Greece & The Euro
What Athens does next will have profound consequences for the rest of Europe. Political Tours examines the lessons to be learned from the Greek sovereign debt crisis and asks what next for the Eurozone?
Date: June 22 - 30, 2013.
Single Supplement: £250.00
Nowhere in Europe has the financial crisis had a more profound effect than in Greece. While the EU demands drastic budget cuts ordinary people are facing the consequences. This tour looks at how the crisis came about, and asks how best to find a way out. Our tour takes us from the nation’s parliament to local neighborhoods where people, businesses, unions and local leaders give their views. Leading Greek analysts guide us throughout and examine the ramifications for the rest of Europe.
Political Tours will provide donations to all the non-profit organisations visited during this tour. Internal flights are not included in the price, but we can advise on reservations.
Day 1 Tour starting point: The Island of Samos Welcome dinner. Local and international analysts give an overview of where Greece stands today. We spend two nights here.
Day 2 Grass root problems – At first glance Samos seems blessed with natural beauty. It’s a major tourist attraction, but behind the seafront deep-seated problems beset this island as much as anywhere in Greece. Outside of tourism many are reliant on small-scale agriculture. It’s also a place to examine other issues such as immigration and excessive defence spending. We speak to local leaders, NGOs, ordinary people and the newly elected Syriza that has benefited from popular discontent.
Day 3 Samos, Athens and the Military More meetings in Samos followed by flight to Athens. Greece has had several conflicts with Turkey in the past hundred years. In 2005 Greece was second only to China and India in terms weapon imports. This spending is now in question. Meetings with analysts and commentators.
Day 4 Sydagma Square – Protests and Moribund Economy Visit to Sydagma Square, where the demonstrations protesting austerity measures have culminated and where many riots have started. We see the damage done by the unrest and then move on to Ermou Street, a place were it was once impossible to find a shop to rent. Now many are empty and pawn shops are prevalent. We look at how small businesses operate and raise the issue of taxation – who pays it and how the government is struggling to collect more of it.
Day 5 Understanding the Greek Mess: How the Real Economy was Destroyed Greek legislation has been part of its economic downfall. One economist argues Greece is in need of major structural reform. We look at examples of businesses and institutions that have been affected. Optional for the afternoon: an overview of all the ancient sites of the city.
Day 6 Municipality of Perama An example of frivolous spending and its results. The Town Hall was under occupation for months and many employees have gone with out pay. The new mayor has been trying to cut back expenses. We then visit the Perama shipyard: Shipbuilding was once one of the main engines of the Greek economy. Now half-abandoned, globalization and rising costs having driven shipping companies to build their boats elsewhere.
Day 7 The return to agriculture. A day trip to Corinth (less than two hours away). In the past two years tens of thousands of Greeks have chosen to become farmers. The extremely high unemployment rate and government incentives are at the root of this. Growing kiwis and snails have been among the most popular choices as cash crops! We talk with farmers and union representatives. Afternoon : Optional activity; exploring Ancient Corinth.
Day 8 The Potato Movement Municipalities buy large quantities of agricultural products and sell them to citizens at cost value. This began with potatoes but it has now extended to other products such as olive oil, honey etc. Municipal officials explain the origins, purpose, and value of such an initiative that has been embraced by more than 10% of Greek municipalities.
The Olympic Legacy and Its Costs The 2004 Athens Olympics was probably the last time Greece was seen internationally in a positive light. Since then the debt created by the event has become a major political issue, and most of the sites that were built for the Olympics remain empty.
Day 9 Departure for the Airport