• Crash

    Being the first eurozone country to ever undertake a massive bailout loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to avoid defaulting on its debts, Greece is feeling the pinch.

    Asked to cut public spending and stamp out corruption, Greece found itself struggling to meet the conditions of its creditors. As measures became tougher so did people's questions on who is to blame for the financial crisis. Has the welfare state been too generous? Are Greeks simply lazy and inefficient? Is corruption at the root of it all? Were the Athens 2004 Olympics a financial folly? And, finally, should Greece follow IMF and EU guidelines and accept the rescue loan, or leave the Euro altogether?

    Two things are certain. From a financial viewpoint the transition is a painful one and it will take at least a few years before any of the benefits begin to show. But that is a few years too many to those who have seen their pensions and salaries cut as a result of the bailout and who are left struggling to make ends meet.

    From a political point of view, the Greeks have lost all trust in their politicians as a result of the crisis, accusing them, often indiscriminately, of having filled their pockets with public money, received bribes and avoided taxes.

    Corruption appears endemic in the country at all levels, and Greeks have been known to be resilient to change. Yet this new test of endurance could come at a high cost: How much of the country's youth will leave the in search of better prospects? Where will Greeks find themselves when the crisis is over?

  • Kickstarters

    Greece is not a land of entrepreneurs. In a land of furious anti-Capitalist protests, where wealth seems to be a matter of few families and where richness is associated with corruption, those willing to put their effort and money into starting up new companies and making a profit from them are not well-regarded.

    We have grown accustomed to stories of successful Greeks abroad….who stay abroad. This proves two things. First, that Greeks are as capable of succeeding as anyone else. Second, that the problem may lie at home. The only way out of the current financial crisis in Greece will be through greater competitiveness, innovation and thrust. Yet, innovation does not only come from Information Technologies or software but also, sometimes, from applying the best care and knowledge to what you have closest to you. Thus, the old can prove new.

    Greece is an old rugged land that olive trees have called home for centuries. Gaea is a young company opening its way in the international markets by providing the best olive-related products that Greece has to offer. In a globalized economy, agricultural products may not convey the fancy, glamorous, and fast-paced images associated with a 21st-century economy, but they have the unique taste and flavour that make all mouths around the world water. It is all about quality.

    From a political point of view, the Greeks have lost all trust in their politicians as a result of the crisis, accusing them, often indiscriminately, of having filled their pockets with public money, received bribes and avoided taxes.

    Yet, some people with plenty of opportunities abroad, who believe in the benefits of private companies, are willing to stay. Failure might be the likely outcome, but the profit of living, prospering, and building up in Greece is worth the challenge. Panos Petropoulos has succeeded. He and his partner have sold their Blind Type application to Google. Their journey from Athens to Silicon Valley was not a typical one. And it was not an easy one. Their motto: If a country looses the youngest and the brightest, how it is supposed to make headway?

  • Good Neighbours

    Kastelorizo, also known as Megisti, is a small frontier island located in the Eastern Aegean Sea, less than 1.5 nautical miles off the shores of Turkey and 72 nautical miles east of the Greek island of Rhodes. According to the official census, its population is less than 500 people.

    The island's long history can be traced back to prehistoric times, for which there are remains that speak of a developed civilization. During the Middle Ages, after having been occupied by the Knights Hospitaller, it became a place of exile. In that period it was renamed as "Kastelorizo", a corruption of the Italian "Castello Rosso" (Red Castle). As Kastelorizo came under Turkish occupation, it gradually became a prosperous center of commercial navigation. After the 1821 Greek Revolution, the island was disputed between the French, the Italian and the English and was finally united with Greece in 1947, after many lootings and the massive emigrations, but also returns, of its inhabitants.

    Today, the island is once again a cause of controversy between Greece and Turkey. The issues of air and sea border violations and the designation of the Exclusive Economic Zone in this borderline point of the Aegean Sea create a climate of provocation between the two countries and stress the need to settle differences. Kastelorizo, an eternal symbol of Greece's encounter with other civilizations, is once again the point of reference for the redefinition of the country's relations with Turkey, while, at the same time, its inhabitants still safeguard its long history.