Hot on the heels of the news of this year’s expected tourism boom in Greece comes another piece of good news. The decision to run the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) through Greece is being celebrated in the country.
The pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Azerbaijan via Albania and Greece to Italy and on into Western Europe, represents a EUR 1.5 billion investment and the direct creation of 2,000 jobs in Greece, with indirect jobs over the next few years expected at around 10,000. In a country experiencing its sixth consecutive year of recession and with unemployment at over 27%, this news could not come soon enough.
Compared to other forms of energy, natural gas is relatively cheap in Greece, but pretty unpopular. Greeks tend to be wary of doing things differently. There is an old story about how the potato was introduced to the country after its independence. A starving population was indifferent to the new vegetable until a governer, knowing the Greek mentality, ordered round-the-clock guards to be placed prominently next to the pile and turn a blind eye to stealing. Pretty soon, the public decided that something so carefully guarded must be worth having, and helped themselves.
Greeks have managed fine with electricity from the country’s only provider, the clunking, loss-making DEH, and seem happy enough with that.
Besides, my Greek husband is adamant that the widespread use of natural gas in Greece will lead to nothing but trouble.
“If Greeks all get natural gas,” he insists “They’ll be blowing up their houses left, right and centre. We don’t know how to use it.”