OPINION

On illegal pensions, German tourists, Greek oil reserves, MP immunity, KKE

Minister says 40,000 claimed illegal pensions

I am getting tired of saying the same things over and over.

It is one thing for 40,000 to claim illegal pensions and another thing for the employees of the pension system to allow these pensions to be paid out over a course of 20 years or so.

Without inside help and corruption, there is no way anyone could claim and receive a pension he was not entitled to.

When a person dies, the family needs to surrender the ID card of the dead and the police needs to sign off on the death certificate before burial is allowed.

How can a dead person continue to receive a pension cheque? Why were relatives, who received year in and year out tax returns showing that the deceased had an income from the social security fund and called in to protest, told that the matter would be resolved, then received another statement the next year showing that more cheques were cashed by the dead?

Again we have all those grandiose statements from someone who as a Minister should have a grasp on facts. Why did this continue, along with those who claimed disability and even taxi drivers were legally blind in some areas and continued to collect from the social security funds?

Computers existed for at least the last 20 years. Why were they not put to use? Why didn?t all those hard-working public servants transfer those files onto computers to do cross checks between their records and those of the municipalities that record deaths of citizens?

Why do people who submitted a legal request and application for benefits have to wait for 2 years for the social security employees to «count» the stamps and pass the file to the next office and a mere simple pension of 300 euros a month has to sit on someone’s desk for two years?

Lastly, the Minister claims there are 40,000 illegal pensioneers. Not 39,999 not 40,001. If the number is so accurate, it means they know who these people are. If so, why don’t they send the authorities to bring them in? What happens if some of them are truly dead? What happens if they do not have the money to repay their ill-gotten gains?  What happens to those dead people’s pensions cheques?  Who cashed them and how could they?

There are too many questions and we should demand some answers.

Monica Lane

Florida

Germans always just as welcome as any other tourists

If the German people do not think that they will be welcome in Greece this summer, they are very mistaken. It seems that some of them think we blame them for the actions of their government (some of which have been distinctly unfriendly), but we no more blame the German people for the attitude of their government than they should blame the Greek people in general for the criminal actions of the Greek government over the past years.

In Corfu we have always welcomed German guests and we will continue to do so, probably more so because we will appreciate that perhaps some of them might be slightly worried about their welcome — and we will appreciate that by them coming to us for their holidays they are helping us in our present economic situation.

Diana Giannoulis

Corfu

Minister says 40,000 claimed illegal pensions

My definition of a failing state would be one that is unable to recover any of these stolen funds. I hope Kathimerini will do us the honor of reporting on this effort monthly or so. Will a single Euro ever be returned? Or will it all be forgiven and forgotten? What is the IKA bureaucracy good for anyway?

Alec Mally

Re: Greek oil reserves

My compliments to Monica Lane’s solution to Greece’s oil problems along with solving Greece’s financial difficulties.  Only if it were that easy to regain Greece’s financial good name in the international lending markets. I fear though that we must face Greek reality. The following are four brief points we should all consider before dreams of a land soaked in petroleum can come to fruition:

1. All the countries Monica Lane mentioned do not share a sea with a more powerful neighbor such as Turkey. This means that country will want and get a piece if not all of the action.

2. If an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico happened under the watch of probably some of the most skilled oil drillers in the world and some of the toughest environmental laws in the books, can one imagine what would happen if we Greeks drilled for the oil? It would give the Greek expression, ?Fae ladi kai ela vradi? an entirely new meaning.

3. The level of government corruption that exists in Greece precludes any of the imaginary oil revenues from ever reaching the pockets or the welfare of the general Greek population.

4. If Greece does have any undiscovered oil reserves it is best to leave them where they are because tapping into them will create more problems than they will resolve.

Prota e ygeia kai meta ta lefta.

Takis Leventis

Athens

Tourism

I think Greece needs to brace itself for a very weak season as many Germans will not take the risk of traveling to Greece. The country has been in the headlines for the last 3 years, no progress has been made, there were continuos reports of  benefits fraud, strikes, tax evasion, corruption and other antisocial and unlawful behavior. On top of that the Greek tragedy sparked the whole EU debt crisis and as a consequence the Greek image is now so bad that it will take decades to recover. The reports also that assistance offered by Germany to improve Greek tax collection were outrightly rejected is a signal to many that Greece is just not interested in becoming a modern and efficient country in the EU. Also reports that rich Greeks who have transferred billions into foreign bank accounts are not prosecuted is another blow to the country’s image.

There is a feeling that the country has just cheated as many benefits as possible from the EU and Germany and now it stands there passively and expects help from Europe without taking any initiative to contribute itself to improve the situation. Many EU citizens are really appalled at what they have seen and I regret to say that if there was a referendum in France and Germany on whether Greece should be part of the EU, 80% would support an expulsion of Greece and the termination of any financial aid.

So you can thank Ms Merkel and Sarkozy thoroughly that they have agreed to provide financial assistance. However, now, if Greece continues to demand more and reject any changes to their fraudulent society, these politicians will no longer be able to bypass their parliaments, and that would mean the end for Greece in the EU.

Tom Baum

Germany

German tourism in Greece?

Do the tourism companies not realize that all of the Greeks have been impacted, not just in Athens? Many on the islands have lost jobs/pensions as well and are struggling to just make ends meet. Comments calling Greeks lazy and other unkind things has not helped an already sad situation. Forcing an issue is not always best for everyone involved. If I  was German I would not feel welcome with the current atmosphere, and rightly so.

Pari LeCoure

Goldman secret Greece loan shows sinners

To keep a long story short: this looks criminal to me!

Barbara Oskanian

Beirut

Re: No to blind violence

I support your view in the editorial of 7/2/12 100%. Most people in Greece would also agree. Why can?t the Police and the Government arrest and charge the criminal element (the hoodies), «the known unknown”?

The decimation of the only industry that gave our country any hope — tourism — has happened due to the failure to stop the criminals from putting a negative image of Greece in the international media. Why should they be allowed, unencumbered, to destroy private as well as public property?

Why should 50 or 100 criminals destroy our country?

Nik Geronimos

Support for immediate lifting of MPs? immunity from prosecution

George Salamouras (Australia) and Mary-Ann Faroni (Zurich), I note that you, along with many others, I am sure, also believe that nothing will change in Greece until its MPs and civil servants become fully accountable. And you may be interested to hear that I decided to step outside this paper yesterday and test the waters in a different (Greek-language) newspaper. So I posted a message there regarding the priority of removing immunity and the message has so far received 30 thumbs-up and 0 thumbs-down! In other words, 30 readers have been moved to show they support the idea, and none have been moved to show disapproval. So this demonstrates that there is clearly belief amongst Greeks in Greece that this issue must be seen to, but which individual will take the lead and start the campaign and not give up until immunity is completely lifted? It only needs three ordinary but determined Athenians with some free time and the ability to create banners. From there the movement could mushroom until the demand is met.

David Cade

South Shropshire, England

Does this new act also include Greek politicians?

Probably not, as we’re run by a clique of criminals who have ransacked, pillaged and destroyed Greece. They carefully wrote laws of immunity for themselves (criminal in itself) and highly dubious in nature.

But then again, we as the tax-paying citizens of this country have become slaves in all sense of the word to Greece’s politicians and their business cronies. This is a highly unhealthy and short-term view, nonetheless, it is practiced by our politicians religiously, and even now, in the heart of the crisis, they’re jostling for their seats: i.e., kickbacks and bribes, tax evasion, money laundering etc.

Either the EU is biding its time and waiting for the crisis to pass before it utterly hammers these political crooks, or it is seriously unable to see the levels of corruption and incompetence of these Greek politicians. Is the EU waiting for the various deals to pass, and then begin a ‘cleaning house’ initiative?

After all, with Greece’s so-called new-found oil/gas wealth, Greek politicians still have no real power, they owe all the future income streams of these resources to our EU partners, so the EU must be able to sort this lot of clown politicians out.

Lionel Luthor

KKE and potatoes

Papariga is a fraud. How do I know this? Anybody communist that drives a Mercedes and sends their kids to elite colleges in the UK is nothing more than ?do as I say, not as I do.? Any questions?

Vassili Michaelopoulos

NYC, USA