Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

PM Samaras: “Two tourists for every Greek”

July 25, 2014

Many puzzle about what Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ meaningful and mysterious oracle. He said that there will be “two tourists for every Greek”. What did the Prime Minister had in mind? Some wondered whether every Greek will have to host two tourists at home. Others  corrected the sentence stressing that Samaras should have said “Two (female) tourists for every Greek (male).” One proposed that every Greek would have two tourists as souvenir of the wide world and another one got scared that he may have to come up to for the tourists’ expenses. Α third Greek asked whether we can choose among the 20 million tourists or they will be assigned to every Greek per lottery. And a fourth one said, he would order a French cook.

But my granny, as wise woman at her 95, came much closer: “We will have the tourists work for us”, she heralded.

Indeed. PM Samaras said exactly:

“The economy will go better, stability in Greece is very important when there are so many turbulence outbreaks around us, tourism today-that will reach 20 million, that is two tourists for every Greekwill give liquidity to the economy and things will get better. Therefore, I’m really optimistic and I want Greek people to be aware of this optimism. I do not say this out of the blue.”

Samaras made this weighty statement on the occasion of the anniversary of democracy restoration, July 24th 1094.

Then they all went and celebrated the anniversary of democracy restoration but the President of the Republic did not host the fine party as he did in previous years. In fact since 2013, the President of the Republic does not host a democracy restoration party, because the country is poor and we have debts. And there are many people out there who cannot buy food or pay their bills – and debts. But I honestly hope that these people have internet or tv, so they can get the message of the PM and be aware his  optimism. With or without “two tourists”.



What? Surgeon in public hospital arrested for ‘fakelaki’? Not possible…

July 10, 2014

Ι am afraid there is no cure for this country and the people. Greek media report that police arrested a heart surgeon and department chief at one of Athens biggest public hospitals for demanding bribe for a surgery. A famous fakelaki of 500 euro. The patient informed the police and the story ended in the surgeon’s arrest and suspension from duty. He faces felony charges.

“The surgeon was caught in flagranti with the marked banknotes on him, He kept a book with notes of money he had received and distributed [to other doctors] as well.”

In the report of state TV NERIT, a citizen said that “if the doctors receiving good salaries they couldn’t ask for bribes and we wouldn’t give.”

To tell you the truth nobody is surprised. The practice of public hospital doctors to demand from patients black money in an envelope -therefore the name ‘fakelaki’, i.e. little envelope – is as old as the public hospitals and the public services.

Four years of economic crisis, over-taxation and reforms in Greek hospitals have changed nothing. At least. they changed nothing in the deep-rooted mentality of bribe and corruption among the public servants.

The good news is that the tariffs for fakelaki were decreased due to the crisis – but that could be just a rumor….

A 59-year-old heart surgeon and department chief at one of Athens’s biggest public hospitals, Evangelismos, has been arrested after demanding that a patient pay him 1,500 euros for surgery that had been deemed life-saving, police reported on Thursday.

According to the unnamed male patient who filed the complaint, he had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack and was told he needed immediate surgery.

The surgeon, who headed the department where the patient was being treated, demanded 1,500 euros for the surgery to go ahead, according to the report. When the patient appeared reluctant to pay up, the surgeon allegedly threatened to have him discharged without performing the procedure.

After some negotiation, the doctor agreed to an upfront payment of 500 euros in order to schedule the surgery at once. A relative of the patient delivered the money in marked notes after the police became involved. (ekathimerini)

The investigation also found that the same doctor had demanded money from another patient in May.

Greece’s unemployment alive and kicking with 27.3% in April14

July 10, 2014

Unemployment in Greece remain high with 27.3% in April 2014. according to latest press release of Greek Statistics Authority (ELSTAT). To tell you the truth I am totally confused about this data. First of all I remember, the ELSTAT unemployment rate was 26.8% in March 2014 but in this latest review it is given as 27.3%. Unfortunately as my website is currently down, but I double checked the data and titles googling “keeptalkinggreece unemployment.”

Furthermost I just saw on state NERIT broadcast, the unemployment rates of May 2014. “Unemployment remained the same  in May with 27.3% – April also 27.3%”.  Whereby ELSTAT has not published the May rates yet!

OK, OK. I should not rely on Greek Statistics. OK. I just post it for the record…. lol


Greek Politics: Democratic Left is falling apart

July 10, 2014

Former junior partner of Samaras’ coalition government Democratic Left (DIMAR) is falling apart. An MP resigned Thursday morning, short time later the part board expelled prominent MP Dimitris Psarianos. when he refused to support DIMAR for a referendum for the sale of so-called “Little DEH”, that is the privatization of 30% of Greek Public Power Company.  An hour later another prominent member of DIMAR central committee had submitted his resignation. The number of seats DIMAR hold now in the Parliament is down to 11.

Democratic Left suffered a major blow at the European Parliament elections and managed to gain just 1.23%.

The party that served as junior coalition government partner 2012-2013. The party managed to survive the closure of state broadcaster ERT but the rather confused policies of party chairman Fotis Koyvelis have left many party members in anger and criticis from the inner of the party blame Kouvelis for not clear policies.

After the EU elections Kouvelis had submitted his resignation from the party chairmanship but the board of central committee turned the resignation down.

Why do we care about Democratic Left? Because its falling apart would increase parties of the left and center-left like PASOK/ELIA, SYRIZa and To Potami.


Athens: stones and tear gas as protesters commemorate teenager boy killed by policeman

December 6, 2013

Minor incidents between school students and riot police occurred on Friday in downtown Athens during a protest march to commemorate the killing of teenager boy Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a policeman in 2008.

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fired tear gas via @dromografos

Outside the Athens university, when the protest started, students hurled stones and oranges against riot police squads, while the latter fired tear gas.

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Riot police surrounded students outside Athens university (pict @MakisSinodinos)

A little earlier at nearby Korai Square, a group of 30 protesters wearing hoods attacked with fists and kicks a small group of traffic policemen. One policeman suffer minor injuries in the face.

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nonchalant  pict by @dromografos

An unknown number of detentions have taken place.

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Banner: “We live for today, we struggle for tomorrow”

In Aegaleo suburb of  Piraeus, a group hurled molotov cocktails against the local police station.

Another protest is to be launched at 6 p.m. on Friday with a march to Greek Parliament at Syntagma Square. Metro stations <Syntagma>, <Panepistimio> and <Evaggelismos> are closed to passengers as of 10 a.m. by police order.

more pictures and updates see in Twitter #6dgr

Two people burn to death due to fires in their homes

December 6, 2013

The winter and the harsh austerity measures claimed three more victims in Greece of loan agreements and heating prices the majority cannot afford. A 85-year-old woman was burned to death when a fire broke out in the 25-sqm shanty home she was living in Aspropyrgos. Media report that most probably a spark from a make-shift fire-place set her mattress on fire. she was found burned on her bed. The woman was living  on a small pension of 300 euro.

In another incident in Piraeus, the owner of a hotel was burned to death. He was found in a small studio built on the roof of the hotel. The mans was probably used the studio as his home. the fire broke out while the  man was sleeping, he died upon his transfer to the hospital.

In Toumpa suburb of Thessaloniki, a woman, 50, was lucky to be absent when a fire broke in the apartment she was living. The fire most probably broke out from a lit candle, as she was living without electricity and on meals from charity soup kitchen.

If we, Greeks, won’t die because of the shortages in health care, the lack of insurance and the high cost of self-participation, we will most probably burned alive or get poisoned from our make-shift stoves and the candles we light to brighten up our nights without electricity.

Falling asleep in front of the fire-place, hulled with several  blankets in a icy-cold home, dazed by the lethal fumes of carbon monoxide...

Scared by the many fire incidents since the beginning of the winter 2013,  the government plans to stop power cuts to vulnerable groups of the society due to outstanding bills. And here I say, this is not the solution. Then the debts will keep dragging the people to bills they will never be able to pay back.

ΤΗΕ solution is to decrease the prices in electricity with the many extra fees that make power unaffordable, to lower taxes in heating oil, to equal prices of natural gas to those as in the rest in Europe.

PS So happy to be able to inhale again the smog coming from the fire places

Athens: three metro stations closed due to protests Dec 6/2013

December 6, 2013

Police ordered the closure of three metro stations as early as 10 o’clock Friday morning due to demonstrations that will take place in order to commemorate the killing of teenager boy Alexanros Grigoropoulos by a policeman in 2008.

Metro stations <Syntagma>, <Panepistimio> and <Evaggelismos> are closed to passengers as of 10 pm and will open again most probably late at night.

School students will launch a protest at 11 am outside the Athens University in Panepistimiou Avenue. Another demonstration with march to the Greek Parliament will be launched at 6 p.m. at the same starting point.

Greek media report of the high possibility that more metro stations will be closed in the afternoon.

When metro stations are closed, wagons just pass through but passengers are not allowed to get off or in.


Lobster and Crabs: Barroso hosts exquisite luncheon in honor of Samaras

December 5, 2013

Don’t be irritated by this provocative title served in an aura of flat populism and exquisite envy.  The President of European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, did not put a whole lobster on the plate in front of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The delicate bites of lobster were methodically paired together with delicate scallops and fresh ricotta cheese inside baked  canelloni. Neither did a bunch of crabs land together with elegant crab knackers on the festive decorated table in the headquarters of European Commission.  Crab flesh was reportedly tender venture to the main course of  turbot fish in the aromatic company of truffle.

The dessert was rather modest, most likely in the sense to fit in the austerity policies of Brussels: a  light strawberry sorbet to cool the gourmet palate and fine choux dough eclairs filled with indulgent cream of passion fruit.

In the splendid atmosphere of Berleymont Building,  the elegant luncheon was served to honor the Greek and debt-ridden prime minister, who had flown to Brussels on Wednesday.

The report about the menu content was published in daily Ta Nea (via, where the columnist notes: “Among others, I have to admit that those in Berleymont have no crabs in their pockets,” meaning the EC is not stingy…

2 in 10 Greek employees earn below €500, 1:3 Greeks live in poverty

December 5, 2013

Two statistics reports shed light into the economic situation of Greeks. One report published by the Greek Labor Ministry says that 2 out of 0 Greeks earn less than 500 euro per month. The second report published by EUROSTAT says that 3 out of 10 Greeks live below the poverty line and that the situation worse than in Greece is in Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia.

According to data about employment in Greece collected by the information system ERGANI the country’s private sector employes currently 1,371,450 people. In comparison 2,800,000 people were employed and insured at IKA social security fund for private sector employees before the crisis.

Two out of ten Greeks workers, ie 279,776 people receive a monthly salary below 500 euros per while 160,000 employees earn monthly salary between 1,000 and 1,500 euro.

79,76 % ( 1,091,674 ) received over 500 euros.

From this,  7.61 % earn 500-600 euros and

32.21 % earns 1000-1200 euro.*.

According to ERGANI, 20,24 % of employees work part time or on job rotation .

Now I will tell you how part time job looks in Greece now a days:

A part-time job can be 6 hours x 6 days per week = 36 hours per week, when full time job is considered to be 40 hours per week.

A part-time salary can be 250-300 euro, but it can be also 700 euro gross or more, depending on employer and skills.

Let’s say you get a part-time job for 750 euro gross. You will receive 550-600 euro net. For a basic apartment of 50 sqm you will pay 300 euro for rent.

If your partner is jobless or you live alone, or you live with a child or a parent… how you will spend the rest of your salary to pay for food, toiletries, telephone, water, electricity and heating … is  just history…”

As for the Eurostat report exploring poverty in European union,

23.5% of the Greek population lives in poverty

19.5% lives in needy condition

14.1%  lives in a family faced with the risk of unemployment.

In Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia poverty is some 40%.

According to Eurostat

“Poor” is someone, when income is below 60% of median national income.

“Living in need” means one is deprived of basic consumer goods.

In the utopian world of statistics, the European Union, “poor” is considered someone with less than 6,000 euro annual income. In the real world of Greeks, the Finance Ministry imposes taxes also to those with income below the 6,000 euro, an income tax based on fictitious criteria.

Now either the EU should revise the description of “poor” or the Greek Finance Ministry and the Troika – i.e. Greece’s lenders including the EU should consider to tax the real rich.

* should we assume that the rest earns more than 1,200 euro gross in Greece’s public sector nowadays? Or is this statistics similar to the pension statistics in the private sector, when the majority gets  900 euro per month one the paper, while the majority people like you and me know receives 500-600 euro pension?

Possible is also that the Ministry includes in this statistics  also the salaries of employees in the utility companies (Power, water etc), who normally receive salary levels or public sector and even more. But that’s the Greek statistics as everyone know…

PS Be patient! “Growth will come in 2014,” said PM Samaras on Wednesday.

The tragedy behind… jobless family almost burned in home without electricity

December 5, 2013

A fire broke out in the home of a jobless family of four living without electricity for two years. The 5-year-old child of the family and the grandmother were taken to hospital due to respiratory problems, the parents have reportedly suffered minor burns. It is not clear whether the blaze was due to candles or a make-shift stove.

The fire broke out short after 4 o’clock on Thursday morning in Kordelio suburb of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. The smoke apparently woke up the family that managed to get out of home in time, escaping the worst. Fire brigades managed to extinguish the fire, while all four residents were taken to the hospital. The home was almost completely destroyed.

Electricity box without power consumption counter…

The fire reportedly broke out either from a make-shift stove or from candles, because the house had no electricity for at least two years, according to a statement by the major of Evosmos. Efstahios Lazaridis who stressed that some 700 families in his area have similar problems with power cut due to economic difficulties.

Greek media report, that the family was in dire economic situation living on meals from the Church and municipality soup kitchens. The family with origins in former Sowjetunion had no other income except for the child allowance of 40 euro per month, the grandmother told reporters.

“My children woke me up and we got out of the home,” the grandmother said. she added that neither her son nor his wife had a job.

“They had food Monday to Friday, but on weekends they had nothing to eat,” the landlord  told media. The family had not pay the rent of 150 euro per month for the last two years, neither the water bill. “I could not pay for their electricity too, so I went to Power Company and had the power cut,” the landlord said.

Neighbors claim that the parents were drug addicted.

In the heat of frustration and anger, the father armed with a knife tried to attack journalists covering the news outside the burned home. The father was detained and charges are to be brought against him for violating the “weapons law”.

The municipality Social Welfare will offer shelter to the boy and the grandmother.

Evosmos major, Efstathios Lazaridis stressed that some 700 families in his area have similar problems with power cut due to economic difficulties.

Speaking to private Skai TV residents stressed the tragic circumstances for many families in Kordelio-Evosmos municipality with 100,000 people. Almost 50% were without job and in Evosmos 800 families were without electricity. (,,, ).

The tragedy in Kordelio occurred a week after 13-year-old Sara died of carbon monoxide poisoning after her mother had made fire in a make-shift stove so they could warm in a home without electricity.

According to Fire Brigades records, 65 people lost their life 2008-2013 (January) in Greece due to “alternative heating means” like fireplace, heating-oil, wood and gas stoves or make-shift stoves.

Theater play writer Vaggelis Leivadas, 90, was burned to death in November 2011 when an electric heater was turned over.

Annual heating cost for apartment 90-100 sqm in Athens:

natural gas 1,000 euro

heating oil 1,600 euro

Stand December 2013


considering as minimum heating period December-February, it’s difficult for jobless households to find extra 300 euro to heat their homes.

With exorbitant prices for heating oil and natural gas – prices 30-40% higher than in the rest of Europe – many households cannot afford safe heating means and do whatever they can in order to sit at home without freezing feet and running nose.





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