Only a very small percentage of Greeks living abroad plan to return to Greece within the next five years. At the same time, 24% (one in four) believe that the possibility of returning is relatively low during this period of time.
According to the results of a survey about attitude of Greek immigrants towards Greece during the economic crisisconducted by the research team of the Department of International and European Studies of the University of Macedonia, the majority of respondents, 67% (about seven out of ten), answered that they had no possibility to return to Greece in the next five years.
On the occasion of the presentation of the results of the study at the University of Macedonia, the project supervisor, Associate Professor of the Department of International and European Studies of the University of Macedonia Rebecca Paidi, told APE-MPE that there is a trend that Greek men and women who emigrated from Greece in the period after 2009 , “do not want to return today, or in 5 or 20 years.”
Characteristics of the new diaspora
Speaking about the “composition of the diaspora”, she pointed out that people who went abroad from Greece “do not have a pronounced national or religious identity, they feel more like citizens of the world, they are satisfied for the most part with a standard life in the country where they live, and they have a more pronounced sense of “belief in their own strength”, in contrast to their peers who remained in Greece.
According to the associate professor, this new diaspora consists mainly of people who have completed higher education, and they freely immigrate within EUhaving the status of a European citizen. Technology has also changed the situation. And immigrants do not lose touch with their homeland, thanks to social networks and facilitating social contacts. At the same time, Greek men and women who have emigrated are reported to be willing to contribute to the development of the country with the know-how and knowledge they have acquired abroad, but feel that there is not enough incentive to return.
Indeed, when asked if they would like to participate in the plan of supporting the country abroad, 55% of the respondents answered positively, and 33% of the respondents answered that they would not be able to support a country with the characteristics of Greece abroad.
The survey involved 565 people living in Germany, the UK, the USA, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.
Ms Paidi emphasized that “half a million Greek men and women live abroad”, she called this population “the capital of Greece” and calculated that what is now required is for Greece to establish new relations with these people. “The communication system with the diaspora needs to be reformed,” he said, noting the need to “formulate appropriate policies to restore these people’s relationship with their country.”
“The main thing is that relations of the state with them must be restored. There should be more complete information about the benefits, not only in the event of their return, but also now about the situation of foreign taxpayers. There must be information about Greece, as we have found that they are not sufficiently informed by the media, political bodies and parties. We have to make sure that there are channels of communication with Greek immigrants abroad and the country can create the appropriate links to use them,” she added.
As noted, the research project was funded by the Hellenic Research and Innovation Foundation (ELIDEK).
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