During yesterday’s meeting of the Intracom staff association, Theodoros Pangalos, a deputy and former minister, and Christos Polyzogopoulos, president of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), expressed some odd ideas about the rule of law and even odder ideas as to how a politician shows a «spirit of independence.» At the meeting, which supposedly arose from the staff’s concern at the prosecution of Socrates Kokkalis, and probably also from the same entrepreneur urging his staff to exert political pressure, Pangalos claimed that those who oppose Intracom’s business tactics are «swindlers, smugglers and dubious economic circles without a country or a name,» while Polyzogopoulos stated, «We won’t allow,» immediately amending that to «Justice will not allow the criminalization of business behavior.» Both these views, which other speakers embellished with remarks against Kathimerini, are unacceptable and irrational, to put it mildly. Nobody denies that Intracom is a major firm and nobody wants it, or any other Greek firm, to do anything but progress and succeed. But does that mean that the success of a firm must be ensured in spite of state laws on transparency and competition? Does it mean that the main stakeholder and administrator of a company is immune to the consequences faced by citizens whose personal behavior renders them liable to criminal prosecution? Do Pangalos and Polyzogopoulos believe that whoever employs a large number of staff is exempted from obeying the law? Or does it mean that state orders and contracts must go to Greek companies, regardless of what quality they offer or what they want in return? What has happened, to suddenly make trade union leaders and leading politicians voice opinions on the selective (in-)equality of citizens before the law and recommend state «protection» for businesses? One hopes that Polyzogopoulos and Pangalos were carried away by the desire to win votes and not by the entangled bonds that exist between politicians and businessmen, as New Democracy hinted. Even if all this enthusiasm about illegality is just fishing for votes, it would be better if Pangalos never put himself across again as «independent» and «outspoken» and for Polyzogopoulos to resist the «criminalization of business behavior» in those many cases where workers file suits.

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