Friday, November 15News For London

Greeks in London speculate over possible Euro exit

The recent win by Greek left-wing party Syriza  has prompted much controversy. Greeks living in London are speculating over a possible  ‘Grexit’ or Greek exit from the Eurozone.  By Danai Dimitrakopoulos Diz

Election booths - Flickr - Katrisista
Election booths – Flickr – Katrisista

Dimosthenis Mammonas, a well respected and liked member of Greek politics and former Secretary General for Social Security in the New Democracy government,  was born and raised in Larissa, Greece. In 1996 he moved to Belgium upon receiving the ‘Robert Schuman’ Scholarship at the European Parliament and has since served a in a number of roles across the European Union.

Mr. Mammonas tells me about the current state of the Greek economy, he says:  “There are specific rules and obligations for countries participating in the Eurozone. I am pretty confident that if the Greek government will continue on the current path of collision with our EU allies this will lead to a total isolation of the country.”

80 per cent  of Greece’s debt is in the hands of other governments or official bodies, and currently Europe’s economy is relatively strong. But this may no longer be the case if Greece exits the Euro.

“What would matter the most are the obvious devastating effects for the Greek population in case of a “Grexit’” Mr.Mammonas says. “Uncontrollable inflation would minimize citizens’ income and savings and almost equal them to zero,”he continues.

Any dramatic development would mostly affect the weakest parts of the population, as the Greek middle class has already been touched by the current economic crisis.

Over the past year the growth of Syriza in Greece has been mirrored by the rise of a radical far left party in Spain called Podemos (We Can).

Podemos considers itself to be waging a similar war on German–sponsored austerity. Mr.Mammonas highlights that “if Syriza succeeds in concluding a certain agreement to the benefit of the Greek people, something which I personally wish, but still have strong doubts about, it goes without saying that this progress would encourage similar movements to pursue their agenda and people to vote for them.”

Throughout his life, Mammonas has published more than 40 publications and articles specifically covering European topics and his  life has revolved around politics. However,  he regrets having put his political career first. He says,“I should have put my professional career at first place before deciding to get actively involved in politics. I wish I had more time to spend with my friends and family,” but he insists“when you are seriously involved in politics, you have the possibility to be useful, find solutions and contribute to society’s well-being.”

Although he views Greece as his home, he has grown accustomed to life in Belgium and feels that over the years the country has grown and developed welcoming more Greeks to the community.

Following his four year term of office from 2005-2009 as Secretary General in the Ministry of Employment, he remained an extra year at the disposal of  New Democracy, the Greek centre-right party. He says he did this in order to help elaborate and support the party’s position in view of the crucial legislation discussed and adopted by the Parliament in 2010.

Mr. Mammonas is of the strong belief that all countries must take responsibility for their political choices and actions and that Greece will have to endure the consequences of their choices whatever they may be. “In all democracies, a result of the elections has to be absolutely respected. Greek voters have to take full responsibilities for their own choice in case something goes wrong in the future,” he says.