What if every penny a Greek citizen gives the state goes to the country’s lenders and taxes have almost stopped to serve redeeming purposes. What if banks give loans to companies and individuals only under strictest conditions demanding properties as guaranties. Even for a 10,000-euro company loan. For political parties “there is money”, and thus plenty of it. Greece’s political parties will get 29 million euro in state funding in one payment (and not in two) in order to finance their elections campaigns.
155 members of the coalition government Nea Dimokratia and PASOK voted in favor of the bill and triggered strong reactions at the opposition parties. Three PASOK MPs voted against the bill. Communist KKE voted “present”.
Opposition parties described the additional payment as “a provocation” towards voters who are struggling through recession, harsh austerity and economic crisis. The Interior Minister who had introduced the amendment claimed that it is not additional payment.
In-debted parties use the state funding as guarantee for bank loans. Together, PASOK and Nea Dimokratia have debts up to 242 million euro.
The bill passed two days before the Parliament concluded its works due to Easter holidays and early elections.
Greeks: Championship in (enforced) Party Funding
Economic crisis here, recession there, Greeks continue to contribute exorbitant money for the political parties, when compared to citizens from other European countries.
According to official records data published in weekly magazine Epikaira , Greek political parties received the amount of 48.8 million euro in the year 2010. In simple words, every Greek “gave” 4.52 euro.
In comparison the parties state funding per capita in countries with similar economic problems and population numbers was in Portugal 0.80 euro, Belgium 1.57 euro, Hungary 1.84 euro.
In Germany, every resident was charged with 1.61 euro for the strengthening of political parties and in France with 1.17 euro.
The real champion is Luxembourg with 19.3 euro, but there the minimum wage is also 1,900 euro per month, where in Greece is 590 euro- gross.