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Society

The Zeelevounai Twist: Greeks Don’t Trust Each Other, Institutions

ATHENS – Greeks are known for zeelevounai – the odd sense of wanting to hold down others in petty jealousy – but they don’t trust each other very much either, nor state institutions, a survey has found.

The poll by the research firm Dianeosis found a shocking 86.6 percent of Greek said that, “We need to be especially careful in our dealings with people,” suspicious lurking everywhere that somebody may be doing better than in devious ways.

That was the answer to the question about whether “most people are trustworthy,” the polls taken from Jan. 15-Feb. 12 on What Greeks Think 2024 and included more than 3,000 people over 17 years old.

Nearly half of respondents said that “The biggest threat to the future of Greeks” is the economy although it is accelerating on the back of tourism and growing foreign investment although inflation and high food prices remain problematic.

Second among Greeks concerns was the shrinking population, cited by 37 percent of people and as government programs offering bonuses to families having children failing to slow the problem.

Some 32.3 percent said the snail’s pace justice system that can take a decade or more to decide cases and with judges and the system having relatively few working hours is worrisome and should be fixed, a rise of 2 percent from 2022.

Next – with 27.3 percent ranking it – was transparency in the public sector and institutions deemed critical for accelerating economic growth, a big jump from 19 percent who cited it two years earlier.

And 83 percent said that by 2034 that Greece “will be a country with many immigrants from many countries” although the government is frantically trying to keep them out and still has several thousand in detention camps.

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