The Troika left, Greek politicians were left behind. In Athens. Greece’s lenders inspectors left the Greek capital Athens on Sunday after they laid the country’s coalition government leaders on Procrustes* bed. Representatives from IMF, EU and ECB did not stretched them on the rogue’s bed. Instead, they cut so much it needed to fit to the iron second bailout program.
Prime Minister Antonirs Samaras and his government partners Venizelos (PASOK) and Kouvelis (Democratic Left) were left behind with the load weighing 11.5 billion euro. It lays heavy on their desks on this extremely hot Monday and the sweaty hands don’t even dare to touch it.
The measures have not been announced to the public. No one wants to spoil the holy August-vacations of Greeks who in fact struggle to pay income taxes and emergency property taxes and solidarity taxes and taxes of all kind, size, lenght and colour. Plus high electricity bills due to prolonged heat wave causing air-conditioning and fans to work at full power and speed.
My fellow countrymen and -women are sinking into an increasing depression and the majority of my friends has neither summer vacation plans nor budget for even a week on a Greek island.
Therefore no politician would dare tell them now about all the additional cuts they will have to deal with in the very near future. No, nobody dares to come out and say things by name and number.
Pension Cuts News Would Send Thousands to State Hospitals
Several scenarios are being leaked to the press but nothing is officially confirmed yet. Today, Monday there is rumoring talk about cutting low-pensions at 3% and the higher at 5-6%. Starting by those as low as 601 euro per month. A pensioner receiving €700 per month would see € 35 to have disappeared in a a mysterious way out from his pocket.
This rumoring talk claims that the cuts to low-pension would be implemented so the government avoids cuts only for pensions over 1,400 euro per month. A horizontal cut for all “to restore social injustice” as … who was it? Samaras? Kouvelis? who said that a couple of weeks ago.
But, no! No official dares saying this publicly now. Such an announcement would send thousands of low-pensioners to the hospitals amid prolonged heat-wave and state hospitals in personnel shortage – and this not just because of August leaves.
No! The government does not to hear relatives screaming on TV that grandpa finally managed to operate the new remote control of the decoder that took him to the digital era, but unfortunately he heard the news about his pension cuts and collapsed. Or that the grandma fainted when she was told her welfare benefit was cut because -according to Troika’s balance sheets – she ought to be dead long time ago.
Privatizations On the Go
In order to avoid massive death in state hospitals and angry relatives, Greek government picked up the easy way. Right after the withdrawal of the Troika, and as Greece’s government leaders recovered from the shock, they met to discuss the privatization program.
Greece will compile a bill that introduces 77 amendments aimed at clearing the legal hurdles that are delaying its privatization plan, said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday.
After meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the heads of Greece’s two junior coalition partners– socialists Pasok and the small Democratic Left party–Mr. Stournaras said that talks focused on 10 assets that are ready to be sold but stopped short of naming them. (WSJ)
No, the government did not want to spoil the vacations of the army of employees at state organisations, enterprises and co. Who wants to tell an army of voters, that they could soon join the long queues at the unemployment office or that they’d need to be relocated and transferred to other services of the public administration.
“There will be spending cuts but not new austerity.” I don;t even remember who said this during the last days. A minister? A politician? A government leader? It doesn’t matter anyway. Spending cuts without austerity? Another Greek miracle…
The additional austerity measures, the spending cuts, are expected to become known either at the end of August or beginning of September. Once the Greeks have recovered from the summer heat and the taxes shock. Once the Troika has completed its evaluation and issue its report. A report that would enable the country to receive a 31-billion-euro bailout tranche. To pay back interest rates to its lenders.
We may be in debt, but we are not stupid
*In Greek mythology Procrustes was a rogue smith and bandit who physically attacked people by stretching them or cutting off their legs, so as to force them to fit the size of an iron bed.