Europe

Greece in crisis: Your reactions

  • 4 November 2011
  • From the section Europe

Greece's PM George Papandreou is set to face a crucial no-confidence vote, with the outcome on a knife-edge.

Mr Papandreou shocked EU partners and sent markets into turmoil after calling for a referendum on a hard-fought EU deal to bail out debt-ridden Greece.

Here, BBC News website users in Greece explain their feelings about the situation and how they see the future for the economy and its impact on their lives.

Phaidon Kryriazis, Athens

Phaidon is currently a student in Greece and plans to come to London next year to continue his studies.

"What Papandreou is doing is washing his hands of responsibility. It used to be a joke that he was indecisive, but it's not funny any more. He's in charge, he needs to lead.

The people have a right to speak, but not everyone can understand the issues or what needs to be done. It's out of our power to deal with it.

For 20 years it's been the same thing going on. My circle of friends vote for alternatives but every time it's the same two parties that get 80% of the vote.

Pasok and New Democracy, it's like the two are in partnership and it's always the same. The older generation see them as the liberators of the 1960s and they are a bit like royalty,

They hold them in respect and seem afraid to vote for an alternative. No political party can just emerge to challenge them. Some people are talking about revolution but that's impossible these days.

The most tormenting thing is the fact that I see, myself included, many young, talented, hard-working people giving up on their homes, friends, universities and work, to leave the country and seek a better life elsewhere either studying or working.

And I wonder: can Greece revive itself without its youth? Will there ever be a blossom with only middle-aged people who have already accepted the hitch on their neck, and are only worried about the well-being of their children, wherever that may take place?"

George Tsampas, Chania, Crete

George says he still feels the same as he did a year ago when he contacted the BBC with his views on Greek debt.

"Greeks get the feeling that Papandreou isn't working in our interests. There's a feeling he's working for American interests rather than European ones, in particular those who want to profit from the crisis. We are a guinea pig in financial terms and our PM makes things harder.

That's not to say the Greek people aren't to blame for some of it. We didn't pay tax and avoided the rules.

It's like going back to the 1960s when people were really poor, with people emigrating and looking for work abroad.

In the islands we've been less impacted as tourism is still bringing in money. It's the only working industry in Greece as we have no heavy industry to create work and generate capital. In areas without a developed tourist industry, it's been much tougher.

We have two solutions: reduce armaments, making it easy and cheap for companies to invest in Greece (we need money and jobs to get out of the crisis); [and] sell drilling rights to oil companies (oil is a huge source of income, which is unexploited in Greece).

Whatever happens, it's not easy. We will either pay our debts for the next 10 years, or declare poverty and have no money to pay anything for the next five years.

I'm favour of the 50% haircut, although not many Greeks will agree. I'm willing to take the cost in salary and tax, so long as we don't go bankrupt."

Vasiliki Vassiliades, Khios

Vasiliki, a former elementary school teacher on a small island with an ageing population, told World Have Your Say about her experiences.

"The population is mainly elderly here. The austerity measures mean they've have their pensions cut by 50% from 2,000 to 1,000 euros a month. My great aunt is 86, she needs help and she can't afford to buy it.

The biggest problem we have here is we don't have reliable communication with the mainland. The island doesn't produce food. When the weather is bad, which can be two weeks, we can be without supplies. It's been very hard, we've had to live off our resources.

Children here at school don't have books to study from, teachers are making photocopies so they can get on with the lessons, because the government has not been able to print books.

The level of justice doesn't exist, there is no justice anymore. The government and the prime minister has no right to cut wages and pensions across the board and still tax people.

They are taxing people who are below the poverty line, people on a little over 6,000 euros a year are getting taxed. And that's not fair, that's the worst part of the whole thing, it hurts me to think how much people are paying.

Nothing's reliable, you don't know what is going to happen from one moment to the next. I feel very sorry for the future. I can understand the anger the youth feel about it. There doesn't seem to be a future.

I believe the only way, besides getting the bailout package, is someone still has to pump money into the economy so that people can find work. At the rate things are going, it's going to be anarchy, I'm very much afraid."

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