Sunday, July 3, 2011
While the European media are focusing on what must Greece do to fix its economy and save the euro-zone from collapsing, on the faults of the Greek economy and how to avoid bankruptcy, I wonder how many people care of what impact will all these have to an ordinary household in the country.
There are some widespread feelings between the Greeks right now like fear, anger, disappointment and frustration. But the economists care only about the measures that the Greek Government must take, to save the European economy from collapsing.
As we speak salaries in Greece are slashed for up to 40% and bonuses are cut. Employers are paying their workers when they have money and only as much as they can give them at the time. There are no jobs, the social stability and coherence are disintegrating, people are committing suicide because they are unable to pay their debts. Employees are forced to work unpaid overtime, every worker's right that has been won over the decades is more and more irrelevant.
The youth is emigrating, leaving the country poorer in workforce and their knowledge. Nobody spends, travels, invests or make any plans for the future as they do not know what tomorrow brings. Some of you might think that it is time for the Greeks to pay up for their irresponsible spending and finances of over all those years.
As if the rest of Europe did not live on credit and borrowing. Nobody realizes that all countries in Europe are in a bad shape, Greece is only used as a scapegoat and asked to pay up to secure the other European states' bank shares and bonds.
European countries are using the Greek crisis to cover up their own economic problems. Greece is just unlucky to be small and insignificant enough to be bullied into conformation. The Greeks are far from lazy or lame. They were building the German economy with hard work in their factories and every Greek that has migrated in other parts of the World has progressed and prospered.
European leaders knew, as Luxembourg's PM Mr. Juncker admitted, that the Greek economy was in bad shape, so why did they allow it to collapse? It would be better to support and help it reform earlier, saving Europe from the crisis, plus the spending of billions of euros. Could it be that they wanted Greece to go bankrupt so that they can transform its economy and benefit from the sale out that would follow?
The crisis started during the late '80s and early '90s, mainly under the Mr Simitis and PASOK Government. Many in Greece now realize that the reforms that this particular Government made, lead to the inevitable current situation. Large Greek companies were sold off, and others were allowed to relocate elsewhere.
Since the introduction of the euro, Greece was also forced to keep a large expenditure to keep up with a strong economy such as Germany. And by doing so it helped Germany's economy itself, because it was German goods that the Greeks were consuming, such as cars.
The Greek state started borrowing a lot in order to keep up with the expenses and the payments of the public sector, but the Greek Governments since that time kept it hidden from the public and encouraged the capitalist system: excess borrowing and sustaining the economy with credit from the Markets.
Today they blame the public for doing the same, while it was the country's leaders that encouraged this economic style. They are supposed to work for the betterment and progress of the nation and ideally lead the people by their example.
Scientists in the University of Joannina in Northern Greece, found that the region of Epirus and Macedonia are rich in uranium and submitted their research to the then Greek Government, but nothing was done about it. A former MP Mr Papoutsis was in the opening of the uranium mines in Epanomi village in the Thessaloniki county, the plan that was suddenly stopped as it started.
People in the Greek islands, notably Crete regularly are witnessing evidence for the existence of gas and oil in the region, but still no action has been taken to exploit this potential source of revenue. Our Government either denies the existence of oil in Greek territory, or blames our rocky relationship with Turkey for our inability to exploit our oil reserves in the Aegean.
Now it is the Norwegians who want to exploit our oil reserves, just as the Canadians will do with our gold in the northern region of Macedonia. This is a typical example of European vulture culture: bring a country to its knees and then rush in for the kill.
Many European countries demand to get a hold on to Greece's national assets. From islands and national companies, to the Acropolis itself. Although we help the rich Northern European countries become richer, by selling our goods to them with no tax as the common market requires.
Western capitalist media and economists of course put the blame on Greece's unions for the dysfunctional public sector and companies. They claim they are too strong that hinder any progress and development. True, Greece has a very large and powerful public sector but what else can the Greeks do, since there are no factories, no productivity or development and the only sector that anybody can have a secure career is the public one.
If Greece was allowed to produce and exploit its natural resources, there would be more jobs and a variety of careers for the young Greeks to follow. These facts led to a super-sized public sector and because all political parties were using the promise of a job in the sector as a carrot for votes and support, the situation was going nowhere.
Greece is forced to take one bail out package after another, condemning its future generations to pay up for these bail outs for decades to come. Some analysts say that it will take Greece until the year 2060 to pay off its debts. Three generations of Greeks will pay to save not just their economy, but the European and American economies and the euro-zone too.
A friend of mine is working as public servant, in the revenue offices. Her salary was 1800 € before the bail outs and it is already cut down to 1400 €. It is expected with the new Government austerity measures to go down even further and settle at around 1100 € with the new public sector harmonized salaries.
That is a 700 € deduction, while there more and more taxes put on the Greek households and the taxes on all basic goods will go up from 11% to 23%. How would a Swede, a German, a Brit or a Austrian respond to such cull of their incomes?
The Greeks are expected to grin and bare it and to force them to accept the new measures, they slander a whole nation as lazy and corrupt, to justify the brutal enslavement and sell out of their country. Because Greece looks indeed more like an enslaved nation than a developed European country, a member of EU and NATO.
While many analysts claim that austerity is wrong for Greece, that we need to keep producing, allow people to spend thus putting money in our market, export and reform our economy while we heal it, Mr. Papandreou and his Government think otherwise. No doubt they listen their foreign advisers that demanded Greece to take two bail out packages.
What is the point of having a Parliament even when it does not serve its people? A Greek MP from Thessaloniki Mr. Rompopoulos, admitted on national television that three days before the vote in the Greek Parliament on the second bail out package, he had not yet read what he was voting for. He was encouraged and threatened by the leader of his party Mr. Papandreou and his advisors to vote YES because the country would not have the money to pay its bills and the salaries of the people.
Greece's Parliamentarians had the nerve not to take any cuts themselves while they were voting for such brutal austerity measures for the people they are supposed to serve. Mr. Papandreou hired more advisers and Parliament staff, while all around the country people are losing their jobs.
The rich are not asked to pay or bare the same austerity measures and even the Greek Orthodox Church once again avoids taxation. If the Church sold of half its property that it holds in Greece, the country's debt would be paid.
Our partners in the other European nations are happy to make business with the corrupt Greeks, seemingly are only doing so because they avoid taxation too. The German company that built and exploits the new Athens "Venizelos" airport, has not paid its taxes it was meant to pay to the state since the building of the airport and they owe the Greek state about 1 billion euros in taxes.
We need a political reboot in Europe, the European citizens need to take the situation and our continent in our hands united to achieve justice. But with the comfortable and well off northern Europeans being so ignorant of how their wealth is being supported by the misery of other nations, how much hope should I have?
Our media keep bombarding us with the Arab revolution, while they totally ignore or alter what is happening in Spain and Greece. Remember that what goes around comes around. Greece maybe facing difficulties today, tomorrow it might be your country's turn.