Sunday, February 28News For London

Uncertainty for Greek expats working in London

The outcome of Greece’s recent elections has left young Greek Londoners uncertain about their ability to live and work abroad.

Alexis Tsipras, Greece's New Prime Minister (Cred. FrangiscoDer)
Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s New Prime Minister (Cred. FrangiscoDer)

With Greece’s continued membership in the European Union unclear, Greeks in London are beginning to worry if they will continue to be welcome in their new homes.

“If we leave the EU, as has been hinted, I might need a visa to work here,” said Constantine Tyraskis, a London resident for over seven years.

“My ability to work here would go away, and that’s why I think most Greeks abroad might have voted differently. It’s remaining in the EU that allows them to do more at the moment.”

Mr. Tyraskis, like many Greeks, is uncertain about his future in London (Cred. C.Tyraskis)
Mr. Tyraskis, like many Greeks, is uncertain about his future in London (Cred. C.Tyraskis)

The 24 year-old treasury analyst, like all Greek expatriates, was not allowed to vote in Greece’s election this year. Greece is only one of four countries in the EU whose expatriate citizens are not allowed to vote in national elections.

“Its ironic that the birthplace of democracy doesn’t allow its own citizens to vote from abroad.” Added Mr. Tyraskis.

I Cannot Vote, a non-partisan campaign dedicated to securing the right to vote for all Greek expatriates, has been circulating an online petition. With 6,500 signatures, they hope their efforts will help convince members of the Greek government to reassess their policies on expatriate voting.

While groups like I Cannot Vote represent a desire by Greeks to be more politically involved, the sentiment might not apply to the entire community.

“We don’t have a feeling that people know exactly what the outcome will be if they do express their opinions. This relates to the overall uncertainty about the political situation in Greece” responded Mr. Tyraskis when asked about young Greek’s political engagement from abroad.

“You don’t feel aware, even if you’re in the depths of it.”

Syriza, Greece’s recently elected governing party, has outlined a four-point “national reconstruction plan” for the country on their website. The plan includes several provisions to aid unemployed and impoverished Greeks, in the context of renegotiating the country’s debt with external creditors.

While the party is pushing for reduced austerity measures for Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made statements ruling out Greece’s exiting the Eurozone.