We are starting today with the aim to contribute meaningful, sober and pluralistic information about the many and diverse problems, which make up the great crisis that has been unfolding in Greece over the last few years. We need to understand what went wrong, what needs to change and how the crisis in Greece is different, or related to the crisis in other countries in Europe and beyond. First, we want to understand and then to contribute to knowledge and evidence-based problem solving. The public discourse about the crisis is already intense, both within and beyond the Greek and European borders. How could it be otherwise, at a time when basic assumptions and achievements of the past decades are being challenged? However, the debate is often conducted through slogans and shouting, instead of arguments and concrete evidence. On our part, we intend to focus on the exchange of evidence-based opinions and proposals. Obviously, we do not support the existence of one unique and unassailable truth.
It started as a crisis in the financial sector of the countries of North America and Europe. It rapidly evolved into a great economic crisis with enormous political and social consequences. It knows no borders, although every country experiences the crisis in its own distinct way. Greece is undoubtedly the most vulnerable part of the Eurozone, but also the country that has suffered in the most brutal way the effects of the crisis. This is how we define our space for research and reflection.
We want the Crisis Observatory to become a valuable repository of information and processed data, an important forum for dialogue, a place where ideas and proposals are produced. It does not appeal only to experts. It should have started earlier, but the economic crisis sets its own restrictions. ELIAMEP has no assets of its own, nor has it guaranteed sponsor funding for the different activities it undertakes. We would like to thank the “Stavros Niarchos” Foundation for placing its confidence in us, by supporting financially this effort.
We have gathered a very small group of capable people with an appetite for work and a deep belief in what they do. More members have already joined the team on a voluntary basis. We hope that this small team will keep on expanding. If things go according to plan, we already have new ideas and plan new initiatives. This is also the way for Greece to overcome the crisis: through work, fresh ideas and a willingness to change.
President of ELIAMEP