Greek people ‘fear becoming the black sheep of Europe’

Professor George Tridimas, Ulsyter University
Professor George Tridimas, Ulsyter University

Professor of Political Economy at Ulster University, George Tridimas, said he has elderly relatives living in Athens who are “on the receiving side of the crisis”.

On Sunday, Greek voters overwhelmingly voted ‘no’ in a referendum refusing a deal of billions of Euros in exchange for more cuts and austerity measures.

Greece owes €3.5 billion to the European Central Bank and now wants to return to the negotiating table to get a more favourable deal.

But there are fears Greece’s banks could run out of money within days, with cash machines – currently rationed to €60 (£42) a day – running dry.

“None of my elderly relatives in Greece have a credit card and are really worried about their pensions, the shops being stocked up and medication being available,” he said.

“They are in that part of the population who really believe it was unfair to say pensioners can get €120 out of the bank every week while those who hold credit cards can get €60 a day if the cash is there.”

Professor Tridimas, 57, who said he has not lived in Greece since 1979, said his relatives are also “worried about the cost of fuel come winter”.

“If there is any kind of rationing elderly people suffer more than the average person.”

The academic said he believed all those who voted in the referendum “do not want Greece out of the euro”.

“The government is a big employer in Greece and also pays a large number of pensioners,” added the academic. “It has always been a generator of income as well as a distributor of income.

“As someone who was born and raised in Athens and studied there I feel sad about it,” he said.

“When I was young there was so much hope about the future that we could do better and all we had to do was work and the sky was the limit. Now young people cannot say that. My heart goes out to them. What can they do and what can I do for them?”