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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Jan 13 2017

A pension system for younger workers in Greece: A proposal for growth

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pic_pension_reformBy Milton Nektarios, Platon Tinios and George Simeonidis

Recent pension reforms help to trap Greece in deep crisis, but only increase the insecurity of pensioners. To break out of that vicious circle, a fresh start is needed. Such can result from the immediate introduction of a new type of pre-funded pensions. Such a new system, will put a stop to the reneging on pension commitments and can give a decisive impetus to the growth process. A detailed proposal was presented in December 2016 by a team of three academics from the University of Piraeus. That proposal has been quantified, potential problems identified and solutions proffered; even the considerable transition problems are likely to be more tractable than the most probable future course of the present, totally non-viable, arrangements. Continue reading

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Jan 9 2017

Contrasting Greek and UK Youths’ Subjective Responses to Austerity: Lessons for other European countries

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Greek demonstrators protest against the imposition of austerity, a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Greek demonstrators protest against the imposition of austerity. A photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

By Athanasia Chalari and Clive Sealey

Since 2010, many European countries have faced severe economic crises, resulting in the implementation of various forms of ‘austerity’ social policies, and Greece and the UK have been at the forefront of the implementation of such policies. While it is important to note that these austerity measures are affecting different groups in different ways, the impact on young people can be seen as particularly deleterious. For example, in contrast to previous generations, young people in these countries are now experiencing intense social, political and economic transformations that have impacted particularly on their current and future lives, and are very likely to be the first generation to do worse than their parents. Continue reading

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Jan 6 2017

Economic growth for Greece’s trade partners and Greek export growth

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theodore-panagiotidiskonstantinos-chisiridisBy Theodore Panagiotidis and Konstantinos Chisiridis

This note investigates two issues: First, to identify the most important trade partners of Greece over the last twenty years and how their relative significance has evolved. Second, to examine how sensitive is the Greek export growth relative to the economic growth of Greece’s trade partners? Continue reading

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Dec 9 2016

Gender and the Greek crisis: towards a risk assessment

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By Antigone Lyberaki and Platon Tinios

The Greek crisis is uniquely long and deep; while it is unfolding, secular trends in ageing, technology and globalization are changing the ways people work and how economics shapes attitudes. Add to this that Greece has been following the EU precepts for equality legislation for more than a generation, and the gender implications of its crisis acquire wider significance. As for the domestic significance of gender, suffice it to point out to the waste implicit in the second fastest ageing society, leaving the full potential of half of its citizens unexplored. Continue reading

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Dec 6 2016

Brain drain and the Greek crisis

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By Lois Labrianidis and Manolis Pratsinakis

In the context of the debt crisis, recession, austerity and their socio-political consequences, Greece is experiencing a new major wave of out-migration. Emigration has become a survival strategy for many people who are finding it hard to make ends meet, while, at the same time, it has also emerged as an increasingly appealing option for others in less pressing need, who see their chances of socioeconomic advancement severely reduced. One dimension of this multifaceted phenomenon concerns the emigration of graduates, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of the outflow. Continue reading

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