at Yale University and the co-director of its Hellenic Studies program.
"On the flip side, there is no real alternative for the government right now and the fact that it has already embarked on reform process following last summer's agreement will be pushing it to implement it sooner rather than later"