OPINION

On tourism, the debt crisis and soccer funding

Sale of state assets

Why has there been such a fuss in Greece about the so-called U-turn of government officials over the sale of state property?

In the UK, the prime minister, David Cameron, has completely withdrawn the original plan of the coalition government to sell the thousands of acres of forests owned by the UK government. The reasons in both countries for the sales is to raise money to pay off deficit/national debts – except, in the UK, the general public and other politicians have heaved a great sigh of relief that Cameron has seen sense, and admitted it. Why can’t the public and politicians do the same in Greece? It may not be the end of the world, but simply the emergence of common sense!

KELVYN RICHARDS

TRIKALA

Soccer funding

Why on earth is the state funding the top class football teams? The Super League should be completely self-financing. No doubt they also manage to avoid paying taxes as well!

RICHARD GRAVES

Soccer clubs to lose funding if violence persists

I see no reason for funding to exist for something that has no benefit to the country, especially at a time when benefits are being slashed and tax revenue is decreasing! Maybe if the funding to these professional sports are cut, then these enterprises can invest in proper marketing and/or increase ticket prices and possibly attract a higher class of audience that will not cause violence. Maybe focus on family packages and corporate sales. Let the market tell us if people really value these professional teams.

VASILIOS MANTIS

Tourism

I cannot believe that even in the current financial crisis here that the government would want to restrict expenditure on tourism and advertising. Surely with the Middle East situation, this is an ideal time to promote Greece and its islands. Of course, perhaps the unions calling mass strikes should also play their part and agree to stop this crazy action, which deters tourists.

What is needed now is for all Greeks to pull together and put Greece back on its feet, not fighting the elected government.

HAYDN EBBS

Driving controls

Greek driving school instructors are either unaware of, or misinterpreting basic driving theory.

?Indicators,» as the name suggests, are for indicating that you intend to turn right or left. ?Emergency? flashers (again as the name suggests) show that you have an emergency. To confuse the two (like many Greek drivers do), can lead to a misunderstanding and a dangerous situation. For example, a car approaching a turning puts on the emergency flasher, when he actually intends to turn.

An unsuspecting following driver, rightly supposes that the car in front has an emergency and will stop, and decides to pass on the right or left side as appropriate.

The car in front turns and ‘bingo!’

Simple solution… use the correct control. After all they have been developed to save your life.

FREDDIE ANDREWS

What do the strikes hope to accomplish?

Ever since I met my girlfriend, who is from Athens, I have been following Greek news. We are tentatively planning a trip there this summer. I use the word «tentatively» because all the various strikes and shutdowns give me hesitation as to whether our vacation money would be better spent in a place not undergoing the turmoil that seems to be a daily affair in Greece. I have spoken with several friends of mine and they are under the impression that going to Greece is akin to entering a war zone.

I know that you all must be used to all the inconveniences you are inflicting on yourselves, but, if you hope to attract American tourism dollars, I can assure you that the best way to do it is to go to work, do your job, and show the world a sense of Greek pride that you seem to have forgotten.

JOHN SHERMAN

USA

Criminal robbery

The Netherlands is one of Europe?s richest countries with some of the highest wages and social benefits. It is the Greek crooks who are making life miserable for the majority of the population. Why is Papandreou not putting a lid on the gas and petrol providers? criminal profiteering. This has gone on for at least eight years now.

The Greeks must rise up like the Tunisians against the sheer high cost of living in their country!

M. MARGIX

Show some leadership

When will the Hellenic Government, any Hellenic government show some leadership and some spine by protecting Hellenes who have effectively been kidnapped en masse?

I refer to the pathetic lack of attention over many decades to the Hellenes who have suffered, who have been tortured and who continue to have no basic human rights simply because their part of Hellenic soil is in the fake country of Albania.

Northern Epirus was stolen from the Hellenic people by an evil W.R. Churchill and his partners in crime, the so called European superpowers.

They were angry that Venizelos and Ellada did not get on their knees and jump to attack Turkey in WWI when Churchill so demanded.

Then, when the Smyrna issue arose, and countless numbers of Hellenes were slaughtered and more left homeless, the reaction of Churchill was not to help the Hellenic people but to punish them

My grandfather and my mother were both born in the same house yet he was born Greek and she, technically, Albanian.

This situation is as evil as any and, yet, while Greeks continue to suffer to this day, all sides of Greek politics ignore the hundreds of thousands of victims, and the world could not care less.

AGNE KENOS

MELBOURNE

A debt haircut the best option

Of all the options tried, the best one available for Greece is to restructure its debt. Because the debt is expected to reach over 150 percent of GDP in a few years, even with all of the other efforts, that debt load is simply too much for a struggling economy to bear without a haircut. Most of the reforms being implemented, from lowering spending to reforming public sector wages and benefits, and shrinking the civil service, will help lower the deficit.  But not enough of a surplus will exist to shrink the debt to manageable levels. The reforms of the economy will make it more competitive and productive, but again not enough to produce the kind of tax revenues required for the existing debtload. Even the selling of state assets, from corporate stock to public lands, will not be enough. While all of these efforts will put Greece in a better position in future years with a presumably more efficient public sector and a more competitive private sector, only a debt haircut can save Greece from its own folly.

PETER KATES

USA

Greece and its crisis

Will returning Greece to the drachma really help her overcome crisis?

I doubt it, as long as:

– the center-periphery economies of the EU are not addressed, which have for a long time favored the dominant economies such as Germany, France etc at the cost of the the poorer ones such as Greece and Portugal;

– the fundamentals of Greece’s economy are not addressed, namely, its huge reliance on the public sector as a source of employment;

– the mentality of the average Greek is not re-educated to accept that everyone (government, business and society) have had a role to play in getting Greece into its current crisis;

– tax-evasion = problems for all Greek society = poorer standards of living for all.

Thus, reverting back to the drachma as a solution is merely a mirage.

DIMITRIS TASSIOPOULOS

Sale of Greek public assets

I must have missed something, because I would have thought that Greek public property would not even be considered for sale until the ill-gotten gains and property of crooked politicians, corrupt tax collectors and arrogant entertainers were sold first. Or are they subject to different rules?

Iceland is a better example of how a nation’s people should rule rather than the politicians. Who invented democracy? Iceland or Greece? They are already prosecuting the perpetrators of their mess, while both sides of politics in Greece keep quiet so as to protect their members and cover up their corruptness.

Europe, the EC and the IMF are too late in fixing past debts. They can never be paid in full even if the Greek people were sold into slavery. A write-off of at least 40 to 50 percent of foreign debt will eventually happen.

The Greeks need to understand that their history is not a memory of the past but a guide to their future.

PETER SOULELES

Extensive business reform required

Extensive reform is required in overhauling business start-up procedures in Greece. The government needs to streamline the procedures for setting up a business in Greece so that innovative individuals and companies can spark wide-ranging economic growth in Greece, while also reducing the high level of unemployment in Greece at the same time, that will be a benefit to the Greek economy. And this should all be facilitated by a one-stop office procedure, over the counter and on the same day, instead of running around the city getting signatures and stamps from lawyers and bureaucrats to start a business that can take up to a year to get. This is an international disgrace and an open act of treachery. Setting up a business in Greece should follow the world?s best practice and only take one day instead of one year. The current 15-point procedure to starting a business in Greece is time consuming, costly, corrupt and very laborious, discouraging investment and economic growth in Greece.

These intentional obstacles in setting up a business in Greece, endorsed by previous national governments in the past, is not in the Greek national interest. This 15-point procedure in setting up a business is an act of treachery, and is the reason why Greece is in the disastrous economic situation it is in today. This must change immediately.

GERRY MAVRIS

The euro and Germany

I’m a Greek resident. I have seen footage of programs from America about growing concern that there is a move by Germany to buy into the New York Stock Exchange to the extent of changing it’s name. Yet I have seen nothing reported in the Western press. I don’t profess to understand all the monetary jargon and maneuverings but as part of the European Union, surely this is a significant move set against Mrs [Angela] Merkel’s comments and minimum respect even patronizing support for Greece. Any idea what’s going on in the financial world which will impact on all of us?

MAL FIDLER