Greece is recovering but struggling to repatriate its brains

By Alexia Kefalas



Tourists in a shopping street in Oia, on the island of Santorini. LOUIZA VRADI/REUTERS

DECRYPTION – In ten years, the crisis has scared away a million graduates, reluctant to return, due to lack of sufficient income and attractive living conditions.

At seventy-two hours before the opening of the polling stations for the national elections, the conservative party of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, New Democracy, is leading in the polls. If he shows a solid economic record, he nevertheless risks not obtaining an absolute majority and not renewing his mandate.

It must be said that the country is struggling to recover from ten years of economic and budgetary crisis (2008-2018) punctuated by drastic austerity cures. They led to a drop in income of more than 36% and caused Greece to lose a quarter of its GDP.

Major efforts

When he came to power in 2019, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was keen to take up a major challenge: to repatriate the many Greek brains who fled during the lost decade. Between 2008 and 2018, nearly a million young graduates or ultra-qualified left Greece. In a country of 10.5 million inhabitants, the shock was severe. Especially since this “brain drain” has had direct and harmful effects on market confidence and…

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