(ANSAmed) - ATHENS, APRIL 27 - It may be happening on a lesser
scale than the great migrations of the early 1950s and 1960s in
the poverty that followed the war, but now in its fifth straight
year of recession, Greece is once more witnessing an exodus of
thousands of its youth, seeking better fortunes abroad. A recent
study undertaken by Thessaloniki University has shown how the
great majority of these émigrés and of those wishing to leave
belongs to the younger generations. Their destinations include
such countries as Australia, Russia, China and Iran.
This drive to leave the country appears to be curbed to some
extent by a real fear of the unknown, combined perhaps with a
fear of separation from the protecting family. Another survey,
published today by the Athens Parthenon University, shows that
seven out of ten young Greeks would like to leave their
recession-struck country in search of a better future, but that
fewer than one in five has actually taken any steps to prepare
for their departure.
Conducted in January by the Focus Bari company using a sample of
444 people aged between 18 and 24, the study shows 76% of
interviewees believing that leaving Greece would be the best
response to the effects of the economic crisis.
However, for most of them, the idea of leaving appears a dream
that cannot come true. Half of those interviewed (53%) spoke of
having thought about emigrating, while just 17% said that they
had resolved to leave the country and that they had already
undertaken preparatory actions. A slightly lower percentage
(14%) stated that they were forcing themselves quite consciously
to stay on in Greece as it is their generation that has to bring
about the changes that the country so desperately needs.
Nonetheless, just a few months ago another study carried out by
Stedima Business Consultants revealed 95% of Greek parents being
ready to encourage their children to go and work abroad.
Unemployment in Greece stood at the record rate of 21.8% in
January, while the number of unemployed among those aged under
25 reached 48%, or one in two young Greeks without a job.
As things stand and with expectations of an economic recovery
ten years away into the future, it is obvious that this brain
drain will continue. In 2011 alone, around 2,500 Greeks moved to
Australia while the country's authorities say that another
40,000 at least would like to follow in their steps. In October,
a "Talent Fair" organised by the Australian government, was held
in Athens with 800 jobs on offer: 13,000 applicants have already
The new exodus will be of younger and better-trained Greeks:
those who speak more than one language but who cannot make ends
meet in a country whose economy is in free fall. Some
predictions put a more pessimistic cast on these forecasts,
speaking of the loss of two generations in the country.