Cyprus – an example of the real Mediterranean Culture

Official seal of Polis Chrysochous

Official seal of Polis Chrysochous (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Subregions of Europe (UN geoscheme)

Subregions of Europe (UN geoscheme) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sadly, there are too many stereotypes in Europe.

It’s too simple to polarize between, rich/poor, north/south, debtor/creditor, lazy/hard-working etc.

I want to take a couple of personal cases studies to dispel the myth that South Europeans are lazy.

Let me start by describing our favorite fish taverna in Polis, Cyprus. The food is amazingly fresh and always well cooked, yet competitively priced. Here is the family:

  • Dad is principal waiter and joker – he’s a full-time, school teacher, teaching Greek and history
  • No. 1 son is a waiter too – he’s twenty-one and studying at university to be a Chartered Accountant
  • No. 1 daughter is a waitress – she’s eighteen, awaiting exam results this weekend, and hopes to be a lawyer after university
  • Mum does the cooking and takes phone reservations by day
  • Mum’s cousin is also a waiter – he is a full-time fireman
  • Mum’s dad is the fisherman – he brings fresh fish every day.

Let me choose another example.

The owner of a large firm of contract gardeners works every day alongside his men. His son who’s studying engineering works in his holidays – the son’s gang boss is from Sri Lanka.

These are examples of very hard-working people and their children being taught that there is no silver lining – hard work is essential.

For me this is a total contrast to the privileged children of wealthy people in other countries having family connections finding them apprenticeships and later job openings.

Let me now generalize for millennials. There is no substitute for hard-work and learning multiple practical skills.

Sadly, in Southern Europe, there are too many young people whose parents are out of work, and the children  do not get the work opportunities as well. Work brings pride, social contact and practical skills that are transferable.

Let me now turn this thread to an open question:

How should the EU change policies to get the youth of Southern Europe working again?

Any thoughts?