‘Buy Greek’ movement begins action

No sooner has the ?I won?t pay? movement made its mark on the Greek political and social landscape, another citizens? group, called ?We consume what we produce? is hoping to change the attitudes of thousands of people.

While the ?I won?t pay movement? protested high toll and public transport charges, ?We consume what we produce? aims to highlight the quality of products made in Greece in the hope that it will convince shoppers to buy them.

Representatives of the new movement made their first public appearance on Tuesday to promote an upcoming event at Syntagma Square in central Athens. The event, which will take place on Monday, May 30, and Tuesday, May 31, is being billed as a major promotion of Greek food and drink.

?Our movement aims to promote the message ?I dress Greek, I eat Greek, I make Greece my tourist destination? to all Greeks,? said former Athens Mayor Dimitris Beis during a press conference yesterday. ?By buying Greek products we take part in the effort to protect jobs, to stop shops closing down and to support our farmers, our producers and our tourism sector,? he added.

The movement will organize the event with the help of private companies from the food and drink sector, and the support of the Agricultural Development and Food Ministry. It will feature more than 60 Greek companies.

Nikos Skoulas, a former tourism minister who is vice president of the ESTIA group that represents the private firms supporting the initiative, suggested that all Greeks should cancel any plans to travel abroad for their vacations and spend them in their homeland instead. ?We are living in conditions of economic war,? he said. ?We can no longer wait for someone else to make the first move. We have to make the first move by supporting Greek products.?

The deputy chairman of the General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Traders (GSEVEE), Yiannis Kavvathas, reminded consumers that they have the power to decide what products shops stock. ?We consumers decide what goes on the shelves through our purchasing habits,? he said, adding that products displaying barcodes that begin with the numbers 520 are usually from Greece.

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