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Quarterly Newsletter - Summer 2015

The saga about Greece keeping the euro goes on and on, and round and round...

For weeks on end, we were inundated with daily media updates on the latest in this ongoing crisis: Banks in Greece had been closed for three weeks, with queues forming outside to get what little they could (€60 per day, or just over £40) from the cash machines. Many businesses had to stop as they were lacking the raw materials to continue operating. A five-man (!) team at the Greek Treasury decided what money could flow out of the country to pay for imports. Even tavernas had to close as they could not source the necessary food ingredients.

Average, i.e. poorer, Greeks were distraught and near breaking point, and it is worth remembering that the average Greek had nothing whatsoever to do with the reasons for the country’s malaise. Yes, they were happy to retire unreasonably early on big pensions (55 for men and 50 for women if they carried out what were termed “arduous and unhealthy” jobs, such as musicians playing wind instruments, hairdressers, bakers, masseurs and, believe it or not, radio and TV presenters!). The state employees were equally happy to receive a thirteenth salary at Christmas time and a fourteenth (!) salary (half paid in spring for “Easter goods” and half in summer to help with holiday costs).

However, the real culprits, in the opinion of many historians and political commentators, were ...