ATHENS Greece's finance ministry took a page out of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" classic to have a dig on Friday at the international lenders who have imposed unpopular austerity on the country.
An e-card from the press office of the Greek Finance Ministry, sent to journalists, showed a picture of a frail, stingy Ebenezer Scrooge warming by the fire during a visit of his former business partner Jacob Marley, the ghost of Christmas Past shackled in chains.
"Perhaps all Christmas stories feature a terrifying Ebenezer welcoming the spirits of Christmas in his desolate loneliness, and perhaps our Christmas story is no exception," the e-card reads.
"But dear friends and colleagues, our wishes will prevail over all the Ebenezers of this world. A very happy new year, with health and love focused on those all around us."
Cash-starved Greece has received three international bailouts since 2010. Implementation of the latest accord has been complicated by the decision of the left-wing government to give a one-off Christmas bonus to old-age pensioners, without consulting creditors first.
Scrooge, a penny-pinching, bitter old man, changed his outlook on life after being visited by spirits on Christmas Eve, according to the Dickens classic.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas; editing by Mark Heinrich)