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Youth in Exarchia, Athens: faces of '700 euro generation' (10 images)

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Default profile picture Dana Cojbuc

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Cafebabel ENG (NS)


They're the most qualified graduates in Europe, full of potential, but the only thing awaiting them on the horizon is becoming part of the '£586 generation', which refers to the national minimum wage. Romanian photographer Dana Cojbuc meets the gang on the streets of the alternative, trendy district

Goal: fly the nest

Unlike many of her fellow Athenians, Elefteria enjoys the rare privilege of having her own home. She graduated in communication and mass media studies in 2005, with a specialisation in advertising. Since then she's completed a number of short-term work contracts far removed from her actual field of studies. She currently works in sales and reservations at the national opera house of Athens. But a lack of public funding has put pay to rumours that even this renowned cultural establishment is under the threat of closure (Image:  ©Dana Cojbuc)

Working for free

Fwtini graduated in mathematics and has a master in statistics, which makes for a rare background on the market. However, that doesn't mean anything. Fwtini is still awaiting her wages from her employer after having spent a year writing schoolbooks for a year (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

Waiting for the job

Ovidiu graduated in English and has a masters in politicial sciences, with a special focus on the Balkans. He's currently a job-hunter, having spent a long time working as a part-time receptionist and as a freelance journalist (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

Life goes on

Young Athenians have wrangled with the authorities to be able to transform a car park into a social recreation centre. Kids often head there to play in the afternoons, and young and old alike are coming to spend time here in the evening. The long mediatic sirens haven't yet managed to discuss places like this which thrive far from the crisis (Image:  ©Dana Cojbuc)

Thirty-month intern

A degree in social sciences and a masters 'two' in cultural management in France isn't quite enough for Sofia to be able to get a job in the domain. She was a volunteer at Unesco for six month after graduating from the university of Crete. After thirty months, she's still an intern in charge of the hotel touristic guide at the Greek chamber of hotels. She remains optimistic though (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

28% unemployment of young Greeks in 2010

Nancy also has a masters in communication and mass media. After a number of little jobs and short-term contracts, she is currently unemployed. She's not alone though. Greece has the highest rate of young job-seekers in the eurozone. According to OECD, it could rise from 25.3% in September to 28% by the end of 2010. That's almost a quarter of young people in the same situation. In the background of the image we pass a burnt car in the middle of Exarchia, the result of last night's activities (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

Exarchia square: the good life

If you've ever hung out on the main square of Exarchia towards the end of an afternoon, you've probably spotted three robust fellows playing basketball whilst four kids kick a ball around. Their accomplices shoot the breeze around the statue in the middle of the square, whilst keeping an eye on the game of table football going on a metre away. An hour later, the scene hasn't changed, but the basketballers are now playing football whilst the wannabe footballers have swapped to table football or ping pong. An atmosphere of solidarity reigns in Exarchia with its background music and kids games. The customers on the terraces get it too – youth is there to be enjoyed (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

Alexis Grigoropoulos: 18 months of revendication

Life might be going on in Exarchia, but the colour of the walls remind us of the once-electric atmosphere which was experienced here from the events of 6 December 2008. This is where the young Alexis Grigoropoulos was murdered with two bullets from the barrels of guns belonging to plain-clothes policemen. The walls have expressed the anger of a generation ever since. The crisis of feeling safe blurs with the unemployment crisis. Pictured,a commemorative plaque marking the spirit of the young man who died in vain (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

Tax hikes

Nikos went to architecture school. But the real estate sector is far from the boom it experienced during the olympic games era of the Greek capital in 2004. Hard to make ends meet when the young architect is having to pay a tax of 900 euros (£754) per semester and be able to actually work in his profession. VAT went up from 21% to 23% on 1 July and with a 10% alcohol and cigarette tax hike, dark days remain ahead. Nikos is currently unemployed, but gets 900 euros a month as a member of the architects association (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

Ejectable seat

After graduating in economic sciences, Ianis has been working for Lean management, a small company – comprising one boss and two employees - which organises seminars and training courses on sales techniques to the relevant corporate departments of other companies. The boss has hinted that the team of two should start looking elsewhere for a job... (Image: ©Dana Cojbuc)

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Translated from Athènes : les visages de la « génération 700 euros »