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Greece: the land of honey

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This honey is behind a success story in a country going through one of its hardest times ever.

Attiki honey is a family run business which was founded in 1928.

All the raw materials are Greek, the honey is produced by 2,000 Greek beekeepers and it’s exported in 48 countries world-wide.

Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi’s father and uncle founded the company. She and her brother now run it.

Even during the peak of the economic crisis, she kept all of her 115 employees and salaries were not cut.

Despite growing Euroscepticism among many Greeks, Mrs. Pitta-Chazapi is an ardent supporter of the European union and of the euro.

Valérie Zabriskie: When Greece first joined the Eurozone, or the single currency that also helped as well?

Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi: I believe in the euro very much.

Valérie Zabriskie: And why?

Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi: I think it helped us because it gave us stability. We could make offers without having to calculate every time the currencies and so on and we sell all over the world in euros. We don’t use dollars, we don’t use anything. Only euros. And it gave us also safety.

Yet many economists and Greeks themselves argue Greece can only compete if it exits the eurozone. Alexandra disagrees. She warns a return to the drachma would make things worse.

Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi: I know from being vice-president of the Hellenic exporters association, I know that our imports are double than exports. How could we survive with the drachma? If our exports were much more, maybe. But I don’t think we could survive with the drachma. The drachma in the past was also a very weak coin so it would be in the future, and also since we are in a country under a crisis. So you could imagine, it would be very difficult. We would not import anything.

Alexandra claims reinvesting in her company’s facilities keeps it competitive. She is also grateful for an EU subsidy of 1.4 million euros and she is grateful to the EU.

Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi:I think the first thing is that all of the years we suffered from anxiety and uncertainty in this country, it offered us certainty and security, (and) being part of a very big community of countries and very strong. And secondly it opened the market to us, it was a huge market that we could go in and send our products without problems, very easily and so it gave us opportunities we had to grasp.

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