One out of five citizens in debt- ridden Greece today lives in poverty. This was stated by Greek Labor and Social Security Minister Louka Katseli during an event held in Athens on Monday.
Twenty-two percent of Greeks living in poverty are pensioners, while 23 percent are minors and 42 percent are unemployed, noted Katseli. Katseli stated this in a forum organized by the Ministry in the framework of a European awareness campaign to address the challenge this year.
The Minister noted that the poverty threshold stands at 6,000 euros (7,943 U.S. dollars) annual income per capita and 13,608 euros (17,977 U. S. dollars) per year for a four-member household. Katseli presented the basic lines of the Greek government’s plan to face the situation which has deteriorated this year due to a severe economic crisis.
Labor unions and opposition political parties criticize the socialist government’s three-year stability and growth exit plan from the crisis. They argue that the painful policies effect low income employees and pensioners who did not create the crisis.
Austerity measures have decreased the purchasing power of Greek households over the past few months, inflation stands at 4.6 percent in 2010, according to the latest estimations released on Monday by European Commission. The unemployment rate for this year reaches up to 12.5 percent.
“There can not be growth in a country without social cohesion. Democracy and economy can not function normally in a society divided in half,” said Katseli. The Minister stressed that the government’s efforts are focused on supporting employment, preventing unemployment and safeguarding social cohesion.