|the protesters wish to be able to vote other people's wallet|
they are wastrels
but in the minority
60-70k out of 7 mil, iow, 1%
the way of wastrelism is the way of greece, for wastrelism works fast and devolution is difficult to stop
Why are so many Greek youth snubbing work?
Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2012
OIA, Greece — Why should foreign governments and international funds spend hundreds of billions of euros in emergency aid to rescue Greece from ruin when — despite a youth unemployment rate topping 52 per cent — many young Greeks do not seem interested in working at all?
That is one of many riddles that the new Greek government must try to solve amid opprobrium and often downright anger from northern neighbours such as Germany, who very reluctantly have been helping Athens to pay its bills.
Santorini deserves its reputation for dazzling sunsets. This nightly drama is best enjoyed from the balconies of Oia’s stunning whitewashed hotels or from ancient stone walls built into the steep cliffs that overlook a volcanic lagoon and the Aegean Sea.
Oia and other villages on the island of Santorini (also known as Thera) provide thousands of jobs in the tourism industry. However, almost none of the hospitality workers on the island are Greek.
Tourism is Greece’s second most important industry after shipping. But it is almost all done of the backs of foreigners, not Greeks.
Employees at my hotel come from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Albania, Bangladesh and the Netherlands. Next door and just up the hill there are Albanians, Kosovar Albanians, Poles and Filipinos. Other than a half-Greek-half-Serbian hotel manager and two Greek waiters working at restaurants on the main pedestrian thoroughfare, none of these workers speak Greek well. Most of them do not speak Greek at all.
Employing so many foreign labourers at a time of deep economic crisis is something that frustrates and embarrasses some Greeks. That those jobs are filled by foreigners is an emotive, potentially explosive subject, since hundreds of thousands of outsiders have poured through Greece’s porous borders in the past few years.
But Greeks have bigger obsessions right now. For most the big question was and is whether its shaky new coalition government can manage to do enough to convince the bureaucrats in Brussels and bankers elsewhere that it should be allowed to stay in the euro zone.
‘They’d rather smoke a cigarette and watch television with their mothers’
However, when directly asked why so few young Greeks were willing to work in their Mediterranean archipelago, older Greeks mostly condemned their younger compatriots as spoiled brats. The consensus was that Greek youths preferred to stay at home with their parents rather than take jobs on the islands because of low wages and because they considered waiting on tables and changing sheets to be beneath them.
How many jobs there soon will be in tourism on the islands or anywhere else in Greece is an open question. European cousins are staying away in large numbers either because they have less money to spend — the EU reported the highest unemployment figures ever on Monday — or because they fear civil unrest in Greece.
German tourists, whose money is particularly important to Greece, have proven understandably reluctant to come since they were depicted as Nazis by some in the Greek media for having blocked further tranches of aid for Greece.
Bookings with Air Berlin are down 30 per cent. The number of German visitors to islands such as Santorini has plummeted by 50 per cent.
A man passes a plaque of a Greek one-drachma coin, which was replaced by the euro in 2002, in central Athens, on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris
Airport arrivals at Athens were off 13 per cent this spring. Singapore Airlines is stopping service. Air Canada is reducing flights. There will soon be fewer flights from Britain, where tours to Greece are already being discounted by as much as 25 per cent. Some island hotels are closing at the end of September instead of in early November.
The Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasts found bookings were down about 15 per cent during the crucial June-to-September period this year compared to last year, with a decline in hotel occupancy rates of 10 per cent. This comes with a double whammy because prices already have been reduced by about 9 per cent since last year.
“Almost every day I get calls asking if things are working. For example, do the ATMs work? They are very scared,” said Marios Tsilingiris, who has been a travel agent for 26 years.
“Next year will be worse,” he predicted. “We can see this from the contracts. Some are already being cancelled.”
If this happens it will be even harder for Greece to pay down a deficit that already greatly exceeds its GDP. As it is, tourism still accounts for 16.5 per cent of Greece’s shrinking economy.
On the positive side, there were reports in the Greek media last week that tourist operators had received a strong, positive bounce in bookings after Greek finally cobbled together a working coalition last month and said it was committed to remaining in the euro zone. But these gains may prove elusive as there are many more predictions that Greece’s economic crisis will deepen over the next few months than that the situation will improve.
This begs the question: At what point will some of the million or so unemployed young Greeks on the mainland take what few jobs are still available in hotels and restaurants on islands such as Santorini?
A taxi driver on the island was not optimistic.
“They’d rather smoke a cigarette and watch television with their mothers,” he said dismissively.