OPINION

Return of the migrating euro bills

return-of-the-migrating-euro-bills

It appears that many plants in Greece have been fooled by the recent stretch of warm weather, having come into bloom early. The same is not the case with migratory birds, which continue to arrive from cooler climes or make their way south. The miraculous news, however, regards the return into circulation of the migratory euro bills that took flight just before the imposition of capital controls in the summer.

Amazed bankers, tax officials and other market players observe the return into circulation not just of somewhat ordinary 100- and 200-euro banknotes, but also increasing appearances by the species known by scientists as the Quinque hundredum rarus. This money is being “dematressed” and recovering its lost value in order to pay for taxes and other expenses.

Experts in this new field of banknote-watching also conclude that, based on the smell of the money (which does exist, whatever Vespasian may think) and the dust coating its surface, the migratory paper money lured by the southern winds includes so-called “micro-migrators.” This means that those banknotes that did not fly off to distant lands but rather moved just a few kilometers, or even meters, and found places of refuge right here in Greece. How far, after all, is the distance between the dreaded bank and the safest home hiding place, where, as we know, “thieves do not venture”?

The fact that there are quite a few 500-euro banknotes among those making their way back into the market does not seem to be raising any eyebrows. These bills are not necessarily linked to the Pentakosiomedimnus. After all, they prefer intangible money, or a trip abroad, and they don’t suffer from nostalgia. This is why, unfortunately for the country’s economy (meaning the economy of each one of us individually and that we share), the number of repatriated micro-migrators is small so far – restricted, in other words, to those that went abroad and came back with the minimum amount of effort. It is highly unlikely that more will return via the system of “return for protection.”

So? So, the state has a duty to seek its own lost worth, defined by the finance minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Norbert Walter-Borjan, when he said that until just last week the Greek side (government and banks) would just watch the lists of wealthy depositors and possible tax cheats go by, with little inclination to have them investigated. The state does not need to cajole or offer further incentives to people who are already more than privileged. Nor does it need to threaten them. It just needs to follow the laws, the older ones and the new, both for financial reasons, but also and more importantly, for moral ones.