On elections, right-wing parties, Greek businesses, zoo animals
Re: Rehn and the drachma clause
European Commissioner Olli Rehn has insisted on the withdrawal of the European Investment Bank's fallback position on inserting drachma repayment clauses in the Greek loan agreements. He describes them as 'bureaucratic and incomprehensible.'
One actually wonders if the Commissioner is in some way retarded. 'Incomprehensible'. Does he simply not watch TV? Has he not looked at Greek debt as a % of GDP? How can Europe have found itself with such hopelessly substandard leaders?
I would suggest his rightful executive position should be with the flat earth society.
Godfrey Bloom MEP
Member of the Economic & Monetary Affairs
Committee of the European Parliament
Privatize the trains
Let me see, Greece is considering privatisation of one of its two most important transportation assets on a model of the UK. So, does it make no difference that the UK privatisation is a complete and total disaster? That service has declined horribly on every train route? That the corporations who bought the lines have all adopted the same business model: raise fares and extract all the revenue possible, do no maintenance to further maximize profit, then abondon the lines when they are no longer usable.
How to reform Greece and make it great
1) Reforming the Parliamentary system. In most western countries the legal process before a trial involves selecting twelve jurors at random from the general population. We need a revolving committee selected at random from academia to oversee MPs and Parliament and to have the power to ostracize those who breach their Parliamentary privileges.
2) The Civil and Public services are the machinary of state; the country cannot work efficiently if the Civil service is corrupt, bloated with political patronage and poorly trained staff. It needs to be entirely independent from the political establishment. The Greek Civil Service should be independent to serve Parliament and the country and not aligned to any party or ideology. Accountability, inspection of departments and staff training need to be organised.
3) A national economic plan needs to be put into place, drawing expertise from Greek universities and the diaspora abroad. With industrial free zones established near the big cities; Athens, Patras, Thesalonica etc. Foreign and Greek companies investing in Greece should be exempt from paying corporation tax for the first five years. Various other inducements; low interest loans from banks for start-ups.
4) Education. It was Plato who said that ”we don't live in society just for our own benefit, we live also to serve others.” Let that be a motto adopted by every educational establishment and school in Greece. If the Greeks had adopted this simple slogan on cooperation, instead of waiting for foreigners to come to Greece to show us how to run our own country after 170 years of independence, we would be ruling the world.
Petros Botsari (Attard)
Papademos warns against euroskeptics
We are going to have elections next week.
Not one of the candidates is anyone any of us would want to shake the hand of or invite into our homes.
Not one of the educated elites has put up their hands to lead the country out of Greece's third world status, and the dangerous slide to even more anarchy. Most of Greece's neighbours are praying that the election delivers a chaotic results and no government.
What is on the internet about the forces in the background in Greece may be keeping away the people who should be in politics and help Greece become a democratic state. At the best of times politics is a dirty game in any country, but in Greece it's a slime-filled pool we all have had a hand in creating.
Greece may become a Central American-type state with control by outside forces, and we look back at 2010-2012 as good years. We need to tread water and help Greece stay alive another day and hope we have new political movements that believe in democracy.
Most people have become used to North European incomes, without producing the exports that support those high incomes. The real wage levels of Greece are going to be about 500 Euro a month for most people, and Greece will still be in the top 30 of income earners in the world.
Anyone wanting higher incomes will need to work longer hours or smarter.
What will be worse than having N.D. or Pasok back after the elections is violence and anarchy.
On a recent wilderness trip, a lady and I had to decide whether to walk through the flooded crocodile-filled plains or go over the long mountain jungles and be torn to pieces by vines. We decided it was better to be battered and bloody and in one piece than torn apart by the crocodiles.
That is the situation we are in today in Greece.
As much as I am disappointed, there is no other route we can take.
Nazis and Communists, and their ilk, are not about to improve civilisation in Greece.
Until recently all of the world had one form or another, and, all those countries are still worse than Greece even today.
Greece still gets refugees from these states. We need to breathe deep, and take over the ND and Pasok towers of filth and clean them out.
We need to make sure the two parties get 51% of the vote, then push for constitutional and legal changes for Greece to become a democratic and civilised state.
We need to take political power out of a few people's hands and give it to all of Greece.
The current ”no decision Parliaments” and moronic logic has to go forever.
The picture of the bear brought tears to my eyes. I do not believe in keeping wild animals in captivity, much less in a country where animals are not revered. Very sad.
The comment regarding taxes on businesses here is quite correct. I paid more tax over the years operating here in Greece than I would have done in the UK. Add to that the bureaucracy and, even worse, the fact that it's impossible to clear unapaid accounts and bad cheques through the corrupt and disfunctional Greek legal system, and it's no wonder that businessmen leave Greece. Many small businesses were operating here by professionals in their field, chemists, engineers, tool makers etc. These were not entrepreneurs, but people that loved their work and took a pride in their products. Over the past 10 years these businesses have closed, mostly due to the fact that banks preferred to lend to householders with high interest rates for mortgages or credit cards. After over 35 years of running a business here in Greece, I wouldn't do it again.
Former minister threatens to expose foes
I am at a loss. How can an innocent man know where all the bodies are buried?
Although one is presumed innocent until one is proven guilty, Mr Tzohatzopoulos's threats lead one to suspect he is sending messages to those who are still outside and are in the know.
Hopefully justice will prevail and everyone who helped themselves one way or another to public funds joins the rest in Korydallos kicking and screaming.
I hope Mr Tzohatzopoulos exposes everyone else who had anything to do with any unseemly dealings during their tenure in public office.
Hopefully the courts will do their jobs and have the guilty parties and those around them who benefited from illegal acts pay.
Zoos in Greece not meeting proper standards
I am saddened to see that Greek zoos have such poor conditions for the animals they are responsible for. I am glad you published this article and hope that your paper will continue to follow the outcome of the findings and help to shed light on the plight of the animals that have no voice and rely on their human captors for their well-being.
“Of the 14 zoos currently in operation in Greece, just one -- the Attica Zoological Park in Spata, north of Athens -- is properly licensed and meets European regulations regarding the upkeep of animals in captivity, the Arcturos animal welfare society revealed on April 25.”
Greece has a responsibilty to ensure that the animals that are kept in zoos have proper living quarters. I am hoping that others will read the article and that it will shed light on the animals' sad plight. Please continue to follow the progression and urge the government to help these poor animals.
“In a 39-page report that was drafted with the cooperation of numerous experts, as well as Endcap, a pan-European coalition of groups acting against animal captivity, and the UK-based Born Free Foundation, Arcturos stressed the need for clearer legislation defining and governing the operation of facilities where wild animals are kept in captivity for the purpose of public display or breeding.
“The report was part of a presentation made at the European Commission in Brussels on April 24 by Endcap and the Born Free Foundation -- with Arcturos reporting on conditions in Greece -- summing up the results of a comprehensive investigation into the licensing and performance of zoos across Europe.
“For Greece in particular, Arcturos's report laments the lack of public awareness regarding wild animals in captivity and inspections of sites where they are displayed or bred. It also says that the interpretation by Greek legislation of the EU directive governing zoos, which was adopted by Athens in 2005, 'lacks uniformity, which has led to inconsistencies in its application.'
“'The Ministry of Environment, which has recently adopted responsibility for zoo regulation from the Ministry of Agriculture, does not appear to hold a central record that lists “zoos” and “exhibitions of animals” in Greece,' the conservationists' report said.
“Arcturos further charged local authorities responsible for zoos operating in Thessaloniki's Seikh-Sou Forest, in Trikala and in the National Gardens in Athens.
“'These establishments are not regulated by [EU directive] PD982004, but instead are provided with operational licenses at the local level. Local mayors defend the existence of their zoos but do not appear to recognize... their responsibilities to the animals in their care,' it said in its report.”
Rise of the right
Profesor Couloumbis is justified in his concern about the rise of right-wing extremism in Greece and the rest of Europe. But extremism is not limited to one end of the political spectrum.
The communist-led Greek civil war that followed the Nazi control of Greece was far more damaging than the German occupation itself and its consequences are being felt even today, some 60 years later. Greece has suffered, is suffering, from extremism by both sides.
Venizelos appeals to Greeks to stop the far right
“Golden Dawn, which vows to expel both legal and illegal immigrants”
Definition: Immigration (derived from Latin: migratio) is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence. Immigration is made for many reasons, including economic, political, family re-unification, natural disaster, poverty or the wish to change one's surroundings voluntarily.
Looks like I have to start packing my bags *whoop whoop* at least I get to leave! My kids? Everyone I have spoken to lately are voting Golden Dawn -- even my husband. I believe it's because there is nothing else available that is not somehow linked to ND or PASOK.
Greece in the euro
We read and hear all day long that the majority of Greeks want to stay in the Euro. Of course, this is plain common sense as unless it is a default organised by the EU, it would be considered a disorderly default. This would mean that there would be no financial support for Greece from the EU or IMF, or for that matter any responsible government in the world. The country would simply collapse. However, we see rating angencies showing votes for parties which claim blatently that they will leave the Euro and the EU. Too much blab blab blab, just tell the population plainly that unless they vote for one of the parties which are determined to stay in the Euro and work with other countries in similar circumstances to push for financial growth instead of more austerity measures, Greece is doomed. In a recent survey over 80% of Greeks said they want a coalition, it's time politicians listened. This is quite logical as we have seen more changes with a coalition government than we have seen in the past 20 years. You have no faith in the two major parties, that's quite understandable, but vote for a party that wants to stay in the Euro and wants to modernise Greece.
We make the bed we lie in
Venizelos, Pasok and ND created Chrysi Avgi and the other silly loonies who now call themselves communists. When we have a parliament without an opposition to question and debate the fundermental questions, we do not have a parliament. We have a parliamentary building like every ”tin pot” third world country, like the whole of Africa, Asia and South America.
Third world parliaments do not have people with hearts or logic. The pain and poverty of their own people is an irrelevant concern.
Third World rulers will steal what little their people have for their extended family and ”class” but if they ruled with heart and logic there would be more wealth for them and their people.
We Greeks have very little excuse for our failure to look up and see the world. All the ”bibles” and rules of the ”game of ruling” are written in Greek. The very Greek annoying character to the rest of the world has been to always ask why. Our generation has left the questioning for the bribes of white bread, central air conditioning and holidays to far-flung places.
I never truly understood the very importantance of debate and democracy until after I finished attending university. From the age of eight onwards I devoured whole libraries, no subject was unworthy of my attention, but my primary school educated father was more perceptive.
One day I found my father, a damaged person in many ways, like most Greeks of his age, by the 1922 legacy, the German invasion and the Greek civil war, selling lottery tickets to raise money for the weakened conservative party. I asked him why he was raising money for the political party of our enemies. His answers always started with my father saying that his father, Great Grandfather Moisi, said, «You cannot have democracy or a good government without an effective opposition.”
“Without an opposition in Parliament, our party will eventually turn against the weakest in the community, which is us.” It's sometimes a mystery how Great Grandfather Moisi, raised under Ottoman rule, and later executed by the Russian communists, managed to get an education and pass on his knowledge to his son, executed by the British, and grandson, but I am reminded of my own experience in a one-teacher Greek primary school where Kyrios Christos would teach the basic curriculum to his 86 students, and expanded by all the books he had read or was in the process of reading.
Kyrios Christos left us hungry for more every day. The six days a week of school and the four hours of Church on Sundays in his company was not a burden for any of us. In my weaker moments I thank the Gods for being born Greek and starting life with Kyrios Christos.
I light a candle at his grave at every opportunity, a truly heroic Greek.
We Greeks owe it to ourselves, our children and those that have passed to occupy the skeletons of the Pasok and ND parties and use them as a tool to bring dignity to ourselves and our country. The economic problems and the wolves that surround Greece can be overcome with a determination to make Greece a free and democratic state. Freedom, and a recognition of how the world functions, is the only road to prosperity and happiness for all Greeks.
Mounting pressure to end austerity
Economics is a funny thing sometimes. Its disciples think it is a science, whereas most practitioners in real-life economy or at the stock exchange have more or less come to the conclusion that it is more like a religion, divided into sectarian beliefs.
Indeed, economic ”science” at times seems so impermeable to real-life facts, like rubber boots to water.
The grotesque idea, that countries which have gotten into a fiscal mess by overspending can pull themselves out of the slump by spending even more money, belongs to those sectarian beliefs.
It would be quite easy to compare the economic fates of those European countries which have moderate budget deficits, like Switzerland and Germany, to those having practised more expansive fiscal policies. The emerging picture would be quite clear.
But reforms of labor markets and fiscal tightening hurt. They are anathema to lobby groups, and, henceforth, to politicians depending on them.
So the turn to Keynesian flights of fancy represents an easy way out. Alas, the problem is that Keynes works well in some circumstances, but aggravates the situation in others.
To spend one's way out of recession in countries with over-regulated markets (like most of the Southern European countries), amounts to the idea of doping a runner chained to a wall, in the hope to make him run faster.
Mario Draghi has put it quite clearly. In his speech about a growth initiative, he said: ”If spending money produces more demand, so why don't we have more demand [in Southern Europe]?”
And it is undeniable that mountains of money were spent. Employing Keynesian policies can only be successful after reforms have been made; they are no way of avoiding reforms.
Heinz Stiller Berne, Switzerland