Greeks Trust Charities More Than Their Government

Αssociated Press

FILE - A newly married couple walk by a balloon street vendor, near the Zappeion in Athens' National Gardens on Friday, May 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS - To no surprise in a country where tax cheating is a national sport, Greeks trust charities more than any government, a survey from the Dianeosis non-profit think tank has found.

Some 69 percent of respondents in the poll taken by the the University of Macedonia for Dianeosis said they trusted charities while nearly one in two (46.5 percent) said they believed their activities are more effective in tackling poverty than those of the state, private companies or nongovernmental organizations, said Kathimerini.

The Bodossaki Foundation is launching a public debate based on the findings of the survey next week. “During the crisis, (charitable) foundations have assumed a supplementary role to the state, filling crucial gaps,” Sotiris Laganopoulos, Program Director at the Bodossaki Foundation, told Kathimerini. With the state having virtually no programs to help the homeless and poor devastated by an 8 ½ year austerity and economic crisis, it’s been left to charities, volunteers, the Greek Church and Non-governmental Organizations (NGO’s) to pick up the slack and even feed people with soup kitchens.

The ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, which came to power on the back of promises to help the country’s most vulnerable, has instead hit them with more pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and benefit cuts even for the blind and disabled, while slashing the health budget and failing to provide jobs as promised, apart from party loyalists packe onto public payrolls as Special Advisors and other positions.

Diaspora foundations and charities, such as the Onassis Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Greek America Foundation, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and even from Australia and the United Kingdom have given to Greece’s most needy.