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Student Challenges Politicians: How Does Life Looks Like for Greeks Working for 450 Euro per Month? (video)

“The student who stunned politicians” is the title of the video, with Vasilis Themistoklis, 27, speaking to politicians about how the real life looks like when young labourers work for 450 euro per month. How the real horror the Greek politicians created looks like when one has to live within.

Vasilis, an accounting student, was guest on a talk-show together with politicians from almost all political parties represented at the Parliament. Apparently before Vasilis started to speak the discussion was about the dilemma euro vs drachma, development and growth, competitiveness ans social tissue: the nice empty staff our Greek politicians love to talk about when they address each other leaving aside the real problems of real people living  in a real society.

Vasilis did nothing more than just adding together the minimum cost of living (housing, food, utilities, heating, phone) and working (transport cost) and substracting them from the 450 euro a young labourer takes home every month, after the lowering of the minimum wage down to 580 euro gross per month for those above 25 years old, and 510 euro gross for those below 25 – in the name of competitiveness, the Troika and the loan.

 Video – excerpt from talk-show “Is there a life after Memorandum III?)

embedded by Embedded Video

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“When I will start working I will get just 450 euro, despite the fact that I will be Technical University graduate. The employer does not care, and if I refuse, he can pick among hundreds in seek on job. I will work for 12-15 hours per day.”

Taking into consideration that he, a young man of 28,  would most probably live together with a young woman, he counted their monthly expenses and thus on the basis that one in two young Greeks are without job. Officially the unemployment among youth is 58 percent.

“I will need 200 euro to rent a small 20-30 sqm apartment. Pay 50 euro for electricity, 5 euro for water. 0.50 euro for a bread loaf for two on a daily basis. 10 euro telephone cost. Tickets to go to work: 1.40 x 2  that is 2.80 per day. With a monthly card, 28 euro per month. Once a week two coffees at a cafeteria. One euro per day for food.

All these expenses make together 432 euro. I still have a rest of 18 euro. I may need 100 liter for heating oil. At a price of 1.40 euro per liter, how many liters can I buy for 18 euro?”

In a content-full speech, Vasilis managed to describe in simple words and with exact numbers how someone can live on 450 euros per month when one very tightly estimated would need 600-700 euro to cover only very basic needs.

He asked the politicians to tell him at what economic basis, he would start a family and have a child. The camera can only show totally silenced men and women, preferably looking down.

“Nice society, nice development. What social tissue? That people sleep on the pavements? What growth? That’s begging that they will give us money we will pay them back,” 

he addressed the politicians who didn’t dare to open their mouths and speak even an “ah’, an “oh” or even an “errhm…”.

Criticizing the chapter “Education”, he said that he needs 24 euro for two ways bus ticket to attend classes at the Technical University of  Chalkida, a city 70 km east from Athens. He spoke of lecturers working on hour-basis who haven’t been paid since four years and thus pay 24 euros to go and teach. And interesting enough, a former deputy Education minister on the panel did not raised any objection.

“I am at the University from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening. I may need to drink a coffee… And if for some reason the professor extends the class, after 8.30 there is no bus I can take to return home.”

As for the dilemma euro vs drachma and the drachma-threats about the deterioration of life as often spoken by conservative Nea Dimocratia and Socialist PASOK during the last 2.5 years, Vasilis reminded them:

“You say that with the drachma, we will have no heating oil. YOu think we have heating oil now with the euro? Many households cannot afford heating oil this winter, they cannot afford even to eat or buy medicine.”

The audience applauded. Some politicians were bold enough to see afterwards “we knew all this…” 

The talk show was broadcast by web TV of news portal E-nikos.gr on November 18th 2012.


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  1. Great! Just one simple question: Why, in all those years, did we never have journalists in the 100s of talkshows on Greek television who pressed this home?

  2. because….the answer is obvious, isn’t it?

  3. Has that young man been arrested, or not yet?

  4. How about we re-direct all expense accounts of the the politicians and high ranking civil servants and use the money to fund new industry in Greece? Job centers, re-training centers, money for start-ups etc. I would say that would start the wheels turning again. The situation is dire but by focusing on the negative we just more and more of it. Re-direct your thoughts to positive change. Start somewhere……
    I want to see a business plan. I want to know who’s in charge? I want to know who’s leading by example?

  5. no, he won’t. why should he?

  6. do you plan some investment here? then I have a business plan ready 🙂

  7. Isn’t it customary for the Greek Government to arrest the messenger and ignore the message?

  8. How about you challenge a politician to live on 450 euros for just one month and see how long he/she lasts. I doubt there will be any takers except maybe someone who is very leftist.

  9. Politicians look down…. feeling guilty? They ate the money. Or they don’t care at all, as long as they can fill their pockets themselves. I’m afraid it’s the last.

  10. And why limit it to just one month? why not make a politician earn his/her money, like anybody else needs to.
    Pay them the same average wage as anybody else gets, no perks, no extras, and give them a bonus once the deliver a good job. the test is of course the next election.
    And of course, like everybody else, no social securities etc. If we, the electorate who are thier employers, are not happy with them, out they go, no mercy.
    And no double jobbing etc. Once elected, all other activity must cease for as long as they are laswmakers, that is their job, that is what they do… There are thousands of unemployed who wouold jump at the job, and probably thousands who would do a better job as well…

  11. But I still would have heard it out of the mouth of every single politician that was in function the last 20 years and being asked by every journalist.

  12. Hi there,

    Very nice post. Unfortunatly my Greek is not good enough to understand wat i said in the video. I really hope that there is someone who is willing to take the effort to subtitle the video, not only for me but also to share it with others that don’t speak Greek

    Greets Carien

  13. that’s why we translated what he says.

  14. Since most of them probably have money stashed away, they should be working for free while Greece is in crisis.Only those who don’t have other businesses and have normal amounts of money should be paid. That is my personal opinion. Those who are corrupt should also be tried and thrown in jail. It doesn’t matter which country.

  15. Not enough jail to go around 🙁

  16. and no money to feed all those in jails. they should be expelled to outer space. once for good.

  17. Agree. But Capt. Picard will probably come to the rescue and bring them all back after having acquired extra powers…


  19. No, Capt Picard does not get involved, as it is a violation of the Prime Directive. If he came to Greece, even Commadner Data would not care to intervene even if some Felus catus of a taxonomic nomenclature of endothermic quadrupedia, carnivourous by nature was in distress.

  20. Once and for all KTG. Please, It’s “Once and for all”…. LOL Don’t you even make a CURSORY SKIM MILK of these word you write?

  21. no I mix mayo & ketchup thousand island cursory

  22. To Anna Moody.
    I would like to see this as you are suggesting. But it will not happen because they do not want it to happen.

    They simply do not want Greece to happen.

    The ultimate goal is to weaken Greece so much and cause the population to leave.

    There is something in the plan of the EU and IMF with regards to Greece. That they want it for their plans. The Greek government is being paid off to do what it is told.

    The Greek government is not about the people and the nation anymore it is about self serving, greed and sell off.

  23. Why not adjust public servants and politician saleries according to the government revenues from taxes and fees.

    If in Month 1 the collection of revenues is 1 Billion Euros then divided the saleries according to the budget of the 1 Billion Euros.

    If in Month 2 the collection of revenues is 1 Billion Euros then divided the saleries according to the budget of the 2 Billion Euros.

    Until Greece gets it self out of the crisis.

    It is the same principle as applied to Sales Persons, where their monthly salary is based on their commision and performance.

  24. crowdsourcing state mechanism 🙂

  25. And how you do this is to formulate co-efficients for every job in the public service.

    e.g. 1,000,000,000 x 0,0000015 is the gross wage for a highschool teacher. That is 1,500.00 Euro for the month.

    or 1,000,000,000 x 0,0000011 is the gross wage for a garbage collecto. That is 1,100.00 Euro per month.

    Something of this kind.

  26. When election comes, people should demand each candidate (for a seat in the government) write down a proposal of what he or she intend to do for the betterment of Greece if elected, (and will be charged/recalled if not committed to his/her own proposal), then sign it and send it to the court where they live, then make copies and distribute to the public.

    Then, the people should vote for those who have the best proposals for Greece.

  27. unfortunately those with best connections to party leaders win. triste Greek mentality and reality.

  28. wrong way around. Politicians are here to implement the will of the people, not to impose their will on the people. That’s the theory anyway. So instead of getting the politicos to write down what they are going to do (and never do as experinece tells us), the people need to write the manifesto and refuse to vote for anybody who doesn’t sign up to it.
    But I’m sure there are already laws in place to counter such an event, just in case…

  29. @admin:

    Please help delete the reply I just post because somehow HTML does not show some of the text.


    My reply is the following:

    E says: “wrong way around.”

    >> Could be, but I don’t think so. To me, just don’t vote for those who don’t have a proposal. Having no proposal indicates that you’re just a crook; you only look after yourself and not for the betterment of the nation.

    E says: “Politicians are here to implement the will of the people, not to impose their will on the people.”

    >> I agree whole-heartedly. This must be the first principle any conscientious politician should practice.

    E says: “That’s the theory anyway.”

    >> It never should be a theory! It is what a human being a good human being. Outward appearance do not make a human being a good human being, even though it has a great tendency to make people think that way.

    E says: “So instead of getting the politicos to write down what they are going to do (and never do as experinece tells us), the people need to write the manifesto and refuse to vote for anybody who doesn’t sign up to it.”

    >> This is just another alternative. Not bad at all. But then, who is going to do it? The list must/should have reflect the needs of the majority of people, not just for some classes of society.

    E says: “But I’m sure there are already laws in place to counter such an event, just in case…”

    >> You are likely correct on this one; and if this is the case, then it time for Greece to have a revolution to start all over again: From a new constitution to new congress/paliament, new government, etc…


    K says: “… those with best connections to party leaders win.”

    >> That’s why people need bloggers like you to expose those who have connection to high ranked, corrupted officials, so that people don’t vote for them next time.

    Thank you both for your polite replies to my comments. It is those good comments above from others that inspired me to write down mine. 🙂

  30. no it makes sense 🙂

  31. fairman has great ideas, but remind him that we live in Greece so this has a same chance as working as I have to date Tonia Sotiropoulou from James Bond movie.

  32. just don’t vote for those who don’t have a proposal

    As I said elsewhere, a non-vote is nothing short of paving the way for the corruption to flourish. The only way to say “no” is by saying it, iow voting. Many of them say they have a proposal, none of them stick to it. (Samaras being a perfect example. Read his pre-election promises and compare them to what he is actually doing)
    You now have the crazy situation (scaled down for simplicity) where 30 people voted, 70 didn’t, and nobody is happy with what is happening. The main reason it is happening is not because of the 30 who voted, it’s because of the 70 who didn’t…

    But then, who is going to do it?

    That requires civil partcipiation in politics, which is actually what the word means. You could be forgiven in thinking that the word “politics” is an amalgamation of the words “Poli” (many) and “Thicks” (Bloodsucking parasites).
    Politics should not be taught in schools, it should be practiced in schools. That is the only way it will ever go back to where it belongs, “Polites” or citizens.
    It will take people telling establishment that they are expendible after all. It will also take a change of perception by people to accept that instead of us shaping the world for our children, and thus we can do what we like, we in fact borrow the world from our children and thus need to take good care of it…

  33. E says: “As I said elsewhere, a non-vote is nothing short of paving the way for the corruption to flourish. The only way to say “no” is by saying it…”

    >> Mr. E, What I actually wanted to say is “don’t vote for those who do not have a proposal; rather, ones should vote for those who have good proposal.” but I didn’t write it in full length, and it made you misunderstood. Sorry about that. But yes, you did explain about “non-vote” to a commenter on other article, and by chance, I did read it. you made a good point on this.

    E says: “Politics should not be taught in schools, it should be practiced in schools.”

    >> A bit philosophical, but I guess you want to put more emphasis on ‘practicing’ aspect than ‘teaching’ aspect of ‘politics’, don’t you? and yet, in this regards, you seem to be converging upon Easten Culture (Easten philosophy) on the role of a man in his society/country. In other words, I guess, your saying seem pointing to the role of ethical/moral duties/moral conducts that people should practice at early times in their life such as in grade school and higher, don’t you?

    A public office requires certain amount of compassion/care-for-others attitude to run it. It’s like running an orphanage, it requires kind-hearted people. Otherwise, a public office will be abused as soon as it is filled with one who has no concerns for others.

    Now, let’s go back to Greece’s situation. The ECB and those northern countries aren’t going to do some real things to revert Greece’s situation. The past two years have proven it. The Greek people must do something rather quick to save themselves. Each day goes by, it keeps sinking deeper. That’s what I’ve seen.