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The Greek island where time is running out

Level 3 l Advanced
1 Warmer
Have you ever been to Greece?
What do you know about Greece?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of living on a small island?

2 Key words
Complete the sentences using these key words from the text.

devastating affordable ferry middleman dwarfs


remote roller coaster tranquil looming outpost

1. If a place is ____________________, it is far away from other towns or people.

2. A ____________________ place is one that is calm, still and quiet.

3. An ____________________ is a small town or community far away from other places.

4. A ____________________ situation is one that can cause a lot of harm or damage.

5. If one thing ____________________ another thing, it makes it seem small or unimportant.

6. A ____________________ crisis is one that is likely to happen soon.

7. If something is ____________________, it is not too expensive for ordinary people to buy.

8. A ____________________ is someone who buys things from producers and sells them to customers at
a profit.

9. A ____________________ is a boat that makes regular journeys between two or more places carrying people
and vehicles.

10. A ____________________ is a situation in which there are many big and sudden changes.

3 Find the information


Find the following information in the text as quickly as possible.

1. How many tourist beds are there on the island of Lemnos?


2. When will the tax rise come in on the island of Agios Efstratios?
3. What is the only way residents can get cash?
4. What will the new tax rate be?
5. Will the island get an ATM?
6. What is the port of Athens called?
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NEWS LESSONS / The Greek island where time is running out / Advanced
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The Greek island where time is running out
Level 3 l Advanced
On the Aegean island that runs on make it hard for them to compete with Turkey but,
cash, time is running out for Agios Efstratios, it poses a far greater threat.
If we have to pay a tax of 23%, Im sorry to say it
Agios Efstratios has only three shops and two
but we will all die on the island, says Kakali.
restaurants but tourists loved its spectacular
beaches. Now, locals face a nine-hour ferry trip 5 Food and fuel are already more expensive than
to get money and the visitors arent coming on the mainland, there are no economies of scale
Emma Graham-Harrison and little economic flexibility on an island which,
even in summer, has only three shops, two
18 July, 2015
restaurants and not a single official hotel. This
1 Agios Efstratios is so remote, so forgotten by is an expensive island. Everything, even milk or
the banks, the government and most of the bread, has changed hands three or four times
modern world that the mobile phone network before it gets to us and each middleman has to
cant process data and there isnt a single ATM or take a profit, said Provatas Costas, a
credit-card machine on the island. Before Greece 58-year-old fisherman.
was plunged into financial chaos, residents of 6 For Agios Efstratios and its closest large
this tranquil outpost in the northern Aegean neighbour, Lemnos, the timing of the crisis is
managed quite well. They did their banking at particularly cruel. They were condemned to
the post office and the few dozen rooms to rent relative obscurity for years in part because
were booked out every summer with people who they are served by slow and unreliable ferries.
had heard by word of mouth of its spectacular In 2015, the government had finally given the
empty beaches, clear seas and fresh seafood. contract to a new, efficient company, drawing
2 But, because the island still runs on cash, floods of new visitors to explore the islands
the closure of banks nationwide has been largely overlooked charms, before the bank
devastating. Residents have been forced to make controls hit.
nine-hour round trips to the nearest big island
7 It started out as the best season in 30 years and,
to get cash and Greek visitors say they cant
in one week, became the worst, said Atzamis
get together enough money to come. Tourist
Konstantinos, a travel agent in Lemnos who
numbers are down 80% this year, said Mayor
used to earn 15,000 a month as a captain of
Maria Kakali, in an office in the village where
petroleum tankers and other large ships but came
she grew up, home to around 200 people. Even
home because he missed it so much. I always
people born here and living in Athens, who have
loved this island, even when I was young. I would
their own places on the island, arent coming.
dock in Piraeus, the port in Athens, take my pay,
3 Kakali has badgered the government and a then get the first boat over. People would say
major Greek bank into promising an ATM within Youre crazy. You can go anywhere but I only
weeks but she still feels it may come too late for ever wanted to come here.
this season on an island where tourism dwarfs
8 Lemnos has dozens of wild beaches, where
the two other sources of income: fishing and
even at the height of summer you can swim and
agriculture: We have almost no reservations in
sunbathe virtually alone, a small nightlife scene
August, when usually we have people calling us
and numerous cultural sites. It is the eighth
up asking to find a room and we cant help them.
largest island in Greece so is in line for the first
A hard winter ahead may be slightly improved by
round of tax increases in autumn 2015 but far
50 workers billeted in the village to expand the
less wealthy than many smaller ones. It has just
harbour but there is an even bigger crisis looming
over 3,000 beds for visitors, compared with tens
because the government has said it will end a
of thousands on an island such as Rhodes. Its
decades-old tax break for islands.
councillors say that they will fight the tax rise,
4 Created to help island communities survive when although none can say how. We have been
they were suffering mass emigration, a lower suffering economically in recent years and, now,
sales tax contained the costs of living in places we will suffer more, said Lemnos Mayor, Dimitris
where everything had to be imported and made Marinakis. When there is not enough money, you
tourism more affordable. Tourist favourites such reduce your consumption and therefore the whole
as Mykonos fear that losing the tax breaks will economy declines.
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NEWS LESSONS / The Greek island where time is running out / Advanced
CA O
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The Greek island where time is running out
Level 3 l Advanced
9 The crisis has been particularly hard on people 11 The truth is the government doesnt pay much
under 40, who often do two or three jobs to attention to the islands of the north Aegean, she
make ends meet and still feel they cant afford said, so I would take all the kids from our school
a family. Young people fear they are losing their to the gates of parliament, to tell them: There is
contemporaries in an exodus to match the one still life in these islands.
that scattered their grandparents friends to
Guardian News and Media 2015
America, Australia and Canada. What is the
First published in The Observer, 18/07/15
future for our generation? said Katerina Fikari,
who feels she is extremely lucky to work for the
local government in Lemnos. If you work only to
pay your bills, how can you have dreams for
your future?
10 If taxes go up, even more young people will
leave, warns Mayor Kakali, who has devoted her
year in office to improving education on the island
to help keep it an attractive place for families.
Because it is one of the smallest islands, Agios
Efstratios has until 2017 before the rise is due to
come in, so Kakali hopes that the roller coaster of
Greek politics means it yet may be spared. If not,
though, she plans to travel to Athens to remind
the distant government what the tax rise
would cost.

4 Comprehension check
Choose the best answer according to the text.
1. What government measure is threatening to have a negative effect on the Greek islands?
a. the closure of banks and ATMs
b. the ending of a lower sales tax scheme
c. the introduction of a special new tax

2 Why were Agios Efstratios and Lemnos condemned to relative obscurity for years?
a. because their ferry links were slow and unreliable
b. because they had no banks or ATMs
c. because tourists could not afford to visit them

3. What might slightly improve the coming winter?


a. the introduction of new, efficient ferries
b. the opening of a new bank
c. the fact that 50 construction workers are living and working on the island

4. Why does Katerina Fikari feel lucky?


a. because she lives on Lemnos
b. because she has a job with the local government on Lemnos
c. because, so far, none of her friends have emigrated
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NEWS LESSONS / The Greek island where time is running out / Advanced
CA O
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The Greek island where time is running out
Level 3 l Advanced
5 Find the word
Find the following words and phrases in the text.
1. a verb meaning make someone or something fall quickly from a high position (para 1)
2. a three-word expression meaning communication that consists of comments that people make to each other in
an informal way (para 1)
3. a verb meaning try to make someone do something by asking them many times (para 3)
4. a two-word noun phrase meaning a reduction in the tax someone has to pay (para 3)
5. a three-word noun phrase meaning reductions in the cost of making and selling products that are made
possible if a business is very large (para 5)
6. a noun meaning a state in which someone or something is not well known or not remembered (para 6)
7. a three-word verb phrase meaning have just enough money to buy the things you need (para 9)
8. a noun meaning a situation in which a lot of people leave a place at the same time (para 9)

6 Verb + noun collocations


Match the verbs in the left-hand column with the nouns and noun phrases in the right-hand column.

1. pay a. mass emigration


2. change b. a threat
3. pose c. consumption
4. process d. attention
5. suffer e. data
6. reduce f. hands

7 Word-building
Fill the gaps in the sentences with the correct form of the word in brackets at the end of each sentence.

1. There are __________________ empty beaches on Agios Efstratios. [SPECTACLE]


2. There is little economic __________________ on the island. [FLEXIBLE]
3. The islands were served by slow __________________ ferries. [RELY]
4. Lemnos has been suffering __________________ for years. [ECONOMY]
5. Young people are worried that their __________________ may leave. [CONTEMPORARY]
6. Reduced __________________ has an effect on the economy. [CONSUME]

8 Discussion
Discuss the following statements.
The Greek government must stop subsidizing these islands with special tax breaks because this represents
unfair competition with other European countries.
People should support Greece by taking their holidays there.
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Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015


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NEWS LESSONS / The Greek island where time is running out / Advanced
CA O
H
P
The Greek island where time is running out
Level 3 l Advanced
KEY

2 Key words 6 Verb + noun collocations

1. remote 1. d
2. tranquil 2. f
3. outpost 3. b
4. devastating 4. e
5. dwarfs 5. a
6. looming 6. c
7. affordable
8. middleman
9. ferry 7 Word-building
10. roller coaster
1. spectacular
2. flexibility
3 Find the information 3. unreliable
4. economically
1. just over 3,000 5. contemporaries
2. 2017 6. consumption
3. via a nine-hour ferry trip
4. 23%
5. One has been promised.
6. Piraeus

4 Comprehension check

1. b
2. a
3. c
4. b

5 Find the word

1. plunge
2. word of mouth
3. badger
4. tax break
5. economies of scale
6. obscurity
7. make ends meet
8. exodus
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NEWS LESSONS / The Greek island where time is running out / Advanced
CA O
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