(From Athens) – The number of poor people in Greece, also from the middle class, relying on the services provided by Caritas Greece is still rising in the first months of 2016. In 2015, about 4 million people were living below the poverty threshold (of €4,808 a year). The unemployment rate is 25% among adults (and 44% among young people). However, less than 10% of those unemployed receive unemployment benefits, and 3 million people have no access to social and health care. These figures were released in Athens today by Maria Karoubali, social policy officer at Caritas Greece, who presented the data of the first Poverty Report in Greece at the seminar entitled “Greece, European paradox, between crisis and refugees”, organised by Caritas Italy, Missio and FOCSIV. Caritas Greece compiled the report with data from 7 dioceses with the support of the online system “Ospoweb”, which is used by Caritas Italy to monitor 1,645 counselling centres in 122 dioceses and which the Italian body is now trying to extend to other European countries to support local Caritas. Ms Karoubali recalled that “the impact of the crisis in Greece has become more and more acute in the past six years: we have had reductions in wages and pensions; increases in levies and taxes, and in the energy bill; changes to the labour law; an increase in social-security contributions; and cuts to aid, family allowances, and healthcare spending”. Caritas Greece suggests some anti-poverty measures to the Greek government, including “the introduction of a social integration income, an increase in the minimum wage, the monitoring of the homeless, a VAT rebate on energy and staples, and a rise in unemployment benefits”. Drawing a comparison between the data for Greece and for Italy, Walter Nanni, head of the Study Office at Caritas Italy, highlighted some substantial differences between the two countries, among others in “the impact of health spending cuts. In Greece, 40% of the Greeks who turn to Caritas counselling centres have serious health problems while in Italy the figure is 14%, which means that, despite the problems, the Italian healthcare system is still coping” with the pressure.