The ancient Greeks invented the word chaos to describe complete disorder and confusion. They did not think they would be living with it for so long.

Greece is the economic basket-case of Europe, gone from junk status to even "junkier". The country's debt is 145 per cent of GDP and it is the ordinary people who are paying the price.

One-third of Greeks live below the poverty line. Anger has turned into violence and despair, and suicides have increased by 40 per cent since the crisis began.

Plummeting salaries and pensions, never-ending tax hikes and ever-deeper spending cuts have pushed the country to the brink of economic and social collapse. Queues at soup kitchens are lengthening, the number of homeless people is mounting, and critical medical supplies are in short supply.

The Greeks also invented democracy, but inconclusive election results with no outright majority could simply prolong the crisis.

Some say the Greeks have brought it all on themselves, and call for harsher measures. But can the latest government cut further and deeper? Can Greece survive the euro? Can the euro survive Greece? Or is this the end of the European dream?

The Cafe travels to Athens to find out what the future holds for the birthplace of Western democracy.

Joining our conversation in The Cafe are:

  • Dr. Nikitas Kanakis, the Greece director of Doctors of the World 
  • Eva Kaili, from PASOK, the junior partner in the current coalition government
  • Professor Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS, University of London and author of Crisis in the Eurozone
  • Yanos Gramatidis, the president of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, representing some of the biggest businesses in the country
  • Konstantina Piliura, a post-graduate law student at the University of Athens
  • May Zanni, the deputy international secretary of New Democracy


Click here for more on The Cafe.

Source: Al Jazeera