OPINION

On freelancers, property, sentiment, options, nationalism, tax dodgers, industrial development

Greece’s prime geographic location astride the Mediterranean shipping lanes and proximity to the Suez Canal are obvious reasons why COSCO has invested in the Port of Piraeus and has managed to streamline operations there. Geography along with a developed infrastructure constituting OSE’s Athens-Thessaloniki trunk line and expanded road network is allowing COSCO to use Greece as an intermodal entrepot for Chinese products into eastern and central Europe as well as the Balkans and Turkey. It would be nice to see some of this improvement appear in the heavy industrialized western suburbs of Athens as well. If the Chinese can find a way for business to run efficiently in Piraeus, they can do it in Elefsina, Aspropyrgos, and Skaramanga as well.

Peter Kates

Beware the friends of the people

Dear Mr Papachelas,

Very good article. I guess it puts very much into perspective why the Germans and the Franch do not trust Greek politicians. Greek politicians, even though democratically elected have no integrity. For business you need integrity or else things go drastically wrong. The only way for the Greek people to go is to demand that Germany simply takes over the running of Greece. I know this is a slap in the face to the pride of Greece. But basically the EU is already running Greece and in the end it would punish the politicians not the Greek people. If it became part of Germany then the Germans would look more favourably on the Greek people and their present situation.

The 2nd option would be for Greece to default and simply leave the Euro. This would put Greece in a better position economically because it would be the master of its own destiny again. There would be high inflation but also full employment again.

In the end the Germans and French do not trust the Greek politicians and it?s not a happy marriage that will lead to divorce. I doubt the Greek people can organize themselves enough to get rid of all Greek politicians and ask Germany to take over the running of the country. So divorce is the only opion and leaving the Euro is the only way for Greece to go. The sooner it happens the better. Or else the Greek people will suffer more and longer.

Elroy Huckelberry

Hellenism, not cash, inspired Greeks to end the Tourkokratia

When reading the English letters in the online edition of Ekathimerini I have often been impressed by the fine contributions of Philip Andrews. He has stated many truths and he writes eloquently.

However, it is unfair of him, in his most recently published letter, to imply that «at least one historian of the Tourkokratia» has proved that with regard to the Greek War of Independence «Greeks simply were uninterested in revolution» and that they only rose up against the Turks when «some foreigners (probably the British, the Rothschilds or both) offered them substantial funds to revolt».

The above assertion omits consideration of the enormous role played in the century prior to the revolution by the Phanariots, the Patriarchate, and Adamantios Korais, who while settled in Paris observed the French Revolution, in creating that extraordinarily powerful force and impetus to revolution that was Hellenism.

Greeks did not throw off 400 years of Turkish domination just because some foreigners offered them money. A passionate and oppressed people, the Greeks were inspired by Hellenism to revolt and acquire freedom. That they were assisted in this by foreign admirers, as well as by members of the diaspora, particularly in America, there is no doubt.

David Cade

Shropshire, UK

Are Greeks habitual liars?

This article shows yet again why so many of us have, unfortunately, come to regard Greeks, as a nation, as having an inordinate preponderance of politicians and public leaders who seem to be inveterate liars, thieves and swindlers, with no real morals to speak of.

You had indeed a glorious past, but the seemingly base, immoral gang of moral lepers that govern your people and your lands today are very long past representing that past in a modern Europe.

It was not a lack of thought or planning that led to your excessive spending, which in turn led to today’s national financial mess. It was rampant greed and corruption, supported by a happy gang of citizens who knew very well that you were living off the backs of Germany and others.

It was not poor accounting that led your country?s politicians and public servants to fraudulently grossly misrepresent your national financial position, repeatedly, in order to cheat your way into the euro-zone, in order to rip off your European neighbours. It was simple and unadulterated fraud, practised on a national scale, with widespread public approval.

In short, you are a nation represented by committed cheats and fraudsters, very happy and determined to abuse the generosity and honesty of your European partners, instead of working for a living like the rest of us.

Now, your leaders and national representatives seem to think you can do it again and again, cheating the ECB and EU out of more bail-out cash, which you have no intention of ever repaying, by pretending to agree to reforms, then dragging out the deal, like the shady, corrupt poker players they most certainly are.

I am not given to gratuitious insults. This is, unfortunately, accurate reportage. There is no way now to avoid saying it as it is. Your nation is being shown at EU level, by the behaviour of your leaders, to be a disgraceful collection of lying, dishonest, unreliable freebooters and parasites, who deserve to live what faces you, as the rest of the Euro-zone finally turns its back on the Greek fraudster-conmen, who collectively thought we could not continue without Greece in the Euro-Zone or in the EU itself. We can and we will.

The Euro will stand stronger and better, without the taint of association with a nation of inveterate and irredeemable thieves, who do not appreciate the importance of truth, honesty and keeping one’s word.

Long live the euro and, unfortunately, for you, welcome back to the Drachma mark 2!

Turkey may be able to help you. They will certainly be well able to buy you and you will most certainly be for sale! Political prostitution has been to your taste. Now economic prostitution beckons. It will suit you very well.

Jack Meskill

Italy

Those who owe taxes in excess of 1 million euros

How many years did it take for these individuals or corporations to come to owe the government such large amounts of taxes?

Did these debts to the Greek government just materialize or have they been accumulating for the past five years?

Why was nothing done to bring them to court prior to now and force them to pay or go to jail?

Did they all have an uncle working for the tax department or local ND or Pasok office?

Those of you living in a situation like today should be looking for answers to above questions.

Evangelos Destounis

Montreal, Canada

Lots of popularity for ?oxi,? but no discussion of ?nai?

All the parties are jockeying to get the support of weary, angry, confused Greeks. Mostly by competing over how strongly they can reject the Troika. That’s fine, but not nearly enough. Saying «No!» only gets you so far. What do you say «Yes» to? What is your solution? None of them have any. So whoever gets elected next time — especially if it’s the thieves of New Democracy — will simply further drive the country into the ground, blaming other people all the way down.

Greece is headed for social revolution. The further decay of the political class points inexorably in this direction, as history shows.

John Stathakis

Chrysi Avgi is now at 3 pct nationally

The latest opinion polls put the extreme nationalist Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party at just over 3%, enough to get into Parliament. In the inner-city suburbs of Athens their popularity is as high as 10%. The rise of Chrysi Avgi should come as no suprise. Both ND and PASOK have failed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into Athens. The crime rate in Athens has doubled in the last few years and and according to the Interior Ministry, most crimes are committed by illegal immigrants. The jail system in Greece is now overflowing; with the jail capacity at around 12,000 it is now at 14,000 and mostly non-Greeks.

Understandably many Greeks are agrieved with the lack of will from both major parties to deport illegal immigrants and put the Army on the borders for more effective border patrols. Many inner-city Greeks often complain about the lack of public safety and until the Government starts acting on these issues many will turn to right-wing nationalist parties such as Chrysi Avgi.

George Salamouras

Australia

Hellas must change

There is no denying Hellas must change. It must liberalise its economy and encourage entrepreneurship. It must eliminate 70% of its bureaucracy and 90% of the red tape it enforces. It must reform its education system and gear its youth towards innovation and the pursuit of excellence. It must encourage and promote civic pride and self-sufficiency. It must reform its judicial system and work to purge corruption from society. It must reform its political culture; citizens must become more engaged and aware and support politicians who are honourable and patriotic. It must reject the practices of the past 40 years! This will allow society to grow and prosper.

What Hellas must not do is allow itself to become a vassal state of the EU. To be forever controlled by the international money men and their corporate and political lackeys. Is the Euro worth a nation?s sovereignty? Hellas must insist on paying back its loans on better terms, like Iceland successfully did, but repay them it must to secure its international standing.

All this can be achieved but the country needs leadership. A strong leadership can and will encourage the nation to unite and work towards a better future.

But what does Hellas have instead? Dithering Jeffrey and his band of thieves and traitors!

John Dimitropoulos

Greece has two options

Most of us foreigners truly cannot understand what?s going on in Greece.

If we try to use an objective standard, this is how some of us see it:

Greece has two options:

1) Accept the troika?s demands:

Result: Decrease of the minimum wage; getting rid of the 13th and 14th months; lay-offs in the public sector; privatization of public entities.

All this done in an as orderly way as possible and a very good chance that Greece remains in the Eurozone.

2) Not accept the troika?s demands:

Result: Collapse of the state (i.e. the country goes bankrupt) — a very good chance of Greece not having the Euro anymore and replacing it with a new ?peso? (apologies, I meant new drachma); minimum wage disappears completely (at least in Euro terms); 13th and 14th months are no longer applicable (again in a ?real? — hard currency); lay-offs in the public sector will be ruthless (the state has no more money to pay anyone); and a possible fire sale of all state assets.

How can one even fathom the second option? There?s no doubt that Greece has been (and is) struggling enormously but the second option seems like disastrous.

Greeks can blame the Germans/Europeans for their problems, but at the end of the day (contagion aside), no one is forcing Greece not to go bust.

A lot of (if not most) Europeans now think that the Greeks have become arrogant (i.e. ?Give us money or the whole system will collapse therefore you have no choice?).

Maybe it?s now time to have a CTRL + ALT + Delete for Greece and come what may: heck, at least there?ll be an infusion of new blood in your diasporas?

Mann Dunlop

Vienna, Austria

Greece crisis

I am German. I definetely cannot understand why the Greek people are so angry about the Germans. We are paying the debts of Greece. We don?t have anything to do with the mismanagement of the Greek Parliament.

What we read here in the newspaper is that Greek people are angry about Merkel and the Germans.

We are paying your monthly income at the moment. Why do we Germans have to pay for the Greeks?

And instead of being grateful, I have to read such things everyday.

And the worst is that we have to pay month after month and nothing is going to change.

What are we paying for? To keep this system of illicit work alive!?

You should have been grateful for that! Most of the Germans don’t like what they read in the newspapers every day.

If we could decide, we would have stopped the payments for Greece more than a year ago.

Than we would have had much more money for our own problems, the Greeks would not have been that angry with us and I wouldn?t have to read these obscure headlines from Greek newspapers every day!

Stop powdering money into Greece! The people don’t want it anyway. Even the Greeks.

But please don’t cry when it all starts getting worse than it is now!

Stefan Meier

A small problem highlighting a big one

Last year my husband and I had a house built in Greece. The local builder was excellent; on time and built a high-quality traditional stone house with all modern conveniences. All the tradespeople involved were helpful, honest, expert, clean and tidy workmen. The cost was 150,000 euros as originally quoted by the builder. That is 150,000 euros into the Greek economy from our hard-earned cash in the UK.

Great?

Well it would be if the electricity was installed — we have been waiting for over seven months for DEH to put up five poles for three new (legal) houses.

Why?

You tell me. We wish to put more money into the Greek economy but cannot because of DEH.

Catherine Blackwood

UK

Self-employed and entrepreneurship

Let the Greek government make serious amendments in order for small businesses to remain open or for new businesses to start up.

Make the self-insurance (OAEE aka KLEBE) payments lower or have a standard low rate with a % increase on profit margins.

Make the opening of home and mobile businesses easier — just a set licence fee per year and either self-insured (privately) or low rate of state-owned self-insurance.

I personally would start looking at other avenues in order to create work for myself and also possibly provide a couple of job placements should the Greek government become more logical in its bureaucracy, paperwork and rules and regulations.

Enough said, otherwise I will get in to my ‘orange box’ mode.

Sarah McKellen

Kalamata