Friday April 25, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
22o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
State turns its back on ethnic Greeks in southern Albania

Ethnic Greek pupils are seen at a school in southern Albania. Cash-strapped Athens has scrapped pensions to the community’s older members.

By Stavros Tzimas

The Greek government’s decision to end the provision of scant pensions to older members of the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania, previously viewed as a way of maintaining the region’s historical Greek identity, has caused sadness and concern in the ethnic Greek villages. Witnesses have spoken of elderly men and women flocking to the Greek Consulate in Gjirokaster (Argyrokastro in Greek), a town with a large Greek community, with tears in their eyes.

The reactions from minority officials are indicative of the bitter mood among the community. “After the children and young people left en masse for Greece, responsibility for keeping the ethnic Greek minority alive has rested with the older generation,” said Andreas Zarbalas, the first president of the Greek minority party, Omonia.

“Given the rising nationalism and pressure on the Greeks of ‘Northern Epirus,’ these measures will not only harm their dignity but also deal a fatal blow to their existence,” Omonia said in a statement, while the Ethnic Greek Minority for the Future party said, “They never expected that they would be treated as lifeless beings by the homeland.”

Anyone who has been following the decline of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania – mostly a result of extreme and thoughtless policies on the part of the Greek authorities following the collapse of the Balkan country’s communist regime in 1991 – knows that the ethnic Greek presence has been reduced to the elderly who did not want or were not able to leave their ancestral homes. In a bid to encourage these people to remain, the Greek state decided to grant them a small pension of around 300 euros (they also get 30-40 euros from the Albanian state) a month so they could meet their daily needs and hold on to their properties.

After the financial crisis broke out in Greece, those pensions were slashed before being scrapped altogether. As a result, hundreds of old people in Dropull i Siperm (Dropoli), Himare (Himara) and Sarande (Aghioi Saranta) are now left without income so they will either have to move to Greece or sell their properties. If they move to Greece, then the ancient presence of Greeks in the Albanian south will be gone forever. These pensions were given for reasons of national interest and they must not be cut. Their case is different from that of other ethnic Greeks on the pension roll, such as for example those who came here from countries of the former Soviet Union – and it’s not hard to see why. The Greek authorities ought to establish whether those who receive money from the farmers’ pension fund (OGA) include Albanians who were wrongly granted Greek citizenship.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday February 20, 2013 (19:56)  
At the mercy of fools
Putting the party above the country
Strong card in debt talks
It´s too soon for Europe to declare victory
Veteran leftist Glezos, 91, says standing in Euro elections out of duty
Manonlis Glezos, a veteran SYRIZA MP and World War Two hero, said on Friday that he is standing in European Parliament elections next month out of duty despite his age of 91. "In the dismal ...
Work at new Athens cultural center gathering pace
It was revealed on Thursday that the outer shell of buildings at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center should be completed by July 28. The planting of trees and shrubs on the 17-he...
Inside News
Ellaktor lands major Doha metro project
Ellaktor subsidiary Aktor has secured the biggest construction project ever obtained by a Greek company abroad by signing the contract for the study and construction of the Gold Line Undergr...
World seeks produce from Greece
Honey from Greece is considered a worthy wedding present in Japan. Elsewhere in Asia, gifts of Greek melons are wrapped up in packaging normally associated with jewelry. This country’s fish ...
Inside Business
SOCCER
4,000 officers to police Greek Cup final
Police says it will ban mass gatherings in central Athens amid heavy security measures planned for Saturday's Greek Cup final between Panathinaikos and PAOK at the Olympic Stadium. More than...
BASKETBALL
Never underestimate the Greek hoopsters
Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, who between them have won the last three European crowns, won again at home on Wednesday to take their Euroleague play-off series with Real Madrid and CSKA Mosc...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Veteran leftist Glezos, 91, says standing in Euro elections out of duty
2. Ellaktor lands major Doha metro project
3. World seeks produce from Greece
4. Eurobank opens book for capital increase
5. Gov’t presents its growth model for the coming years
6. Work at new Athens cultural center gathering pace
more news
Today
This Week
1. Ellaktor lands major Doha metro project
2. Veteran leftist Glezos, 91, says standing in Euro elections out of duty
3. Putting the party above the country
4. Three missing from cargo ship that went down off Crete
5. Central Athens cleanup a sign of Greece's turnaround
6. Strong card in debt talks
Today
This Week
1. Greece startup leaders say they can’t break jobless cycle alone
2. Ground-breaking Good Friday mass signals thaw in Cyprus
3. Mayoral candidates clash over Athens mosque plans
4. Putting the party above the country
5. Government looks to kick on
6. Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.