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to wonder how truthful this article is in the (sorry) DM re: Greece's debts/economy?

(5 Posts)
fgaaagh Thu 30-Jun-11 09:52:09

Some interesting claims here

* The Athens Underground, built for the Olympics, has no barriers to entry or exit and works on a ticket validation system which few bother with.

* The average salary on Greek Railways is £60k.

* 600 professions including pastry chefs are allowed to retire at 50, on 95% of their previous salaries, due to the arduous nature of their work.

* Only 5,000 people in the country admit to receiving a salary of over £90k pa due to self-declaration of taxes.

* This is in spite of "studies" (unnamed) showing more than 60,000 greek homes have investments of over £1m.

* People are therefore saying they earn below the tax threshhold of £10k, even though they own second homes and boats.

* Allegedly there is a semi-official rate for bribing the tax collector if they find out.

* Greek shipping magnates are automatically exempt from tax.

* The government has resorted to using helicopters and Google earth to show where people add swimming pools and expensive extras to their property. People are using covers and camouflage to hide them.

* There is a big capital flight to tax havens (well that one must be true!)

* Greeks have been buying properties in London to hide their wealth.

* Greek schools have four times as many teachers as Finnish schools - the system rated best in Europe.

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Because it's the DM, AIBU to seriously doubt some of the wild claims they're making in that article? I just see it that this does what the DM does best - riles angry readers / seeks to make someone or a group a scapegoat grin

But it can't all be total fabrication can it? Therefore my 2nd AIBU (sneaky, sorry!) is to ask.... can someone from Greece tell me what bits are truth and explain some of the more complex issues it raises, articles like these tend to take one side of a contextual issue and present it as simple fact - I'd like a wider perspective, if someone comes from Greece or has lived there/has friends or relatives there?

Omigawd Thu 30-Jun-11 10:29:29

If its in the DM it must be true :-)

I'm sure some of it is, Greece has a large "black economy" and greece needs to get a grip on it

But what is also happening is the EU is trying to get Greek taxpayers to fund bailing out French & German banks'losses, and they are protesting and arguing that those banks should take some of the hit.

I would like to see a bit more protest in the UK as that is exactly what is going on here too, maybe the DM can focus on sme of that too?.

kirsty75005 Thu 30-Jun-11 11:49:59

I found an OCDE link claiming that in primary schools, Greece has slightly fewer teachers than Finland. So the last one strikes me as obviously wrong.

Actually, thinking about it, it seems obviously wrong even without looking at OCDE figures. Four times more teachers? Unless the country you're comparing to is Somalia and has 1 teacher per 100 students (no idea if that's true) I don't think that's possible unless about 20% of the working population is a teacher.

nocake Thu 30-Jun-11 12:46:19

I can't comment on those claims but the figures quoted for Greek tax evasion are around $20 billion a year. It's endemic and no-one is ever prosecuted for it so why should they stop?

escapeartist Thu 30-Jun-11 14:00:14

I have been living in Greece for the last three years and can tell you that:
1. that is partly correct. The Athens metro does not have barriers, but by and large people do pay for tickets because you risk a 60 euro fine if caught without. I travel by metro alone and see checks about once a week at random times. Also, a lot of people have monthly cards, so don't get seen to validate tickets.
2. Not quite, but people on the national railways have about 5 times the salary of teachers/other public sector workers. Not sure why... Still, it is around 45000 euros, not 60000 pounds.
3. The rest of the claims I don't know much about, but the numbers are about the same as reported in the Greek press. It is sickening to see people who are obviously earning well over 100,000 claiming they are under 10,000 - some are even "proud" enough to tell you.

As for the last claim... it is the saddest of them all. Greece does indeed have 4 times as many teachers as most other EU countries (per pupil, i assume). That is because the average teaching hours (contact) in the state sector is about 15 hours a week (teaching hours, about 12 actual hours). Contrast with the private sector of about 35... Salaries are about the same for private and state teaching... In fact it seems that in all respects the private sector workers work v v hard (up to 70 hours a week) while getting paid less than the state sector. Also, if you are earning a salary you pay tax at source (paye) and so essentially are the only one in the country who pays what they should be paying...

Not sure how long DH and I can stick around...

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