back to top

19 Ordinary Greeks Explain Why The Bailout Talks Have Them Despairing

People in the streets of Athens are tired of politicians talking, and tell BuzzFeed News they just want a solution from Sunday's referendum.

Posted on

The Greek debt crisis has mainly focused on high-level discussions involving politicians and various international organizations, leaving ordinary Greeks overlooked.

Milos Bicanski / Getty Images

BuzzFeed News went onto the streets of Athens to ask a selection of Greeks to write a message to the rest of Europe explaining how they feel about Sunday's planned referendum. The vote — first announced last weekend — will ask whether to accept further austerity measures and reform of the state in return for the lending required to keep the country solvent. (Some Greeks asked BuzzFeed News to write their message in English on their behalf.)

Many said they intended to vote No, although wealthier Greeks appeared to lean more towards a Yes vote and staying in Europe at all costs. Many young people said they were just disillusioned with all politics. Some individuals said the entire capitalist system was beyond salvation, while others just wanted other countries to wipe the debts and give Greece's existing system a fresh start.

There was one unifying factor: Almost everyone, regardless of which way they intend to vote, wanted both an end to austerity measures and to remain in the European Union. Only a handful were even willing to consider the possibility that Greece might actually have to leave the euro.

This is what ordinary Greeks wanted the world to hear:


Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.