Greeks ‘trail Greece’ in development

Greeks are afraid of immigrants but are also highly suspicious of members of their own society, while also being ardent churchgoers, according to a major report presented yesterday by the government-funded National Center for Social Research (EKKE). The research is part of the European Social Survey, which covers 23 countries and is designed to chart and explain the interaction between Europe’s changing institutions and the attitudes, beliefs and behavior patterns of its people. EKKE presented the findings from Greece with those of Spain, Portugal, Britain and the Netherlands in order to compare Greeks with two other southern European nations, and the more advanced societies of the Netherlands and Anglo-Saxon Britain. The findings showed that the country’s development is out of joint with its people’s feelings. «Greece is advancing more quickly than the Greeks. There seems to be a gap. The country is achieving political stability, a secure framework of alliances, a strong currency. On the other hand, the citizens appear frozen, wary, if not afraid, in facing the new era,» Yiannis Voulgaris, who coordinated the study in Greece, told Kathimerini. It found that 62.5 percent of Greeks believe, to some degree, that people are out to deceive each other, scoring 3.6 on a scale of 0-10 when 0 indicates we must always be wary. The Portuguese scored 4, the Spanish 4.9, the Britons 5 and the Dutch 5.7. On a scale in which 0 indicated that immigrants take jobs from locals, while 10 that immigrants created jobs, Greeks scored 2.8, the Portuguese 3.9, Britons 4.4, Spanish 4.8 and Dutch 5.1. Also, 79.2 percent of Greeks said any immigrant committing any crime should be deported, while 62.4 percent of Portuguese agreed, followed by the Dutch (46.7 percent), Spanish (46.3 percent) and British (41.3 percent). On a scale in which 0 meant religion is totally unimportant and 10 that it is very important, Greeks scored 8.3, way ahead of the Portuguese (5.8), Spanish (4.8), Dutch (4.4) and British (3.9). The poll, conducted for EKKE by the MRB and Opinion companies among 2,566 people from Jan. 29 to March 15, 2003, was funded by the Development Ministry.