OPINION

On pharmacies, corruption, saving the euro, owing debt, diaspora Greeks, fuel sales, Greece?s strengths

How confusing would it be for customers who need to buy something from a pharmacy and find 4 or 5 open stores in their neighbourhood?

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How many hours do pharmacists need to work before they get too tired and make mistakes???¨

If a pilot can fly a jumbo jet with 350 passengers on an eight-hour shift, why can’t our pharmacists manage on such a schedule?

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Perhaps some pharmacies can merge if they only have one pharmacist on duty. Perhaps they can add more products on their shelves so customers can buy more than the medicine they need. If the purpose is for the pharmacies to remain profitable and the customers well served why do the pharmacists have to go on a strike to fight change???¨??¨

Monica Lane

Florida, USA

Corruption

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I lived in Crete for many years and my daughters have a Cretan father. Coming from the UK it took some time to understand how things worked in Crete in the 80s. But I learnt the language and found out why so many properties appeared to be half-built with steel rods spiking skywards. I also discovered that a tax inspection was preceded by a phone call warning traders to shut up shop and followed by a convivial drinking session in the one bar still open where the traders paid the bill and the tax inspectors imbibed.

In the 90s I recall being bounced back and forth between several offices in an attempt to get a telephone line connected. Apparently I had to have a Greek Social Security Number before I could even begin the process (despite offering to pay in cash upfront). A Greek friend solved that problem in 24 hours because he knew which palms had to be greased. At that point I despaired. I was sad that my relationship ended but glad that my daughters were brought up in England.

There isn’t a lot to be proud of when looking at England today but at least low level corruption isn’t considered the norm.??¨

Hazel Pegg??¨??¨

Greece’s strength is in ideas??¨

Greece was always a place where new ideas were born! Now, once again, we are faced with a unique opportunity — that is to find ways to exit this crisis without falling into chaos and disorder. We Greeks, as a people, have one very useful virtue: Difficulties unite us and make us work harder and smarter. United we will once again prevail over the tough economic times and we wiill lay the foundations for a brighter future for the generations to come.

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It is true, we were thrown into the deep sea without knowing how to swim! It would appear, for a short moment, that we are about to get drowned once our partners pull away the swimming aids they gave us. While our partners are debating whether we will ever manage to swim without aids, it is time for us to surprise the world and start swimming on our own using our own hands. We are absolutely capable of doing this successfully.??¨

George Georgellis

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Greek party politics – a web of lies

Dear Mr Papachelas,??¨

I strongly agree with you on the subject of dishonesty in Greek politics. It certainly contributed to Greece’s lack of economic and social development, and you very correctly bring it to the fore as a major issue. Indeed, we have seen many an honest and conscientious politician fall off the political band wagon for telling the truth over the years, missing important opportunities for reform. And the PASOK party is the major (though not the only) culprit. I think, though, that it is part of the larger problem of the political culture in Greece which is cynically opportunistic, short-sighted and ethically bankrupt. One only has to take a look at the types of people the major parties cultivate relationships with throughout the country to realize the magnitude of the problem. Party hierarchies are composed of people who are adept in the following skills: cronyism,white-collar crime, embezzlement, and of course, lying. At a regional level, if you are skilled in these techniques they will sniff you out and work with you. So, habitually lying to the electorate is seen as only natural by these people.??¨

Congratulations for having the courage to raise issues which politicians avoid like the plague.

??¨??¨Yours Sincerely,??¨

Miltiadis Kiousis??¨??¨??¨

Sam Welch; Here, here!??¨

Well, K, I guess you got tired of printing my comments…? Or more like you had such a flood of letters about the German takeover you had difficulty deciding which to print as a representative sample. Fair enough…

??¨??¨One comment; Sam Welch, someone had to say it. Well done! Here, here!??¨??¨

And well done Kathimerini for printing such an outrageously frank, honest and to-the-point comment!??¨

Philip Andrews??¨??¨

Foreign Greeks may have a role to play??¨

I am a proud Greek from «abroad.» I am a descendant of Asia Minor Greeks and Northern Epiros Greeks. I live in the Middle East and speak Arabic better than Greek, but let me tell you one thing: Greece is more than a world brand, it is a lifestyle, an ingrained culture and a state of mind that every person in Europe and the Mediteranean basin possesses (what we call the Hellenistic culture), whether they know or like it or not.

As a financier, I am now ready to dedicate so much time in rebuilding the image of Greece and even more, and I am getting more fanatical in these times of distress by the hour. This article is spot-on and reflects the courage of the Greek people, which should not forget that there are more Greeks abroad than in the motherland who are all ready to lend invaluable support. I only wish there could be an independent organisation within Greece which could be dedicated to reaching out to their «Exoteriko» compatriots.??¨

Nicolas Photiades

Beirut, Lebanon??¨??¨

Illegal fuel sales??¨

Having watched the show hosted by Mr. Papachelas [Monday] night (30.01.2012) on SKAI concerning the issue of the illegal fuel sales in Greece. I was intrigued by the statements made by one of the guests.??¨

He said that a law was made in 2004 that stated that all trucks carrying fuel had to be easily identified by the brands of the companies moving the fuel, and making it illegal for unmarked trucks to transport fuel. This, apparently, is one of the easiest and most effective tools in the fight against the illegal fuel trade and yet this part of the law repealed in 2007.

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Now, I consider Mr. Papahelas one of the more serious journalists in Greece, and was surprised that he allowed that statement to merely pass by. I am hoping this was an innocent omission; but the question that begs for an answer is this: Who repealed this law? Surely there is a record of who decided that this invaluable tool in the fight against the corruption should be cast aside. Surely this would be easy for an organisation such as Kathimerini to discover and publish.??¨??¨

Theo Mitsouras ??¨??¨

Diomidis Spinellis??¨

By publicly pointing his finger at «a lack of political courage as the main reason that Greece has failed to make significant inroads into tax evasion,» Diomidis Spinellis, former general secretary of information systems at the Finance Ministry, has himself shown considerable bravery. Bravo Mr. Spinellis. Greece has a chance of arising out of its present crisis if many more officials exercise the same bravery and determination as Mr. Spinellis.??¨

David Cade

??¨Shropshire, England??¨??¨

Re: Catch 22 options??¨

When you construct a device that does not work in the way it should or you expected, there are three options: 1) Unplug the device and design a better one. 2) Restore and redesign the device into a better one while it (dis)functions. 3) Unplug the not-functioning parts, redesign and reconstruct the functioning parts into a new, now-functioning device.

??¨In order to decide what is the best choice you have to make a plan in order to understand the costs and benefits of each option.

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Concerning the eurocrisis option 1 was and still is defined as not relevant. This because constructing a new euro could be difficult this time. The economic situation of the southern European countries to become a euro member again is too bad to become realistic. It would mean the end of the euro.

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The same result will be met when applying option 3. But maybe this will result in a neuro; a second best option.??¨

So, everybody is (still) saying only option 2 is (politically) relevant. But when applying this option, the EU?s restore and redesign actions did until now only worsen the quality of the not-functioning parts. Or they need more time or they have to become more drastic in order to become effective.

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So, the device still will not function for some years. Or the quality of the functioning of the device will be keeping on regressing. In normal words: Europe has to keep on putting money into southern European countries to prevent the collapse of the euro while the euro itself is keeping the same problems why it did not function in the first place. In order to be able to apply option 2, Europe had (and still has) to upscale it s financial resources. While the effectiveness of these measures is still very average to put it friendly.

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This Catch 22 article is pleading for a new upscale. But the northern European countries still have to pay for this. While the southern European countries, especially Greece, still do have little other option than keeping on applying the local situation worsening measures.

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The northern European voters are getting tired of being the paying guinea pigs of the not-effective results of those policies. And the southern European voters are getting tired of being the guinea pigs of policies applied on them which only do worsen their situation.

??¨In other words: North and South European voters do have the same European political opinion: Stop this.??¨

So, I think it is time to consider option 3 or even option 1.??¨

This in order to prevent an enduring political collapse of Europe and the euro. And to give European politicians time to construct a now sustainable and balanced euro (system). A system their voters want and can and do trust. Because in all the euro countries policies are applied which support such an euro. Also in Greece.??¨??¨

Hans van der Schaaf