From obliterated entrances to calendars frozen in time, Greece’s abandoned factories recall much better economic times. Buildings that used to make goods such as timber, textiles and cooking oils are now overgrown, rusted shells of their former selves. Graffiti reflects the frustration some feel about the country’s heavily indebted state.
When the G7 leaders met in Germany a week ago, Greece’s debt crisis was among the top items on the agenda with questions about whether the country would default on its international obligations.
Following a six-year recession, with unemployment rate at 25 percent, Greece “desperately needs billions of euros and more bailout funds,” Anton Troianovski of the Wall Street Journal told the PBS NewsHour Weekend on Sunday. “But the negotiations between the creditors and Greece remain very tense.”
On June 5, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected conditions by creditors for supplying more bailout money, instead insisting on debt relief. The deferring of the payment shook up the financial markets last week.
The European Commission and the leaders of France and Germany on Wednesday pushed Greece to reach a deal with creditors before the June 30 deadline to make a payment to the International Monetary Fund. If Greece fails to meet the deadline, it will be the first and only developed country to default on the IMF loans, according to the Telegraph.
As pressure builds in Athens, Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis traveled from Athens to northeastern Greece via the Peloponnese region in the south to unearth traces of a once-flourishing Greek economy, which has dropped 30 percent in production.
“In my 2,500 km trip around Greece, I witnessed the sad reality of once-flourishing Greek industry,” Behrakis wrote in his Reuters photo essay. “Near the town of Larissa, south of Mouth Olympus, I visited a factory that once produced textiles, only to witness rusted gates and signs of squatters living in the once-thriving business.”