OPINION

On stalled reforms, ex-MP’s back pay, Trichet, tourism, Marfin tragedy, ‘nation of crooks’

Re: ‘Failed economic policies or entire nation of crooks?’

I can understand why you remain ‘Anonymous.’ Your remarks against the Greek people are offensive to the extreme. What you fail to understand is that in the U.K. the tax collection system is efficient and allows little room for avoidance. If the tax collection system was as poor (as Greece’s) in the U.K. then there would be just as many «crooks,» as you put it, there also. Everyone tries to pay as little tax as possible; that is human nature. So the difference is simple, the people are the same, the systems for collection are not. Reform and simplify them and Greece will be on the right road.

On another note, your remarks seem to be almost personal. If you have been overcharged, or shall we say ripped off, then that’s your own fault for not conducting a business transaction with due care, again no different from dealing in the U.K.

Roly Baker

Agios Pantelimon, Corfu

You must be joking!

Imagine if Bin Laden, at the moment of his capture, had turned to the US Navy Seals sent to kill him and said, ‘What you are doing leaves no room for healthy or constructive debate’! Those were your words in response to my view that all Greeks (government and people) are a bunch of crooks. You really believe you can carry on conning the rest of the world as you have been doing since 1981. Of course there is no room for healthy or constructive debate — criminals who are caught in the act are tried, sentenced and locked up. It’s called ‘punishment’. Get used to it. You’re now going to pay — all of you — for the terrible crimes you have committed. Chief among these was to take the name of a once-great nation, Hellas, and reduce it to worldwide scorn.

Anonymous

Re: Papandreou urges renewed focus from ministers

It’s become clear that a large bloc of Mr. Papandreou’s Cabinet are paying mere lip service to the agenda his government has set out. Nodding in agreement, and then doing nothing. They seem to be biding their time. But I’m not sure what it is they are waiting for. Better times? When this crisis blows over and things can get back to normal?  Perhaps they’re overwhelmed and they can’t absorb psychologically the precariousness of their (and Greece’s) position. Perhaps they really don’t believe it, as it contradicts their socialist ideology. Perhaps they are worried about their own re-election prospects and are catering to their own clientele. In any event, most seem to be like deer caught in an automobile’s headlights.

However, the ultimate responsibility lies at the feet of Mr. Papandreou. Especially if the best he can do is «urge». Why is he afraid to sack ministers who are not pulling their weight?

Nicholas Kanellos

Germans and the Hellenic debt

How dare any German politician preach to the Hellenic nation about the national debt, about honesty and integrity, when the Germans have illegally and immorally refused to repay the reparations that they owe Ellada. Hundreds of millions of euros for the destruction and the thefts caused by them in WW2.

Theft of monies from our banks and destruction of buildings including whole villages.

Their evil was beyond comprehension and yet they did it all.

They have been previously ordered to repay Ellada but while they paid everyone else they will not pay the Hellenic Republic.

Is that because of all their enemies in WW2, none embarrassed them more or hurt them more than the Ellines? Ordinary average everyday farmers and rural folk who destroyed the Germans over Crete as well as the rest of Ellada?

I am sick to death of rude Germans telling Ellada anything except sorry.

Ange Kenos

You can’t blame the Greeks

Thank you British Labour leader for standing up for the Hellenic people when so many others have pathetically mocked us around the world. Even a Liberal/conservative politician in Victoria has dared to mock Ellada to the Turks just to win their votes, only the Turks to whom he was so miserable actually wish to be friends with Ellines, such is how communities are in Australia.

But let’s look at some facts. The Brits make a fortune from people seeing the stolen Parthenon marbles, money that rightfully belongs to Ellada.

Indeed, there are many antiquities which they and other nations illegally hold and which should be returned to Ellada.

Then there are the reparations for World War Two which Germany consistently fails to repay. That itself is worth several hundred million euros which would lift Ellada straight out of all debts and allow money for growth and job creation.

Add to that decades of political interference by several European nations all hell bent on ensuring that Ellada could not grow and strengthen.

And I could go on and on.

It is time that we all recognised the facts. Ellines are a strong and resilient people. Proud and loyal. Honest and decent. Hardworking and inventive.

Ellines around the world can rise out of the doldrums and see a Renaissance, which, after all itself was built on the ideas and discoveries of our ancestors.

Ange Kenos

Australia

Retired MPs claiming 80 min euros in back pay

Ladies and gentlemen, have you no shame?

Renee Pappas

Greece Needs a Patrick Fitzgerald

As a resident of the state of Illinois in the United States, I see corruption of government officials and the public prosecutors that go after them with regularity. Since 2001, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald, has busted two consecutive Illinois governors for corruption. The first, George Ryan, was connected to taking bribes for driver’s licenses as the holder of a former office, while the second, Rod Blagojevich, was tried on over twenty counts, including trying to accept bribes for President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat for the state of Illinois. Why does Greece not have public prosecutors that bust the takers of bribes and those who evade taxes? Tax evasion is especially unforgiveable for a government to allow to continue. Greece would go a long way toward fixing its fiscal mess if it only made people pay their full share of taxes rather than raise taxes. What good is a government if it does not force all of its citizens to comply with the laws of the country? This includes its own elected officials as well as ordinary citizens. Perhaps public officials and ordinary citizens alike would think twice about not paying taxes, taking or offering bribes, or jumping a gate in the metro if they really feared someone with authority was going to punish them for it.

 

Peter Kates

USA 

Quid pro quo deal for Greece?

I don’t think I understand. The first sentence in the article states, «Europe is calling for more reforms and a greater fiscal adjustment in order to offer Greece better conditions for the repayment of its 110-billion-euro bailout loan.” This makes it sound almost as though reforms and fiscal adjustments are more in Europe’s interest than in Greece’s.  And that Greece is only deigning to carry out the reforms and fiscal adjustments to appease Europe and get better loan repayment conditions.

Silly me. And here, all the while, I thought the 110 billion Euro loan was to save Greece from diving head first off an economic cliff. And that the reforms were necessary irrespective of European bailouts.

All sarcasm aside, this reminds me of a child being goaded and coaxed by its parents to brush its teeth and do its homework. And the child demanding extra TV time in return.

Nick Kanellos

Kudos to Trichet

At last a positive article! Trichet deserves a lot of credit and praise form Greece for his role in the Greek debt crises.

A Kiritsis

Economic decline and tourism

I have just received a report on the top 25 tourist destinations in the world. Italy has two spots. The USA several. But the best nation in the world, with the most amazing waters, the most stunning country sides, the greatest majesty of natural beauty is not in the top 25. How on earth can anyone expect Hellenic tourism to survive, let alone grow, unless this issue is addressed?

Oia makes it to 16 on the top 25 European destinations but again behind France, Italy and most others. And then there is only Oia.

What is the Greek National Tourism Organisation doing? Sure, they produce sensational posters, booklets etc, but that is not good enough.

Only last night at a dinner in one of the very best Hellenic restaurants in Victoria (Australia), we were discussing how most of us are sick of being treated as tourists when we return to visit our Patrida and, far worse, how some have stopped wanting to visit. To them, especially when they were born in Ellada, being ripped off and treated like cash cows simply proves that we are not part of the modern-day Greece.

So expect tourism to drop even further when it should and could be going in the other direction.

Start with a major tourism show in the largest Hellenic-speaking city outside of Ellada — Melbourne. Target the Anglos with different packages to attract greater tourism from those born there, and offer their kids and grand-kids packages designed exclusively for them too.

Ask the diaspora of Hellenes across the globe to fill internet review sites with positive comments.

We can grow tourism and reach the heights of success. We certainly have the most beautiful of all nations for tourists.

Ange Kenos

Australia

Marfin Bank branch closures

The tragic death of three innocent souls in last year’s riots shocked Greece and the rest of the world. I pray that the perpetrators are brought to justice soon. What I do not understand is why a major Greek bank would close its extensive network of hundreds of branches to observe a day of ‘mourning’ resulting in lost productivity and disruption to banking services that in turn stimulate economic activity. You did not see World Trade Center bank tenants like Bank of America or Morgan Stanley shut down their services on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks to commemorate those lost. I know this sounds heartless but this is just another example of the type of attitude that got the country into this economic mess in the first place.

Kostas Alexiou

London

Extra work hours for public servants

Finally! There was mention of «equivalent to hiring 45,000 new employees» but will the present employees actually work the extra 2.5 hours or will they fill that time doing  something other than their job to retaliate?! God knows we need that «extra» in the public sector, but if it’s not actually put to use, what good is it?

Mary Ledvorowski