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Social gap widens after Greek economic crisis and bailout programmes

Ago Kouitimi driving through Athens
Ago Kouitimi driving through Athens Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Symela Touchtidou
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Ago Kouitimi and Tassos Athanasopoulos had many things in common, both enjoying a good standard of living. Until the startling impacts of the economic crisis hit Greece, increasing the social gap between the workers drastically.

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Ten years of economic crises and bailouts programmes have caused severe fractures to Greek society.

According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, inequality worsened drastically between the years 2012 and 2016, those who were previously middle class were affected with unprecedented austerity.

Ago Kouitimi and Tassos Athanasopoulos are emblematic of the situation, both of whom are in their late 40s and fathers of two.

Ago Kouitimi used to work in construction. Born in Albania, he came to Greece 30 years ago, with no educational background and special skills. He turned to food delivery when construction work halted due to the crisis.

"I have a family to support so I am forced to do this difficult job,” Ago told Euronews. “It is dangerous, with a lot of traffic on the roads. I am paid 4 euros per hour and I work 13 hours a day. I have to work these long hours because my wife is not employed, and I have two young children. So, I have to pay for rent, bills, out of school activities. And what is the most important, I have no debts."

Tassos Athanasopoulos, an electrical engineer, took the risk of starting his own business called Enerdia after the bailout programmes called for increased use of renewable energy in the country.

"I started the company from zero. A decision I took in 2010 because I wanted to create a business environment different from what I had experienced.”

Inequality in Greece reached unprecedented levels during the crisis. The average yearly disposable income for a family (two parents and two children) located in the poorest quarter of the population is 5,442 euros. The average yearly disposable income for a family (two parents and two children) located in the richest quarter of the population is 32,133 euros. A drastic difference of 490%.

Watch full video in Good Morning Europe's report in the player above

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