OPINION

On Haris Alexiou, the eurozone, capital flight, corruption, growth

This is why I have always loved Haroula and her country.

Phyllis Graham

California, USA

Majority of Germans want Greece out of the eurozone

To our German friends, rather than attacking Greece, take your arguments to Chancellor Merkel. In a recent German survey 63% of Germans want Greece out of the eurozone and quite frankly I agree with them.

To quote French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Greece should have never been allowed to join the eurozone before the structural reforms were never in place. Surely the German Government back in 2001 knew that Greece was a complete basket case on all levels, so why did they agree for Greece to join the eurozone?

The eurozone is all at sea, you have EU powerhouse economies like the UK, Sweden and Denmark who want no part of the eurozone and yet you allow nations like Greece, Portugal and Spain to join.

The 370 billion that Greece owes is unsustainable and the current crop of Greek politicians are too incompetent and corrupt for real change to take place. The best thing the German Government can do for the German tax payers is turn off the tap.

George Salamouras

Australia

The cost of smoking in Greece

Just a little info on how much money Greeks spend a year on smoking.

If the average pack of cigarettes costs 3 euro and one pack is smoked daily, if we take the national statistic that 40% of Greeks smoke, that?s 13.2 million euro a day, 396 million euro a month, 4.752 billion a year.

If this is correct, we have a serious problem.

Hari T

Why did they let it go on for so long?

Can’t be that wise to do it now, this should have been the case 10 years ago!

How wise the Troika is to allow Greece’s politicians, unions etc. to run amok for so long. Greece’s unions are poison and totally outdated in today’s global world. Greece’s union bosses still live, clearly, in the 80s, and the Left, well, they still haven’t woken up.

Greece’s politicians are as narrow-minded and cheap as union leaders, as they sold themselves out for a handful of union votes, and Greece in turn has paid the price for these crooks, overpaid and underworked union members.

It was high time that they lost their ‘jobs for life’ status.

It’s time Greece’s unions were dismantled, and filed in some dark vault, locked away permanently.

They’re one of the main reasons all Greeks are now living like they are, and having to cut their salaries. Why the private sector should be made to pay along with these union crooks, when the private sector carries all the weight of economic growth, taxes in Greece, is beyond reason.

Lionel Luthor

EU fiscal pact signed

I really don’t know why they bothered to waste the ink signing this pact. How many pacts, treaties, agreements, contracts have been signed and just totally ignored by the EU and EZ?

Why should this new one convince anyone to stick to the rules?

They are more interested in prescribing and enforcing the maximum curve of cucumbers than they are in sticking to or enforcing budget deficits! The horse has already bolted, but they’re still struggling to close the stable door. As usual.

Mary-Ann Faroni

Zurich

Re: The interview with Haris Alexiou

I cannot let Haris Alexiou’s statement that «It?s hard for foreigners to grasp the idea of offering to pay for someone?s meal, and they will never race you to pay the bill first» go unchallenged.

In my experience in eating with Greek friends on the many occasions I was in Greece I noticed that it was my friends, the Greeks, who never «raced» me to pay the bill! They were always quite happy to let me pay — despite their polite protestations of course. And I should add that these experiences were in the years well before 2009 and the current Greek depression.

With respect to the rest of the interview, it was interesting to read, although Ms. Alexiou said little of any great substance. But that’s only to be expected. She’s not a politician, writer, or thinker: she’s just a singer of songs. I have six of her early recordings. She used to have a very pleasant voice.

Peter Biemer

Austria

Economic growth

Economic growth, exports and productivity in Greece will not happen until the causes of the disaster have been wiped out. If the Greek government does not see reality, and begin to undo all the corruption and restrictions to trade that have evolved as a result of joining the European Union, the poor and dispossessed will do it with flame throwers.

A productive and secure economy cannot function in a country that has a legal system and attitudes inherited from the Ottoman Empire. When a person?s civil rights and property depend ultimately on having the wealth to hire the guns to protect oneself and property, all is lost.

Greek goverments have been pushed or accidently fallen into some semblance of the 21st century, but they will fall back into the 17th century if they do not embrace democracy and the rule of law.

The thin skin of civilisation may have to be burned completely before Greeks realise which planet they live in. I cannot understand why Greeks want to join the rest of the failed Balkan states. Is the modern left politics, where manna from heaven falls out of the sky and into the food bowls of the workers, without them doing anything, the real dream of modern Greece?

What has happened to the Greek merchant class of the last four thousand years?

Where are the pre-socialist Greeks who set up trading stations in every corner of the Earth?

I treasure the stories of the past where a friend sailed up the Amazon River for many days, and finally reached a clearing in the jungle and tied up his ship on the timber wharf. As he was shouting orders to his Greek crew, someone came up from behind and embraced him tightly and, sobbing hysterically, he explained that they were the first Greeks he has seen or heard for ten years.

Another friend looking for opportunities in a remote African location, and, travelling up a dirt track and hoping to reach a village where he could buy fuel for his truck before nightfall and find a safe place to camp for the night: On reaching the village he saw a collection of drums in a fenced-off area next to a crude shop and cafe. He says to his Greek girlfriend, «Go and see if you could buy a couple of cold beers while I buy some fuel.”

The only European in the shop rushed towards them with two opened bottles of beer and a smile that could only be Greek. He insisted and begged them to stay with him for a few days as he might not see or talk to another Greek for years.

No matter how hard things are in Greece, they cannot be as hard as the jungles of Brazil, or the deserts of Africa and Australia.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

Re: Politicians

I read all the comments about our corrupt, incompetent goverment and unfortunately they only will get worse (not the comments, the politicians).

From now until elections we will hear the rantings of these good-for-nothings. Most of the voting will be done by the indifferent and retirees. I hold no contempt for the old except that they know nothing of the youth of our time and will vote for those same colors that they only know (even if they have beaten and impoverished them moments before).

We will be in awe when the polls show those same useless, criminal faces to be elected once again (I’m sure everyone knows about the ape test).

The circus act will begin with the known clowns condemning other clowns about 30 years of clowning around. We will be lead around the three-ring circus, confused, fed up and finally we will vote in fear for the same losers.

In conclusion: write what you must to get it out of your systems but in the end the results will give you more of the same to write about. Our politicians are an inheritance of our collective will.

Hari T