What does the future look like for young people in crisis-hit Greece, where years of hardship and sky-high unemployment were followed this week by bank closures? The answer: self-imposed exile.
“I don’t see a future in Greece,” sighs Dani Iordake. The 21-year-old, who proudly sports self-styled tattoos on his arms, was forced to drop out of university to help his mother pay the bills.
“It’s a beautiful country… (but) I couldn’t imagine living here and struggling every day,” he said.
With youth unemployment at nearly 50% and a breakdown in negotiations with Greece’s international creditors heralding further financial woes, many of Iordake’s contemporaries are packing their bags.
Over 200,000 Greeks have quit the country since the financial crisis began in 2010, according to a Endeavor Greece, a local chapter of an entrepreneurial promotional group. They have been driven away by a dearth of jobs, pitiful wages, endemic corruption and lack of meritocracy.
Thirty-two year old Christos Pennos left in 2013 because of a scarcity of opportunities in the scientific field, and managed to snap up a post as a university researcher in Norway.
“My brother lives in Spain, my best friend in Germany. I have a lot of friends in Britain, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and even in Poland,” he said.