About Plan B | Plan B | DW | 23.04.2013
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Plan B

About Plan B

Ten DW reporters spent time in five crisis-struck eurozone countries to see how young Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians and Irish are dealing with tough times. This DW special offers insight into their experiences.

Plan B from Greece

When DW reporters Vera Kern and Christoph Ricking first met Nadia Kalogeropoulou in Thessaloniki, they were surprised to see a fashionably dressed woman with perfectly manicured finger nails and oversized vintage glasses. She was a far cry from their pre-conceived notion of an alternative, penniless crisis survivor.

But Nadia is a master of making the best of things. She uses old olive oil to make soap, manages a food co-op and is administrator for a local exchange website. As for the sparkly silver nail polish, it belongs to Nadia's sister, who has managed to hang onto her job in a nail studio, because even in times of crisis, people want to look good and preserve their dignity.

Plan B from Italy

Philipp Barth in an airplane

Reporter Philipp Barth got to go for a ride

Being successful in times of crisis takes determination, and perhaps a stroke of luck. Philipp Barth and Antje Binder witnessed both in Monopoli in southern Italy, when young aircraft builder Angelo Petrosillo received a call from an Australian client keen to test fly his plane, and intent on bringing his children to Italy over Christmas to do so.

However inconvenient the timing, the 30-year-old doesn't let any opportunities slip through his fingers. Instead he convinced his mother to cook for another three people on Christmas Eve, because as he says, "I can hardly let my clients eat in a restaurant over the holidays."

Plan B from Spain

During their visit to Madrid, DW reporters Vera Freitag and Ruth Krause quickly realized how invaluable and simple a network can be during times of crisis. They wanted to film a cyclist on the go, and for that they needed a tandem. It was organized by a baker from the Mercado de San Fernando, another filming location, for no fee. The only condition attached to the deal was that they deliver baguettes on their way to the bike shop. They were quite willing, not least given that Plan B from Spain is all about community.

Plan B from Ireland

Ruth Krause with a bag of bread rolls

Reporter Ruth Krause delivered bread as part of her research

The crisis is not self-evident everywhere. At first glance the little town of Clonakilty seems idyllic. White smoke billows from the chimney stacks, and the little shops and pubs are well frequented. But in the evening over a Guinness, reporters Michael Hartlep and André Leslie discover a different reality behind the picture book facade.

A young Irish man explains that all his friends have moved abroad, and that he will be moving to New Zealand in three weeks time - indefinitely. Yet despite the lack of perspective for many youngsters, there is still hope in Clonakilty. The small town is well known for its favor exchange, which is featured in one of the plan B stories from Ireland.

Plan B from Portugal

In Portugal there are some positive, encouraging stories mixed in with the ones of struggle and woe. On their first evening in Lisbon, DW reporters Hilke Fischer und Greta Hamann discovered how while some who start out together sink, others swim. They were enjoying a drink with their protagonists - teachers who founded a start-up and now organize events for children - when one teacher suddenly noticed someone he knew and waved him over.

It turned out that the two of them met at a start-up course. But while the former teachers are happy with the way their new venture is going, the acquaintance has not been so successful. Starting a business is a brave step, especially when the country is in crisis. And plan B doesn't always work.

Team Spain: Vera Freitag and Ruth Krause; Team Greece: Christoph Ricking and Vera Kern; Team Ireland: André Leslie and Michael Hartlep; Team Italy: Philipp Barth and Antje Binder; Team Portugal: Greta Hamann and Hilke Fischer (from left to right)

Team Spain: Vera Freitag and Ruth Krause; Team Greece: Christoph Ricking and Vera Kern; Team Ireland: André Leslie and Michael Hartlep; Team Italy: Philipp Barth and Antje Binder; Team Portugal: Greta Hamann and Hilke Fischer (from left to right)

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