One of the main problems the Greek state faced at the start of the crisis was putting right the obvious public administration inefficiencies that had become an undue burden on the country’s finances while also being a source of gross unfairness. An example of this was Greece’s pension system and the poor way in which it was managed.
It is clear that the economic environment in Greece over the last few years has been unfavourable for local businesses. Demand has plummeted, liquidity has evaporated and political instability coupled with international speculation about Greece’s future in the euro have created numerous and large obstacles for Greek entrepreneurs in all sectors.
The City of Athens has conducted the first ever survey of people using its welfare services, including soup kitchens, and the findings of its report provide further cause for concern about the social impact of the crisis, particularly in the centre of the Greek capital.
One of the most worrying aspects of the crisis has been that the financial constraints on the state and its ever-decreasing role in a number of areas, such as social welfare, healthcare and urban services. This has left thousands of Greeks directly exposed to some of the worst effects of the recession.
Almost one in three Greeks are living at risk of poverty – well above the European Union average and the highest proportion in the eurozone – according to figures published this week by Eurostat.
What do Greeks fear most? Given developments over the past few years, one would expect poverty, unemployment or the prospect of more troika-dictated austerity measures to top the list. But a new poll has made a surprising finding: Greeks fear the last of justice above all.
The proportion of Greeks suffering from major depression has increased substantially since 2011 and is several times higher than pre-crisis levels, according to a new study by the University of Athens.
While there are other reasons, especially in the political sphere, for Golden Dawn’s remarkable rise, the deterioration of Greece’s socioeconomic foundations cannot be ignored. The plummeting quality of life for thousands of Greeks provided ample fodder for the neofascist party to spread its populist and hate-filled message.
There has been a significant rise in racist attacks since the 2012 general elections, when Golden Dawn entered Parliament, and it has been exacerbated by authorities’ failure to react, the Greek Ombudsman said in a damning report delivered to MPs on Wednesday.
As tragic as the murder of 34-year-old hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas - known as Killah P - was, it hardly came as a surprise after months of neofascist Golden Dawn stepping up its presence on Greek streets and becoming emboldened by authorities’ reluctance to address its violent behaviour decisively.