“My life has changed tremendously due to the crisis. Prices didn’t remain steady and job salaries are decreasing more and more these days. Unemployment is more than visible. Fortunately, my everyday life involves people that haven’t changed due to the crisis,” said Maria Armirioti, 25 years old from Thessaloniki, Greece. Maria has studied International and European Studies and she is currently living and working in Thessaloniki.
The Hook: Maria, what do you think about the political changes and the new government in your country? Are you afraid of the ‘next’ day?
Maria: “The low and middle classes in Greece will benefit from the new government however this will be only a short-term change that will not last long. Syriza will give us back some amenities that we used to have before the crisis, but we will pay the price for those amenities again in the future. And it will be worse than today. The party will go on and on. So for me the next day is fine, but what about the day after that? This is what scares me more. Maybe for some Greece is the easy prey; and I am not talking only from an economic perspective.”
The Hook: Maria does believe that reforms have the power to change a country’s economic situation, but for her, Greek reforms did not take place having as main goal investment or the country’s development, but aimed at decreasing salaries’ and pensions’ level. Maria considers that the new government’s promises will prove to be illusory. What do you think about Greek economy’s progress so far?
Maria: “The Greek economy is not recovering, however I am more concerned about the impact the crisis has on social relationships, or about the fact that people have become pessimistic and desperate and most importantly about the increased and without remorse exploitation of people by people. The number of homeless people or people who are addicted to drugs or even to alcohol is increasing. And we all see those people every day and we just bypass them as they do not care. And the strangest thing is that many people consider it as part of their everyday life. How is it possible to forget how their daily life was 7-8 years ago, when there was no crisis?”
The Hook: As for the future, Maria believes that it will not be as bright as other people want to believe.
Maria: “Are the Europeans stupid to donate money to us? They didn’t just give us money to become saviors. But on the other hand, I do believe in the principle of interdependence. So it’s not only that we need them, it also goes the other way around.” She thinks that the irrevocable negotiating strategy that the new Greek government adopted towards other European leaders will not last. In addition, for her the end of the economic crisis for Greece will not be the case in the near future.
The Hook: Do you believe that the new government will manage to help the Greek economy?
Maria: “The severe austerity period didn’t bring any positive results to the Greek economy. The current program has failed. There are households that can’t afford even the basic necessities. But Syriza promised to give them the basic at least. It promised them food, electricity and jobs. On the other hand, I can’t see any economic recovery as corruption is still part of the Greek society. For me, people are still afraid of what the future holds for them and they are afraid to be creative and that’s the problem in the Greek society nowadays.”
The Hook: Contrary to numerous young people who opted for leaving the country as they were not able to find a job and survive in Greece, Maria does want to stay in the country and fight for her future.
Maria: “Thanks God, I grew up in a lovely home and I was not deprived of anything. But this also means that I don’t know how to deal with difficult situations. I believe though, that those who want to live they will live and those who want to work they will work. My grandfather was expelled from Smyrna in 1922. He worked, and he managed to survive. My father returns from his work every day exhausted and he never gives up. So, if those people managed to survive, that means that we can also do it. We need to help ourselves because no one else will do it for us. I am not scarred of the next day. I would be scared if I believed that I am in its mercy.”
By Valia Papadopoulou