UNICEF’s first Greek office chief sounds the alarm

UNICEF’s first Greek office chief sounds the alarm

Greece has the worst record in the European Union for childhood obesity and the third worst for childhood poverty, Luciano Calestini, the representative heading UNICEF’s first Greek country office, has told Kathimerini.

The country’s poor performance in protecting its children cannot be attributed to any one government, but is the result of an “accumulation” of seven decades of inadequate policies, he says, noting that despite some “brave efforts,” it is still not clear “what the national agenda for children is and who is in charge.”

Calestini also bemoans the quality of education, healthcare and social services for children, noting that Greece spends 2,688 euros on education per child per year against an EU average of 7,000 euros.

“We are not prioritizing our children,” he says, urging Greece to “rebalance” its fiscal choices and warning that continuing to overlook their needs “risks national self-injury.”

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