Nov 6 2017

The Political Economy of Privatisation in Greece after the Economic Crisis

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By Özgün Sarımehmet Duman

The recent economic crisis has been a very solid testimony to the interconnectedness of world markets that the US-originated crisis has had an endemic and epidemic reflection throughout the world, the Eurozone having prime eminence due to its own monetary and single market based specificities. Among other peripheral economies of the Eurozone, the emergence of the economic crisis in Greece has disclosed its structural specificities that the long been delayed reforms for improving not only the functioning of the real economy and the financial market but also their integration with the capitalist world have been put at the top of the agenda[1]. Accordingly, the introduction of non-structural and structural measures dominated the economic recovery process of the post-crisis Greece, despite some discrepancies in implementation. These measures mainly targeted to improve the functioning of the real economy in terms of increasing competitiveness and to enhance the openness of the financial market to the international market. Continue reading

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Oct 30 2017

Sexualities & Ageing: The Case of Cyprus

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By Constantinos N. Phellas

The World Health Organization once asked (2002): “As people are living longer, how can the quality of life in old age be improved? How do we help people remain active and independent as they age? How do we strengthen health promotion and prevention policies especially those directed to older people?” (“Active Ageing”, pp.5, WHO)*

If by 2025 one third of Europe will be aged 60 and over, and by 2050 half the population of Europe will be 50 or older, it is vital to construct questions such as those imposed by the World Health Organization as the aging population is one of the main contributors in shaping today and tomorrows economic and social developments of Europe. It is inevitably true that the demographic state of Europe is changing and can be characterized by the shrinking number of young people; an increase in life expectancy and a dramatic drop in infant mortality. The consequences of such a demographic transition will have a tremendous impact on the economy, care, social development; welfare and well-being in European societies (Agent et al. 2006). To prevent such costly impacts on the population as a whole special attention needs to be placed on promoting health and good quality of life in older age. Investing in both are important determinants of economic growth, competitiveness, labor supply and the decreasing likelihood of early retirement. Continue reading

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Oct 25 2017

Populism, the state and modernisation in Greece: A historical perspective

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By Angelos Chryssogelos

Since the eruption of the Greek crisis in 2010, few concepts have captured the attention of public and academic debates in Greece more than populism. In lay discourse, populism – understood often as irresponsible macroeconomics and demagogy – is commonly seen as the reason behind the advent of the crisis. In academic research, an intense debate rages between those who define populism as an illiberal ideology that threatens political stability and democracy, and those who view populism as a necessary emancipatory project that empowers the people to resist hostile economic policies.

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Oct 19 2017

Gender-Change Law in Greece: Education, Ideology, and Reality

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By Katerina Glyniadaki, PhD Candidate at the European Institute, LSE 

Why did suddenly a gender-change law become such a ‘hot’ topic in Greece?

 The word ‘gender’ originates from the Greek language. Yet, there is no distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ in Modern Greek. The term ‘fylo’ is used instead to denote both. Even though social scientists make sure to draw a clear line between the social and the biological aspects of ‘fylo’, this distinction rarely takes place in everyday language use.

As it became apparent from the recent parliamentary discussions, a significant proportion of the Greek MPs fail to differentiate between the related but distinct concepts of biological sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Not surprisingly, then, the majority of the Greek population also fails to make this distinction. It could be because academic research spreads very slowly. Or, because of the Greek education system. Or both. Continue reading

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Oct 4 2017

The Energy Geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Role of Greece

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By Emmanuel Karagiannis, Senior Lecturer, Department of Defence Studies, King’s College London

The Eastern Mediterranean is once again in turmoil. Turkey is becoming increasingly assertive in pressing its claims and strengthening relations with the Muslim world. Greece and Cyprus faced a severe financial crisis from which they have only partly recovered. The Syrian civil war has turned into a regional crisis, drawing other neighbouring countries into it. Post-Mubarak Egypt has sought a regional role as a leading Arab country, but the current confrontation between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood is threatening the country’s stability. Continue reading

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Mar 9 2017

Beyond Crisis: Constitutional Change in Greece after the Memoranda

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By Anna Tsiftsoglou, NBG Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hellenic Observatory

Can financial crises bring constitutional change? Has Greece become a prominent such example? Already 7 years into recession, crisis-hit Greece is experiencing a tremendous institutional change. This change, which takes place informally rather than formally, is affecting state institutions- primarily its parliament, the executive and courts. Everyday practice, political or otherwise, changes the norms, vital checks and balances and brings about a new reading and ethos to our Constitution. With my upcoming paper, I aim to explore the idea of constitutional change and to connect it to parliamentary and judicial activity after the Memoranda. How have state institutions reacted to the financial crisis? How do economic emergency and external players interplay with local institutions and interests? Finally, will this change have a longer-lasting impact on the country, beyond its economic recovery? Continue reading

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Mar 1 2017

Religious Pluralism and Education in Greece

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By Effie Fokas and Margarita Markoviti

In 2005, in Folgero v. Norway, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) set precedence highly relevant to the Greek context of religious education (RE):  ‘it does not appear that the respondent State [Norway] took sufficient care that information and knowledge included in the curriculum be conveyed in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner …’. Judged by this standard, RE in Greece certainly fails the ‘Folgero test’; in fact, it would do so even if the current government proceeded to implement the controversial reforms of the class. Continue reading

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Feb 24 2017

Greek Healthcare Revisited: The Other Side of the Story

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By Vassilis G. Apostolopoulos

It was with great interest that I read Guardian’s long op-ed “Patients who should live are dying’: Greece’s public health meltdown”. The article, correctly underlined the dramatic impact of prolonged ‘draconian’ austerity measures and policies which have greatly affected the Greek health system. Austerity in public health systems comes at a very high price. Especially if implemented in the form of horizontal, target-driven cuts, and not the result of thorough, well structured, strategic reforms of the problematic aspects of the health system – streamlining it, upping its efficiency and safeguarding the quality of services offered. Successive Greek governments gravely mismanaged public health policy and the social security system, exacerbating deficits, and, ultimately, shortages and deficiencies. The need for good governance, sound policy, targeted reforms and real time checks in public hospitals through a cutting-edge spending oversight mechanism is imperative. It could save the state €500 million euros annually, providing considerable space for improvements in the system. The Guardian article went on to highlight certain very alarming, yet isolated cases, which accentuate some of the major challenges that the Greek public health system has been grappling with in recent times. Continue reading

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Jan 31 2017

Greek-Turkish relations and the perceptions of their elites

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D Triantaphyllou(Smallersize)By Dimitris Triantaphyllou

An interesting study that I recently conducted (completed in mid-December 2016) with funding from my university has revealed much about how Turkish elites view Turkish Foreign Policy and Greek-Turkish Relations. This study was conducted in the form of a survey with 41 close ended questions which fundamentally looked at three sets of issues: Turkey’s position in the world; Greece’s foreign policy; and Greek-Turkish relations. It was inspired by an earlier study/survey, whose results were published in November 2014, that I had conducted together with my colleague Kostas Ifantis from Panteion University for the Hellenic Observatory of the London School of Economics, on the perceptions of Greek elites about Turkey’s Foreign Policy and Greek-Turkish Relations. Those surveyed were representative elites from the following categories: business, journalism, diplomacy, the military, politics, and academia. Continue reading

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Jan 24 2017

Changing the policy agenda? The impact of the Golden Dawn on Greek party politics

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Supporters of Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party protest around a flag during a rally at central Syntagma square in Athens November 30, 2013. Hundreds of supporters gathered outside parliament on Saturday to protest the pre-trial detention of their leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, who faces charges of forming a criminal organisation. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis (GREECE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX15YYG

Supporters of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party protest around a flag during a rally at central Syntagma square in Athens, November 30, 2013. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

By Daphne Halikiopoulou, Kyriaki Nanou and Sofia Vasilopoulou

What has been the impact of the Golden Dawn on Greek party politics? From the margins of the political system during the metapolitefsi era, the party experienced an electoral breakthrough in 2012 and remains the third strongest party in Parliament. The Golden Dawn is an extreme variant of the far-right party family, claiming ownership of nationalism and justifying its policies on the basis of the nation. The party espouses the use of violence and fascist/Nazi ideals. The majority of scholarly work has focused on explanations of the Golden Dawn’s electoral success. In our paper, we focus instead on the impact of the Golden Dawn on the dynamics of domestic party competition, drawing upon research funded by the National Bank of Greece, awarded to us by the Hellenic Observatory of the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2014. Continue reading

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