Voting with their feet? Emigration from Greece in the 2010s

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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Thursday, March 4, 20214:00PM - 5:30PMOnline Event, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
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Hellenic Studies Program


Greece (and other southern European countries) have experienced in the early 2010s an unprecedented economic and financial crisis which has led many people to emigrate. Those leaving were generally highly educated and they mainly headed towards EU countries as they had the right to free movement as EU citizens. Our research results though suggested that while important, economic reasons were far from being the exclusive, or even the predominant driver of highly skilled emigration from Greece. The desire to improve one’s training and career perspective, to increase employability and derive individual satisfaction from occupation, was mentioned by more than half of our respondents in a survey conducted in 2013 in all southern European countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece). The strongest emigration potential was to be found among those who were dissatisfied with the quality of life and their job prospects at the home country, and who refuses to renounce what they thought they could/should achieve in terms of life style and overall satisfaction. These findings will be the starting point of a reflection on what shapes highly skilled emigration from Greece today. Perhaps the lessons learnt from the financial and Eurozone crisis of the early 2010s can serve as a compass for navigating the post-pandemic downturn and recovery.

Anna Triandafyllidou holds the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University in Toronto. She is an internationally recognized sociologist and migration policy expert whose interdisciplinary research focuses on the governance of migration and asylum; the management of cultural diversity, nationalism and identity issues; and overall, the contemporary challenges of migration and integration across different world regions. Prior to her CERC at Ryerson University, Triandafyllidou was based in Florence, Italy, where she held a Robert Schuman Chair at the European University Institute and directed the Cultural Pluralism Research Area as part of the European University Institute’s Global Governance Programme.

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