Financial Times -16/8/2018

Greece brain drain hampers recovery from economic crisis

Angeliki Tziaka moved to the UK soon after the Greek government began cutting pensions and public sector wages in the first bailout programme agreed with international creditors in 2010. She felt the choice was clear: work abroad or risk a long spell of unemployment at home. “I’d recently graduated in medicine and I wanted to do my specialisation abroad because the future [of healthcare] in Greece was looking so uncertain,” Ms Tziaka said. Eight years later the 33-year-old works as a consultant psychiatrist in the UK’s National Health Service. For the moment she does not plan to look for a job in Greece. “I thought I’d be away for perhaps two years, then the crisis would be over,” she added. “But it didn’t turn out that way and now I don’t know when things will be stable again.” As Greece prepares to exit its final international bailout next week, in a sign that a return to economic normality is around the corner, the number of educated Greeks who do not see a future in the country is still one of the biggest impediments to its long-term recovery and sustainability. “The brain drain is clearly having a negative effect on Greece’s economic prospects in the short term,” said George Pagoulatos, a professor at Athens university of economics and business. “The question is whether this pool of increasingly skilled and internationalised Greeks will eventually return and help boost the country’s long-term growth potential.”


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