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Saturday, October 4at 3:00pm, Amsterdam. The fake ‘success story’ of austerity. Crisis in Greece and in the EU: winners and losers

The Dutch media, the EU officials and the Greek government cheer about a supposed success of austerity policies in Greece. They present that after 4 harsh years, the economy is going back in track and that the state is now functional to support the people. Similar stories flood occasionally the media on other austerity-hit countries such as Spain, Portugal and Ireland. In the Netherlands, similar austerity measures in health care and welfare are presented as a necessity to avoid the destructive pathway of countries of the South. The participation in the austerity-driven EU and Eurozone are presented as the only possible way. This ‘success story’ is challenged by hard numbers that indicate that austerity-hit economies are in free fall and by the worsening situation of hundreds of thousands of people that cannot make ends meet due to these policies. In reality, people in Southern Europe are experiencing a wave of radical neoliberal policies that go much further than austerity: labour relations return to the 19th century, people are deprived from access to public goods such as basic health care and education, public property is offered as gift to large corporations while massive house evictions are high in the agenda. In northern Europe, although the tempo and the harshness of the ‘reforms’ are lower, people – and especially the those in need of support – experience a similar reality.

In this event, we want to go further than just challenging the media propaganda. The roots but also the aims of austerity and reform policies will be discussed. Who are the winners of these policies? What will the economy and the political system look like after their full implementation? What was the role of the participation of Greece to the EU and the euro for the development of the crisis as the crisis in the Eurozone started from Greece?

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Three critical scholars will provide their contribution to the discussion:

Kees van der Pijl, emeritus professor at the University of Sussex, will give the broader context of the issue from an international perspective and will present the Dutch context as well.
Yiorgos Vassalos, political scientist in Brussels, will evaluate the 30-year long participation of Greece to the EU.
Dimitris Pavlopoulos, assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, will talk about the winners and losers of the austerity policies in Greece


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