GREEK CHAPTER DEVELOPMENTS IN 2017
In 2017, Greece experienced its 9th consecutive year of recession; following a deep and prolonged depression, during which real GDP fell by 26% since 2008, the Greek economy is projected to grow again in the course of 2018, but a full recovery will take time.
The key initiative of the ASAP Greece Chapter in this context was the agenda about the establishment of the very first academic Department of Social Administration in the national university framework. A policy recommendation was submitted in December 2017 to the competent Minister of Education for consideration during the drafting of the Bill “Establishment of the University of West Attica”, which is now the third larger University in Greece; this recommendation will be discussed during the reform process of the national public university sector (expected to start in the last trimester of 2018).
- b) At the field of research, the Chapter adopted the following thematic agendas:
- the social impact of the Financial Stability Mechanisms;
- the implementation of the National Social Inclusion Strategy (NSSI);
- the implementation of the Regional Social Inclusion Strategies;
- the implementation of the National Strategy to prevent and combat homelessness and the National Social Housing Strategy.
Attention to housing deprivation issues was given due to the fact that the Greek housing market is strongly affected by the drop of GDP per capita, the shrinking of residential lending and the rise in taxation. Although Greece continues to have a high ownership share (Home Ownership Rate averaged 75.62% from 2003 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 77.20% in 2010), costs relating to housing (they include rental or mortgage interest payments but also the cost of utilities such as water, electricity, gas or heating) are the main items of expenditure for a substantial section of Greek households. In 2015, Greece was the EU Member State recording by far the highest proportion (40.9%) of the population living in households where housing costs exceeded 40% of their disposable income. In addition, the share of the population living in overcrowded dwellings in Greece rose by more than 0.5 percentage points between 2014 and 2015, while the proportion of people experiencing severe housing deprivation rose by more than 0.7 percentage points.
- c) At the field of dissemination and public awareness, the Chapter adopted the following thematic agendas:
- the development of the Academic Series on “The Reform of the Social State”, published by the leading Greek agency Papazisis Publishing (papazissi.gr);
- publiacations in different international and national journals;
- the participation of Chapter’s members in national and international academic seminars and conferences;
- the design of a Young Researchers Forum on poverty analysis, which will support networking with senior academics and professionals.
 The First Economic Adjustment Programme was launched in May 2010 and committed a loan package of € 110 billion, of which € 73 billion was disbursed, subject to the strict clauses laid down in the First Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies. The Second Economic Adjustment Programme was agreed in March 2012 with a loan package of € 130 billion in addition to the amounts not disbursed from the First Programme. On 19 August 2015, the European Commission signed – on a request by the Greek government, after expiration of the country’s Second Programme on 30 June – a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greece following approval by the ESM Board of Governors for further stability support accompanied by a Third Economic Adjustment Programme. This paves the way for mobilising up to €86 billion in financial assistance to Greece over three years (2015-2018).
 The NSSI is a common framework of principles, priorities and targets aiming at the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of all policies on national, regional and local level to combat poverty and social exclusion. It was designed in December 2014 by the Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity and includes four Policy Objectives:
- Combatting extreme poverty;
- Preventing and combatting child poverty;
- Promoting inclusion of vulnerable groups;
- Good governance of inclusion policies.
 The NSSI is implemented at the regional level through 13 Regional Social Inclusion Strategies drafted by the welfare services of the 13 Regions.
 A draft National Strategy to prevent and combat homelessness (NSPCH) 2015-2020 was compiled by the Technological Educational Institute of Athens and a draft National Social Housing Strategy was compiled by the National Centre of Social Research; they were both submitted in May 2015 to the MoLSISC in order for the implementation to start. However, until the present day, the Ministry has not initiated any implementation activities and there is no indication of future progress. This is a key sociopolitical issue open to many interpretations, given that the Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding (16 June 2016) of the Third Stability Programme for Greece (2015-2018) has determined in addition the task that “The authorities will establish an action plan for a permanent housing policy for the most vulnerable in line with European best practice by December 2016 (2.5.3., p. 20).
 Two monographs have been published so far:
- Gabriel Amitsis, Flagship initiatives to safeguard social cohesion during austerity times – The paradigm of the Greek Social Inclusion Strategy, Papazisis Publishing, Athens, 2016 (pp. 420, in Greek);
- Maria Petrakis, Challenges for the development of the local Social State during the crisis, Papazisis Publishing, Athens, 2017 (pp. 303, in Greek).
Selected publications of Chapter’s members in 2017
Amitsis G. (2017): “State Pensions, poverty and social inclusion during austerity times – The paradigm of Greece”, pp. 159-183, in B. Searle (ed.), Generational interdependencies – The social implications for welfare, Wilmington: Vernon Press.
Amitsis G. (2017): “The social clauses of the Economic Adjustment Programmes for Greece: A controversial paradigm for experimental policy-making in the welfare domain”, Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Public Policy (International Public Policy Association, Singapore, 28-30.6.2017).
Balourdos D. (2017): “At risk of poverty and social exclusion of young people in Greece during the crisis”, pp. 215-252, in Htouris S. (ed.), Young people in Greece today: Social Situation, Employment and Social Networks, Athens: Epikentro Publishing House (in Greek).
Stergiou A. (2017): Social Insurance Law, Third edition (in Greek).
Chantzaras A. and Yfantopoulos J. (2017): “The Effects of the Economic Crisis on Health Status and Health Inequalities in Greece”, Value in Health, 20 (9).
Xenos P., Yfantopoulos J., Nektarios M., Polyzos N., Tinios P. and Constantopoulos A. (2017): “Efficiency and productivity assessment of public hospitals in Greece during the crisis period 2009–2012”, Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, 15(1).