Against a backdrop of uncontrollable government debt, demonstrations and riots in the streets the Greek Parliament endorsed austerity measures demanded by the Troïka of the EU, ECB and IMF on 7 November 2012 . The leaders of other European countries and their financial institutions have continued to demand the unflinching implementation of austerity measures to stem the countries spiraling debt. On more than one occasion since 2010 the situation in Greece has brought the whole of the European banking and financial system to the brink of chaos.

In early 2010, it was revealed that through the assistance of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and numerous other banks, financial products were developed which enabled the governments of Greece, Italy and many other European countries to hide their borrowing.

The biting measures of austerity, effectively forced on Greece by its European partners, have been accepted in exchange for the desperately needed financial bailout. Greek government spending on minimum wages, unemployment benefits, healthcare services, pension plans, and education, to name but a few sectors, has all been drastically reduced. 

As Greece braces itself for a fifth year of recession the unemployment has reached a record 27.8% nationally, with nearly one in two 15-24 years-old without work (48%). Gross Domestic Product has fallen a further 7% during the last quarter of 2011, down more than 27% in all from its highest value in 2009. (The Hellenic statistical authority)

For the vast majority of Greeks the imposed austerity plan, it seems, is solving nothing. To the contrary, many are being left without hope for a better future and just more stringent belt-tightening, at best, and economic ruin, at worst, to look forward to. The people I met and spoke to are incredulous, but well informed; disheartened but fiercely proud. My project is for them, so that their voices and their feelings may be heard.

Cedric Spilthooren