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We Asked Some Young Greeks What They Think About the Bailout Agreement

Some are expressing relief that the country avoided a 'Grexit', while others can't stomach the severity of the new measures.

by Pavlos Toubekis
13 July 2015, 3:21pm

Greek citizens demonstrating for a 'No' vote

Early this morning, after 17 hours of tough negotiations, Greece and the rest of the Eurozone country-members reached a preliminary deal for a third multi-billion euro bailout. The deal includes tough economic measures, which the Greek Parliament must decide on within the next 48 hours. After having promised to put an end to the austerity that has been imposed on the country over the last five years, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras will now have to introduce measures that seem even harder to implement. If not, the country could be kicked out of the Eurozone.

For the past five years, Greece has been struggling with a financial crisis, which it has so far marginally survived due to a bailout programme of 240 billion euros (£171 billion) – borrowed from European countries and the International Monetary Fund. After being elected in January 2014, the new SYRIZA government pledged to renegotiate the terms of that programme with its international creditors. On the 26th of June, after five months of negotiations, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum, calling on the country to vote on whether or not to accept the new bailout proposal by its lenders. Almost 62 percent of the voters, said "No" to that bailout package.

Greeks have taken to social media with their (conflicting) opinions on the new agreement. Some are expressing relief that the country avoided a so-called Grexit, while others can't stomach the severity of the measures. I contacted 10 young Greek people via Facebook to ask them about their thoughts on the agreement.

Aris Xiros, 23

I have mixed feelings because, once again, it's the Greek people who will have to pay the bill. This is the first time that a Greek Prime Minister fought to change Europe's austerity policy, yet it seems that battle was lost. But I hope we can win the battle against corruption and nepotism, so that the Greeks, who have lost so much in the last five years, don't feel that it was all in vain.

Mc Bsx, 21

If you were to paint a map of Greece today, the only colour that'd be appropriate is black. This country belongs to a generation of young people who have been sentenced to a life without dreams.

Today's agreement is catastrophic. I don't think this new "programme" will ever work – there's no way that the Greek people will be able to endure everything it demands. It's a coup. The truth is that Greece has reached its limits and is destined to live under tragic conditions.

Joanna Panagiotopoulou, 21

On the one hand, the agreement could be looked at as being futile in the sense that, yet again, the measures are very tough. However, it's good that we managed to negotiate our fate for once – we didn't just accept whatever was sold to us. I think that we'll definitely end up staying in the euro, they just wanted to terrorise us.

Panagiotis Asimakopoulos, 24

This is just a continuation of the memoranda signed by previous governments. These measures continue to bleed – both metaphorically and literally – the Greeks dry. I think it's more relevant than ever for the people to demand a release from the European Union of economic murder.

Peter Christakopoulos, 21

This agreement was inevitable in order to keep our country in the Eurozone. However, it's a deal full of misery and hard measures. The only positive thing is that it includes debt restructuring, which should lead to political stability and economic normality. Hopefully it won't just be the poor Greek citizens paying this time.

The government basically trashed the "No" vote we gave them. Perhaps they made the right decision for now. I think the public recognises that because, even under these conditions, the current government leads by a large margin compared to those that put us in this situation. Hope dies last, so let's wait and see what actually happens.

Konstantinos Dionysopoulos, 28

Even though this new memorandum basically outlines the destruction of our country, I remain hopeful that Alexis Tsipras can find the a way to keep that from happening. He owes it to history and to those who've supported him from the beginning.

Vaso Gougoula, 29

The last thing we need right now is panic. It is time for accountability. We need to remain calm and sober. It turned out that we, as a country, aren't this superpower that everyone is scared of – like we thought we were. They pushed us to the edge of a cliff and blackmailed us. This is a disgrace for Europe and a real humiliation for the pride of our people. I hope we make it.

Giorgos Kyriakopoulos, 31

The whole situation was a bit "between a rock and a hard place". We didn't really have many options. We chose "less-immediate destruction" and signed an agreement that doesn't differ from either of the previous ones. I don't think much will change because these measures are clearly recessionary.

Yiannis Michalakopoulos, 30

We went from: "We'll rip up the memorandum and demand German compensation" to mortgaging our country and signing off on the destruction of our future instead. I believe that young people will react to that soon.

Panos Alevizakis, 29

I think this deal will be extremely difficult for all of us, but we had to let the economy (which has been on its knees since the announcement of the referendum) catch its breath. If Tsipras does what he promised by going after the wealthy, then yes, things could work out and we could be happy.

Need a little more background? Here's a brief history of Greek debt.