That’s odd. In fact, I think that’s more than odd and it borders to suspicion. One week after the President of European Parliament Martin Schulz proposed to turn Greece into a special economic zone with EU officials sent to control the proper operation of the whole project, the President of Federation of German Industries proposes exactly the same thing.
President of Federation of German Industries (BDI), Hans-Peter Keitel wants to turn Greece into a huge “Special Economic Zone”. Speaking to German weekly Der Spiegel, Keitel said Greece should be declared to a ‘special economic zone’ where different economic measures apply than elsewhere in the euro zone. Of course, as Greeks can not do all these wonderful things by themselves, EU personnel should sent to Greece and help revamp the weak economy of the debt-ridden country.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you see another solution for Greece?
Keitel: The whole debate over a [euro] withdrawal of Greece lead nowhere. As a businessman, I would not let my desolate subsidiary fall, but it should be renovated. This means that Greece should be a kind of special economic zone in the euro area , it will be equipped with the necessary and permissible financial aid, but also with EU staff. Greece would not give up any sovereignty, but it should give the EU-helpers the opportunity to shape the reforms in the country on the ground. … In principle, we should pull over Greece something like an oxygen tent, so that the country recovers on long term. Greeks need time – not just months, but years.
SPIEGEL: Where will the helpers come from, for example from Germany?
Keitel: Important is :It should definitely be people with expertise.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Would you recommend now a German company to invest in Greece?
Keitel: Who should invest right now in Greece? The economic and political elite in Greece must do it again to provide confidence for investment. Today, I can not invest in a country that I do not know which currency is there tomorrow. Conversely, the state can poorly privatize in this business environment. The economy finally needs clarity on the further course of events in Greece.
SPIEGEL: But are not the elites who put their money out of the country?
Keitel: Yes, and that has to change. No investors go to the country, when the locals come on the opposite track. (Full interview DER SPIEGEL in German)
“Presidents” among themselves
One proposal tabled by two Germans: a German EU-politician, President of European Parliament Martin Schulz (SPD) and a German Industrialist, the President of Federation of German Industries, Hans-Peter Keitel. Two presidents present the same presumption: Greece would be saved should it turned into a special economic zone.
Special Economic Zones are designated areas in countries that possess special economic regulations that are different from other areas in the same country. Moreover, these regulations tend to contain measures that are conducive to foreign direct investment. Conducting business in a SEZ usually means that a company will receive tax incentives and the opportunity to pay lower tariffs.
The two presidents are either too naive or too sneaky. But it is striking remarkable that they make the same proposal. Did Schulz promoted Keitel’s vision or vice versa? And the whole idea came out independently just for purposes of misguiding the public?
At the same time, question marks are flashing: they tell me, we should definitely keep an Argus eye and dig deep further, when we hear proposals by EU politicians: we should investigate what interests they represent in the name of “United Europe”, “Saving the Euro”, “Save Greece”, “Competitiveness” and the usual EU-crap.
The masks have fallen – openly, flagrantly, blatantly and shamelessly.
Hans-Peter Keitel, an AAA-Lobbyist, represents 100,000 German enterprises with 8 million employees. He was proposed by conservative CDU as Presidential candidate in May 2009 and June 2010.
Martin Schulz as politician from SPD represents… who? -except his own and the party’s industrialists voters? He definitely does not represent the interests of EU citizens.
Between 1992-2007 Keitel was also CEO of German construction Hochtief, that made a good budget of money with several important projects (Athens Airport, highway tolls) as commissioned to the Germans by the Greek government.
In a testimonial HOCHTIEF thanks Greece for drawing “thoroughly positive balance-sheet.”
“HOCHTIEF has been active in Greece for many years and can draw up a thoroughly positive balance-sheet. Since the mid-1990s, we have been engaged in what is probably one of the most important PPP projects anywhere: Athens International Airport. HOCHTIEF was responsible for planning and construction and also heavily invested in the airport. At the time it was the largest-ever PPP venture in the aviation sector – and it has been operated jointly since its opening in 2001 by the state and private enterprise, with exceptional success. The many positive experiences, the judicial framework and our open and constructive cooperation with the state and its representatives have prompted us to expand our activities in Greece. On behalf of the Greek state we are currently planning, financing, building and operating the toll roads of Maliakos-Kleidi and Elefsina-Patras-Tsakona. This means that in Greece HOCHTIEF is now responsible for a total road length of around 600 kilometers. We wish to invest further, for instance in the social infrastructure in schools and correctional facilities, and are already bidding on a number of projects.” May 2009 Dr. rer. pol. Peter Noé, Member of the Executive Board HOCHTIEF
So Keitel must know how projects are done in Greece 🙂
Greece should be placed under Guardianship. Echoes again, from Germany.
Yes! Just like under Imperial Roman Guardianship, Ottoman Turkish Guardianship, Venetian Guardianship, Nazi Germany Guardianship.
It is just a new way of phraising “Invasion”.
Herr Keitel was the CEO of HochTief. This nice company is responsible for the deaths of thousands of forced labourers during Nazi era in Germany. Amongst their constructions for the Nazi regime were the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin and the headquarters of Wolf’s Lair.
Herr Keitel is also a board member of Commerzbank AG, National Bank AG, and ThyssenKrupp AG. For 7 years he was a member of the executive board of RWE AG, who are moving more and more in to the area of “renewable energy”, like the Helios project maybe??
As for Herr Schultz, this is what Berlusconi had to say about him in June 2003
This whole proposal smacks of turning Greece into a modern day version of a giant concentration camp, with resident cheap labour. The promotors seem to have the right pedigree for it…
I am sorry for having to use straight language: this article drips with persecution feelings!
Here is a country whose citizens have such enormous distrust that they have shipped domestic financial capital offshore to the tune of 3-digit billion figures in recent years. Whose businesses have migrated in the thousands to the neighboring countries of FYROM and Bulgaria. A country where every Greek I meet tells me how its leadership/elite has run it into the ground in the last decades. Etc., etc.
And when this country, for once, is offered help other than being given loans in order to pay back banks, then this country immediately sees a grand occupation scheme behind such proposals instead of taking them up and negotiating something which is favorable to Greece!
I mean, how low can you get???
It’s time to leave childish mentalities and grow up and act responsibly, certainly self-responsibly! It’s time to re-read Nikos Dimou’s little book on the “Misfortune of being a Greek” (written 30-40 years ago) and learn from it!
“I mean, how low can you get???” – I can get as low as working 10/6 for 500 euro.
If you can convince us of the noble motives of Keitel and Schulz, please, be our guest!
I am the first one to admit (and I have argued this in my blog for well over one year now) that of the famous “help for Greece” so far about 80% has been help for the lending banks. Real help for Greece, I have also argued from the beginning, would be to come up with measures that create new jobs in Greece. New jobs require new investment. Greece cannot handle that on its own because its investment capital has been fleeing the country instead of going into investments. And only a fool would transfer investment capital to Greece from abroad these days.
So, anything that could aim (I am saying “could” aim because I am not familiar with what Schulz/Keitel have in mind) at creating a situation in Greece which could bring some of the “Greek money” back to Greece and perhaps even attract non-Greek money from abroad is a positive step in the right direction and should be viewed as such. Anyone who does not do that is not living up to the President’s plea that “Greece needs help from Europe”.
Europe is not offering a take-over. Somebody’s brain cells are going berserk when suggesting that. Europe has had a Task Force working on Greece for almost a year now and this Task Force has absolutely nothing to do with a take-over. It’s about helping Greece, albeit with very limited resources.
What should Europe want to take over???
Greece simply needs to get out of its paranoia against everything which comes from abroad, above all foreign investment. Foreign investment is NOT a take-over! It’s an investment!
I looked up the following quote from Nikos Dimou: “We are envious of other countries but, at the same time, we loudly express our supremacy!”
If Greece feels that it would be better off without Europe, say so and do it. A departure from the Eurozone is legally not provided for; a departure from the EU is.
But don’t say you want to be part of Europe and, at the same time, consider Europe as your greatest enemy!
“New jobs require new investment.” When I’m thinking of the old jobs that were lost due to bailout agreement and the recession, I would say that it is completely absurd to first ‘kill’ old jobs and then struggle to create new ones. The whole bailout-system is not working, its roots are rotten, Klaus.
I don’t know what kind of supremacy Dimou expresses but I want to say this: I was one of the biggest EU supporters and still I am pro Europe, not only because I feel European but because an EU exit will really “kill” us as the same recycled nomenclature will rule the country. But I also disagree with the EU of nowadays. It has missed its targets to be there for the benefits of its citizens – otherwise why all the laws, and rights and blahblahblah. It is ruled by a bunch of politicans of minor success in their own countries, who get elected among themselves. They have forced the European Parliament to ‘inactivity’ and the whole EU system costs EU-taxpayers a very lot of money. For what?
or I was maybe wrong and misunderstood the EU concept.
I hope you have the chance to speak with Portuguese and Irish and see if Dimou’s wise words apply for them too.
Let me make the following point (again): I have been a fierce critic of what the so-called “help for Greece” has been so far. I have also been a fierce critic of the fact that Greece tried to “play games” for about 2 years until it finally realized that the barn was on fire.
Let me just mention one interesting observation: there are virtually no reports in the media about Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, etc. that would resemble the nearly daily reports about Greece. Now, maybe those other countries are unstoppable trouble-makers as well but the media have decided to only pick on Greece. Or maybe not.
Does anyone still remember that, two years ago, Greece promised privatizations to the tune of 50 BEUR? Well, the way things are going now, I don’t expect there to be any privatizations at all. My point is not necessarily that there should have been privatizations. My point is that, if you slyly know how to do it, you can drag something out so far and so skillfully that, at the end of the day, there is simply no longer be away to get it done.
A couple of weeks ago, Greece made sure that the whole world would be informed that there had been some incredibly nasty Troika-letter recommending that Greeks should work 6 days a week. And the whole world expressed shock how the Troika could be so brutal. I read the letter but I didn’t find the substance that everyone claimed was in it. The information which I subsequently collected (I can’t guarantee that it is right) is this: at issue were not the weekly working hours but, instead, the abolition of the working week being limited to 5 days, to provide more flexibility where flexibility is needed.
Well, certainly in countries like Austria or Germany, the law defines the working week as Monday-Saturday. Does everyone work on Saturdays? Of course, not! The working hours/days are regulated by collective agreements between employers/employees’ associations. Some such agreements may stipulate work on Saturdays (shops, restaurants, etc.) and others do not. Or if they do, they may stipulate surplus wages for work on Saturdays.
What in the world is the big deal about that? Why in the world does one have to make such a fuss about it?
Why doesn’t everybody, instead, take note of the fact that the Euro has declined against the USD substantially in the last 2 years and that Greece has become cheaper — and that these two factors together should trigger an export drive into non-EZ-countries??? I haven’t heard one sound into that direction!
And, to finish this off, why does one make such a fuss about the unproven fear that a Special Economic Zone would be a take-over of Greece instead of pursuing the thought and developing it into something which could be of benefit to Greece???
I;ll reply on this tomorrow.
Klaus, one of the biggest reasons you don’t hear too much from Ireland is that most people have left the country again! By April 2012, the emigration rate in Ireland ran at 10,000 people a month! An increase of 45% compared to the same period a year earlier. With a population of less than 4,5 million, that is a serious brain-drain!
One of my children, living in Cork, tells me there is a distinct gap in the make up of the general population. There do not seem to be any people between the ages of 25-35 around anymore.
With no people in the country, it isn’t difficult to keep things quiet.
The other reason you don’t hear too much is FEAR. In Ireland things “work” a little different from Greece. After your 12 months or so unemployment benefit you’re not turfed out onto the street with nothing. You usually get unemployment assistance, but that is not a right, it is granted or not, depending on the mood of the civil servant you are dealing with when applying. Rule of thumb, never apply for U.A. on a Monday morning!
You can appeal a denial, but… (I sat on the appeals panel for 4 years as an independent deciding officer and have NEVER seen an appeal upheld!It goes by majority vote out of 3, 1 independent, 2 department of Social Welfare officers).
Even when granted, it can be taken off you immediately, if this officer so decides. And no reason needs given. So people keep their heads down, obviously. Holding on to this involves constant chasing of paperwork and queuing for more, leaving you no time to think about what is actually happening to you.
Once somebody is caught in such a trap, the brain simply shuts down. They become dependent on it very fast, and once put in that situation, people become pliable as putty and will do anything to hang on to what they have been made believe is their last chance. Its effects in terms of dependency are worse than those of Heroin or Meth, I know, I work(ed) with both types of addicts. And like it or not, it is indeed a deliberate policy, designed to keep people in line.
If you haven’t heard anything from Spain, you need the TV fixing. Only yesterday did thousands march through Barcelona, demanding independence for Catalonia. Didn’t hear about the miners either? Or didn’t hear Rajoy telling the EU what he will and will not accept? He is doing what Greece should have done 2 years ago. Uses their hunger for more money against them instead of being intimidated by it. Don’t like his politics, but at least he knows who his friends aren’t.
A friend in Portugal tells me that the Portuguese government actively encourages people to leave, even contributes financially to their ticket out… Again, this country is suffering from the worst brain drain in history.
Did I mention the deliberate creation of economic wastelands before? That includes the unprecedented export of people from all those intended wastelands. Check the figures, the plan is working, very well.
If you really think the EU is a friend to Greece/Ireland/Spain/Portugal, then let me ask you, with friends like that, who needs enemies?
I was around, and old enough to understand, when P.H. Spaak first muttered his EEC ideas. Since then the whole thing grew from a bad idea into the giant abomination it has become today. Europe never was, and still is not an organization with the slightest bit of interest in people. Europe is a giant corporation, run by the UNELECTED few, without accountability. And in true corporation style, it is a faceless, immoral, predatory organization interested in profit only, at any cost. Hence 56+ million unemployed in the EU, and rising, fast…
All you need to do is look at the treatment dished out to the ordinary men and women in Greece in the last year or two. Does it surprise you they don’t trust anything or anybody coming from Europe?
Yes, much of the problem is with Greek political establishment. So, tackle Greek establishment, not the Greek people. But of course, they are the easy target and not likely to fight back too much. And if they do, well, there is always riot police or GD. If the political class fights back, then we can always resort to “Siemens politics”, no? Isn’t the next bribe being dangled in front of political establishment 30 odd billion worth of “bailout tranche”? To help Greece? my foot! How much of that money is going straight back to where it came from, with 7% interest on top? Who pays for that 7%? Greek men and women who once again will have their wages and pensions cut.
And you are trying to tell us that those who devised this scam don’t know this??? And you really want people to believe this is “for their own good”?
Privatizations: Do you seriously believe, privatizations did not materialize because they didn’t know how to do it? They just couldn’t mess up with the employees and the trade unions of the companies to be privatisized, Klaus, the pool of their voters!
Working hours: it’s always like that: Troika proposes the general scheme first, waits concrete proposals by the gov and then the Troika makes the proposals much more concrete. Collective bargains? They have no chance anymore here. Whether one works on Saturday/SundayXmas etc or not that’s not the point. The point is that the 6 days/week scheme will turn into 48 hours per week, ie additional 8 (as least) on the same salaray as with 40h/w and without additional compensation for Sat/Sun/holidays. And all this for the private sector, not the public sector.
That’s why we make a fuss about it.
Greece cheaper? only in labour cost. exports? where there is no production, when taxes kill private enterprises?
SEZ: there are quite a lot of pros and contras on the myth of SEZs. I’ll post about.
You make the same mistake as EU politicians do: you talk about the benefit of Greece, but not about the benefit of Greeks.
BTW: I think you forgot to list pro-arguments for SEZ …
“A wise man keep his friends close, and his enemies closer”
What Europe wants to take over is exactly that, NOTHING. And for the last 3 years that’s what they have been creating out of Greece. It has been reduced to nothing. No economy, no jobs, no social security, no health benefits, all gone. It’s a clean slate, a blank sheet on which the whole system can be re-written to suit “those who matter”, which, as far as Europe goes, are most definitely not the people of Greece.
Are you really trying to tell us that the “austerity” imposed on Greece had any other objective but to reduce the place to nothing? The only thing the European Task force you so proudly refer to has been doing is insisting on cutting income, more and more. Selling state assets, more and more. Raising taxes, more and more. And what is the inevitable result of these policies? An economic wasteland. It is, and has been the objective from day one.
Anybody with half a brain cell knows that if you reduce people’s spending power, the economy will shrink. If you take the spending power away, the economy dies. Somehow the EU figures that reducing people’s spending power with 25% and more is going to make an economy grow. That is what the European Task force has been telling Greece…
In reality, the task force has created that oh so necessary “Lebensraum” for central European multi-national business. Because they need it. Despite paying pittance for wages and taxing people to the hilt, Germany is becoming more and more unattractive (read not enough profit) to big business and they need “Lebensraum”. Greece is the test lab. The latest assault on the labour laws is very much part of creating that “Lebensraum”. As far as they are concerned, room to live equates people to exploit. People with rights cannot be exploited. That is the problem in central Europe.
The rights of the people of Greece have been not just eroded, they have been by and large removed. More to follow, nearly there.
Once there, “investment” will come indeed. After Greece has been turned into an enormous industrial park where the boys and girls of big business and finance can do as they please, when they please, and make up the rules as they go along.
And of course the whole thing cannot be run by the Greeks themselves, they might just cop on and take it back. So sack 150,000 Greeks and take on EU provided “aides”. Guaranteed to play ball.
Europe is indeed not “offering” a take over. It’s doing it, for all the wrong reasons. What you call paranoia is well founded and well deserved suspicion, for all the right reasons.
Europe is indeed the enemy, but leaving it just gives that enemy free reign. From within, Greece can at least fight for the change EUROPE needs. Badly needs. It starts with acquiring honesty.
Klaus, you speak as a banker because you are a banker. Try speaking as somebody who has been kicked about by bankers for last few years.
The whole EU/Troika/ ECB game is to plug the gaping hole of 1 trillion € in the German banking system. This hole was exposed by the very man appointed by the German government to do a health check on their system, Hans-Werner Sinn.
If anybody had any honest notion of coming to Greece or Ireland or Spain or Portugal to help, they would be welcomed with open arms. However, there is NOTHING honest about these proposals and there is NOTHING honest about the EU/ECB/Troika motives.
As President Karolos Papoulias said today
Europe is not offering help, Europe is offering a take-over. The price is independence and sovereignty. Hand it over, and we’ll come in and set it up to suit us. That is the message, and it is by no means misunderstood. In fact, the understanding is crystal clear.
What the people in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal experience is just another kick in the teeth. Why, because that is exactly what they are getting. All these so-called help programs do a lot for everybody, except those they are allegedly designed for. The various peoples suffering at the hands of EU policies have had enough, and rightfully so. Today, a massive demonstration in Barcelona demanded independence for Catalonia. If they voted on this now, Catalonia would separate from Spain. As would many people separate from Europe, given half a chance, because Europe has become synonym for Germany, and shows itself to be interested in the well-being of Germany, nobody else.
That is the reality, so I ask you HOW LOW CAN YOU GET???
If Greece dont like it then say no and go find someone else who will give you free monies for promises Greece dont deliver. I am sure there be a long line of countries willing to loan you monies. See the problem. Keitel has nothing to do wiht ww 2. He was not even around then.
free monies? who gives Greece free monies? I think, it’s loans with 5% interest rates.
what did I write? 5%?
Greece recieves more then 5 bil a year then it contributes to the EU. Then there is the haircuts on the Greek debt. The bailout packages cost countries too cause of the risk they take of not getting it back.
loans, are these moneies with high interest rates. If I am not able to pay back nowadays due to unemployment and thus having to feed two children and support two sick parents, be assured my children’s children will do. It’s laways like that with the state loans.
IT’s really a pity when readers & TV viewers fall victims to populists’ politicians and media.
Keitel may have nothing to do with WW2, but the companies he stands with, their ethos and their methods have EVERYTHING to with WW2 in all its gory detail. In fact, they were some of the major contributors to the whole thing. And they have not changed one bit, why should they. Predatory capitalism is exactly that, predatory, at any cost. They have changed the methods, far more sophisticated. They have not changed the attitude one bit. And that is what he stands for, irrespective of when he was born. If he didn’t he would have changed the attitude, he had the power…
Oh please, not those old cows again…
Think it’s about time here in Greece the same internet etiquette is introduced as in a lot of other places whereby the person who comes up with WW2 in a discussion automatically has ‘lost’ and the topic is closed.
Who was it who wrote that every discussion in the end is leading to a person who will start throwing around WW2 arguments… Can’t find it now. But it was in the news last couple of weeks.
Just an idea…
@Antonis, where do you think the rising tide in Europe, both political and economic, represented by the likes of GD, True Fins, BNP, Vlaams Belang,etc gets its inspiration from?
It hasn’t gone away, on the contrary, it’s back, with a vengeance. You would do well to remember instead of brushing it under the carpet as “history”. History tends to repeat itself, and it surely is doing so right now.
Compare the trends in central European corporations today with the trends in central European corporations in the 1930’s, and the similarity is frightening. Same tactics, same politics, and unless it is stopped, same result..
The only reason this can happen is because those at the top haven’t changed their Modus Operandus one bit, it has just been fine-tuned. Their ethics are still non-existent, as they were then. Which is the one and only reason for nearly 57 million unemployed people in the EU today, a number growing by the day as well.
They didn’t care then, they still don’t care. All that matters is the bank account. And it shall be made look healthy, irrespective of the cost to the people of Europe. You would do a lot better to heed the warning signs instead of playing ostrich.
And you would do a lot better to look at reality of what’s going on nowadays than suggesting German ‘killer’-firms of the 40s are up to their old murderous tricks again.
Your are to often lost in this anti-corporate rhetoric (that is so popular here in Greece too) while the (Greek) state is doing the real strangling of their citizens instead of doing what it is for: controlling and protecting.
Thanks for the warning, but no thanks. I rather base my judgements on realities anno 2012. And I’d rather have a choice between 10 cable companies then the one lousy sludge and three stooges I am con-dammed to right now because full liberalization of the telecom market is deemed not good for us. 😉
Greek politicians, like all politicians, are doing the strangling on behalf of, and pocketing handsome rewards for it while at it. Politicians anywhere are only puppets, greedy, grubby little puppets who sell theirs souls for a piece of silver, ever day of their lives. To paraphrase that Dutch slimeball Wilders
They do what they are told to do. The Troika telling Greek politicians what’s next is a perfect example of this. Once a man is bought, he stays bought. The only thing that changes is the price.
Politicians couldn’t care less about the consequences of what they do.
No point in staring yourself blind on the puppet show. The only change that will be effective is changing the puppet masters.
To find them, follow the money.
Besides Wilders most of the other big parties in Holland promise no 3 bailout for Greece no matter what. Some willing to consider some extra time but thats it. So dont expect much from Holland whatever the outcome of this election today.
the only thing you ever expect from Holland, and will always get, is nothing…
Nothing??? forgot the nice tomatoes and the tulips?
And what about Heineken and Amstel?
you know my attitude
Samaras doesn’t need tulips. He presides over a bunch of them…
Tulips are originally from Turkey… Is that a sign?
Ever heard about the Tulip Crisis? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania Almost 400 years ago they were as crazy as now in the world
In my other country “a tulip” is somebody who swings whichever way s/he thinks will make him/her look and sound important. If somebody calls you a tulip, you can be sure they are not too fond of you…
It also has a much ruder meaning, not really fit for publication.
wow! this blog makes me wise :)))