OPINION

On Pangalos, Papademos, immigration and elections

Dimitris Mitropanos will be missed

This is an enormous loss. Mitropanos could style a song as well as any. His music was so soulful and expressive. ?Roza? is one of my very favourite songs.

Alan Marshall

?To love your country,? by Alexis Papachelas

Bravo Alexi!

My mouth has dried from expressing the same sentiment for the last 10 years. Your commentary needs to be left under every front door in the nation! …Unfortunately, I don?t think many would understand it. Anyway, bravo to you, ?To Love Your Country? was very well said and so, so true.

Eleni Andreou

Elections

I don?t believe that those politicians that lead the country, or those that were in the opposition the last 20 years, in parliament or elsewhere filling civil servant posts, have any right to be awarded a job in the future! Everywhere in the world where governments fell and other fellow politicians took their place, they only continued with the same policies that they already knew. Changes are not made by the established politicians but by new ones. I hope that rather than the established politicians, there will arise a new, younger generation of politicians in Greece, with a new outlook on the future of Greece. This new generation has a lot of material to analyze and its results, which are the mistakes and corruption of the last 20 years. If I were a Greek voter, I would look for somebody young with a vision/plan for the long term who has not taken part in the political scene over the last 20 years.

Zev Tabacznik Gedempte Voldersgracht 4-31

Swansong for Papademos

As a nation we should applaud Lucas Papademos for accepting the thankless task of implementing the memorandum and his success in commencing the restructuring that was so long overdue in Greece. Let us pray the nonsense previously dished out on the people of Greece by our less-than-capable politicians does not invade us once again after the farcical election on the 6th of May. A quality solution would be a coalition government with an invitation to Mr Papademos to be the independent Prime Minister. This will enable rational and intellegent decisions to be made on behalf of all Greeks. It is not time for small-minded, misguided partisan policies and self interests to be forced on our economy and population. Thank you Mr Papademos.

Nik Geronimos

Pangalos stands by ?We all ate together? statement

Mr Pangalos is an example of why we should advocate term limits for politicians. The arrogance of this man has no limits. Besides the above statement, he at some point dared the Finance Minister to arrest him because, as he put it, he would not pay the property tax imposed on his 13 apartments. As we all know by now, this tax was forced on all property owners in Greece. However a high-ranking government official like Mr Pangalos had no qualms about making a public statement refusing to obey the law his party imposed. On one of the TV shows I watched, a dentist came to explain her situation and, as most Greeks these days who have not been as well fed as Mr Pangalos, was irate. Mr Pangalos seemed not too interested in what she had to say but as soon as he could enter the conversation, his question to her was how much she paid in taxes. The dentist stated she paid about 50,000 euros and his response was that he was going to check this. In another world, where people are responsible and governments do not threaten those who protest the government?s actions, a politician who so far as I understand is not involved in tax collection (he does not even want to pay his own taxes) has no right to review anyone?s tax returns. Mr Pangalos did not have to think twice. The threat was not even implicit. He would check the dentist?s records because he could and had the power to do so. Mr Pangalos seems to have been disconnected from reality for some time now and his statements seem more and more bizarre. It is high time he withdrew from politics and took along with him a couple of hundred like him. During the years he has been tinkering with government, it is obvious some ate more than others, and Mr Pangalos made it to the buffet faster than most.

Monica Lane Florida

Cab discounts with government subsidies

Can someone please buy a newspaper and send it to the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) to let it know that it resides in Greece, and Greece is about to collapse as a country. Using tax payers? money to subsidise taxi fares for holidaying foreigners? Why? The road to sanity in Greece is all about ?user pays.? Railway tickets in Greece should reflect the true cost of the tickets. If the railways cannot compete, close them down or sell them. We all know there is no one in Parliament who understands the basic stuff about accounting or economics, but surely if 100,000 people make a telephone call to the Railways and tell them to stop spending money we do not have today; and, the way we are going the next two generations will not have either, they might listen. If OSE were privatised would they be giving away money? If ever there was an organisation that needed to be sold or closed down it is OSE. Thessaloniki does not have a real port, and, there is no industry, so why the railway? If Greek international shipping ran in the in the manner the railway does, would there be a Greek shipping industry? Greece needs to beg the Albanians to come back and work on the railways and coastal ships and ferries to make them viable. It may be cheaper to retire all existing Greek personnel on full pensions and hire Albanians who are not not work-shy to work the important services. Why is it that Greek ferries do not leave the harbours when there are winds or storms, but when Greek ships are sold to other countries with worse weather and climates, nothing is a problem for these ships? How much longer do we Greeks have to sit in a harbour with dead calm seas, and pretend over the horizon calamities are happening.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

We all ate together!

Mr Pangalos may be looked upon in the future as the only Parliamentarian in Greece who dared to tell us the truth. We all turned our backs for years on what was happening as long as we got something thrown our way. The future of Greece was somebody else?s business to worry about. We are like the sailor who ignores a leak in the boat because he was not on duty today. We cannot blame others for everything. We all have the wealth, the life and health we want. The Gods are generous — they give us only what we want.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

When politics invaded the civil service

For those of us who remember as quaint the times of the ?Proistamenos? in a government office whose only duty was to lift his hand, pick up the rubber stamp that rested next to his coffee and stamp the paper they put in front of him, this is no revelation. Friends and co-workers who had nothing to do with government affairs except for the fact that they knew of someone who would place them in the civil service and from one day to the next were voting PASOK, this has been an ongoing process. Add to this the constitutional right given only to civil servants that they would never be fired and one can understand how this perfect storm was formed over the years. There are no mysteries as to how we got where we now are. The hard job is ahead of us and how we can avoid repeating the same mistakes and sinking deeper into the quicksand we are standing on. Same faces, same slogans same tired old cliches. A Junta is not the answer either. That would suggest we can only function under someone?s boot with a gun pointing to our head. I harbour no illusions that things will suddenly turn around and we will be living in the lap of luxury in a couple of years. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us and all we can do at this point is think twice before we cast our ballot and to who we give the responsibility and the privilege to govern. Unlike some, I find it promising that almost 10 different parties plan to enter into the Parliament when the votes are counted. Perhaps through the cacophony and opposing views some good ideas will come to the fore.

Monica Lane Florida

After the punishment and populism

Dear Mr. Papachelas I find your contributions into Greek society and politics insightful. It is very clear that for you that populism is anathema and a threat to Greek society. However, I cannot understand what you mean by populism. Is is another word for demagoguery and the irrational, that places people and the country on the ?wrong path? other than that prescribed by your concept of rationality? Is it a normative concept? Do you have a specific definition or a concept in mind? Is populism an ideology or is it a social movement? Why is it so pervasive in Greek politics? How would you compare it to Latin American populist movements past and present? Is it possible to have effective political discourse without referring to popular elements and sentiments? Why did it play such a role in the discourse and practices of the governing parties of the past 30 years which you have so eloquently critiqued and complained about their succumbing to some kind of ?outside? ?siren? like influence? Is any discourse that does not fit into the neoliberal solution kit and the current ?bailout – austerity? policies automatically populist and therefore dangerous? Does this not alarm you that there is a danger here of falling back to the post-civil war practice of labelling those who are nationally minded and those who are not which you have been so eager to overcome and forget? Thank you for the filoxenia.

Fotis Stamatopoulos

Finance Ministry?s cross-checking of all transactions by 10 million Greeks

As an accountant, I have never seen such a stupid step taken by any sane person in any part of the world. Such measures are likely to lead to the following: 1: Drive deposits out of Greece 2: Close credit card companies as people will not make transactions by credit card anymore 3: Increase people?s practice of hoarding money at home, driving the banks to their knees 4: Stop the economy functioning 5: Shrink the econmy further, as people would not shop anymore 6: Kill the last possible hope the country has of ever recovering from its malaise

The country?s problems are not in taxing people. It?s in the more than 1 million civil servants who should be shrunk by half to make the economy breathe. It?s in providing the space for entrepreneurs to excel in what they do. It?s in driving people to produce, not in monitoring their moves.

The new finance minister, who in essense is not a FM anymore as the government has been desolved, should have waited for the next government to take such a killing move. He?s so stupid in doing so and I follow his reasoning on TV and I was appalled at his inability to read the financial signs of the country.

It?s time for some smart people to come on and take the charge. And what about the monies that left the country? The minstry promised to check and penalise them. What hapened to that? Nothing. And you know why? Because most of this money belong to politicians.

Now I know why these ministers need guidence supplied from Europe: Because they are simply stupid and never think beyond their noses.

John Elka

Re: More funding for repatriating migrants

In a recent poll conducted by Kappa research from 2-4 of April, 80% of those surveyed want the illegal immigrants deported. In a recent vote in Parliament 114 out of 154 MPs support the deportations, health checks, and detention centre. The only ?naysayers? are the irrelvant Left. Besides voluntary repatriation, there is also the return fund funded by the EU for all non-EU nationals that the Greek Government can tap into. Greece has also been told by Germany, France and Austria to tighten its borders.

George Salamouras Australia

Unpaid household electricity bills hurt PPC finances

In your article you write at the beginning that the Ministry of Finance is allowing the PPC to keep 200 million euros from the emergency property tax. Also, that it is asking the troika for 300-400 million euros for LAGHE. Are the two amounts part of each other, or there is an extra 600-million-euro debt? Further, do the lignite mines belong to PPC? A PPC official says that they haven`t pay the subcontructors in the mines since last year. Is PPC the only customer of the mining company? Also, according to PPC, the deficit is a direct result of the extra property tax. This means according to PPC that it was a profitable company before November 2011. I think PPC should start working to become a self-sustainable and profitable company. The deficit is a result of mismanagement and inappropriate allocation of profits in the past.

Dina Hatzipavly Netherlands

Re: To thrive, euro countries must cut welfare state The article by Fredrik Erixon on the woes of the economy and the ?Welfare state? being the problem cannot stand as serious, even if this man is some director of some unknown, far-off ?economic institute?! Where is this wonderful welfare state in Greece then? Look at the health service — an embarrassment for any modern country. Support for the unemployed is dire and no provision has been made for immigrants leading to the present crisis! People rummaging in rubbish bins etc etc, most normal pensioners are not well off. How about the tax evaders, the top 20% hardly paying any tax and the 40 billion unpaid tax plus VAT dodgers! Mr Erixon simply forgets the staggering military spending in this country, the corruption costing the state billions and the health workers defrauding their own system, the overpaid MPs and state employees, there is no end to this waste! Mr Erixon tries the age-old smoke-screen of the modern conservative politics and will cut the working people?s living standards whilst the rich go free!

David Lewin Elliniko Athens

Marathon winner?s cup from 1896 Olympics to stay in Greece Congratulations to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation! This was such a nice gesture and I am sure a lot of other Greeks feel happy the cup will not end up anywhere else. Thank you to those who had the idea of purchasing the trophy and keeping it where it belongs.

Monica Lane Florida

Where is George, anyway?

Does anybody know the whereabouts of Greece?s brief former Prime Minister, George ?There?s Lots Of Money For Everybody? Papandreou, who gave up power with such a broad grin of relief after two years of totally clueless ?leadership.? When Greeks were rioting under lopsided austerity measures which he had agreed to, Mr Papandreou was invisible, presumably hiding under unspecified furniture or behind the ample silhouette of Evangelos Venizelos. At the beginning of Greece?s darkest hour, he was bizarrely proclaiming that prosperity was just around the corner. It would be unfair to characterize George Papandreou as Greece?s most incompetent Prime Minister. It would be equally unfair to describe his father, Andreas, as Greece?s most destructive leader. Unfortunately, however, both statements are true.

Peter Kyriakeas-Kirk Stoupa, Messinias