The Greek economy may be on the mend, according to forecasts, but this has yet to reflect in the financial state of the Greek people. This is the outcome of the Eurostat report on ‘Material and Social Deprivation’ for 2016. According to the report, only Romania and Bulgaria among the EU countries fared worse than Greece, where 36 per cent of the population are unable to enjoy basic goods and social benefits. They cannot afford a week’s holiday; they have difficulty meeting payments of rent, mortgages, bills and other instalments; they can’t face unexpected expenses; they can’t afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish or vegetables every other day; they can’t afford home heating; they cannot maintain a car; they cannot afford to replace worn out items of clothing or furniture with new ones; they can’t afford an internet connection. On top of that, they have next to no money to spend on personal and social activities, outings and leisure.

Overall, 16 per cent of the Union’s population – roughly 75 million people – were recorded as being affected by material and social deprivation.

In 2016, the highest percentage of material and social deprivation was recorded in Romania (50 per cent) and Bulgaria (48 per cent), followed by countries in which one in three people were affected: Greece (36 per cent), Hungary (32 per cent) and Lithuania (29 per cent).

On the other hand, the Nordic member states and Luxembourg reported the lowest shares of material and social deprivation: three per cent in Sweden, four per cent in Finland, five per cent in Luxembourg and six per cent in Denmark.