Milka Stefanova: Greeks Have Money, but Their State Doesn't
Thousands of Bulgarians live and work in Greece and are anxious about the EU future of Bulgaria's southern neighbor. In Sunday's early parliamentary election this future is at stake, as politicians there are sending mixed signals and as a scenario could unfold causing "the cradle of democracy" to fall out of the cradle rocked by Europe.
Milka Stefanova, 63, has lived in Greece since 1997. She has always worked as an assistant at a private home, as a vast number of the Bulgarians there do. She does not hold the right to vote, but has always lived with Greek families and has been part of their everyday life and their problems.
This is what Stefanova told Novinite on Sunday:
Are you and Bulgarians you know in Greece interested in politics and what is happening there?
We are, because it is here that we live and work. Politics is also of interest, since if Greece leaves the EU, we might have pensions different from what we are receiving now.
With regard to the prospective EU exit for Greece, are pensions your single concern?
No, we will also need visas to come to Greece. But I don't believe Greece will leave the EU.
Will your standard of living change if you are out of the EU?
For sure, it will go down.
Do your friends trust the politicians? Whom are they voting for?
Most of them will vote for New Democracy. But do you know, the truth is that Greeks themselves have money, it is their state that doesn't.
Are you satisfied with your life in Greece now?
Yes, but this was until a few years ago, before the crisis started. Now I am not that satisfied. Our salaries are constantly dropping.
But you are not intending to return to Bulgaria...
No, to the contrary. I am here only for some time. I have already submitted my pension forms and am not paying insurance here. I think I am going back to Sofia in April or May. I would by no means remain here permanently. By no means.
Are Greeks around you actively voting?
No, they are not. They've just announced on TV there is a village where nobody has yet voted. In Athens people are more active, though.
Do Greeks believe politicians?
No, they don't. (She is laughing)
What are the attitudes toward Alexis Tsipras? He is already being tipped as a prospective winner...
Yes, certainly, SYRIZA will win. And do you know why? Because both in Bulgaria and here people do not know whom to believe. Let's hope at least [Tsipras] will change something.
He promises to have the country's debt written off...
The EU will not allow Greece out, since after it there will be also be other states willing to leave. This is why Greece will remain in the Eurozone.
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