OPINION

On rebuilding Greece, politicians, the media, the civil service, Charles Dallara, Papandreou, financial prosecutors

All that is left now is to hope for the best. It is not clear anymore what is best from a purely economic point of view. The government and the EU officials should eliminate the Greek public deficit, but not by firing people and cutting minimum wages. Cutting expenditures and implementing structural reforms should be their priorities, especially those reforms that will create a fairer and safer country. The EU should also restart a huge infrastructure program in Greece that will restart the construction industry and put Greeks back to work. And I do not mean only roads and bridges but also hydroelectric plans, athletic centers, cultural centers, schools, ports, waste and water management projects and many more. Finally, why not establish European institutes in Greece, such as for example for solar, marine studies etc.

George Georgellis

Failing and lying

Not only again a failing, but also again a lying state. What else can be expected? And Greece wants to have elections? Why? Is somebody offering an alternative state to choose?

Hans van der Schaaf

Re: Justice minister blasts financial crimes prosecutors

Sigh.

So perhaps these two prosecutors were just blowing smoke after all. It seems that the only thing they were after was keeping their jobs. Actually seeing justice done, and shining a candle into the dark corners of Greek politics, was never their intent. And so, those who interfered with their effort to seek justice remain anonymous, hidden from view. Or perhaps they never existed, and the real moral of the story is that nothing in Greece is as it seems.

Nick Kanellos

Rich? Beautiful? No.

Nice try. But the truth is Greece is not, and has never been ?rich? and ?beautiful.? No, it’s a harsh, dry, mountainous place with very little wealth of any kind. With the exception of olives — which made ancient Athens rich — the country has never really supported its population. That’s why Greeks have been leaving Greece for thousands of years, building colonies and trade networks outside the country that truly defined the Greek experience.

Over the last twenty years the country’s rulers tried to get rich on the cheap, with truckloads of easy credit from the EU. It failed, as it had to. The question now is what the Greek people can do to turn this disaster around. Can they put the resourcefulness, ingenuity, and strength of character of Greeks abroad to overcome the endemic corruption, bureaucracy, and system of patronage that weighs the country down now?

Maybe. But so far, there’s no sign.

John Stathakis

On fair media reporting and action

I guess not all must agree, but Mr Papachelas is in my humble opinion the living demonstration that free press exists, so it makes me smile reading anyone suggesting that ekathimerini is anything other than fair and balanced journalism. Yes, ekathimerini is pro-Europe, as other publications are not, but it represents all opinions. Mine is — i’ll be clear — that preferring past-style politics is a sure symptom of acute Alzheimer?s disease.

I am delighted that all opinions are expressed here. Clearly though, a detail might be escaping a minority: when a newspaper, in times of abysmal crisis, feels it is a must to participate in the action, contributing to getting things moving, it is only natural that the editor might devote at times a little more space to articles exploring practical new steps that will improve the future for all Greeks. Such as having a Greek contributor from England, for instance, stating the fact that in a totally broke country Greek civil servants outnumber two-to-one British civil servants serving five times the population is a major contribution towards a better future for Greece.

Of course, some will always be self-taught ?voodoo economists? suggesting the world would be in heaven by simply sending Greece a 3 billion monthly check forever to bail out the current brilliantly successful system.

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Re: Your newspaper

H. I am born and raised in Australia of Greek parents. I have been reading your site for the past 2 years and enjoy it no end. I classify your newspaper as a true broadsheet of the highest quality. Whenever I am in Greece yours [Kathimerini] is the only paper I buy, and although my Greek is probably not what you might call fluent and I do struggle, I nevertheless manage to get through it. I sincerely hope your English site, even despite the dire conditions in Greece currently, is able to survive.

As Greece struggles through the current economic distress I do hope in the months ahead your paper is able to show the way forward for Greece and able to assist in converting Hellas into the jewel of southeast Europe, something many of us have hopes it can be.

Michael Alevras

The civil service restructuring debate, again

Promises, promises. We have heard this commitment to reform uttered numerous times in the past by our MPs and yet they continue to do nothing (yet still get paid) to implement the troika?s demands for change. In like manner we have also been told that our Constitution forbids these much-needed changes and nothing is done to amend it.

One wonders, is it possible that the troika is simply unaware of the fact that over the years our MPs have drafted numerous loopholes and riddles into our Constitution making it a modern day enigma machine that requires the talents of someone like Mr. Venizelos to decipher? Or does the troika still believe, after months of indecision and inaction, that our MPs are willing and capable of pushing through reforms? When will they, the troika that is, come to understand what we, the citizens of Greece have experienced, with respect to our MPs? In short, they have no interest in doing anything that will jeopardize their privileged positions as public servants . In the vernacular, they talk the talk but cannot walk the walk.

What then should the troika do? How about granting our appointed PM the same courtesy as Monti in neighboring Italy and let him choose his own cabinet; give them the time required for productive reforms to make an impact, i.e., postpone elections; and have the MPs do something useful for a change such as reviewing the Constitution and repealing all articles that impact our competitiveness such as lifetime employment for public sector employees/civil servants, imposing term limits on our MPs, and revoking the clause that provides our MPs with immunity from prosecution.

In a democracy, no one should be above the law and that law should not benefit a select few. Furthermore, during a national crisis, the best and the brightest should be called upon to serve their country.

Sadly, we are living with the ill effects of the Parliamentary status quo every day to our detriment.

Jonathan Reynik

Is Greece negotiating with the right people?

Does Mr. Dallara from the IIF have a mandate from all private creditors of Greece to negotiate on their behalf? Not too long ago, members of the Deutsche Bank management board said publicly that their CEO Josef Ackermann did not have a mandate from their bank to negotiate on the part of the IIF. Mr. Dallara seems to be a nice gentleman of diplomatic cut but whether he is up to the task of dealing with the sharks of international finance will be seen at the end.

That?s when we will know whether he had a mandate!

Klaus Kastner

Austria

Re: Hellenic pride — strength or weakness?

I’d prefer if you spelled my name right while attempting to passive aggressively lecture me. There is a difference between Hellenic Pride and Hellenic Fanaticism. What you are talking about are people who are too blind and wrapped up in their great history to see the reality, though the ancient Greeks themselves said that each generation must earn the glory of the previous one. Having pride in your culture and the concept of the nation is the first step towards building a collective national effort of any kind. If the Greek consciousness is one that they are all lazy crooks, then they will all continue to be lazy crooks. This preconception is of course misguided, otherwise you have met only the worst people in Greece. The fact is that there are Greek people who want to change, and by sitting here and telling them that they have no point of reference for being revolutionary thinkers, we throw them out to a dark sea with no life saver filled with the sharks that currently dominate Greece. You should look up the current mayor Thessaloniki. The efforts of one mayor may not be much in these times, but the lesson is important. There are those that are willing to change and innovate. They need encouragement, not derision.

Andreas Argeros

Impressed with Kathimerini

I find myself increasingly impressed with the quality of the letters you are choosing to publish. Some are severely critical and hard hitting and there is a temptation to avoid them; but you don’t avoid them, you have the courage and self-respect to publish them and really let all views be heard.

I wish that Greece as a nation could and would follow your lead, take a good look at all aspects of itself ?warts and all? and give herself the chance to address issues brought up in this way with coherence, clarity and intelligence.

You at Kathimerini are doing sterling service by letting views be heard and issues be addressed that could be swept under the carpet. I congratulate you and salute you as an example not only to the Greek press but to the press everywhere.

Thank you.

Philip Andrews

Re: Greece’s image

Greece’s image in the world cannot be «recast» by a media marketing campaign that resembles a soap or car commercial. Consumers have become immune to hard sells and extravagant advertising. Greece’s image can only change if Greece itself changes, if visitors no longer see garbage-strewn streets, indifferent service, criminal rioters setting the capital on fire and daily strikes making life unbearable for everyone; if they see a respect for public spaces, a touch of European cleanliness and organization, the end of packs of dogs roaming wild and, not least, the silence of Greece’s national symbol, the «Malaka-Malaka» bird.

If anything, an advertising campaign that hides and misrepresents the real product will only stain further what is already tarnished image.

Peter Kyriakeas-Kirk

Stoupa, Messinias

Re: Charles Dallara

How these global personas must loath having to deal with the ?karagiozi? Greek politician. What could a Greek politician possibly have to negotiate with someone like Dallara? It’s a matter of you will do this, that etc. They would never have interacted if not for this disastrous crisis these politicians wrought on this country.

Greek politicians are so out of tune with the global economy, with the Greek population, and are utterly clueless and incompetent in running an EU state as they’ve so vividly proven.

The EU needs to sweep this lot of bungling idiots out, and replace Greece’s political system with capable, honest individuals. Greece under these crooks will never be able to reach it’s full potential. The potential is here, loads of it, but it’s being drowned by the policies these 300 crooks keep in place. These same policies and systems will continue costing the EU taxpayer for decades.

People of Dallara’s calibre look at Greece, and ask themselves quietly how a bunch of small-time Greek political goons could create so much havoc.

Lionel Luthor

Re: Charles Dallaras

Dallara must be exhausted after having to baby-sit Greek politicians on this PSI.

He probably drew stick figures for them to understand how the whole deal will go down.

Lionel Luthor

Re: Ex-PM may face probe in deficit statistics

Contrary to what Mr Beglitis may think, the financial security of the country does not belong to any one party.

Transparency should be something all parties and their representatives should seek at all costs.

If Mr Papandreou was involved in the government as Prime Minister, what he knew and when he knew it should be investigated and assessed. It would be something that no one should avoid or resist. On the contrary, it should be sought after so that the good names of those who did nothing against the Greek State and its people will be cleared of any suspicion.

Accusations made by Mrs Georganda and others are serious enough and clarity is needed sooner rather than later.

Monica Lane

Re: Justice Minister blasts the two investigators

Something does not pass the sniff test in this story. Two investigators no matter what their political stripes would not have risked their positions and a backlash to bring charges about anything.

The quick response from the courts and the minister of justice sounds like what one of your correspondents referred to as «Do you know who I am”?

Hopefully we will find out more about this soon.

Monica Lane

Abbot Efriam

I?m still waiting for news on abbot Efriam. You see your news paper is all talk no action. You are no better than the corrupt politisians of Greece. They deserve a biaste self-serving news paper like yours only worth rapping fish with.

A. Adamidis

Re: Caution: Falling wages

All the facts and suggestions developed by Mr Malkoutzis one would tend to more than applaud. Still, it seems to me that in Greece no one sees anything apart from the choice between this or that centralized unique solution to one problem or challenge. And that is probably the main disaster underneath all problems: A totally centralized mentality. It is nearly Communism without being conscious it is with a touch of infantilism, as if for anything done, not two or three or ten roads could be tried, but all challenges should be met with only one solution, hopefully dictated by one desperately needed daddy.

This centralized state and herd mentality as opposed to the multiple experiences tried in various regions by federal states is, in my view, the real oger in this dark fairy tale. One road, one disaster! The sadder irony being the self-claimed «independent» citizen mythology that has long been lost somewhere between Ulysses and today.

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Re: Sang-froid required in data probe

You know why Greece is bankrupted. It all started with George Papandreou’s father, Andreas Papandreou, the worst menace since the civil war. Like father, like son. The Papandreou family never had the best interests of Greece in its mind; it will never have. I never trusted them and I was right all the way along.

Melina Pursall