ATHENS — They are the crown jewels of Greece’s socialist state, and they are now likely to go to the highest bidder: the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki; prime Mediterranean real estate; the national lottery; Greek Telecom; the postal bank and the national railway system.

Greece Budget Hole Threatens to Swallow Europe

George Papandreou was staring into a 20 billion-euro ($29 billion) hole.
It’s common for freshly minted leaders to discover that there’s not enough money to pay for their campaign promises. So when Papandreou’s new Greek government woke up to a looming budget disaster within days of taking office in October 2009, the alarm bells were slow to ring in European capitals.
Don’t “overrate” the problem, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, later to play a pivotal role in the debt saga that continues to rock the 17-nation euro area. “There are deficits in other parts of the world as well.”