We live outside, in the shade, seeking a breeze and the relief of a little greenery, sheltering under the grape vine, the canopy of the lemon trees, enjoying the soothing freshness of a clump of begonias, a pot of basil, the spreading mint, all kept alive with twice daily waterings in this heat.
Now and again we are jolted back to the everyday problems of this country.
- A severe earthquake on islands crowded with thousands of homeless refugees.
- Greece returns to financial markets.
- Another violation of Greek airspace by turkish fighters or confrontations with Turkish shipping and shots fired across the bows
62,407 refugees are now stranded in Greece. 15,222 of these are in camps and other accomodation on the islands close to Turkey. Lesvos, Leros Chios, Kos and Samos.
The European Commission has just announced a new emergency aid package of 209 million euros. Also in an effort to improve quality of life the UN refugee agency is providing 22,000 rented homes on the mainland and 2,000 on the islands.
The aim is to get people out of camps and give them some sort of normal life.
That all sounds very rosey but there are many problems and outbreaks of violence. Families are divided, many with relatives already in Europe are stranded in Greece and cannot be reunited. There are many cases of sexual exploitation and violence between different national groups. And refugees continue arriving from the coast of Turkey in makeshift vessels. They are a forgotten problem, especially by european countries who are quite happy to have them constrained in Greece.
Greek Economy -
'Greece returned to the private debt market this week for the first time in years.....' (Bloomberg) . Doesn't mean much to me but it is supposedly positive news.
The economy is apparently showing signs of life and the big boss, German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble says 'Greece is on a good path'.
Standard and Poors, an american financial services company, upgraded Greece's credit outlook from stable to positive.
None of that means much to the people like us. There were more pension cuts scheduled for January 2018. That is when we will know how our economy is progressing, or not.
Greece v Turkey
Military aircraft from both countries frequently engage in mock dog-fights after invasion of Greek airspace, sometimes resulting in a crash and loss of life. Often the planes are armed with live amunition.
Tensions have been escalated by Ergodan disputing Greek ownership of many Aegean islands. Anywhere from 18 to 100 (depending on who is spouting the rubbish) Greek Islands are coveted by Turkey
And some trivial news to end this serious post.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge have arrived on the island of Kerkyra (Corfu to you) for summer holidays. They are staying at the Rothschild estate.
They both looked a bit overdressed but when one is not hauling ones own suitcases and stepping from private jet to high speed boat one can dress a tad more formally.