The overseas Vietnamese community in Greece has continued working as a group in strict compliance with the law and the local authority toward full integration.
Greece is located in Southern Europe, on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered on the north by Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania; to the west by the Ionian Sea; to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and to the east by the Aegean Sea and Turkey. Winter there is only three months of the year.
Around 250 Vietnamese are living in the nation, mainly in the capital of Athens and the surrounding islands like Rafina, Elefsina, Godos and Rhodos. Most of them traveled to Greece during the decades after the Southern Liberation.
In December, 2010, Vietnam set up its embassy here, its first diplomatic agency in the country.
In the early period in an unfamiliar nation, the language barrier presented significant difficulties for Vietnamese. Mr Tran Thanh Cong, now chef of a restaurant in Athens, said, “The habit of Vietnamese here is to stay separate from local citizens. They work mostly for Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, around 90%. Those with resources open their own restaurants or run 2-3 others with friends. Some of them raise capital to open supermarkets or food processing factories.”
In the recent months, as Greece has fallen into a serious public debt crisis, overseas Vietnamese have tried their best to continue business in the face of such challenges. Economic recession has led to the cutting of worker salaries and social welfare, while goods prices jump daily.
Economic slowdown has directly affected to their business. “Before, the total revenue from my two restaurants was acceptable. Now, it is just enough for my families monthly expenses, decreasing around 20%. Meanwhile, some of my friends’ restaurants have lost about 50-60% of their income. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot ask my workers to quit their jobs. We are uniting to get through these challenging moments,” shared Mr Nguyen Trung Thanh, owner of Ha Long 1 and Ha Long 2 restaurants in Athens.
The Vietnamese Ambassador to Greece, Mr Vu Binh, said he is very proud as the majority of Vietnamese people in Greece still maintain their business activities and academic work.
So far, there has been no announcement of closing any restaurants from the community. Instead, they economize and adjust the way they do business. The overseas Vietnamese community in Greece has continued working as a group in strict compliance with the law and with the local authority toward full integration.
Earlier, the Embassy hosted a gathering for over 200 Vietnamese in the country to welcome the lunar new year 2012./.