OPINION

On Greece’s future, tourism, Re-think Athens, eurozone exit

Greek MP warns against euro exit

I am sick and tired of the euro zone stuff. There are problems everywhere. People are suffering everywhere and all that is happening is politians blabbering and blabbering. Greece should get out of the euro and get back to being Greece. Stop the torture.

Elroy Huckelberry

The media and the bank situation

I read as much information as I possibly can gather in order to learn what is going on. BBC, CNN, Die Welt, just to name a few. And everywhere I read about the withdrawal of money from banks since Monday. According to one such source the Greek banking system would be able to survive another 10 days (counted from Monday) at the current rate before it collapses. Mostly only the last sentences reads, «But there is not panic» (yet). It gives me the impression that the media is helping to foster such a panic just to speed up disaster. I guess most of these publications are simply tired of the limbo we are in at the moment, running out of patience, so to speak, and would like nothing better than to see a sort of an «end» game.

Well… maybe they are right in that people might need a taste of what is in store for us… before the elections.

Michaela Toth

Greek political parties

When people discuss politics in Greece, it’s always the leaders. Samaras is disliked, Venezelos, we don’t trust, Tsipras is an opportunist. However, anyone that opens a business knows very well that to be a success depends mostly on the staff they employ. This is what the Greek public should be considering before they cast their votes in June. This is why most Greeks wanted to see a coalition government made up of the best from all parties. This is where Tsipras made the biggest mistake. By partaking in a coalition and having not signed the memorandum, he could have used his position to increase funding for Greece. To push along with austerity measures but at the same time increase bank finance and public works to ease unemployment. At the same time he would have had experienced politicians that could organize and work with foreign technocrats to modernise our infrastructure especially the law courts and public services. He could have handpicked the best officials for the jobs. Sadly he decided to risk the Euro and go it alone. Mr Tsipras is the figurehead of a party which has no experience. One of his members caused a dramatic fall in bank shares with one comment. His party consists of various communist parties with conflicting interests. When a country is in such serious financial difficulties as Greece, we need experienced politicians, one man cannot control all government offices. Unfortunately, when his elected MPs appear on television programs, it’s quite obvious that they have no mandate, are unable to answer any questions relating to our economy, lack the good manners and dignity needed to discuss solutions with foreign officials, they simply want to cancel the memorandum. Obviously if the next elections do not produce an ND/PASOK government, then Tsipras will attempt to form an anti-memorandum party. Even if this matures, then it cannot last as a stable government due to the major differences in all parties, even in SYRIZA itself.

Ann Baker

Olympic Torch lighting and tourism

I must ask how much the lighting of the sacred Olympic Torch, which London mayor Boris Johnson insulted on BBC Radio, and the handover to Britain’s Anne Windsor, with all the parties and other nonsense involved, cost the Hellenic people? Certainly money would have been spent on her security and on dining her even though as Hellenes we have long since denounced royalty as an irrelevance.

But in the article mention was made that tourists spend little in places such as Olympia. When we visited just over a year ago we spent a small fortune on an organised bus. This included meals and a hotel in Olympia and a trip to the ancient site.

Surely the tour company gives to Olympia?

We also purchased souvenirs and visited a bar and a cafe, purchased some jewellery and would have spent more but for the tour company taking us to their own favourite places to spend our money both before and after we arrived at Olympia.

As a Hellene of the Diaspora I would have loved the time to spend more in that wonderful small community. But we were controlled by a tour company more intent on looking after their «sponsors.”

Angelos Eleftherios Kenos

Australia

PPC propaganda

I just want to say that DEI [the Public Power Corporation] most likely released this ‘press release’ as propaganda in a desperate effort to get some cash back. First of all it is illegal for them to cut power to households that have arrears with regards to paying the property tax. Secondly, if they cut power to 2,500 households a day, if this goes on for one year, no household in Greece will have power! 2,500 x 365 = 912,500!

You must be joking! Ha ha ha. Does DEI think people are that stupid?

The dangers of press misreporting I believe is one of the main issues in the world today.

I hope Ekathimerini does more to stop it, or at least to add ‘DEI gave deliberately misleading figures to scare consumers!’

John Marson

The real vultures are the banks

1) Banks borrow from central banks at 0-1% and make risky investments. If they make money, they are genius and hence deserve a $25 million bonus (like Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan). But if they lose money, then the government pays back that loan to the central banks on behalf of the local banks at 6%. So the central banks make a killing on the spread of 5%. Win-win for local and central banks. Lose-lose for the public.

2) Iceland and Argentina are two recent examples of countries that stood up against the IMF and are flourishing now. Iceland was threatened that they would become the Cuba of the North but now there is near-zero unemployment in Iceland and nine years of solid growth in Argentina. Greece should say «Enough is enough.”

Chris Kay

Greece leaving the euro

Both Iceland and Argentina reneged on debts and now are in a stronger position than before — there will be pain if Greece leaves the euro, but in the longer term it will be beneficial and lead to Greece having more control over its destiny!

Lance Dyer

Violence in Greek sports has got to stop

Why do you call these people «fans”? They are thugs, simple hooligans. I hate it when the Greek media refer to ?filathli? being involved in violent acts. These aren’t sports fans or «friends of sport». Please stop it. As for the owners, there is just as much blame on them. Where are your condemnations, Messrs Angelopoulos, Kokkalis, Marinakis, Pateras, Vgenopooulos?

Kostas Katsoulieris

Hoteliers? complaint

The hoteliers in Greece must have some really tough customers.

Business is only down 30-50%?

What are the hoteliers? customers made of. Granite?

This may point to some hope in the Greek economy?

Nothing scares my Australian clients more than a politician on TV saying something about anything. The phones stop ringing for a few weeks, and, the ones with projects on the go ask if we can make some savings.

If Australia had politicians like those in Greece, all my clients would commit suicide or leave the country. Then again, Australia is a country that has people on a basic pension asking politicians proposing to spend money, «Where is the money coming from?”

Can you imagine us Greeks during the last twenty years asking our Greek politicians where is the money coming from when we were about to receive a personal benefit?

Most of were too committed to our own personal interest to see the big picture.

I remember an Australian communist union leader was asking not to undermine small business in a time of crisis by having a pay rise for the workers at this time. The Greek communists want pay rises for those employed instead of creating jobs for the unemployed and underemployed today. Why is it so hard for the Greek left to understand how economies work and how we are all tied together economically.

Greece needs 2 million additional real jobs today, just to make the country functional.

Nothing should get in the way of job creation.

My brother?s welfare is my welfare.

To help Greece I am willing to take all of the 300 Greek poiliticians at my cost for a six-month walking holiday in tropical Australia. This should allow the Greek economy time to find its feet.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

Greek Orthodox Church

What is the role of the church in the government? Is Greece a democracy or a theocracy?

Karen Rudrud

Re-think Athens

I. Gousis letter about Athens is too logical to be taken up.

Even Greeks I know are being scared off even getting to Athens airport, let alone central Athens. I tried not to take part in a conversation with a discussion on how to arrive in Greece but avoid Athens.

The discussion finalised with go to Instanbul, hire a car from an international company, drive to Thessaloniki. When you want to leave; if Thessaloniki airport is functioning, leave the car at Makedonia Airport, and fly to Instanbul, if not drive to Instanbul.

If the Greek-Turkish border is closed, hike a few kilometers past the road and use the route millions of others have used to get into Greece, by swimming across the river, but doing it the other way. In a waterproof bag carry only wallets with cash, credit cards and passports and a change of clothes.

These are the type of conversations I used to hear from university colleagues going to darkest Africa in the 1970s.

At time like these, I remember Karamanlis? speech telling 6,000 Greeks in Melbourne how the Greece we knew is no more, the new Greece is a modern and prosperous country with all the attributes of a European nation. The silent tears of joy by myself and the people around me was like the second coming of Christ. We wanted to believe so much.

He spoke the way we wanted an honest, educated Greek to speak. Few words to say a few things, not the verbose chatter we Greeks normally communicate in.

Any person that was there to listen to Karamanlis on that day and dies today will die with a broken heart.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

HIV madness

Six thousand men who had unprotected sex with the HIV positive sex workers, and likely went home and had sex with their girlfriends or wives. At the very least 25% of people in relationships have sex with other people; so HIV spreads.

Can someone out there in the Greek world ask the Greek health system or the Red Cross to obtain from the Australian Government the TV advertisements they aired to teach people not to take HIV risks, as it leads to a horrible death for oneself and your loved ones.

The Australian Governemnt campaign was very successful.

Please, those of you who know your way around the complex Greek world, help save thousands of Greeks from a horrible life and death. HIV is a very expensive disease to treat once it goes beyond a certain number, and bankrupt Greece does not have the ability to fight such an outbreak.

All sex workers should have monthly check-ups and carry the documentation.

Passing HIV is as bad as murder, as the attack goes for ever to others.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

Why Greece is better off outside the euro

1. The small and uncompetitive Greek economy will never be able to compete with the larger efficient northern euro economies when using the same currency — Greece?s best option is to regain competitiveness using its own currency. This would see the economy growing again within a year or two.

If Greece stayed in the euro it would suffer decades of depression by which time Greeks would be second-class citizens in permanent debt bondage to northern euro governments.

2. The euro itself will likely collapse within 5 years because it’s not a unified economy (transfer union) and never will be.

Eg. In Australia the wealth of WA and Qld is transferred to poorer SA and Tas. In the USA the wealth of New York and California is transferred to the poorer Midwest. These are accepted because Australia and USA are unified countries/economies.

With the euro the wealthier Germans, Dutch, Finns etc would never accept wealth transfer to poorer debt ridden Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese etc, so the euro is doomed to fail.

3. The idea that a return to the drachma will destroy Greece is ridiculous. Croatia and Turkey are 2 similar countries outside the euro and their economies are doing well and tourism booming.

A return to the drachma will make holidays in Greece (as well as Greek products/services) much cheaper, which will boost tourism and exports. And give Greece an advantage over Italy, Spain etc…

4. As for the debt, whether it?s in euros or drachmas it?s huge and unpayable. With the drachma, Greece would declare bankruptcy and the people responsible for it (Greek politicians of 80s-00s who requested loans, and European bankers who gave them) will pay the penalty.

5. Finally on a social issue, Greeks have been scapegoated and branded as «lazy and corrupt» (with some justification). It’s impossible to escape this reputation now and clinging to a flawed currency with misguided and lost prestige is pointless.

The reality is all of southern Europe and the Balkans are corrupt when compared to northern and western Europe, but all the attention/blame has fallen on Greece! Tax evasion and corruption are as bad (and possibly worse) in southern Italy (Sicily!), Portugal, Serbia, Turkey etc.. better to withdraw and let the attention/blame go to the next «weak link».

Having said all this, the transformation from euro to drachma will be very difficult the first few months, but ultimately would be for the best.

If Tsipras wins the election, this will happen in next few months. If the old parties win (unlikely) this will still happen but not for another 2 years or so… 2 more years of depression, austerity, blame, bad news… 2 more wasted years!

Better to deal with it now….

Nikos E.

Planning to come in July

I already made a booking for 5 of July in Halkidiki. Many Romanians will flood Greece this summer, do not worry. It is all propaganda that there is no life after the euro. In my opinion, Greeks should reset and make their way. We are all into this together, all the peoples of Europe.

Gigel Chiazna

Welcome to the face of politics

After the Second World War America bailed out Germany at no cost. Is Europe in a financial crisis or a political crisis? It’s unreasonable to expect Mr Tsipras to support austerity measures when Germany does not act responsibly. Is Greece part of the European Union or not?? Europe is not united and this is devastating for economies around the world.

Mr Tsipras has no experience in running a government and this may cause uncertainty; however, Mr Tsipras is a man with fresh ideas and positive thoughts and a go-getter attitude. Welcome to the face of politics, Mr Tsipras.

Anna Jones

Visiting Greece

I am planning on visiting Greece next week with my family on vacation — I look forward to enjoying your fantastic country for the first time and I promise to spend some money.

Chuck Johnson

Dallas, Texas

Bank deposits

It is one thing to tell us that many people are taking their money out of banks in Greece… but you do not confirm deposit guarantee provision.

My understanding is that deposits of 60,000 euros are guaranteed automatically.

If this is the case, could you please put up a note or comment to confirm this in the paper… under a banner headline?

If this is the case, why are people moving their money out? The guarantee is funded by the European Central Bank.

Could it be that people, while declaring poverty, have large money deposits in excess of 60,000 and so are busy sending the money elsewhere? Are they leaving their accounts open or closed?

J. Kelvyn Richards

Trikala

A tourist?s view

My family holiday in Greece every year. And we can see the amount of trade the non-paying sector are doing with tourists. Last year — just one example — we booked a day trip from our hotel; we had to pay in cash, no receipt, on the trip we were offered a low-grade olive oil for cash, no receipt. We were taken to a cafe and we bought a fresh orange drink, and homemade snacks, no receipt. I will not name the hotel but it was a 5* in Crete. If everybody paid just half the taxes they should, Greece would not be in this mess.

Tom Archer

England

Solutions?

Much of what I read is criticism of the opposition, and praise of how things will be better if one side or the other is elected. What are the specific proposals for a solution? The memorandum is not the problem, it’s a symptom. Reform is needed as much as money.

What specific changes does Mr Tsipras propose, if any? Or is he just asking the public to trust him to make things better, like politicians before him?

Peter H.