With the EU Parliamentary elections one month away, Euronews is counting down by taking a road trip across the continent to speak to voters about the issues that matter to them. We are visiting towns and villages around Europe – inviting people to talk about what's on their minds, ahead of what is a key vote at a crucial moment for the European Union.
Correspondents Bryan Carter and Fay Doulgkeri have set off on the next leg of Euronews' road trip, during which they have been speaking to farmers in the Greek countryside to find out what impact EU subsidies have on local agriculture.
Panagiotis Zissis is a 28-year-old farmer who decided to live in rural Greece during the country's economic crisis. He has around 600 sheep on his farm, which produces on average 250,000 litres of milk every year.
“In the last years of the crisis, the number of animals on the farms of this region has tripled,” Panagiotis said.
“A lot of young people have joined the profession, and this was a very good start but under the current circumstances, things are difficult.
"We were not expecting to face such difficult times, we all face difficulties and we all try our best.”
After seven years in this business, and despite the difficult working conditions it presents, Panagiotis remains hopeful about his future in the profession. This rests on his shoulders, he says, and not on those of any national or EU decision-makers.
“I haven’t decided yet if I will vote in the European elections because there is a lot of background that we don’t know about, that serves certain purposes.
"History has shown us that very few leaders have taken care of the people or fought for their people, it seems like most of them are just trying to serve their own needs,” Panagiotis added.
Not far from his farm is a field owned by his friend Christoforos Angelis, which is used to grow corn for livestock.
“Without funding from the EU, no crops can grow,” Christoforos said. “A very important thing that people need to understand is that we don’t take the subsidies for ourselves, for a comfortable life, but because it makes prices lower for consumers.”
Like many farmers around the world, Panagiotis and Christoforos believe their work is vital.
They think it will take personal efforts rather than elections or agricultural policies to bridge the growing divide between the urban and the rural parts of Greece.
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