Greece: The primary concern must be addressing poverty

Greece: The primary concern must be addressing poverty


Op Ed/ Nikolaos Kaliakoudas, Economist

6.3 million Greeks on the poverty line or below it! This is according to the report of the Parliamentary Budget Office, which concludes that Greece is the only European country that has not yet institutionalized and activated the General Minimum Income (GMI), although it is facing a humanitarian crisis!!! So much insensitivity… The poverty threshold in 2013 is set at 432 euros per person per month, and 908 euros per month for a family of four!!!

Our society has, unfortunately, entered the “area of depression”! It is not only the income inequalities, which are becoming more intense, it is also the food deficit for many of our fellowmen around us who are crowded to the soup kitchens of the Church and various institutions; it is the healthcare poverty, with many of our fellow citizens not having access to the healthcare system, it is the lack of coverage of the need for “free” education and welfare. All these are basic needs that a State must support and provide, implementing redistributive policies in its generating wealth.

It is a fact that many issues concern today’s society! But the most important is the survival of the people, who at present “have nothing to live by” and live in the economic and social margin. Unemployment and poverty are the plague of today’s reality. Greece of the crisis!!! This problem, like many other key issues can be solved only politically. When you have two to three Greeks facing the specter of poverty, having essentially a society of the 1/3, then things are crucial for the citizens who elect their politicians, but also for the political class itself, which has a obligation to inspire and guide the people, the institutions and the productive classes in a different environment, sincere and true, with social justice and redistribution of income that gives perspective and prosperity to the country.

The current rulers are proud of the alleged success of their “surplus” by investing in poverty and destitution, unemployment and insecurity, which spreads throughout the society and touches every family. This phenomenon, which unfolds every day in neighborhoods, cities and districts, has removed from the souls of the Greeks any hope for the future and does not specify any prospect for their country.

The first concern of a progressive government of tomorrow, which should move away from the stereotypes of the hitherto ineffective policies and practices, should be to address the humanitarian issues the country is facing. To immediately stop the downward spiral. Long-term unemployed workers, working without safety and uninsured, householders with limited purchasing power, self-employed with meager incomes, the elderly and people with disabilities who need special and specific support. These measures are the minimum that must be taken to stop the humanitarian crisis and to relieve people and families, who have in the last years been bereaved of their basic needs for survival.