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Recovery? 60% Of Greeks Live At Or Below Poverty Levels

While Greek government yields (and political leaders) proclaim the troubled peripheral European nation is 'recovering', the risk of major political upheaval in Greece has not gone away ahead of next year's presidential vote next year. As Reuters notes, under growing pressure from anti-bailout leftists, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras desperately needs a new narrative to get the backing of lawmakers and rally Greeks fed up with four years of austerity. We wish him luck as Keep Talking Greece notes, it is high time that the real data of the economic situation of the Greek society come to the surface and so it did this week. A report from Greece's State Budget Office found that three in every five Greeks, or some 6.3 million people, were living in poverty or under the threat of poverty in 2013 due to material deprivation and unemployment.

As we noted previously, poverty rates are disturbing in Greece

 

As Reuters reports,

Four years after a messy descent into emergency funding to stave off bankruptcy, Greece’s government is trying to pull the plug on a deeply unpopular bailout program to secure its own survival.

Under growing pressure from anti-bailout leftists, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras desperately needs a new narrative to get the backing of lawmakers in a crucial presidential vote next year and rally Greeks fed up with four years of austerity.

It is a gamble with high stakes for the Greek economy and Athens’ relations with its euro zone peers. Failure by Samaras to get his presidential nominee elected would trigger new polls that his anti-austerity rivals would almost certainly win.

He better try hard as the situation is dismal... (as ekathimerini reports,)

Three in every five Greeks, or some 6.3 million people, were living in poverty or under the threat of poverty in 2013 due to material deprivation and unemployment, a report by Parliament’s State Budget Office showed on Thursday.

 

Using data on household incomes and living conditions, the report – titled “Minimum Income Policies in the European Union and Greece: A Comparative Analysis” – found that “some 2.5 million people are below the threshold of relative poverty, which is set at 60 percent of the average household income.” It added that “3.8 million people are facing the threat of poverty due to material deprivation and unemployment,” resulting in a total of 6.3 million people.

 

The State Budget Office’s economists who drafted the report argued that in contrast with other European countries “which implement programs to handle social inequalities, Greece, which faces huge phenomena of extreme poverty and social exclusion, is acting slowly.” They added that there is high demand for social assistance, while its supply by the state is “fragmented and full of administrative malfunctions.”

 

In that context “the social safety net is inefficient, while there is no prospect for the recovery of income losses resulting from the economic recession in the near future,” the report noted, reminding readers that the measure of the minimum guaranteed income “arrived in Greece belatedly.”

 

According to Eurostat Greece ranks top among the 28 European Union countries in terms of poverty risk and also has the highest poverty share in the population (23.1 percent). Greece also ranks fourth among EU states in poverty disparity, after Spain, Romania and Bulgaria.

h/t Keep Talking Greece

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But, of course, none of that matters - bond yields are low and the ECB-collateralized cash is flowing.

 

As for Greece: don't cry for it - it still has the euro - that symbol of successful European integration - so all is well.