Student - February 12, 2015

Meanwhile in...Greece

In the news: The new Greek government is revoking economic austerity measures and negotiating with European governments about the conditions for paying off the national debt.

Commentary by Serko Partemian, MSc Management and Vasilis Andriopoulos, MSc Biology

Serko: ‘A new wind is blowing; the north isn’t the only direction it’s coming from anymore. Not that we should refuse every offer of cooperation, but now we’ve learned that aid always has consequences. The government received money to survive the crisis, but used some of it to buy nuclear submarines. And to pay off debts, we need to take out new loans; it’s a vicious circle. This has the effect of reducing opportunities for young people in Greece. Many of my friends have gone abroad.’

Vasilis: ‘Greeks took to the streets to protest in favour of the government. That’s never happened before. For the first time in recent history we have the chance to do something good. Since the crisis we hadn’t had any real democracy anymore. We were allowed to choose which government would implement the austerity measures recommended by European authorities. Every Greek knew this: we voted for nothing.’

Serko: ‘I don’t like to follow politics, because politicians don’t listen to each other. At any rate, that’s how it was at the University of Thessaloniki, where every programme has a political youth party. But I do have faith in the new finance minister, an economics professor. If anyone can come up with a solution then it is Mr Varoufakis.’

Vasilis: ‘So far the new leaders have been doing what they promised: looking for an alternative to cutbacks. This is neither radical nor unreasonable. If it becomes evident that a medicine doesn’t work, there’s no point continuing to use it. I don’t understand why Merkel rejects every proposal and why the rest of Europe follows Germany’s lead. A strong Greece is advantageous to everyone. If we don’t give the economy the chance to recover, we will never be able to pay off our debts.’