Article by Giorgos, founder and guide at Thessaloniki Free Walking Tours
Even though during the big crisis that started in 2007, many countries were suffering financially like Italy, Spain or Portugal, for a reason I can not explain the Greek crisis was always in headlines.
The question of some of my friends that are from abroad, was always the same. Whose fault was it? Of the Greek people, of the Greek policitians, of the European politicians and especially the German ones?
I think only from the question, we can get in some distorted and simplified results that can’t apply to all the dimensions of one economy.
Still as a Greek, that has lived all his life in Greece and has experienced the whole crisis from its very beginning, I have come personally to this simplified story.
Let’s say that Greece is a human and this human was eating too much for years. One day eventually he got sick. Immediately they called the doctors that in this case were the International Monatery Fund (IMF) and the Central European Bank.
The doctors unfortunately gave a very bad medicine to the patient that is called austerity measures, that instead of improving the patient’s health, made it even worse.
So in a few words, it was mainly the Greek banks' and secondary the Greek people’s fault that we entered in the crisis but the measures that were taken by IMF and EU made the things even worse.
About the present I can’t say that we are out of the crisis as I hear or read sometimes in the news, global or local. I think the Greek people we are now more used to the crisis than surpassed it. I’ll give only one example to make people understand. In 2010 the net salary per month, meaning the money going in your pocket, was 781 euro. The next month of the same year was 500 euro. In the beginning nobody was accepting to work for so little money. 14 years later, the minimum salary is 524 euro and everyone is accepting it…
The meaning of this article is not of course to ask for pitty or put the blame on someone. I think people and countries move on and make their life better, only when they do a self-criticism and try to understand what the real problem is.
Also it is a very complicating issue that can be analyzed in a small article but still this is the basic idea around the Greek Crisis and its causes.
Experiencing Greece's challenges firsthand, I invite you to explore Thessaloniki with me on my free walking tours. Let's uncover the real story together!