OPINION

On David Cameron, corruption, debt crisis, GENOP protests, privatizations

On Tsochatzopoulos, Venizelos and debt crisis

Greece will never be able to pay the debt at 16% and higher interest rates.

The politicians know this. No matter how many bailouts come, the debt and its compound interest will never be paid.

Since the crisis started not one politician has been brought to justice, not one looter of public funds has been prosecuted. Akis Tsochatzopoulos wants the rest of the «associates» to go to court with him since he knows the case will never go to justice if all have to go together.

Isn’t there one person who can tell the Greek population that it is better to default, leave the euro, close the door and put our fiscal house in order on our own?

Greece has descended in the last 35 years slowly into chaos. The streets are not safe, the future is uncertain, the banks may go bankrupt. Not one politician is asking the tough questions and is willing to work for the country.

The parties fight among themselves jockeying for position with a rhetoric that is not worthy of politicians in a banana republic.

What will it take for all of us to truly wake up and demand that those who looted the public treasury are brought to justice? How complicated is it to access bank records to find out who transferred money abroad, how yachts were purchased, what accounts were used to pay the tuition of their children at foreign universities, and build and buy property in Greece and abroad?

It took very little time for Germany to locate its tax cheaters who deposited money in Liechtenstein banks. Why can’t we do it?

Monica Lane

Pangalos debunks six myths about the center of Athens

Is he serious?

Did he try to walk the streets of Athens or is he simply being chauffeured around in a limo with tinted windows?

What is the police for? Regardless of what Turkey does or not, once an illegal alien is on our streets dealing drugs, stealing our pocketbooks, robbing stores and killing us, it is our government’s responsibility to protect us.

PASOK (not that ND is blameless) has ruled Greece for most of the last 47 years. What have they done to protect the people who were born in this country, pay taxes to fatten him up to the point where even his own clothes do not fit him and keep them all in the luxury they live in, which blinds them to the plight of those who have to live in ghetto conditions.

Mr Pangalos should walk up and down Patission Street after dark and then come back and tell us if this is a situation that cannot be addressed overnight.

He and the others elected officials should be ashamed of themselves.

They cannot control the streets, our borders, our fiscal health, what are they doing there?

We ran out of money, perhaps it is time for all of them to go get a real job. We can no longer afford them.

Monica Lane

Florida

No sign of GENOP letting up in protest against PPC privatization

Privatization of power generation/distribution is a smart policy already practiced by governments in developed economies the world over: it removes a source of patronage from the public sector and creates incentives for more efficient management and better service. In the case of Greece, another important reason for privatization is the need to raise funds to pay down a bloated public debt that risks plunging the country into bankruptcy. Opposition from organized labour cannot be allowed to torpedo what is clearly critical for the economy’s survival.

For far too long, sclerotic labour unions have been an albatross around Greece’s neck that the country must shed if it wants to prosper. In 1981, President Reagan fired and replaced all striking air-traffic controllers, ushering in a long period of economic stability and growth in the US. Earlier this month, the Canadian government brought an Air Canada strike to a quick end by threatening to legislate striking workers back to work, because of the risk that disruption in air travel posed to the country’s economic health; it is now doing the same to striking Post Office employees. Greece’s economy is in far worse shape than either that of the US in the early 1980s or of Canada today, and cannot afford the luxury of indulging malicious antics by myopic labour unions. The Greek government should make clear that it will no longer tolerate union activities that undermine efforts to keep the Greek economy afloat and should be prepared to throw the book at unions and union leaders who refuse to comply. Greece cannot continue begging abroad for support to save the Greek economy, while domestically declining to take the measures necessary for economic survival.

Basil Zafiriou

Ontario, Canada

Huge disappointment

Disappointment is an understatement when describing my feelings as I sit and watch the lack of leadership amongst Greece’s elected leaders. George Papandreou is now acting as though he has no clue what to do next. His cabinet reshuffle looks like a desperate move to save his government, and hopefully Mr. Venizelos, who appears to be very forceful, can make the needed moves in the Finance Ministry.  Antonis Samaras is behaving more like a shark that smells blood in the water instead of a public servant who will do what it takes to save his country from default. Mr. Samaras should have been more willing to form a coalition government with PASOK for the sake of the country. The fringe parties are behaving like fringe parties, with the exception of occasional signs of sanity from LAOS leader George Karatzaferis. If things continue to take a nosedive, perhaps Samaras will regret not taking that chance to form that unity government with Papandreou.  Again, the same question comes to mind: Where is the leadership amongst Greece’s elected officials?

Peter Kates

ND leader insulting the Greek people

It’s time for the ND leader and his party to forget about their own politics and vote for the good of their country and show a united front. What this guy is doing is an insult to the Greek people. If the next round of money doesn’t arrive because of his stubbornness, he should be charged with a criminal act bordering on treason.

John Eardley

Re: «Debunking 6 myths about Athens”

Deputy PM Mr. Pangalos is right to a degree in blaming Turkey’s failure to implement an EU agreement obliging it to take back illegal immigrants. PASOK is also at fault for having signed the Dublin II regulation treaty in 2003 which states that the first EU country these people land in must process their claims for asylum. Why would PASOK sign this knowing that 90% of all illegal immigrants come to Greece via Turkey?

 

Secondly, Greece has always had porous borders and you have to ask the question where is Greece’s 100,000 army personnel to be better utilised for border protection? Thirdly, Greece needs an EU response, all 26 other EU countries need to contribute thousands of their personnel for border patrols to stem the flow of illegal immigration into Greece, not just 300 Frontex personnel in Evros. Greece is the EU?s largest transit centre for illegal immigrants heading for the more prosperous Northern EU nations.

 

And finally the EU must put pressure on Turkey to take back these people. Turkey has been deliberately sending these people over the border to destabilise Greece economically and demographically and it has succeeded. Illegal immigration is costing Greece millions each year in health care and other social services, statistically most crimes are committed by illegal immigrants and remittances are also going the other way. This is not good for Greece.

 

George Salamouras 

 

Tonight’s decision

The basic question Greece has to face is simple: Do they want the appearance of security and continue to depress the Greek economy for the sake of ‘helpful’ international banks, insurance and pension funds? Do they want the burden of debt to reach proportions that will choke off any recovery forever (if they have not already done so)?

Or do the Greek people choose the freedom to embark on a new path as a nation which is ready to face up to its own shortcomings? And therefore are courageous enough to return to the Drachma?

The tactics of the ND party are a distraction. Their demands would directly lead to default because international patience has run out. The Eurogroup, the IMF and the ECB clearly say: Only according to our conditions.

But unfortunately, neither nationalisation nor a privatisation on a gigantic scale are guarantees against the abuse of privilege,  corruption and mismanagement.

Maybe the lonely, tough path of Greeks coming to terms with Greeks (and not international finance posing as social workers) is the only way…. at least I think so.

Christophoros Antonius

Is there a way out

Mr. Konstandaras has written an excellent commentary. The Greek crisis didn’t happen overnight, it took decades of incompetence and outright thievery to arrive at today’s mess. Greece has inherited the title that Turkey had in the 19th century… it is now «the sick man of Europe.»

Renee Pappas

Open letter to the Greeks from the Netherlands

Dear Greeks,

The story about the support for you dominates our news. Most of the news that is presented to us give food for thought that the crisis in Greece is a direct consequence of the fact that there is a lot of corruption in your country, that there are relatively too many people working for the government, that those officials retire at an early age.

On the Internet and radio there are programs where people can vote whether or not to support the Greeks. Attached to these surveys are questions whether or not the crisis in Greece is the fault of the citizens themselves.

Also we are confronted with pictures of Greeks protesting and the suggestion is made that you protest against Europe.

All these things worry me a lot.

I think what is really happening in the world is veiled through polarizing you and us.

I will not accept that ordinary people in countries are taking stands against one another without really knowing each other.

I really would like to find a way to stop this nonsense. I suspect that Greek society is confronted with a serious situation and the quality of the lives of common people is at stake.

If Europe can help prevent this, Europe should do so and take a firm stand against these compromising articles on the news.

I am a father of four children and I wish them a future where there are only cultural differences which enrich their world. The Greek culture is very valuable as are all other cultures and we should look to one another with interest and respect. If we do so we will all encircle a shared worldview which helps us to stay close to that centre. Now we are moving away from that shared centre, which really worries me a lot.

Please let us start something which helps to turn over the tendency in the news and as a result convince the politicians to really serve the common people and not the institutions.

Yours faithfully,

Len Stange

De Duurzame Vacaturebank 

De Duurzame Stagebank

MVO Recruitment

Privatization

To Jenny and others: Private ownership, and indeed foreign ownership of assets is not a problem. If Heathrow happens to be owned by the government or by a Spanish consortium (as it is now) matters to me not one iota as a traveller. All I care about as I use the airport is the level of service — in short how much money is being invested in new facilities and in maintaining the existing infrastructure. Control of this is not given up in the process of privatisation. Indeed the national government retains the right to set minimum investment levels, passenger duty, landing slot policy and prices and indeed the level of corporation tax on any profits made by the airport operator. To characterise privatisation or sale to a foreigner as a loss of control is just plain wrong — and racist too.

Christopher Edwards

Cameron does not speak for us all

It is important to recognize that speeches made by this jumped-up ninny, made at an event organized by his master, Rupert Murdoch, are not representative of the majority of the English people.

Chris Blackmore