OPINION

On the future of Europe, equality, Dublin II, leasing archaeological sites

Re: Leaders must rally around PM

Well written and finely put, let?s hope that getting Greece out of this economic in-house mess will suffice to urge and convince the political parties for once to play ball together for benefit of the nation and its people!

Most of all that they embrace and admit their errors, not repeat the same mistakes and/or approach to managing the nation. People will only support a government once they can trust it; without trust there is no commitment. A corrupt government and a red tape bureaucracy that is inefficient, capable of errors and unfair assessments leads the people to mistrust (hence tax evasion, patronage, meritocracy etc.), lack of loyalty and endless grievances.

It is time to move on to a new era and method of managment at all levels!

Milia Tsaousis

Citizen equality

To quote Mr. Papoutsis, ?all citizens are equal before the law.? If that is so, then can someone explain to me why our MPs earn a $8,097 monthly salary with an unrivaled benefits package that includes a $220 bonus every time they attend a committee meeting, an additional $2,024 monthly for office expenses, a $1,349 housing expense for those who represent areas outside Athens, 68 free round-trip tickets annually and unlimited free transportation on trains and buses, a luxury car, a monthly fuel allowance of $810, a police officer to guard them, four cell phones and a free landline at their home, immunity from prosecution for any crime, reduced taxes, interest-free loans, four secretaries and a scientific advisor, free gym membership, free kindergarten for their children, free entrance to archaeological sites and museums, free transportation and lodging when they travel, and free tolls on Greek roads, and can retire after one four-year term with a pension of $6,856?

Jonathan Reynik

Windbag politicians

The abilities and honesty of the ruling political class here have been amply demonstrated before the world, yet they do not seem to have realised that the game is up. Whether it is Mr Karatzaferis, indignant that a friend of his, and an abbot to boot, could be arrested for financial crimes, Mr Samaras proudly strutting between carefully vetted lines of obsequious New Democracy zealots in endless manufactured photo-opportunities, or Mr Koulouris, outraged beyond self-control that some policemen expected him to observe the law like any ordinary citizen; they seem unable to grasp that we all know that these emperors have no clothes. These incompetent windbags are swollen only with a totally unfounded sense of their own self-importance.

John Tomkinson

Athens

Dublin II Regulation treaty is the problem

In 2003 the then Foreign Minister of Greece Mr George Papandreou put pen to paper by signing this treaty. 90% of illegal immigrants heading from Turkey to the EU end up in Greece. These illegal immigrants pay anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 Euros each to reach an EU country. You may ask where they found such money. Admittedly Greece is not their first choice EU country but once in Greece they all claim ?asylum? as the Turkish people smugglers tell them to say. Most of these people are economic migrants, not asylum seekers. Under the treaty Greece must process their claims for asylum and most end up in Athens forming inner-city ghettos. Greece has asked for changes to Dublin II because of geographic disadvantage and the EU has refused. Obviously the EU is happy for Greece to be the gate keeper on illegal immgration.

Greece has two choices: deport them on EU funds or let the Northern EU countries take them, given Greece?s current economic woes. Turkey also needs to be held accountable by the EU as they are deliberately sending them to Greece to destabilise Athens economically and demographically. Illegal entry into a country is against the law and the EU should know better. The process of asylum should be equally shared amongst all 27 EU nations, not left for Greece to do most of the work. After all, the EU is supposed to be a union.

George Salamouras

Lease archeological sites

The ex-Health Minister?s idea of leasing archeological sites is one of the very best coming out of Greece. Bravo! I hope you are listening.

Nick Vrettos

The knell

The public call from Miroslav Singer to turn the focus and financial support of Europe away from Greece and to other member states will not be an exception to the discourse on the matter for long. The economic situation continues to nosedive despite the scrambling of European politicians, and the economic concoctions of the supposed experts. The economic failure of Greece is symptomatic of an absent citizenry. There is protest and anger, but citizens are too jaded to turn that passion into political action. The first step towards salvaging the country comes from encouraging a healthy political culture. Next, Greece must find its identity, something that it has had only in name since independence. This ridiculous obsession with a European identity is misplaced; besides, behind closed doors our Western European neighbors consider us more Middle-Eastern than European. And who cares? Greeks can find their identity in the multi-culturalism that is Hellenism. The Hellenic idea, that cultures blend to produce something stronger, is suited to Greece, if not only for reasons of geography. With a comfortable conceptualization of the self, Greeks can move forward confidently to tackle the economic problems of the nation. Greece should seriously consider leaving the European Disunion and find its own path to fiscal health. The debt is not a concern, as it is completely within the purview of Greece whether it pays its debts back or not. If investors wanted a sure return they could have invested in German Bonds. Instead they chose Greece because they wanted higher returns, and now it is time for them to be burned. The first principle that investors learn is the relationship between risk and return, and yet everyone seems to be conveniently forgetting this concept as they demand that Greece guarantee their investment for them by selling her future generations into debt bondage. The final question is the complete restructuring of the Greek economic outlook. It is time to turn away from tourism, and turn instead to industry. As photovoltaic technology continues its exponential decrease in cost of installation and exponential increase in efficiency and energy harvested per cell, Greece has the opportunity to break into the energy market of the future. Greece missed the boat of industrialization due to a lack of necessary natural resource reserves, but the solar age promises to include Greece in a redefinition of how the world conceptualizes energy and industry. Greece should be at the forefront of research and development of solar and hydrokinetic energy, but it is instead distracted by this European fiasco. It is time to decide. Will Greeks be content to live as indebted slaves, or will they seek their freedom despite the promise that economic hardship awaits them along the road, but not at the end of the road.

Andreas Argeros

Are Greek politicians crying wolf?

With reference to your article ?Talks with troika resume on January 16? (Ekathimerini, 7 Jan), it seems we now have incontrovertible proof that in the past few months Greek politicians have either made ridiculous and embarrassing arithmetical errors or they have been telling the most enormous lies. Whichever is the case, it appears that EU decision-makers are fully aware.

Ekathimerini reported that ?European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly has made it clear in Brussels that the 5 billion euros tranche of the first bailout package that was originally scheduled to come to Athens in December, will now come in March? and that the ?further 10 billion Athens was about to receive in March is now set for June.?

And we can all clearly recall that just a few weeks ago, in November and early December 2011, Ekathimerini and many other Greek newspapers, as well as media throughout the world, reported that Greek ministers had stated that if Greece didn?t receive the 6th tranche of the first bailout loan by 15 Dec 2011, then Greece would fail, chaos would reign, and the game would be up!

But apparently Brussels has not released the 6th tranche and, clearly, Greece has not failed!

So Greek ministers were obviously crying wolf when there was no wolf! Like little Matilda they now seriously run the risk of nobody coming to their aid when the wolf does actually come dangerously close!

Furthermore Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was reported in the world press as saying in late November 2011 that in addition to the 6th tranche needed in December Greece would also need a further 80 billion this month, January 2012, if Greece were not to go under!

But this cry too has not been heard again. We are a quarter of the way through January and Evangelos Venizelos hasn?t repeated his extraordinary warning again.

We learned in late 2009 that sadly there had been extraordinary ineptitude going on in the Greek parliament and government departments for many years. It seems that either this ineptitude continues or hysteria has set in.

We must also presume that the reason why Brussels did not pay the 6th tranche in December and has delayed it until March 2012 is that Brussels? representatives currently trying to sort out Greek government departments know the realities of the finance that Greece needs — while inept Greek ministers themselves do not.

Edward Bentley

London, England

German EU or Russian EUSSR?

Dear Mr Konstandaras

Balances have to be worked from the bottom, not imposed from the top. European nations have been in conflict for 3,000 years. Anyone who believes that something as artificial as the EU can prevent this recurring is living in cloud cookoo land. Conflict has to be limited and restrained and transformed by integrating it with other human process in a transformational journey. It cannot be snuffed out by ?prevention,? only tranformed into something different over generations.

The present EU guarantees only one thing and that is German dominance over Europe without resort to arms. In other words they lost WW2 militarily but have now won it economically. And they are now getting Russia in on the act. We will one day see a Eurasian (Russia + EU) Union. Between 1922 and 1945 Nazis and Soviets and Communist/Socialist fellow travellers came together and said, ?How can we achieve this combining?? The answer was: start a horrific war, then afterwards impose a preventative solution that would combine German and Russian dominance over the whole kaboush. No more war, simply German-Russian (ex-Nazi-Soviet?) authoritarian (benevolant dictatorial; Bukovsky?s EUSSR) governance of Europe into Gorbachev?s Common European/Eurasian Homeland. Rules from Brussels at first then Berlin/Moscow with Brussels as the ?rubber stamp?.

Putin and Merkel are hand in glove. Merkel speaks fluent Russian, may even have known Putin from his days as a KGB man in the DDR. It?s 1922-33 and 1939-41 all over again.

This is the new European dynamic axis. Anyone not part of it will lose out through oil/gas dependance. The EU crisis is merely a way for Russia to tighten her grip on Germany and through her on the rest of continental Europe. A process that began in the 1920?s with the German CP being the strongest in Europe, backed by the Comintern, now its Russia/Gazprom buying everything up.

This is the real story of the EU. Everything else is just window dressing…

Philip Andrews