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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 June 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 JUNE 2015 25 GREECE Report card SYRIZA Athenians rate the leftwing party’s progress in goverment GEORGIOS HATZIMANOLIS As we approach the completion of the first five month's of Syriza's government, Neos Kosmos asked four young Athenians what mark they would give to the left wing alliance for its first semester in power. Yianis Dimopoulos, 29, voted SYRIZA for the first in the last elections. He says he would give SYRIZA a C+ because he believes the party has tried hard to negotiate a fairer deal but also admits mistakes have been made by SYRIZA in its first months in power. Dimopoulos, a graphic de- signer from the suburb of Halandri, says Greece and its creditors will both need to concede ground if an agreement is to be reached, although the emphasis should be on Europe to help Greece, particularly given how much the country has already sacrificed. "The feeling I get from the Europeans is that we should be grateful to them. I would like them to explain to me what it is I should be grateful for. Grateful for living off 450 euro a month, if you can find work or for the fact that we have such a high unemployment rate, we are struggling, there is nothing to be grateful for," Dimopoulos said. He recognises that Greece must introduce further reforms but believes the country's creditors can afford to Stavros Niarchos Park opens its doors Nine years in the making A four-day event was held last week in Athens featuring a multi-faceted programme of cultural activities, inviting visitors to a sneak preview of how the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre will be operating. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is a well-known philanthropic organisation - established in 1996 to honour Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos - which is dedicated in supporting arts and culture projects among others. This said, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) is a funded project of €566 million worth, including the construction of new facilities for the National Library do more. "The suffering they have inflicted on us is insulting to our entire country and should alarm other Europeans because once they are done with us they will look for another scapegoat," Dimopoulos said. Ioanna Karoglou, 27, from the seaside suburb of Glyfada, is a primary school teacher who also voted SYRIZA for the first time in January's national elections. She says she would only give SYRIZA a D for their efforts so far. "I am disappointed, I expected a lot more to be honest, I think this government has potential or at least I like to hope it does," Karoglou explained. She says Greece's Prime Minister Alex Tsipras and his party need to work out a solution that allows Greece to stay in the euro but also offer some the country a chance to win back its reputation and independence. "Of course we need the bailout now, but our ultimate goal must be to become less reliant on handouts and more independent, that is the only way forward and that can only come with reforms here in Greece and a greater commitment to change by all of us," Karoglou said. Nikos Psarakis, 33, says he did not vote for SYRIZA. He is a qualified engineer who moved from Crete to Athens for work in his field, but has ended up working as a taxi driver, pulling twelve hour shifts to make "just enough". Living in the inner suburb of Zografou with his girlfriend, Psarakis says he would give SYRIZA a D because in his view Greece has gone backwards over the last six months. "If you ask me we were slowly on the right track, we suffered a lot over the last few years and slowly the markets were showing encouraging signs for Greece. Now it seems we have regressed, people are spending less, more shops are closing down, are we better off than six months ago, absolutely not," Psarakis said. "What SYRIZA has done is give back some pride, but it's false pride, our ego's might be slightly inflated, our bank accounts most definitely are not," he added. Ariadne Steliou, 22, is a student that lives in Kipseli with her two parents who are both teachers. She voted for SYRIZA and five months later says she "remains satisfied" with her choice. She says she would give SYRIZA a B. "We must remember that SYRIZA has only been in power just over four months and has spent almost all of that time working on repairing the mess that was left for them by the previous governments," Steliou told Neos Kosmos. She believes Tsipras and his colleagues need to be given more time and claims the signs so far have been encouraging. "We finally have a government that is willing to stand up for all of us, to be our voice, to tell the Europeans that we cannot continue on this path of destruction that austerity has brought," Steliou said. of Greece and the Greek National Opera, as well as the creation of the 170,000 square metre Stavros Niarchos Park. From June 21 to 24 the Stavros Niarchos Park opened its doors to the public for the first time, organising the ‘Light up the Night’ event, a four-day celebration full of music performances, video screenings, activities focusing on photography, architecture, sports and environment and creative workshops. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) is expected to be completed and delivered to the Greek State in 2016. During its future operation, the open space of the Stavros Niarchos Park will host a multitude of cultural and educational events, with free access for the public. GD victims want to seek damages from politicians Designed by Renzo Piano, it includes the new state-of-the-art facilities of the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera and the S.N. Park Kathimerini reports that the lawyer representing a group of Egyptian fishermen who were assaulted by members of the Golden Dawn party in the summer of 2012 told a court hearing the criminal trial of dozens of members and lawmakers of the neofascist party that they should also be able to sue GD's political leadership for damages as civil claimants. Addressing the makeshift court at Attica's high-security Korydallos Prison, where many of the defendants are being detained, prosecution lawyers emphasised Thursday that it is not only those accused of the actual assault that should be taken to task but political cadres too who have been implicated in the party's illicit activities. "What logic prevents the victims ... from taking issue with the leadership?" Eleni Zafiriou, the Egyptian fishermen's lawyer asked the court. Zafiriou added that the political leadership wanted to avoid civil claims in a bid to dissociate themselves from the string of crimes that have been linked to the party. The court is to readjourn on Monday and judges will consider lawyers' requests for the right to claim damages as civil claimants. Two GD MPs, Grigoris Germenis and Panayiotis Iliopoulos, are set to be released from prison on July 11, when the maximum period of 18 months in pretrial custody is to expire.
20 June 2015
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