RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Greece and its overwhelming debt will be top of the agenda as international leaders meet for the G7 summit, which starts today in Germany. Earlier this year, a leftist party swept Greek elections on promises to save the country from its unbearable debt and the pain of austerity. But Greece and the Eurozone remain locked in a tense standoff over a new credit deal. Its government is almost out of cash and isolated in Europe. Joanna Kakassis has the story from Athens.
JOANNA KAKASSIS, BYLINE: Calliope Spanou knows what it's like to feel isolated because she grew up here at a time when she says being Greek didn't feel like being part of the European family, something she experienced while studying in France in the 1980s.
CALLIOPE SPANOU: You were a second-class person, not citizen, but even a person. The way they treated you, in their minds, we were immigrants.
KAKASSIS: The European Union eventually broke down that sense of isolation. She worked in Great Britain, married a German, then returned to Athens.
SPANOU: It was so easy and natural to be part of these European networks.
KAKASSIS: And then five years ago, Europe's economy took a dive, and Greece, with its enormous debt, was blamed. She was lectured by taxi drivers in Brussels, by colleagues at European conferences.
SPANOU: They see you now through the lens of a crisis country.
KAKASSIS: Spanou's German husband Jens Bastian, an economist, says the Eurozone now seems united against Greece.
JENS BASTIAN: Countries like Malta, like Austria, like the Baltics and, in particular, Cyprus, formally a strong proponent of solidarity with Greece, have actually withdrawn this kind of support for the country and its new administration.
KAKASSIS: The Greek government also appears to be losing a strong ally in Spain, Podemos, a popular anti-austerity party that's preparing for elections later this year. Jose Ignacio Torreblanca of the Madrid office of the European Council on Foreign Relations says Podemos does not want to hitch itself to a losing strategy.
JOSE IGNACIO TORREBLANCA: In order to convince fellow Spaniards that the path chosen by Greece is a good one, it should be successful.
KAKASSIS: So far, no path for Greece has been successful. The country is still deeply in debt and in a deep economic depression. It might need a third bailout with European taxpayers possibly footing the bill this time, says Peter Cleppe of the Open Europe Institute in Brussels. He says Eurozone leaders wanted to believe the Greek problem was under control with the first two bailouts.
PETER CLEPPE: And guess what, it's not under control. It's coming back in full force, creating a lot more damage than it ever would have done back in 2010.
KAKASSIS: Cleppe says Greece must exit the Eurozone to save itself. Calliope Spanou, like most Greeks, does not want this to happen. Polls show that half of Greeks want their government to cut a deal with creditors even if it means caving in.
SPANOU: There is, you know, a very depressing atmosphere. And also our worries about our daughter.
KAKASSIS: That daughter, Regilla Bastian, is 18 and will soon start college.
REGILLA BASTIAN: I feel that my chances and what I might be able to do, that is probably drowning with the current situation. I am - you know, I'm trying to keep myself from feeling that way.
KAKASSIS: As an 18-year-old, she's only known a Greece that was a real part of Europe. Isolation, she says, just doesn't seem possible.
R. BASTIAN: I still have hope. I don't think we're lost.
KAKASSIS: For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.