Today’s European Parliament Plenary session on Greece looks like a madhouse with dozens of people speaking about things one could believe that “they have no idea what they’re talking about.” What is clear so far, is that 95%-98% of EP parties or better say “MEPs” have sharply attacked Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who opened the session with a speech. From the far-rights to the left have verbally attacked Greece – no matter what their political motives.
Starting at 10 in the morning, the ALL-AGAINST-GREECE heated rhetoric soon turned into a debate parody with no substantial arguments but with strong political and ideological character. Majority of MEPs chanted “Tsipras has a secret agenda” and other other cheap argumentation of the same kind.
The session also revealed Greece’s “false friends”: Far-rightist Nigel Farage(UK) urged Greece to leave the Euro. And so did extreme Marie LePen (France) who said “if you don;’t want austerity leave the Euro” and then attacked the EU and the Euro. And then:
“From Farage to LePen. A circus of populists who takes Greeks’ misery and hardship and twists it to suit their own xenophobic crap.”
SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis rebuffed both Farage and LePen for “misusing Greece for their populism.”
German Green attacked Greece for relations with Putin. Then wished Greece “good luck”.
“Mr Tsipras – the east needs solidarity too. And I am sorry Putin and democracy do not match up.”
PM Alexis Tsipras speech at EP via PM’s twitter account:
The Greek people’s brave choice in conditions of unprecedented pressure, does not mean a break w/Europe
My country was used to experiment with austerity. The experiment, we must admit, failed
The majority of Greek people feel that there is no other choice but to stop treading this road to nowhere
Our proposal to the institutions includes: credible reforms based on a fair sharing of burdens.
It includes the adequate coverage of the country’s financial needs.
It includes a strong investment program, primarily for combating unemployment and encouraging entrepreneurship.
It includes a commitment to begin a sincere discussion regarding a solution to problem of sustainability of
#Greece‘s public debt
Our proposals for financing our obligations & restructuring our debt will not burden European taxpayers
I’m not one of those politicians who claim that foreigners are to blame for all of
Previous governments created clientelistic state, furthered corruption & strengthened ties to economic elite.
According to a Crédit Suisse study, 10% of Greeks manage 56% of the national wealth.
Our proposals focus on reforms that aim to change
#Greece, reforms that the Memoranda purposely did not include.
Now, must reach a viable & honest compromise, one that will avoid a historical break & goes against EU tradition
And I am sure that we’re all aware of-& we’ll all take into account-our historic responsibility. Thank you.
#Greece #EPlenary #olomeleiaEK
Tsipras full speech to be uploaded as soon as possible.
Greece asked for an ESM loan. That is another bailout that will come with conditions. Let’s see how the extreme left wing fraction of SYRIZA will respond to that.
the reason the austerity failed was because tsipras would not or could not implememt the simplest task like tax evasion but i must concede that he boarded a runaway train out of control when will they desist blaming everybody and everything and cash in on the goodwill out there for greece please show us a start will be made NOW to tackle the rich and give to the poor
Pardon me. Austerity had recognizably failed by mid 2013, well before the Syriza government, which was elected in Jan 2015. In the past 5 months, Syriza has prosecuted more tax evaders than the previous government did in 5 years.
Progress can often take time. For example, how old are you? All those years and you still haven’t learned to punctuate or write a coherent sentence?
“In the past 5 months, Syriza has prosecuted more tax evaders than the previous government did in 5 years”
Even if this is true (it will be great if you can provide references), as far as I can tell from following the news it did not amount to much anyway. On this site I saw only one article about a Greek oligarch, who paid a few million in back taxes “voluntarily”. As far as I can recall, there were no penalties or jail time involved; it does not count as a prosecution in my book.
Blaming and antagonizing the creditors is still more politically expedient than going after the Greek tax evaders.
Go ask on griechenland.blog they are pro in that and you can find many articles there the media is not reporting about
Sorry, I do not know German. Can you point to articles that I can Google-translate?
google it – no links here
There are tags at the bottom and most articles are translations of Greek sources, sometimes English translations in the web available, tags like “steuerhinterziehung” and “korruption”
Not Tsipras, but Samaras & co are responsible for the austerity debacle.
Germany is oh so democratic that it supports brutal Arabian dictatorships and warlords, that they have cheap fuel comes from that the last time when so much Iraqi oil was sold it was 1985 and most Iraqi oil is sold by the Islamic State; German car-drivers are getting religious…
An Irish parliamentarian I don’t remember her name, was the only one among PIIGS who share her solidarity to Tsipras.
Please, could you explain how you see Greece remaning in the Eurozone and recover growth and prosperity. As far as I can see the only ones who think this is possible are people like Verhofstadt and Schäuble who want to continue the austerity blood letting.
It’s amazing how much the competing narratives have strengthened over the past 5-6 months. Greeks in growing numbers are convinced the creditors are saddling them with austerity for no good reason. 95-98% of the MEPs are fed up with Greek governments’ brinkmanship.
As a shrewd politician, Mr. Tsipras changes his tune according to the audience. For example, it is refreshing to hear a Greek leader admitting responsibility of his nation for years of clientelism and corruption (albeit in front of foreign audience).
These competing narratives (in part reinforced by Mr. Tsipras’s own loud rhetoric in the echo chamber called Greek politics) make it nearly impossible for his government to come up by tomorrow with a proposal that includes “fair sharing of burdens”. “Fair” is a subjective notion and without any agreement on the context it is hard to see an agreement on what constitutes a “fair” solution.
Merkel is already focused on containing the Grexit contagion with her trip to the Balkans. She can hardly be impressed by any Greek proposal at this time. To persuade just the majority of other leaders, I am guessing that the Greek proposal would have to include even more austerity compared to what the Greek voters had just rejected — not because the creditors have become greedier, but because the economic situation in Greece is worsening with each day and the gap to bridge is becoming wider.
It is great that Mr. Tsipras has restated he takes full responsibility for the “last 5 months”. In practice, though, I am not certain he understands what it means to take full responsibility just for the deterioration in the past 10 days.
This is an open admission that the whole debacle of the eurozone has NOTHING to do with economic management and everything to do with political sentiment and subjective nationalistic opinions. This is the beginning of the end of the European Union. Germany will go down in history — and Merkel individually — as being culpable for another European disaster.
So the germans want to see the greeks suffer and push them out of the euro because they dont like them?
If you’ve missed the dirty thirties and fourties in Krautland last century, you can get a perfect imagination, historians true love it, Tsipras and Varoufakis as “Jud Süss” live on German TV, they yet even start to explore the humanitarian crisis in Greece and the refugees for their blackmail against Greece.
This campaign is going on for 5 years, it’s pure hate and typical Anti-hellenism, rooted in Falmerayer and explained by Nietzsche, anarchists and other anti-nationals are discussing about a more sober definition.
Just ask Turkish people, even the nationalistic Turks that were in the beginning bashing on Greeks just like the German are thinking it twice now, as they face the same enemy and grew up together.
Actually, it’s not just about Germany or Merkel. I believe in its core the problem is about the differing visions of what EU and EZ stand for, and expectations what the euro should bring.
In the mind of many Greeks (and maybe others), the introduction of the euro 15 years ago meant automatically converging standards of living and ability to borrow at the same rates as Germany. For Germans (and apparently all other EZ governments) it means having a common currency that is as credible as the Deutsche Mark used to be, but based on a bigger economy. It also means furthering European integration by making it easier to travel and do business across the union.
Based on his vision, in the last five months Mr. Tsipras kept talking about finding a “political solution” (code words for “agreement for which the numbers do not have to add up”) and “solidarity” (code word for “fresh financial help to Greece with fewer strings attached”). The former is in direct conflict with the vision of a strong common currency based on strict rules. The latter was not acceptable to all the EZ nations, because they never signed up for it when entering the euro. Moreover, several EZ nations have lower standards of living than Greece, so the notion that they need to subsidize Greeks was not acceptable from fairness point of view.
Lastly, Mr. Tsipras’s and his government’s shenanigans made reaching a deal even more difficult by wasting the last precious remnants of trust and goodwill towards the Greek government and worsening the Greek economic situation. Even if it was just a negotiating tactics (and I think it was more than that), it was a bad choice of tactics.
You can make long and complex statements as much as you like, but the fact is that Germans are trying to impose their view of life (and economics) on everyone else in the eurozone. Germany is the only country that has made a substantial profit out of the eurozone, and it is not down to hard work. This is just mass delusion that Germans have engaged in, and not for the first time.
As for Greek tactics, what was the choice? To go cap in hand to the germans and ask for forgiveness? Samaras and Papandreou tried that — look what happened. The Germans and their cronies imposed very harsh austerity measures on Greece that destroyed the economy. I am afraid that the only thing that Germans respect (other than themselves) is power — be it military, economic or political. Nothing else counts — and Greece’s only hope is to scare the silly Krauts.
It’s also German money that has taken regime in the Baltic and Eastern states and to corrupt the masses their elites want the money that the EU would spare from kicking out Greece.
If the humanitarian aid their rhetoric hallucinates would exist no Greek will take it anyway, it’s better to be off and a refugee in Turkey
they will drop aid packages with Stukas
Stukas have no chance against modern slingshots with Greek molotovs
“As for Greek tactics, what was the choice? ”
They could have tried to circumvent the germans.
merkel might be the most powerfull but its still 19 countries.
Or they could have started doing those reforms that apparently everyone agrees on but that are still not underway instead of waiting until the last minute.
First of all, Germany has engaged in massive online propaganda (in English) to pollute the thinking of much of Europe. This propaganda is not ordinary people posting their views: it is organised and presumably financed.
Secondly, it has been explained time and time again to everyone who keeps on with this garbage about “reforms” that according to the OECD Greece made massive reforms in line with what the Troika demanded. The fact that these so-called reforms were designed to suck money out of Greece you choose simply to ignore. The fact that there was never any possibility for useful productive reforms at the same time, you choose to ignore. The fact that Greece was never allowed to propose its own economic policy that would engage in long-term reform, simply because that would not produce the taxation revenues that the Troika demanded, you choose to ignore.
So, what reforms? Go and ask the Troika. The first reform that should be undertaken is to stop paying for debt repayments, and use the money for something such as allowing people to live at a basic standard of living. That is what Syriza tried to do, and were undermined by the Troika and ECB.
The bottom line? You cannot reform an economy while it is collapsing and in debt servitude. The Troika knew that, and played a little game of “demanding reforms”, and complaining all the time that the Greeks just didn’t want to do so. The problem is that people are just gullible and believe what they want to believe. Politicians just manipulate that naivete and there we have it — a mess.
What, impress a Stalinist in power? Hopefully she will get embraced by some of the 600.000 Albanians that lost their jobs in Greece because of the economic EU-terror and German imperialism.
Measures against “contagion” are going on in the Balkan states for weeks – and now it’s more understandable why the propaganda-ministry didn’t report it to the public – Balkan states not only “care” for their savers money but they also have stolen Greek banks’ and companies’ money away – they are greedy for the 1/4 of their economy that’s run by Greeks – just like the money-fakers of the pirate-bank ECB steals Greek savers money away, right now by cutting Greek bonds value. After stealing 4 billion savers money on Cyprus now they want even more of Greeks money.
It’s easy to see what they plan for next reaction by Greeks: Storm and pillage the shops of the German “investors” whose only investment is the rent for their sale-rooms, as they are all tax-dodgers and bribers
Another observation: Even though ideologically Mr. Tsipras is inclined to talk about the Greek wealth inequality, the data referenced by him does not strike me as extreme. It is lower than that in Germany where the top 10% own around 58% of the national wealth, France and Netherlands (in the 60s) and the US (in mid-70s). It shows it is more important for the economy how the top 10% accumulated their wealth and what do they do with it.
I am also guessing that the lower incoming inequality in Greece is driven by higher home and real estate ownership (compared to a country like Germany) and entrepreneurship (e.g., small hotel and restaurant ownership). Did the Greek government borrowing and policies during 1981-2010 facilitate that?
Obviously you hate the south-Europeans because they have houses because they were slaving as “Guestworkers” and you want one cheaper as cheap
As you are getting bashed all the time for your statements which, in my biased and un-objective opinion, are among the most reasonable and well-written on this blog, I wanted to say thanks for your postings. and keep it up!
It’s clear you cannot expect much appreciation here, but to many outside readers of this blog, comparing your statements to those of your critics gives a good impression of different quality of arguments and discussion culture.
one should express appreciation for the blog Admin for a change
appreciation expressed! 🙂
Fishing for compliments? ;o)
There we go:
I do very much appreciate your blog, as it gives people not speaking Greek the chance to read other viewpoints. I tried that in the Egypt crisis as long as they still had some kind of “free” press just as I try to follow Russian and Ukrainian media with various background on that conflict.
Its a pity there is often little discussion by locals in English language so also a “foreigner” can try to follow the discourse. Your blog is one important source for that, just as the “arch enemies” over at Kathimerini.
Thanks for all your work!
see how easy it was 🙂
Since you admit to bias (and probably ignorance is a large part too) one wonders why you are posting here. Oh, is it propaganda perhaps?
Contrary to you, I am aware that my viewpoint is not necessaryly “the” one and single truth and I am willing to accept good arguments. Also, I don’t like black and white. Most things turn out some shade of grey.
I read arguments from many sides and so far, much of what you say does not convince me. It might be that yelling “ignorant” “propagandist” or similar at people you want to convince of your view does not really help making them accept your arguments. Something your current government is currently learning the hard way.
If KTG mentions 98% in the European parliament were “against” Greece: how did it come to that? All just German propaganda? You have it all in the EP: left & right wing nut jobs, greens, left and right social democrats, strict and less strict conservatives, neo- and other liberals, pro and anti EU and from all EU countries. And now, for the first time in history, they all united across all their usual divisions just to do harm to Greece (despite knowing that their countries will all be harmed if they succeeded)?
I have to confess that I am tired of explaining the same things again and again, especially with so many trolls around who are not interested to debate (but pretend to do so, to waste our time). Explaining the mass ludicrous views of the EP members is a sociological issue — partly related to political ideology, partly related to the effect of 5 years of sustained propaganda and false “facts” about the Greek economy and partly related to nationalistic senses of outraged belief that Greece has taken some advantage somehow. This last point is ridiculous, because no eurozone country is in such a parlous state as Greece — primarily caused by Troika policies — and is also linked with both nationalistic anti-communist ideology of the eastern countries and religious moralising of the Germans and others.
The whole thing is a mess, and has nothing to do with economics.
now you know why I don’t explain anything when asked: it has been the same question since 5 years.
FAQ (or multiple FAQs representing different points of view) could help
lol in my next life – and then people will ask the same question – BTW my answer is always: Search in KTG or Google it
As it was impossible to watch it all it may have looked like 98% but that depended on then and how long eyes and ears could take it. I guess the whole session one can find somewhere, also the ignored answers of Alexandros Tsipras. It’s really nice to read, hear and see everywhere “No reforms”, the little question-mark forgotten somewhere plus the missing answer, then it counts up to a huge lie PLUS calling something reforms that are no reforms, it’s like the fake reality of Kafka’s Process, every reader ignored the authors wish to not publish the book.
Fair is a subjective notion.
On the other hand, the list of reforms demanded by the lenders to the Greek government need to be convincing. Is this objective?
When I have to come up with a convincing plan, I try to do that by breaking it up into more detailed items, and assigning specific numbers to them based on assumptions most experts will find credible. Obviously, some of the assumptions that Mr. Tsipras’s / Dr. Tsakalotos’s plan has to rely on can be fairly accurate (e.g., how many Greeks will reach the age of 65 this year). Reasonable people can disagree on other assumptions (e.g., how much GDP will be lost this year because the banks were closed for 2 weeks). Nevertheless, the more detailed and specific the reform plan is and the more specific and credible the assumptions are, the more convincing the plan will be.
Dr. Tsakalotos knows the Greek economy well, and he (with the help of his staff) will be in the best position to produce such a plan. It’s just that the the time frame is incredibly aggressive at this stage; even being “in the best position” might not be good enough.
Of course, this all assumes that there is a political will on behalf of the Greek government to be transparent in their plans. Being detailed and specific will expose them to more scrutiny and accountability in the future. For example, collecting fewer taxes from the tax cheats than the plan assumes might require increasing the level of austerity to get back on track.
Lastly, the reform plan needs to be both convincing and acceptable to the rest of the EZ governments. But that’s a separate topic.
Since the rest of the eurozone is primarily interested in collecting money from Greece, and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about recovery and development of the Greek economy, then it is more or less impossible that an economic plan predicated on recovery will be accepted.
That has been the situation since 2010 and it is clear that the Germans in particular have no intention of abandoning the medieval “austerity economics” that has been condemned by economists across the globe. They re determined to leave Greece in perpetual austerity and with no hope of recovery.
Will they veto an intelligent economic plan for Greece? Yes, of course.
You are right on the motivation to get their loans paid back by Greece. However, if Greece goes bankrupt the probability of getting the loans paid back in full goes down. This is why IMF started talking about haircuts on the loans. (I suspect, they want the rest of the creditors to take that haircut, so that the IMF is paid in full…)
The IMF economists wrote that report. The IMF political leadership (that nasty piece of work Lagarde) chose to go along with the standard German/EU line, until they were exposed for their fraud. Now there is a schism between the IMF and Germany, which is presumably why the IMF is not in the current talks.
Germany has totally lost the plot, and will likely lose a lot of money if Greece quits. This is just Teutonic stubborn stupidity, the morality argument derived from religion. What a fu**ing way to run a currency union!
It’s also fraud with fake-money as only constitutional states are allowed to print money and the EU is no state, so all this Euros that needs to get filled into the ATMs the banks can make on an average laser-printer.
Quote: Since the rest of the eurozone is primarily interested in collecting money from Greece, and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about recovery and development of the Greek economy
That’s a contradiction in itself. If the eurozone actually was interested in collecting money, they WOULD give a rat’s ass about the Greek economy. Because only if the economy is growing there is a chance they can collect money.
Did I say that the eurogroup is not full of contradictions? The difference anyway is one of time and probability: they KNOW that they can extort taxes from the poor in the immediate future (although this recently failed), whereas the prospect of a growing economy is in the distant future and requires waiting for your money.
Of course, you are right: the intelligent thing is to assist economic development and growth, and wait for the money. The Germans claim that they cannot trust the Greeks, who refuse to reform, and they certainly cannot work with the left Tsipras government. Whether this is a rational or emotional argument is a matter for debate; it is certainly not constructive.
I ask everybody to watch Guy Verhofstadt’s plenary speech on Greece with Alexis Tsipras 8-7-2015: “How do you want to be remembered? As an electoral accident who made its people poorer? Or as a real revolutionary reformer? Show that you are a real leader and not a false prophet.” His speech will go down in history as one of the finest hours of European democracy.
my cat + I started crying
I just watched it. Pathetic rhetoric and typical body language of a politician who understands nothing of economic problems but thinks he is an expert.
At least Tsipras is honest enough not to make pretentious speeches of that sort.
a revolutionary would cut the ties of an unhealthy neo-colonial relationship with the northern countries, and begin to rebuild his own battered national economy…
greece entered the EU on very bad terms for greek agriculture – which is why is so damaged today…
the light industry which was enough for national needs is non-existent today – having been shut down companies belonging to the ‘advanced’ economies of the north.
i hope he is a ‘real’ leader who will prepare his people for the task ahead – which is a return to an economy which puts national needs first!
The smartest analysis on this one can find in communiques of political prisoners and in some old stuff of them every thing they told would happen happened and happens.
If it keeps on going like now the only solution will be to organise regional without any leadership-bullshit and abolish money and state, organize electricity from wind-mills and the rest gives the land.
i have no problem with that. have outi, will travel!
Earlier today I replied to your comment dated July 6:
In short: I agree the Southern EU countries have their traditional industries hurting. However, it is more a function of modern world globalization than “colonial policies” of the North.
You also might be happy with my conclusion: Maybe, a solution would require to create more EU-level welfare and pension redistribution schemes? Coincidentally, the discussions that David Cameron of the U.K. is trying to initiate might be an opportunity for that. For example, he wants to restrict access to welfare for immigrants from the EU until they stay in the U.K. for a number of years (e.g., four). The countries from which these emigrants leave could argue that it will be unfair to them to have to provide a safety net for someone who spent, say, 3 years working in the U.K., then got laid off through no fault of her own, and had to return back home. To compensate for that, they can argue they should receive back the contributions the U.K. government collects until someone is eligible for welfare in that country. Similarly, it might be worth looking at the cost vs. benefits from secondary and higher education expenses the different countries experience, and consider adjusting such EU programs as Erasmus if warranted.
I guess Tsipras’ answer to the accuses of his lying zombie was not reported in your media
I watched his speech, and, like it or not, it really sums up neatly what I and considerable part of North Europeans think about the crisis. It has accumulated millions of views, which is *pretty good* for a political speech.
KTG, but how can you imagine Europe giving way ? Greeks want debt reduction, but there was internet voting of Irish – something like 90 % voted : if Greece gets a debt reduction, we want it , too.
Greek debt is mainly in hands of countries. If they reduce Greek debt, they will owe more by exactly this debt. Maybe such reduction is possible in two years, when the crisis is over.
I put 8 : 2 that Grexit is not a bluff. Now 9 : 1…
What we see is a real tragedy, exactly like Greek tragedy, where actors go to their tragic destiny because they cannot change the Fate.
Tsipras promised membership in euro without austerity – and now he rather cannot back out
Europe probably cannot blink, because other countries will ask the same and it would be death of euro – euro would become yes, like Zimbabwean dollar which Samaras showed.
So with all respect and feeling that I still may be wrong (it is probably easier for Tsipras to blink) – we are just witness of a Greek tragedy of ancient times – and we can do nothing.
But I still think that No was a good answer in the referendum. Yes would create a technical government , probably without Syriza, the new government would have to return to austerity … then Syriza would come back to power or there would be a revolution. If Grexit is the final of this Antigone, let it be – better now than in 2 years.
All against Greece. That’s how the things are unfortunally. But “Greece against everybody and everthing” is another story. Think about the Greek vetos etc. etc. I wish Tsipras good luck and that he will not end like Sokrates ” believing in new or no Gods and corrupting the young “.