OPINION

On the Greek bailout, Papademos, Venizelos and the Italian mayors

Finland, Greece sign collateral deal

Finland’s participation in the next bailout is only 2% of the total and this issue has been a source of concern for other countries with larger contributions. Since all these side agreements will be credit negative for Greece, why don’t we have more details about this agreement signed between the two countries?

We can figure out what cash means but could we hear what are the highly valuable assets offered as collateral in this pact?

Monica Lane

Florida

Germany urges Greece to accept help with administration

We are heading for a new low. In not so many words, Germany is telling us we are incompetent fools and we cannot manage our affairs.

On one hand this may be true since the tail is wagging the dog and the different unions are ruling, while our politicians are looking for loans and haircuts.

On the other hand our country is running the risk of becoming a guinea pig for Europe and an example of how to «correct» inherent problems with outside «help».

Those in charge have no appetite for facing the hard issues and addressing them once and for all. We have opposite unions of the tax employees who fight amongst themselves, electric power unions who fight for their «rights» and benefits and so on and so forth.

What will it take for all to realise that we need to work together and find solutions before either Europe takes over or the tanks roll in again?

Monica Lane

Florida

Gas station fined over 200 million euros

First off, good luck collecting the fine.

Then we need to realise that fines should be handed down with the intention of punishing the ones who broke the law and the assurance that the amounts levied will be collected.

We hear on a daily basis about people being arrested for unpaid millions in back taxes and VAT payments collected but never turned over.

So far we saw the picture of Mr Gavalas posing with a cigar after he was released on bail. What happened to the rest of the tax dodgers?

The grandstanding of the Finance Ministry matches their projections that are never accurate, realistic or manageable.

One can blame the computer program that allowed so many involved in the gas and petrol trade to run amok all this time. Another can blame crooked tax collectors and we can all blame each other for allowing this continuous descent into chaos that makes Greece the banana republic of Europe.

Monica Lane

Florida

You can do it

Greece is the initial flower of humanity, for it brought freedom of thought, literature, adventure, science, and spawned so much within the arts.

Let us look back at what Greeks have done and get inspired and build a new Greece. Education is most important, now is the time to reform the education system to be the absolute best in Europe. Throw out your leaders of the past 50 years, for they only worked to line their pockets. Look at the Diaspora and see how Greeks can prosper in the right and fair environment.

You have so many successful strategies to borrow from sister states in Europe. Look at Argentina, and you don’t have to default; but rather, work hard to prove your prowness and worth.

Greeks do not need to be the laughing stock of the Continent. Greeks abroad are the envy of the masses. So why are Greeks in Greece are such losers? It is the system that makes them losers. Wake up and take charge of your future now before you are relegated to being the Mississippi of Europe for ever.

God Bless you

James Garland

Italian mayor offers solidarity

Greek politicians have exceptionally thick skins, but even so they must by now be becoming uncomfortable! The Greek President is forgoing his salary, and now two Italian mayors are each forgoing one month of their salaries — but nothing comparable from the Greek politicians, very overpaid and over-cosseted with perks, and nor has the ‘technocrat’ government imposed or even dared to suggest such a move.  And also no individual Greek politician or group has come forward with a set of proposals for reform and growth to set in front of the electorate. As we know them, this is no surprise — but it is very sad for Greece.

Robert Skailes

Barracuda

Regarding barracuda in Greece, I have seen them numerous times in very shallow Greek waters. I am sorry to contradict your food writer, but his statement that they reach five meters in the tropics would put them in the same class as great white sharks. I was nibbled once in the tropics by a barracuda. Had it been five meters I would not be writing to you now. They do reach 1.80 meters, however, which is large enough.

George Dillon

Layoffs

The house is burning down and the firemen will be dispatched in June, despite the fact that it was agreed 2 years ago by the parliament, that immediate action was needed. This kind of foot-dragging on job layoffs is truly unbelievable to those of us outside Greece. Now I truly understand why the EU are dragging out their decision on another bailout. They just want to make the Greek politicians feel how frustrating it is to wait on urgently needed action.

Damir Susnjar

Can we move on?

So the bailout is agreed, and all of us will be considerably poorer, so it is hard to see how the economy can ‘expand’ which is what needs to happen. Time to move on, the accountants arrange the money and the government to govern. We need to encourage investment both inside Greece (if anyone has any money to invest) and from outside Greece, with tax breaks, grants etc.

We need to help tourism, which has the potential to be massive but has always been run by people who actually know nothing about it. We need to encourange small shoots — foreigners coming to live in Greece, buying holiday homes — bringing their money! As estate agents we are currently waiting for 2 sales to complete which need a stamp from a committee — only problem is the committee doesn’t actually exist anymore! No one knows what to do, and the foreign investors will very likely walk away and buy elsewhere!  Similarly, clients with wonderful villas, but which don’t qualify for EOT [Greek National Tourism Organization] licences because of ridiculous EOT restrictions won’t be able to let their properties to people who would bring in money, and provide employment. I just live in hope that at some point there must be someone who understands this, and works in the right way. Only then can Greece begin to recover.

Diana Giannoulis

Corfu

Banking wins again

As reported by Reuters:

Next to nothing in the 130-billion-euro programme will go directly to help the Greek economy.

The vast majority of the funds in the 130-billion-euro programme will be used to finance the bond swap and ensure Greece’s banking system remains stable; some 30 billion euros will go to «sweeteners» to get the private sector to sign up to the swap, 23 billion will go to recapitalise Greek banks.

A further 35 billion or so will allow Greece to finance the buying back of the bonds. Next to nothing will go directly to help the Greek economy.

What words can describe this despicable debacle? The Greek people are being used as sacrificial lambs to the world banking system. The sacrifices made by so many of my Greek friends have been made to shore up an incompetent and mercenary banking system which serves no one but itself. I am not an intelligent person, but I can smell manure, and this stinks. The Greek people have again been sold down the river by their inept and incompetent government. The circle of delusion gets even bigger as Greece is sucked deeper into the loan sharks? jaws, they may have taken a haircut, but we all know they see a fat profit in the future as the hair grows back and it will not be the people of Greece who reap the benefit of this austerity, but once again the bankers.

Roly Baker

Corfu

The new Greek dance: the bailout bounce bounce bounce…

It seems to me that anyone with more than two brain cells can see that Greece is simply bounce-bounce-bouncing from one bailout to another bailout a.k.a. Papademos ‘historic agreement’. Well I guess he has to say something, he’s being paid enough…

Once the Greeks have stopped bounce-bounce-bouncing from one bailout to another, in other words once they have begun to see further than the ends of their noses, they might experience another shock added to the ones they have already experienced. The ‘post-bailout shock’. The shock of realising what might happen when the bailouts finally eventually come to an end, which they have to do at some point.

It has been said, perhaps here, perhaps elsewhere, that the bailouts are simply a mechanism to give the troika and especially the Germans time to work out how to let the Greeks go out of the Eurozone preferably in an orderly manner but however it works to get them out without causing too much damage to the rest of the EU/Eurozone. This is all the bailouts are about according to this appreciation of things. So every time Papademos and Venizelos arrive at any bailout agreement and open the champagne bottles, it’s only to give themselves another breathing space until either elections arrive or something else happens to remove them from responsibility.

Papademos said recently that there was no question of German commissioners a.k.a. ‘gauleiters’ being foisted on Greek ministries. I think he must have had a little too much champagne before he said that. There is a lot of talk now of Greece becoming a German economic colony, and of being made the scapegoat for all the ills of the Eurozone, and being treated as a warning to other Eurozone members in danger of defaulting as to what could happen to them if the great German Reich has its way.

Germany needs to export or die and it needs a willing subject Empire a.k.a. the EU/Eurozone to accept its exports without demurring, on the principle that is better to accept German exports come what may (including destruction of national economy and nation-state) than to accept the German Wehrmacht again… Don’t use the ‘N’ word to dear Angela M, but you know what we mean…

So, the possibility of defaulting and splitting from the Eurozone and of a military takeover is very real. But under whose control? (National or EU/NATO?: Question: who does the Greek military serve? The nation or its principal arms suppliers? If the Greek army were to ‘intervene,’ who would it be taking its orders from?) It is certainly no longer ‘unthinkable’, or even, ‘unimaginable’, though it still may be unconstitutional…

But then, does the Greek constitution even apply any longer or has the EU torn that up as well, together with all provisions of its treaties concerning bailouts and defaults… It’s ironic how the Germans are so hot on rules, regulations and ordinances until it suits them to ignore everything that stands in the way of the greater German Reich.

It might be a good idea for even such a pro-EU and pro-euro newspaper as this one to begin to construct scenarios in articles to give people some idea of what it might be like to live in a new drachma post Euro and post-EU Greece. People really ought to be helped to envisage, to imagine what they might expect to face up to the handle and to confront, in such a situation. Newspapers such as this could help to enlighten people as to these possibilities.

In the meantime Greeks shall continue to bounce, bounce, bounce…

Philip Andrews

Court ruling casts doubts on labor reserve scheme

Ah, here we go again. Send it to the courts and it can drag on for 10 years, in the meantime adding even more spending and time wastage. But I’m amazed that this managed to reach the courts so quickly!  Must be a record.

Contravening EU Law? Really? What about all the wasteful spending, thieving, lying, nepotism, clientelism? Are those all within EU Law? Has even one single person been brought to court for any of those? Surely they don’t all have immunity?  To say nothing of tax evaders.

But I’m sure the next group is already waiting in the wings to lodge some sort of appeal, protest, etc., and some super efficient court will make a ruling, drag it on again, and the Greek civil service will be in the same position as it is now.

In other words, absolutely nothing is going to change, and once again, the rest of the world can point fingers at Greece for not keeping her promises. Again.

Mary-Ann Faroni

Constructive consideration of an orderly day of default

Dear Nikos Konstandaras,

Last night on BBC2’s «Newsnight» Jeremy Paxman interviewed George Papaconstantinou and John Redwood (British MP). He asked Papaconstantinou what would happen in the case of a default and Papaconstantinou launched into a description of all hell breaking loose, with the first day of default ending with the military on the streets of Greek cities.

Paxman then offered the question to John Redwood.  Redwood very rationally said that with careful preparation, looking ahead, and trouble-shooting, a day of default could be implemented calmly and without chaos.

So I urge you, Mr. Konstandaras, to air the idea of a carefully orchestrated day of default. Seek Mr. Redwood’s ideas and guidance as to what needs to be put in place for such a peaceful and orderly day of default. John Redwood has a website: contact him there.

Then publish the guidance in Greek and air the idea as much as possible.

It was clear in the interview last night that Papaconstantinou, and no doubt others, have not constructively considered how Greece could default without the explosion of a nightmare scenario.

Greeks of today who are 12 years old will be 20 in 2020. The IMF’s leaked analysis demonstrates that in 2020 those young Greeks will be unemployed and seriously demoralised if Greece continues with the current EU bailout schemes.  Greece’s children and young people deserve a future, something to live for.

Greece has to default and leave the Euro in a highly controlled and orderly manner. It can be done.

Sincerely,

David Cade

South Shropshire

Greece bailout

I don’t think that is the deal Greece was hoping for. Why?Because Greece used the uncontrolled funds from the previous bailout to finance their state expenditure in 2010 and 2011 instead of paying their bonds.

Lets do some simple mathematics:

The amount for the whole bailout — supposedly it comes through — is 130 billion euros for 3 years — 2012,2013,2014.

Greece has been allocated 19% of the the whole amount: 24.5 billion euros for state expenditure-salaries, pensions, social programs etc.

Now divide 24.5 billion by 3 years as per the programme = 8.3 billion a year for Greece state expenditure — the rest goes towards debt/coupon payments.

Now, divide 8.3 by 12 month = 687 million euros.

687 million euros per month — that’s the amount Greece is given by the EU/IMF for state expenditure.

Now, that’s where it becomes interesting: Let’s multiply 1 100 000 state employees — at least, some say the actual number is  actually around 2 million — by an average 1,200 euros salary = 1 billion and 320 million euros; multiply 4 million pensioners by an average 750 euros pension = 3 billion euros+

Add to that social programs and other state spending — 2 billion a month.

Six billion euros — roughly — is the minimum amount the Greek state needs monthly to meet its state expenditure as it stands even after the austerity measures are applied — they rather don’t make much difference because they are somewhat very mild measures.

Now, with an blocked escrow account with prioritized debt repayments enshrined into the Constitution and a permanent Troika supervision in Athens with tight controls over what and when is spent, Greece won’t be able to get its hands into the bailout billions to fuel the state spending. Greece can’t rely on much government revenue either because of the rampant tax evasion which as you know is a national sport in Greece.

I think the Greeks are put in an impossible and precarious  situation here, because their previous uncontrolled, unmonitored access to the 130 billion in order to pay current salaries, pensions and generally all state expenditures is cut off. Basically, they don’t have the billions they need for their state to and in my opinion although a March default will be avoided at any cost by the EU, there will be very interesting events to unfold still.

Best regards,

Teodora Chasse

Papademos hails ?historic? deal for new loans, debt reduction

What have they accomplished?

Greece will get the 130 billion but we will have the monitors from Europe as they demanded.

The haircut that at some point was to be 70% is down to 53.50%

The foreign bureaucrats will be in Greece overseeing the implemetation of the agreement since no one trusts us to do what we have kept promising and never delivered.

The funds will go into an escrow account.

The funds will be used to finance the debt we already have piled up rather than domestic expenditure.

How are we going to get out from under the pile of debt we have amassed?

How are we going to jump-start our economy that has been in recession for the last 3 years?

How are we going to generate growth to create jobs so people go back to work, pay taxes and fund the social security schemes?

One wonders who has the Greeks’ interest in mind when one is involved in such deals and agreements.

One should wonder why we pay these politicians, of all stripes, to just sit there and abdicate their duties to foreign monitors and controllers.

I hope they prove me wrong and this is what the Greeks need to start on the road to recovery.

However it does not look like it. I have a feeling we will be back on the table a few months down the road.

May God help us since no human cares about us any more.

Monica Lane

Florida

Venizelos says Eurogroup deal better than expected

The only bright spot in this article is the official announcement that Mr Venizelos will leave his post as Finance Minister.

He has been a disaster in this position and the sooner he leaves the better.

One can only wonder how anyone gets more loans and thinks that the agreement is not adding debt to the existing debt.

However it is good news he will leave and fight for the PASOK leadership. After all PASOK has as much chance of winning the next elections as I have becoming Miss Teen USA…

Monica Lane

Florida