Crisis: 1 in 4 Greeks below poverty line

But Piraeus container traffic rose in 2012

09 January, 18:28

Poverty and homelessness in Greece Poverty and homelessness in Greece

(ANSAmed) - ROME - Some see a glimmer of hope on the horizon in Greece due to signs of economic recovery, but the statistics (for 2011, but those for 2012 may be even worse) show a country still being pummeled by hardship. Some 3.403 billion people in Greece, 24.8% of a total population of 11 million, are below the poverty line or in a condition defined as ''social exclusion''. These figures are from a study carried out by Greece's statistics service ELSTAT. In 2010 there had instead been 3.031 billion: thus, 400,000 more people have slid into poverty. Moreover, the number of people living in households in which none of the members have full-time employment rose to 979,000 in 2011, compared with 619,000 in 2010. The figures reflect the results of economic policies implemented in the eighteen months after the signing of the first Memorandum between the Greek government and the troika (IMF, EU and ECB), during which harsh austerity measures were brought in, leading to a reduction in the income of Greek citizens. A few weeks after the go-ahead to the latest aid tranche, and with speculation on Greece's possible exit from the Eurozone having fallen by the wayside, some are cautiously optimistic: like Charles Dallara, head of the Institute of International Finance (IIF, which represented Greece's international creditor banks in the talks which led to a reduction in Greek debt), who feels Greece will return to the markets earlier than originally predicted as a result of the consolidation of the country's credibility and the solidarity shown by the eurozone and the EU.

In an interview published in Ta Nea, Dallara said that investors would once again start looking towards Greece ''not only for financial investment but also to invest in the real economy''. And it is also from the real economy that some signs of hope have come. A substantial increase in cargo traffic in Pier I of the Greek port Piraeus (publicly owned and managed) was seen in 2012 compared with 2011 figures. According to the data released today by the port authority, Pier I handled 625,914 TEU (unit used for container calculations) in 2012, compared with 490,904 in 2011, a 27.5% rise. An increase of 12% was seen in container storage space of the pier. Piraeus's Pier II is successfully managed by the Chinese company Cosco, which is also planning to build a third pier. (ANSAmed).

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