‘The Thin Red Line’??¨
It is rather humorous (a very dark sort of humor) to hear Greek government officials railing at the so-called (by Greeks) ?troika.? Just who approached whom, hat in hand, when the Greek socialist house of cards began to crumble? The government has done much talking, and the EU, IMF and ECB have been more than magnanimous in their assessment of the Greek economy, to the point of underwriting much risk. The Greek government, despite what it says, is far from avoiding sovereign bankruptcy. The ?troika? knows that part of the political game is letting the local hacks rail against it for domestic consumption. But the fact is that Greece is still very much in serious trouble. With the exception of the ?protesters? most of the Greek people know this.??¨
We’ve had the austerity measures, now how about some growth initiatives. It will take a brilliant idea and an inspiring leader to present it to the Greek people. Without new growth, in a revolutionary new direction, Greece will take the rest of the 21st century to pay back its debts.
As the PASOK government implodes I find the position of the New Democracy equally confusing: it seems to operate like an extreme left-wing party rather than a normal European center right party. In particular I’m surprised that it opposes opening up the closed professions and introducing more privatization into the Greek economy. I applaud its attempt to abandon the asylum law which was drafted by its own party and government, and was absolutely flabbergasted by PASOK’s reaction. The latter supported ND’s asylum law which it opposed when it was first introduced to parliament by the then-ND govt! Such contradictory and confrontational politicking will lead to major problems when Greece finally returns to the markets. Greece will also face a lackluster response from foreign investors until it introduces trade union reform. For example, trade unions should not be free to call their members out on strike until they have balloted their members and gained at least a 60 percent majority in favor of striking. It took Mrs Thatcher 13 pieces of legislation to bring British trade unions into democratic equilibrium and it’s time the Greek government began on the same course. The labor market needs trade unions, but, at present, they have too much power and not sufficient legal responsibilities in Greece. In a liberal democracy there has to be an equilibrium in the balance of power and at present that equilibrium is disturbed by the supervening power of Greek trade unions.??¨
What else is to be expected???¨
We invested in Greece, placing a substantial amount in tourism investment on one of the Greek islands, only to be delayed 20 months by the archaeology department (plus we were ?advised? to pay for the excavations, as the department had no funds of it’s own!). We’ve now been fighting for the last 15 months to secure electricity and never seem to stop visiting the Poleodomia [town planning] office! Had we known this prior to investing, we’d never have set foot in Greece to spend our hard-earned funds. We’re now having to pay excessive taxes to make up for the corruption and bureaucracy we face daily, created by others, but forced on us and fellow citizens to pay for.??¨Who in their right mind, regardless of what one hears that there will be ?opportunities? in Greece later on, can possibly believe this? We’ve been on a 10-year roller-coaster ride here, and see no end or changes in sight in the future. The country is governed by inexplicably selfish politicians and who are highly susceptible to corruption. We all see former minister [Akis] Tzochatzopoulos flatly denying he took bribes?! How ND missed the deadline for Swiss accounts is still to be inspected???¨It is a tragicomic farce investing in Greece. Period. Greeks from the Diaspora need to know what’s happening in this country.??¨We’re now in the process of shifting our company?s HQ out of Greece to save what’s left of it, and are returning abroad to seek our livelihoods in a country that respects private capital and initiative. Let the unions keep the country and get rich! Let the politicians keep promising! One can only lament at how 300 greedy individuals conned several thousand to aid in the robbing of such a wealthy country.??¨Greece’s leadership is solely to blame for where millions now find themselves, on the verge of poverty and possible ruin. And to see them pompously speaking in parliament defending their actions to boot!??¨Sad. Criminal. The EU needs to investigate how all this came to be.??¨