During the inception of EU Property Solutions Greece was in turmoil. A bailout package was being negotiated and “Grexit” frequently spoken about. The country managed to agree to a bailout package but things have changed dramatically in Greece in recent months with some commentators highlighting a potential new crisis for the country.
The Syrian refugee crisis is testing the limits of Greece’s flagging economy and the country seems in no state to deal with the increasing flow of refugees fleeing war torn Syria. The Greek people themselves are in a time of hardship with Austerity measures in place in the country with unemployment at nearly 25% and an economy 25% smaller than in 2009. A report by the Bank of Greece cites that public spending on refugees in the country will be 0.3% of GDP or €600 million. Whilst this may not seem a huge amount as a percentile this will force difficult trade-offs at at time of fiscal difficulty for Greece.
One of the country’s prime sources of income is tourism from those visiting its many idyllic islands. Unfortunately for Greece many of the country’s waterways are currently being used by migrants trying to find safety and this is putting off tourists from visiting. It is also a concern for international trade with the waters around the Greek islands being vital for shipping.
A primary fear for the Greek government is the potential boosting of xenophobic elements in the country. The Government requires more support from the European Union to cease boosting xenophobic forces such as Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party.
However, from reading it is clear the majority of Greek people have welcomed refugees with open arms showing tremendous hospitality despite their own pressures. In fact two residents of Lesbos have been nominated for a Nobel Peace prize for their efforts to help refugees arriving on the island.
One quote I stumbled across stands out – “This state – a Bankrupt state – is trying to develop a mechanism to manage the largest refugee crisis in the past few decades.” The EU is not assisting Greece greatly enough according to many and the country, it’s people and now its refugees continue to be further punished for previous misdemeanours.
Despite not being an article directly related to property I find it interesting to keep abreast of issues globally and find this area interesting given the turmoil Greece has already endured. In this instance the country seems a victim of geographical circumstance; being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nonetheless, the efforts of those assisting refugees in trying times must be commended.
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