The anti-Greece campaign of the international media

by Ingeborg Beugel on June 21, 2011

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Prejudice against Greece has taken on grotesque proportions. Seriously, the Greeks work harder than anyone else — stop blaming them!

Written by Ingeborg Beugel for NRC Handelsblad, translation by Jérôme Roos

There’s only one word that adequately describes the majority of Dutch media reports on Greece right now: a witch hunt. Of all the arrogant stupidity, full of gut feelings of Dutch superiority, De Telegraaf takes the cake. “Kick them out of the eurozone. Our citizens no longer want to pay for these wasteful Greeks,” was this newspaper’s headline on May 19, following the results of a Telegraaf survey of over 11,000 participants. Or what about the following headline, on May 13th: “Again, billions of euros thrown into a bottomless pit.” Apparently this kind of nonsense works. By now, 58 percent of Dutch people are opposed to ‘giving’ even a penny to Greece.

For what it’s worth, the average Greek retirement age is nearly 65. Some Greeks that I know who take up their retirement funds early, usually receive between 200 and 600 per month. At that point, sitting on your ass is not even an option. These people have to immediately find employment elsewhere, usually more than one job. After the first round of cuts last year, a high school teacher now earns an average of 800 euros per month. 500 euros of this goes to rent and other fixed costs. You’re left with 300 euros to live off. As a teacher, you simply can’t start a family. And what do you do if you’re a kindergarten teacher or a hostess with a salary of 650 euros per month? A Greek widow (my 94-year old neighbor on Hydra) lives off 400 euros a month. That’s not even enough for her diapers and medicine. She manages to pull through under appalling conditions thanks to her family and neighbors. I don’t know any Dutch person working three jobs to make ends meet, but I do know dozens of Greeks who work three jobs just to survive. Yes, there are Greeks benefiting from high and early retirement. They are an exception, not the rule. By the way: on Hydra, there’s a retired Dutch teacher, a carefree baby boomer, who retired at her fiftieth, never having to work again and enjoying Greece for the rest of her life without any financial worries. Not a single Greek colleague of hers could do that.

According to the latest Eurostat statistics, the Greeks work 40.6 hours a week, most of all 27 EU member states. That says nothing about productivity and efficiency — which is lower — but it does say something about the alleged laziness of the Greeks. According to OECD figures of 2009, the Greeks are the only ones among western countries who exceed the line of two thousand working hours per year: Greece, 2119 per year; Australia 1690; Belgium 1550; Netherlands 1378. That the average Dutch people in the street, or average Dutch journalists are ignorant, fail to inform themselves, and utter the most insulting remarks, doesn’t surprise me given our social climate, but if politicians and notables express themselves in the same way, it’s time to ring the alarm bell.

Geert Wilders, the Dutch far-right populist, calls the Greeks ‘junkies’, to whom you shouldn’t give any money. Our national demagogue has found his new Moroccans in Europe — the Greek people and the inhabitants of other “garlic countries”. Piet Moerland, Rabobank CEO, believes that “the Greeks have to feel the threshold of pain”. What Greeks? Anyone but the honorable ladies and gentlemen with whom he knowingly did business? Or the ordinary Greek citizen, who had nothing to do with it, but who’s paying the bill? The Dutch, who are only sensitive towards their wallets and who have no regard for history, causality, or the social consequences of the often unjustified measures that have until now affected the weak in Greek society (simple workers and pensioners), are living up to their reputation.

In 1974, after seven years of dictatorship, Greece became free and independent for the first time, after decades of foreign interference and oppression by right-wing governments that didn’t care for the people. When, in 1981, Andreas Papandreou, the father of the incumbent prime minister, took power to become the first left-wing prime minister in the history of Hellas, he played into the pressing needs of the people at the time: the need for freedom (everything should be allowed, including demonstrations, powerful unions and ‘free state’ universities where the police wasn’t allowed to venture), the need for national pride, and the need for a caring state. He thought the economy would grow by pumping in money, increasing incomes and creating employment. So he began to borrow.

Papandreou was anything but successful, even though he had been a professor of economics at Berkeley. His strategy would have worked only in a protected economy, but Greece was a member of the EEC. The extra income of the people went straight to consumer goods that were imported from abroad. The money borrowed from abroad flowed right back into those very same countries. Industry in Greece slowly faded. Companies went bankrupt. Northern Europe was stronger and better.

The same happened with other countries in Europe’s southern axis. Weaker economies served as a growing market for the stronger economies in the European core. With the introduction of the euro in 2001, this development proceeded even further. Germany and the Netherlands benefited enormously, both through collecting interest on loans and through the growth of their exports.

All in all, Brussels and the European banks gave in to their own drive for profit maximization without any self-restraint, lending some 2,000 billion euros to Ireland, Belgium, Portugal and Spain — and to Greece, while everyone was fully aware that cronyism there still reigned supreme after entrance into the European Union, that the public sector was bursting at the seams, that the business climate was poor, that the political elite on the left and on the right was corrupt, that the rich engaged in mass tax evasion, that the institutions functioned poorly, and that European money was not being used well. If you do that for thirty years, without any checks or sanctions, can you still keep a straight face while blaming the Greeks alone for their mismanagement?

Did Brussels not know by 2009 that the Greek budget deficit was not 6, but 12 percent? Nonsense. Brussels and the banks were simply standing there, looking on and doing business with anyone who all those people who are now being called a “bottomless souvlaki”.

As long as the Greek economy kept growing at a remarkable 4-5 percent rate, thanks to the tourism and shipping industries (in which the Greek shipowners are considered the absolute world leaders), nothing could go wrong. The structural instability caused by excessive borrowing remained invisible until the crisis of 2008 did hit Europe, but left Greece untouched for the moment. The EU, under the presidency of France, decided to support the banks. Greece participated, although Greek banks did not use the support at the time. They did not need to, because — unlike Dutch banks — they had not participated in the “American casino games”. In that respect, the Greek banks were more solid enterprises than the Dutch ones. Their problem was — and still is — just that they (also) had Greek bonds in their portfolios. In 2009, the global shipping industry collapsed as a result of the global crisis. Tourism decreased dramatically. In the spring of 2009, European Commissioner Almunia warned repeatedly that things would go wrong for Greece. Nobody did anything. There were Greek elections in June and September. In such moments, it’s customary for Brussels not to bother a member state. Moreover, the right-wing prime minister at the time, Karamanlis, who was an ally of neoliberal Northern Europe, felt that support measures could wait.

Only in the autumn of 2009, after the “confession” and “Mea Culpa” on the Greek deficit by prime minister Giorgos Papandreou in Brussels, right at the moment when the global crisis was starting to be felt in Greece, did the full extent of the country’s problems emerge. Ever since, the propaganda machine has been running at full speed. Contrary to reality, the Greeks are not just being blamed, but they are suddenly also considered to be Mediterranean profiteers, living like a louse on a sore head, at the expense of the righteous North European taxpayer. The angry statements by EU bosses like Barroso, Trichet, Juncker and Merkel were raining down. Papandreou did not even get time to sort things out. No, Greece should immediately display good behavior. Speculators smelled blood. They openly started betting on a Greek default.

Greece was drained by the markets. It no longer received any credit and had to beg the EU for assistance. Under the leadership of Angela Merkel, the IMF was called in. Tough conditions were set, even harsher than the IMF desired: punishment was enacted. Punishment for what? Punishing Greece is like a perverse confirmation of the EU’s inherent powerlessness, and a confirmation of the fact that the EU is mainly a bureaucratic institution that fails to act politically when it has to in order to stave off catastrophe.

The ordinary Greek people are now expected to foot the bill for the extremely high interest repayments to the European banks. Unfortunately, the Greek prime minister started last year what he should have ended with. Taxes have been raised. Salaries were already much lower than in the Netherlands, but they have now been reduced by an additional 15 percent. Social security has been minimized. All kinds of public services have been cut out entirely.

Most Greeks are struggling just to keep their head above the water. Every day, desperate people demonstrate in downtown Athens. They are not, in other words, on the beach drinking ouzo. But it’s not enough. The merciless figures show that the situation in Greece has actually gotten worse. The Greek market has collapsed. Tax increases are failing to raise revenues (you simply can’t squeeze any milk out of an empty cow). All the public sectors in Greece — postal services, ports, utilities, etc. — have to be privatized, not so much to help the Greeks, or to actually increase the efficiency of these often poorly-functioning institutions, but rather to for them to serve as collateral for the European banks. Sharply lower incomes and higher taxes, combined with top-heavy loans, do not only destroy the economy, but also social cohesion. Unemployment has already reached 16 percent. Next year, it will be 22 percent. Greek people have no prospects. Among those under 35 years of age, 37 percent wants to emigrate.

Dutch Finance Minister Jan-Kees de Jager sees only one solution: “A very radical, painful adjustment package for the economy, cuts and privatization, whether there is political opposition or not”. So what does he envision? Do those Greeks who have bought houses, but who can no longer pay for them because the housing market has completely collapsed, have to be evicted en masse? Do defaulters have to have their water and electricity cut off? Do all Greek buses have to go back to the depot, do schools and hospitals have to be closed? How far do De Jager and his neoliberal buddies want to go?

As far as I’m aware, there is not a single Greek who is not aware of the fact that the debt has to be repaid, but they justly demand lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. They also want the cacophony of ominous and hateful statements from European leaders to be stopped, so that Greece can get some air to recover.

The scourge of our time is that we are formulating ever more simplistic solutions, in childish neoliberal doublespeak, for the extremely intricate and complex problems we face. The reality of globalization and extreme interdependence of financial institutions is different and screams for greater insight, reflection and good governance. Nobody offers any perspective. ”Simple solutions” do not exist. Brussels doesn’t know anymore. Neither does Dutch politics.

In a solidary Europe, the question shouldn’t be: how do I get my money back with maximum profit? It should be: how do I help a country get out of a recession for which I am partly responsible, and who will foot the bill for that? In the first place, part of the money should be taken from those responsible for causing this mess — from the elite. The Greeks who have committed fraud for years on end, who evaded their taxes, who obfuscated their money and who speculated irresponsibly, are going free, partly thanks to a recent law on parliamentary immunity. It’s an eyesore to the Greek people that Papandreou has failed to sue even a single corrupt politician, to punish even a single entrepreneur or ship owner, and to recover even a single penny from the billions of euros that have disappeared into various pockets. And in no way does Brussels seem to be pushing for such measures. In fact, on this subject, Brussels has remained silent as the grave.

Undoubtedly, this silence serves to disguise other dubious practices — such as the money from Siemens, which lavishly handed out bribes in exchange for a monopoly position at the Athens Olympics of 2004; or Germany, which forced Greece to buy expensive German submarines, which it doesn’t need, at a price twice as high as Turkey had to pay for them; or France, which forced Greece to buy wildly expensive fighter planes in return for its ‘aid’.

Indeed, the propaganda of the mainstream media provides Europe and the Netherlands with a convenient scapegoat to exploit.

{ 207 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Perrin June 21, 2011 at 09:58

Two observations:

“a high school teacher now earns an average of 800 euros per month. 500 euros of this goes to rent and other fixed costs.”

So landlords are minting it! Just two properties would earn you more than a high-school teacher! If the land lords mortgage is high, then the money went to the previous owner who must now be minted. Nothing to do with the EU in that…

My other observation – with the original banking crisis, in a free market the casino banks should have been allowed to go bust, it would have been more solid banks (as you describe the Greek banks) who would have filled the gap. Solid banks would have expanded massively, with good foreign profits – the Greek banks prudence would have catapulted Greece way up the financial tree.

The bank bailouts were market manipulation that rewarded the profligate at the expense of the prudent – and the prudent financed their own demise.

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Paul Perrin June 21, 2011 at 10:03

p.s. You might like this, that I found the other day – a poem on the irish bailout!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=va1Zb12nuM4

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Anna June 27, 2011 at 10:51

Regarding your first remark Greek landlords pay approximately 40 % taxes not to mention the taxes they pay when they inherit/buy property & the new taxes that the Greek goverment wants to impose

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Marko November 5, 2011 at 00:45

Do you *really* think, that Greek landlords pay approximately 40 % taxes? Well, maybe 5% of them really do…

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Greek Lao February 18, 2012 at 02:54

every non-tax-evading citizen other than public servant pay more than 40% of their income to taxes ( and that’s just old news, before the recent voting of more taxation measures)..

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Joe June 21, 2011 at 11:08

@ Paul Perrin

Rent income is taxed to almost 40%. From these 500 euro that one has to pay for rent only 300 euro stay in the pocket of the house owner. A sum that doesn’t stay much in there because good and services prices are ever growing.

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nick June 21, 2011 at 18:15

Thank you very much for a perspective that needs to get out. The greek people are suffering for political misconduct. I have yet to hear that all in goverment have taken pay cuts. I will say I am not for any left goverment ; but this one is being forced to due what should have started under his father. As a greek living abroad I feel for the average greek citizen that has done everything the right way and politians screwed everything up. By greed and power.

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mtex June 21, 2011 at 20:53

Thank you so much for this article. I am gonna blog about this. Here is a blog entry I recently posted about how the Dutch media are spinning things:

http://maria-technosux.livejournal.com/226432.html

The Dutch MSM just looove to bash Greece, accusing Greece of cooking the books… well, guess what the Dutch government itself is doing right now: hiding 1 billion euros of its own debt. I guess the Dutch deleted the word “hypocrite” from their dictionary the day their MSM decided they hate us so much for being such accounting frauds.

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Effie June 26, 2011 at 08:14

how true!! do these hipocrits know that the Greek people have & are been paying also for the EU .Come on ,These lies show the IQ of all the above acusses of the Greek people.

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Sophia June 21, 2011 at 22:11

Thank you

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MariaC June 21, 2011 at 23:56

I haven’t read another so well written article like this one here that describes so well the situation in Greece. It’s reliable by far what it is written.

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Anna June 22, 2011 at 03:51

Hi!

I am Northern European, and I must say while I do feel sorry for the Greeks, they are not the totally innocent victims you make them out to be. Are you saying that not a single Greek ever noticed the massive tax dodging that seems to be a national pasttime (is it 30 or 40 % )? That everyone who was paid 14 salaries/year refused it, etc, etc

As a Swede, we have paid more than we have received to the EU for the last 17 years, while going through our own financial hardship, and while saying no to the euro. No Greece wants more money from the from the EU (I assume the EU Structural Fund), and more money from my country.

When will it stop? Do you want me to pay money to Greece for the next five years? Ten? 20? Which year do you plan to have them on the same level as for example Germany in paying their taxes? For how many more years (apart from the 17 we’ve already paid) do you expect me to be loyal? Why should I be loyal to a conty who has borrowed and spent, not thinking on the consequences, while my country seem to be excelling in fiscal discipline (after hard lessons in the 90′s that we had to work through on our own, no thanks to Greece).

If you want my money, I want you to answer those questions above. Swedish banks haven’t made millions from the Greeks, and I most certainly haven’t. Just don’t give me vague plans of “integration” and “fiscal discipline”. I want to know – next time a Greek person cheat on their taxes, will they be forced to go to jail/pay or not, or will it just be ignored (again). If Swedes have to retire at 67, why can they retire at 60? How are you going to make them less corrupt? What is your plan, in detail please. At what year will they start being donors to the EU, instead of takers.I personally don’t think you have one, but I would love to see it if you do.

Until my questions are actually answered, I will vote and argue for anyone who refuses to just hand over money without a plan. I think a lot of people think like me, and the politicians will find that one out in the next EU election. I simply just don’t understand why politicians should hand over my hard earned money for another 17 years, and I’ll vote against it.

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Kostas June 22, 2011 at 09:28

a)Greece has also nothing to do with you giving more money to the EU than other countries.
b)You don’t understand that either some Greeks fade taxes or not, you still get your money back with a HUGE interest.
c)Greeks don’t retire at 60. Plus they work harder (more hours) and get a massively income.
d)There is a plan, imposed on Greece, but guess what. It only leads to the sale of every valuable public asset. But you don’t see any mistreatment there, because YOU are going to steal it away.
No one gives away free money.

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Anna June 22, 2011 at 14:47

Kostas,
Greece are receiving money through A) loans (which they as you say pay interest on) B) Payments (which will be part of the big “bail out Greece plan), which they do not have to pay back, through for example EU Structural Funds. That is money that a country they receive, they never pay back. And yes, that money could be given to other countries, or, we (Sweden) as a country could pay less to the EU. So don’t say they don’t cost me any money.

c)We retire at 67. The early retirement age (which you can’t get any more, so that is changing ) is 63. The average Swede works until 63, 7. The Greeks are protesting an official retirement age of 60. You do not understand how I can see that as tasteless?

Could you please explain how Swedish taxpayers are stealing from the Greeks? Did we buy Rhodos yesterday? Have we cheated on our taxes?? No, we have not? Please, I would really like you to elaborate on how Swedes are cheating Greek people out of their money.

You also realize that even with higher taxes (that a lot of the Greeks don’t pay) you are still near the level of taxation the Swedes have. So, it looks a bit cheap when you are protesting a higher VAT (we have one on 25 %) thank you, income taxes etc.

If that is how you feel, why don’t everyone just stop paying the Greeks and let you fend for yourself. I am all for that actually, would welcome the idea. Then my problem is solved, and yours too. Brilliant! Lets just see how that goes.

Last, where were the Greeks when it was decided that one basically has life time employment if one is hired by the government. Were you protesting then? Were you protesting when report after report said that you have a hught “illegal” economy and that a lot of people chated on their taxes (mind you, even if you paid, you still have a lower level than we do). Were you out in the streets due to the fact that people could retire at 52 or got paid 14 months a year. Not all of that happened to the rich, or the politicians. The ordinary guy knows people who works for the state, the ordinary guy cheated on his taxes and had an uncle who retired at 52, and a wife who got paid 14 salaries a year.

Basically, you have made your bed (or are you saying that the Swedes did it? Are we the cause of all that is wrong with Greece, but the Greeks themselves are not to blame? Then I am not surprise you have a problem down there), but you don’t want to lie in it, so you want me to remake it for you. I am saying that I will not do that, unless you at least start to work as long as we do, pay taxes as we do and give me real examples of how to change the widespread corruption.

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Anna June 22, 2011 at 23:33

Anna, forget it! Buy a brain.

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Anna June 23, 2011 at 09:50

I would, but I have to hand over my money to the EU/Greece. You might get them soon, and maybe you can use them wisely this time.

Panos June 23, 2011 at 02:57

Anna,

i am a 19 year old student.I work 8 hours a day in order to endorse my familly’s income while at the same time studing.

My MONTHLY(and i wanna clarify that this is for a month 8-hour job) salary is 710.

Can you please tell me if with tha salary i could do anything else besides feeding my self,buy clothes and in general try to survive?

my father is 56 now,he has been working since he was 15(41 years so far) and u are telling hiim that in order to save the Greek economy he needs to work untill he gets 67…i guess 52 years of work should be acceptable for any swede…

i am not saying that everything is perfect in greece,not at all,but the rest of europe must at some point stop requesting more blood and sand from the average tax payer,because anna believe me the average greek that loses his job or gets payd 592e/month(this is the new salary for youngster until their 24 base on hte new goverment law) DIDNT STEAL BILLIONS FROM THE STATE MAKING SECRET DEALS FOR BUYING PARTS OF THE GREEK DEBT(2001),DIDNT ARRANGE TO RECEIVE FAULTY MILLITARY EQUIPMENT,DIDNT EXPLOIT THE HUGE STATE FUNDS

the average tax payer was told in the beginning of 2000 that he had the biggest growth in eurozone,that everything was fine and the country was moving forward and even when the great crisis stroke US (2008) the goverment stated firmly that ‘GRECEE IS TOTALLY PROTECTED AND SECURE’

In any case this is the past.

Now.the thing is that the big majority of greeks DOES NOT WANT ANY LOANS FROM EU,EUROZONE,IMF,NATO,NASA or whatever

what most greeks want is

1)the corrupted politicians to return the stolen money
2)the burdens of the finantial crisis to be equally shared
3)a goverment that at least will speak the truth
4)no more loans,the debt keeps getting bigger and bigger and is never going to be paid back
5)investiments on the real economy,not the funds or the CDS

And Anna,the last thing that greeks would like is to take your money.For your info THE GREEK PRIMINISTER,THAT WAS ELECTED WITH LIES(HE STATED FIRMLY THAT GREECE HAS MORE THAN ENOUGH FUNDS TO OPERATE) IS SELLING THE HOLE COUNTRY OUT…HOSPITALS,PORTS,AIRPORTS,CIVIL SERVICES W I T H O U T THE PERMISION OF THE PEOPLE

and believe me,greeks are neither lazy nor taking advantage of the europeans

a 19 year old student that has earned nothing but debt the last 19 years of his life

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Anna June 23, 2011 at 10:28

I don’t know about laziness, but Greece as a country has low productivity, and an average lower retirement age (than Sweden). Here is a link for that what I said about the productivity. The numbers are from 2009, so Greece are (probably) worse off actually.

Basically it is a report of Global competetivness, and Greece is not doing very well, at all. The worst number you can have is 139 (they looked at 139 countries) and Greece have an overall ranking of 83, below El Salvador, but just above Trinidad and Tobago. Please, go through the report, it is very interesting.
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2010-11.pdf

As, for your father, apart from that being anecdotal evidence, I do expect him to work until he is 67, Swedes who has worked since they were 15 have to do that (like my aunt, if you want to get anecdotal). Are you saying that it is OK that we do it, but you should get a break, or do you just want the whole of EU to lower its retirement age to be on par with Greece? Personally, I think that would be a financially really unheathy move, but I’d love to hear about your financial reasoning behind that one

You are saying that you do not want any more money from the EU. Well, then we are in agreement since I don’t want to give any, and that is perfectly fine with me actually. I would however love to hear how you plan to pay everyones salaries? With what money?. Do you think Greece should default then? I can understanding not trusting your government, (they are 128 on that list!) but what is your alternative?

You are saying that you have been in debt our whole life, which is something you actually share with almost everyone, although the Greek situation is rather depressing. Are you telling me that no one in Greece knew that you were borrowing money. I know that the numbers were falsified for entering the Eurozone, but you have been borrowing since 1974. The blame do not fall on one prime minister, or one party (or one single reason, I’ll certainly give the Greeks that). Since I assume basic math is something most Greeks know, why didn’t anyone ask – what about paying back? It is the same with the labour market – why didn’t anyone ask about the life time contract before? The Greeks have certainly lived a lot over their assets, and I still haven’t received an proper answer to why I should pay for that (although we are in agreement that I shouldn’t, I just like to hear your reasoning).

António June 24, 2011 at 21:27

Panos, you are 19 and you are complaining about a salary of 710? Are you joking? I am 46 and I earn 1300. You must be joking, I can’t believe this.

António June 24, 2011 at 23:16

Panos, I’m sorry if I’m too harsh, but 750 euros to a 19 boy is indeed a good salary. And you complain you can’t buy clothes or food with that? What kind of clothes do you wear? As I said, I’m 46 years old (with a university degree), my salary is 1300 euros, my wife earns 500 in a call center, we have a son, and we go along with that. We pay 350 euros for rent, we buy in discount shops, meat, fish, vegetables, everything, we buy clothes in a open market, our son (eight years old) is happy and a good student, and we would be happy if he earnead 750 if he was 19. You don’t know what life is, my friend.
By the way, my father started working at a young age, too (everyone did, in his generation) and he retired with 65 years. He missed work, when he retired. He kept working in is little farm, after retirement, til his dead.

Effie June 26, 2011 at 08:20

“they say Greece is corrupt” what about the German,siemens,and other corrupt deals!!! I think that before pointing fingers they should go and look at themselves in the mirror & then condem a proud nation!

Bert July 22, 2011 at 00:06

Maybe it’s time for a revolution?

JOhn February 18, 2012 at 02:20

Panos, you did not mention anything about the millions of Greek citizens that tax dodge and cheat their country, which Anna painstakingly referred to. Why do you avoid the reality of this fundumental reason of which why Greece is being held to account now? If this disfunction was not rooted in Greek society (and it still is) do you really think that that Germany and the rest would be demanding these measures (reagrdless of the GFC and the conspiracies mentioned here and elsewhere), if society in Greece was not as I’ve described? It is a mentality issue which you have to change and which has caused this, along with sheer ego and greed. Some advice to finish, focus on all the important factors that led to the predicament as I’ve stressed, not the factors that suit your escapism, or line of argument, that is if you want Greece to change for the better,
For example, rather than thinking that a 20% drop in patient-bribery to doctors (down form 70%) is positive, 20% should still be considered absolutely unexceptable. Instead the media only focussed on this decline while no one (on the panel) mentioned anything about the 20% figure in the poll they were referring to. Another word of advice, no living creature can live beyond their means indefinately.

maroulita June 23, 2011 at 11:14

For the love of what is good and holy, please stop.. I mean Sweden is not even Greece’s biggest funders!!

What are you talking about? Do you pay insurance in sweden? Do you pay anything regarding education in sweden? You get a lot of money, you pay your taxes and you all live happily ever after… Just leave greeks alone. You have no idea where the money goes…

Did you know that greece has to pay the ridiculous amount of 350.000.000 euros just for the IMF to FILE… YES TO FILE… the loan request! It is as if you went to the bank to ask to borrow money to buy a house and they wanted the amount of money they were going to borrow you + the same amount as a fee?

Did you know that?? I’m sure you weren’t! That is a rip off!! I told you before… READ before you reply. Learn what is asked from greece to pay and in what conditions. DON’T just listen to the media or whatever else you read… JUST READ the conditions of the 2nd loan… And then think if you would accept them for your country… NO YOU WOULDN’T… Actually no one would… but hey who gives a s***t about greece right?? Well there are people who do, besides greeks… thank god!!!!

But don’t think you know anything about greece… You have no clue!!!!

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Anna June 24, 2011 at 09:19

Well, I’d leave Greece alone if Greece do not receive any money from the EU. Essentially, you are saying that since Sweden is not Greece biggest funders, we should not care where out money goes, is that right?

Well, I happen to disagree. I think Sweden should care where out money goes, and just don’t count money to the EU as money down the drain. If you don’t get why we care where out billions, then I can’t explain it to you, but I suppose that also is a difference btw Greece and Sweden.

I’d just like to hear what you propose instead of the loans. Do you want to cancel them all and default? Refusing funds from the EU. I haven’t heard what you are suggesting instead, could you please tell me.

Effie June 26, 2011 at 10:49

@ ANNA ——Here are the facts:

Hours worked per week:
According to Eurostat data of 2005, the Greeks worked 43.1 hours per week (compared to 35.7 hours in so-called ‘thrifty’ Germany, with its much-touted ‘Protestant work ethic’).
Hours worked per year:
More recent OECD data shows the Greeks to work an average of 2,119 hours per year — 690 hours more than the average German, 467 more than the average Brit and 356 more than the OECD average. In fact, out of all OECD countries, only the Koreans work more.
Amount of paid holidays:
The paid leave entitlement in Greece is 23 days per year. This is actually below the EU average, and significantly lower than the minimum of 28 days in the UK and 30 (!) days in Germany.
Retirement age:
Again, Eurostat data from 2005, shows the average age of exit from the labour force in Greece to be 61.7. This was higher than in Germany, France or Italy and higher than the EU27 average. It is being raised even further now as a part of the EU-IMF bailout conditions.

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Dorian June 24, 2011 at 18:06

Kostas, have you any idea how much money Greece received for FREE, from the european community? 240 billion euros. It came out of someone ‘spocket, they didn’t have a money machine in Brussels. You could make a country, with that money. If you need more, why should they give it free?

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Stellar June 25, 2011 at 05:54

Wiki world debt
——————–
Who is lending who i ask again when the whole world owes 98% of it’s wealth?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt

You can also enjoy this
http://youtu.be/dQGkP68AVTI

You keep saying the same things without examining any of the sources provide to you.

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Dorian June 26, 2011 at 00:26

Yes, but can you see the diference between norway, denmark, germany, etc, and your country? How are they wealthier countries? I say again: greece received a huge amount of money, free money, for decades. Cohn Bendit say your are in trouble, and Europe is not being just with you. But he says another thing: you never cared. You allways elected the corrupt, i’s was fine with you. He seems to be talking about children, did you realise? You are a large group of individuals, not a nation.

Effie June 26, 2011 at 08:23

do you people ,who condem Greece know that Greece also gives money to Brussels!!!!!!!!!!

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marina June 26, 2011 at 13:17

Dorian,

Greece received money from the EU, that is true, but so did Greece payed money in the EU. It is supposed to be a union, so all members have an obligation to pay into the common wallet. Of’course this has to be proportionate and not the same in actual figures. Also, as a union, there is an obligation for stronger nations to help the weaker ones. This is what happen in true unions, like the USA.

When nations signed up to the EU, they gave up some of their economic sovereignty. The economic policies of Greece were to a big extend dictated by the EU. A lot of profitable industries were driven to distraction because of these policies and Greece was made to import the same goods from Germany, Holland, France and other north European countries. So they money the banks of these countries lent to Greece were used to buy the products of these countries and thus we boosted their economy. At the same time, we owned these countries the same money but this time with interest, as they were given as a loan in the first place.

Another fact that

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marina June 26, 2011 at 19:28

So, Anna, this is partly where your money goes to: back to your country and other North European countries whose main source of income is exports!

and yes, Greece (and south Europe in general) is not as productive as North Europe. This has nothing to do with how many hours people work, this has to do with the infrastructure and technical knowledge a country possesses. South European countries are largely agricultural economies and they lack in both. Entering a union with much stronger economies has done nothing but harm their competitiveness.

Sweden has benefited from the EU in other ways as much as it has paid into it. If you cannot see that, then you don’t really have a comprehensive knowledge of where the county’s profit comes from -only were the expenditure goes to. Greece and the south European countries did not really benefit from the monetary union. I guess the question is: was it a good choice for each country to enter the union in the first place? but don’t give an answer before you have all the facts. (this article gives some information:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/21/germany-a-euro-laggard ).

As for the corruption part of it: no, all Greeks are not corrupt and tax evaders. Many are. and many can see that. But what do you think could be done? you cannot judge by the standards in your country, because they are not the same. The fact is that the political and judiciary system are corrupt. This is what I wrote earlier about this:
A lot of people did see the corruption around them before we got to this point. and a lot of people didn’t. The problem is that in a country were the judiciary system is as corrupt as the political and controlled by the political system (as the high court is appointed by the government), you CANNOT get justice no matter how much you try and fight the corruption you see around you. So you lose faith in the political system as a whole, it is not there to protect you and protect justice, it is there to protect the rich, the powerful and the status quo. So there is not a lot individual citizens can do to fight the corruption when they feel they are alone in this fight. It took the situation to get to the end of the road or the edge of the cliff for more and more people to see that it can go no further and start protesting in big numbers. Greeks are not shying away from their responsibilities in the situation but I don’t think any protest or revolt has taken place in history before these people reach the end of the line.

and one last example to show you how the greek government is unfair and unjust and almost leads people to cut corners: public transport in Greece has become one of the most expensive in Europe (with the exception maybe of the UK) despite the huge difference in salaries. Profits were not as high as expected and the government blamed this on the fact that a lot of people were avoiding paying the fare (maybe that is the case maybe it’s not, we don’t know. It is a fact that you can use the public transport for free unless you are caught by an inspector as there are no barriers at stations etc). What did the government do to fight this: instead of trying to cut the fare evasion by placing barriers and have control when you board a means of transport and by punishing those who are the culprits, they instead RAISED the fare by 40%!! So in effect they punish the people that pay the fare by making them pay 40% more! this is only going to drive more people to not pay both because they cannot afford to any more and because they see the decision as very unfair. this is the strategy that has been followed in tax collecting as well. A big proportion of Greeks cannot tax evade or dont want to. So they are having to pay more and more in the last decades to cover the loses from those who do evade taxes. what can you do to fight this irrational behavior? it is a crazy system and it needs to be demolished and rebuild. I can only hope that this will happen.

Manos June 22, 2011 at 18:58

if you ever come and visit Greece just pray to god that nothing bad which need imidiate attention happen to you.

When you are in need for a hospital in Greece and you dont have any other options you will see why things are so bad for the people here.

The tax dodging you noticed above has to do with almost 1000 families here in Greece who have more than 90% of the national wealth. EU should force these people to pay…. But I forgot they cant be touched by anyone….

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Smirnov June 23, 2011 at 01:37

“The tax dodging you noticed above has to do with almost 1000 families here in Greece who have more than 90% of the national wealth.”

That is completely incorrect. Everybody in Greece is tax dodging

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marina June 23, 2011 at 03:32

“That is completely incorrect. Everybody in Greece is tax dodging”

Ha! Some pristine analysis here backed by serious, undisputed evidence. well done Smirnov!

Well, I know at least four people in Greece that have never tax evaded, so there goes your argument – demolished.

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Fou June 24, 2011 at 13:34

I’m a greek and I have never dodged paying my taxes. Neither have any of my close friends or family members. I’m sure you’re basing your amazing argument on solid evidence but believe it or not, it is a small percentage of Greeks who actually don’t pay their taxes as they should. And they are those with power and wealth.

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Jana October 5, 2011 at 16:03

Come on you guys the wealthy Greeks tax evade in a “huge” way and have been doing so for years. Their money is sitting pretty in swiss bank accounts while the poor are asked to live on bread and water to pay their taxes. The poor are proud and do what is expected. The rich even lie about having a swimming pool!!!!!!!

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Christos December 30, 2011 at 16:42

Don’t drink to much “Smirnov”…. it’s not good for you.

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Gio June 23, 2011 at 20:18

Nonsense– 1000 families dodging? rather 1000 paying their taxes. same with social security! Please stop making it worse through the victim stance

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Fou June 24, 2011 at 13:41

Really? To be honest, I don’t care what a random Gio on the Internet thinks about us so as to try and convince him/her about anything by adopting a “victim stance”.

Just for informative purposes, let me tell you this, as a Greek who knows our situation better than any random Gio who has no way of knowing how things work in some country other than his own: It is rather impossible for an employee who works in the private sector in Greece to hide anything at all. Considering that most of the Greeks that now have to bear the brunt of this disaster work in the private sector, I’d say you’re being just a little bitter when boldly saying that only 1000 families are dutiful. Please show some respect.

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Takis July 1, 2011 at 13:35

Greek employees (private and public sector) are taxed at the source. Meaning taxes and health inscurance is reduced from their wage. Do you understand that? I cannot tax-evade. Out of my salary the taxes are automaticaly removed. Get it? Do you understand? I dont think this is so hard to understand. Only companies and free lanchers are able to tax evade, which as you can guess are not the majority of Greeks.

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Jana October 5, 2011 at 16:30

Thats right Takis, its not the humble greek people but rather the rich greeks with the pools and shopping at Colonaki that can hide behind their company structures who dont pay tax. Most of them have already left Greece to let the poor fight the battle. They dont care if their electricity is disconnected till next summer.

disorderisti June 22, 2011 at 19:42

@Anna:

I was working as an engineer in Greece in private sector.My income was fixed and I couldn’t hide anything from the tax agency,like the majority of the workers.
The same time billionaires and huge corporations including all the banks were not paying their low taxes.
There are a lot scandals here in Greece showing politicians doing business with multinational companies.They are spending tax money for weapon coming from Germany-France-US etc.
All the major state infrastructure is held by international corporation.
Please see these links and search more to see what is the truth..

http://wordpress.particlestudios.net/2011/06/07/bargain-hunting-in-greece-deutsche-telekom-and-others-look-to-grab-state-owned-assets-at-fire-sale-prices/

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Anna June 24, 2011 at 09:41

I am not doubting that you (or other individuals) are good and honest people, but on the other hand, as an engineer, didn’t you notice that people were retiering early? That Greece kept loaning money? Didn’t you ever question that (while Northern Europe were struggling) Greece had a really low productivity, but still life time employment etc? I mean, it is really basic math most of it, which I am sure you are better at than I am. And, I am sorry, the tax dodging were not done by a few people, or only by the rich. I happen to think that the Greek people do have a part of the state Greece is in now, even if you personally didn’t do anything.

Here are links to prove that. I especially recommend the Global Competitivness Report. The numbers are from 2009, so you are probably worse off, sorry. On corruption you (unfortunately) have number like 128 etc (out of 139). You don’t get to that numbers if only a few dodge taxes.

http://www.weforum.org/reports
http://www.smh.com.au/world/smalltime-corruption-greeces-big-problem-20100514-v4dw.html
http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8469519.stm

Basically, I could sit all day and give links about Greece and corruption, but the point I am trying to make is that as long as the tax dodging is flourishing (and you have a lower payment rate than we do), retirement age is lower, etc I do not see why we should give more money.

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Effie June 26, 2011 at 08:31

German press & some gov officials ,tried to slam Greece on the retirement ,work hours & holidays.Well the survey facts are that the Germans work less hours ,have more holiday days off and retire earlier than the Greeks!!!!!!!

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profit! June 22, 2011 at 19:44

there are also 14 salaries/year in austria – its not the point at all – everyone calculates with employment costs/year. it does not matter if you get your annual salary in 12 or 14 or even 18 shares.

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profit! June 22, 2011 at 19:49

and @retirement:
the greeks retire at an average of 61,4 years, the germans at 61,7 years. european average is 61,3 years. sweden is in fact the highest with an average of 63,8, followed by cyprus with an average of 63,5 years.

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Maroulita June 22, 2011 at 20:15

Thank you for bringing up the matter of ‘Which year do you plan to have them on the same level as for example Germany’ because if greece was treated equally they would not have to pay 6% interest rate! They would pay 1.5 -2% like Germany!!! I don’t want to refer to other higher rates of the past!

If you guys want to play it smart with your opinions please read first before you have one! I’m so fed up with all the ignorants who think they are making Greece a favour!

The money greece is paying goes back to german and dutch banks to cover up their problems.

So by all means READ and the comment. The world is full of ignorants! Don’t add yourself to that amount! We are tired of you guys!

To your information, greeks don’t want money from anyone. They just want to be left alone! They don’t care about you or another guy who thinks that he/she knows greece at all or what is happening to europe at all!

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Anna June 23, 2011 at 10:39

Yes, but when you calculate interest rate you take into consideration the risk. You can read about it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interest_rate#Risk

Thus, saying that the Greeks should have the same interest rates as the Germans is like saying that it is the same risk and that the market is wrong. I can imagine that you don’t like the market, but one can’t say that they are wrong, from a practical standpoint. The interst rates that exists are the ones that exists, simple fact of life.

Saying that the Germans and the Greeks should have the same interest rates, is like me saying I should have the same interst rate as Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA founder). Admittedly, I’d like to but there will not be a bank ever, that would give me the same interest rate. Why not? Well, because I am not multi billionaire, that’s why. Basically, you are saying that the market should ignore risk. I am not even sure that worked in Sovjetunionen, but maybe in North Korea.

And, I will most certainly leave you alone, as long as no extra EU money goes to you, don’t worry.

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Stellar June 23, 2011 at 16:00

What is the point of been in a united Europe if measures and tactics are different? It is interesting how we must adopt everything when it comes to some countries interest but rules differs once is not in those same countries interest.

As for competitiveness inside Europe it is analysed in Debtocracy video if you want to check it out http://www.debtocracy.gr/indexen.html

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Anna June 24, 2011 at 09:08

I’m afraid I don’t understand you. Are you saying that we should all pay the same interest, no matter how we behave, either as individuals or as countries?
I mean, it is a radical, and communistic thought (or maybe they are against interest rates altogether, maybe I am thinking socialists), but it is not even practically possible.

Isn’t that the video that says that Greece never ever has done anything but loaned money, and never paid back? I’ll watch it later, but now it is midsummer and I’ll be off soon.

richard in norway November 14, 2011 at 23:05

You are correct the markets are not wrong, they are rigged!

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chrysak June 23, 2011 at 04:01

Dear Anna, search for articles about Guatemala’s contradiction where the IMF is “established” from 1984 and also the last UN report about the austerity measures europeans force on Greece, I believe you’ ll find them quite… interesting ! (if not alarming…)

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Anna June 23, 2011 at 10:40

I will, but it sounds a bit scary. I am not overly fond of the IMF, nor do I trust the auserity measures. Thanks.

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chrysak June 23, 2011 at 21:12

I guess I have to believe you if you say you’re not overly fond of the IMF and don’t trust the austerity measures but darling…..you sure don’t sound like it!! You sound a bit insulting, if you don’t mind me saying that.

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Anna June 24, 2011 at 10:09

Well, I were not overly fond of the IMF before the Greek debacle, and they haven’t really done anything to endear me to them now. Nor do I like the fact that the EU has been poring money over Southern Europe for decades. While investmensts can and should be warranted, there are actually very good economic studies done that just handing over money hurts the receiver more that it benefits from it. EU should take a scientific approach to things – including this.

As for the insulting part, I am sorry, but people are making one un-scientific remark like after the other, based on feelings and I don’t really know how to answer them. I mean, the lady above were saying that the interst rates should be the same in Germany and Greece. I don’t know how to answer that without sounding condescending, since it is Economics 101.

However, very few of the ones who has argue has any solution, apart from “We are being unfairly treated and want to be left alone”. I’d like to hear solutions – Greece is going to default if they are left alone, is that what they want? Or if not, what are their plans then? If you get more money from us, what will you do with it.? I think it is fair that I question what they have been doing with the money they’ve received, and give me a really good reason + really good plan on what to do if they receive more. So far no one has. If that sounds arrogant, I am sorry, but I think one should be prudent with money

Nicholas June 29, 2011 at 15:37

Dear Anna,

At a first reading I could have agreed with some of the points you are making. Yes! We, the Greek people, have our own BIG share of responsibility for the current situation. Because after 150 years of foreign depression and intervention, wars, bloodsheds, civil war and dictatorship we rejoiced that we could live at the same standards as other europeans did. And we jumped onto this just like the child that has been in punishment and locked away for years! Yes, we reached a point where our value system gave way for consumerism. Where we have been using money coming from other countries just to buy the products these countries were producing. Even back then, there were voices of criticism, but I will agree that they were marginal…

Still, reading your comments as well, I feel that you are either ill intentionally biased or misinformed (maybe both?). And, if I may say your tone is, at cases insulting.

You are very selective upon the information that you are using. For example, you don’t care (or do not know) about average amount of working hours/year in Greece but you present a report about productivity rates. You don’t utter a word about average wages in Greece (that were very,very low even in good old days) and you consider anecdotal the case of a person here whose father has worked for more years than others. For the record my father is 73. He is still working. He started back in 1965 (if my maths are correct this is 46 years) when he was at the medical school (yes, he is a doctor(!) making just 2000 euros/month. When he retires he will be making around 1400Euros/month. I would be very thankfull if you could do your research and tell me what are the respective figures for a doctor (pathologist) after all these years of work in Sweden.

Anyway, I had a lot of things in my mind when I started writing this reply but I am somehow losing interest… So, to cut a long story short, I personally would not want to see a single penny from europe coming into greece. I also do not want to see anymore of IKEA, VOLVO, LIDL, VW in greece. I would rather go back to the old time, traditional, greek producers.

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orionorbit July 5, 2011 at 12:16

Hi, as a Greek economist/banker who has lived most of his adult life in Sweden I need to respond to this.

Sweden, has not ever contributed any money to the bailout packages for Greece. They did that for Ireland and the Baltics, the reason is simple because seb and swedbank are not invested in Greek bonds. On the other hand, when sweden was in trouble 3 years ago, the riksbank DID get a direct euro credit line from the ecb and yes, some of that money did come from Greece. You seem to think that Sweden is in some way contributing financially to Greece. No. Never. Untrue. False. Lie. It’s more like the other way ’round. We never got your hard earned money, on the other hand, you did get -partially- ours 3 years ago.

Yes, Sweden has helped us a lot during hard times, particularly during the dictatorship where it was the most vocal country against the regime and gave asylum to thousands of persecuted Greeks. But have we ever gotten a single öre from Sweden? No. The opposite.

As for the money Sweden pays to the eu, well, first, Greece pays it too (at least we did when we could afford to). Second, that was the price Sweden had to pay to join the eu. That’s how the eu works, poor countries open their markets to rich ones and rich ones in return contribute more to the eu budget. Sweden was aware of this when it applied for eu membership, which the vast majority of Swedes still support.

The reason that Sweden doesn’t get much eu money back, is that it has no serious agriculture, but please send your complaints to France and Germany, for making the rules so that the vast majority of eu funds goes to subsidise agricultural production.

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Jérôme E. Roos July 5, 2011 at 12:55

Wonderful, thank you for this very insightful contribution!

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Jérôme E. Roos July 5, 2011 at 13:00

OrionOrbit, would you maybe be interested in writing a short piece for us with your views on the current bailout negotiations and the second round of austerity measures? I know you’re trying to stay away from the topic (at least I read so on your blog) but I’m sure that many people would be interested in reading your views on the subject. Please send me a short email if you’re up for it (here)!

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Jana October 5, 2011 at 16:37

Thank God you cleared that up. I think Anna was getting on all our nerves!!!

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Constantinos June 22, 2011 at 09:04

Very good article which pretty much addresses the current situation in Greece.

However, I must disagree with the author that the right wing governments in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s did not care about the Greek people. They were prudent, conservative in their fiscal approach and indeed contributed heavily to the economic reconstruction of Greece after WW II. Indeed the GDP growth of the Greek economy in the ’60s reached 8 – 9 % growth ! An equivalent to what China is now experiencing. In additon, there were budget surpluses and very very low country debt as a percentage of the GDP (around 20%). In the ’70s the Western world was suffering from stagflation as a result of the 1973 Oil Crisis, the Greek economy was no exception but mild growth and rising disposable income by individuals was a reality. There was also much needed political stability and law and order. Something that the PASOK government of 1981 gave a much more relaxed approach to, and gave tremendous power to trade unions and people related to the Socialist government of the time. Andreas Papandreou did colossal mistakes in his economic planning and introduced anarchy in Greece in the sense that everyone felt free to do whatever he liked even at the expense of his fellow citizens …

Entry to the EEC also was beneficial at the time but destroyed local industry and many small businesses who could not compete with foreign firms. This led to a greater dependence for imports …

The Greek economy suffers today from many structrural problems and must privatise and sell a lot of Public assets. Furthermore, around half of the public servants must be laid off and find jobs in the real economy. The Greek people can not continue to support such a large inefficient welfare state.

Tax evasion and corruption of public officials is still high in Greece, as well as lack of transparency in Public Affairs …

However, the Greeks through out the centuries have always managed to rise to the occassion and perform almost the impossible. I hope the Greeks will display their traditional stamina and endurance in overcoming this crisis with a little help of their European friends and become more competitive with a series of badly needed economic and social reforms …

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Kassandra June 23, 2011 at 15:22

An equivalent to what China is now experiencing.

… in many more ways than one…

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cris June 22, 2011 at 12:40

this article is so good. i have to share it with everyone (again) hehe * thank you for the info. this blog’s like an open window to really see what’s happening out there! * irie

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Themis June 22, 2011 at 13:11

Well, the truth is that we -Hellenic people- want also to be kicked out of the Eurozone. We DO NOT want the Euro anymore. So, please do us this favor… Thank you.

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Yannis June 22, 2011 at 13:24

Dear Anna,
you have every right to feel the way you do and say those things. You believe that a lot of your money are spent for the wealth of the Greek people. However, bear in mind that a lot of Greece’s money return to your country. Through IKEA and through a lot of Swedish products that are exported to Greece, which Greeks buy (you should really visit an IKEA store in Greece) because they like and trust Swedish products and Swedish people.

Believe me, your money are not donated to the Greek people. They are donated to the products the Greek government is forced to buy, like the German submarines, etc. When you give 1 euro to the Greek people you get 2 euros back. It’s all a marketing thing. Do not get fooled by all that you hear. It’s all just words of the people who want to get stronger and want to enforce their trade.

Don’t let all this affect your opinion for a country and its people. Always search for the truth. I would like to explain this to you further, but this is not the place to do it.

Governments are corrupt. Not people.

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Anna June 23, 2011 at 12:00

Hi!

I don’t hate the Greeks (apart from that stupid study partner I had once, but that had everything to do with him being a moron, not a Greek, and anyway I’d call it a strong dislike) and I have enjoyed Greece when I’ve been there. I do understand it is a rough deal, but I also happen to think that the Greek people were/are part of it, and that I should have a better guarantee for my money.

Greece is corrupt, but people were not questioning it before it went bad, at least not to this scale. Neither did the low productivity or the enormous public sector seem to register, even those numbers were available. I happen to think that the average Greek knows basic math, and I’d like to hear how you thought those interest rates/pensions/salaries were being paid, while loaning since at least 1974 (haven’t checked further back)

Also, the corruption certainly streches to “normal” greeks. You simply do not have corruption on that level without a large part of the population taking part. Here are links to support my statement. I only grabbed a few, but I can link to Greek/corruption/black market all day:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,669235-2,00.html
http://www.businessinsider.com/corruption-in-greese-hampering-economic-recovery-2010-1
http://www.bild.de/news/bild-english/news/average-greek-pays-1355-euros-in-bribes-a-year-11670598.bild.html

Normally I wouldn’t link to Bild (the last link, it is a crappy tabloid to say the least), but they have links to Transparency International, who is a respectable institution that measures corruption.

So, I do not want to give any more money until I have guarantees that the Greeks will deliver, and frankly, it looks a bit bleak. Basically, why should I pay taxes if you don’t. You are nowhere near our level yet.

You also said that the Swedes are getting money from the Greeks. What are you referring to? We have given money to the EU for 17 years, and always been a netto provider. I think it should stop somewhere, we are just throwing our money away. In a way, I admit that, we have contributed to the Greek crises. EU should have pulled the plug a lot sooner.

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Stellar June 23, 2011 at 20:09

Anna all this conversation is not taking place to convince you or anyone else to give more money. It has been stated before here that we don’t want any more (i hope you did watch the Debtocracy video)

Never in my life i have bride or give fakelaki to anyone! It makes me mad only the idea, not to mention that i can’t afford it. I also know many people like me, so to add all society in a basket is not proper at all.
Imagine that even now that we are more than 1.oo0.000 protesters all over Greece we haven’t find our justice yet, because of politicians ammunity law, because of the corruption that is hidden in all high positions (like judges, proccecutors etc).
Again, it is the top of the top that escapes taxes, has connections and make dirty deals.
Lastly about bride, do you really think that a normal employee with 700 euro lets say wants to pay the doctor to treat him since hospitals supposed to be free for those insured?? Why?? It makes me pull my hair out!

I am sure some people at some point were obliged to do it, i don’t question it, but i can see their desperation in that movement. There were not pleased, they don’t have more to spend, the are struggling every day to make a living. But in order to have attention and fair treatment in such a delicate matter of life i guess they had to do it. Thankfully i was never in that position. In similar cases i have wrote to gov and institutes, who has listened? Ordinary people who had been in that sad position have accused doctors & hospitals. What happened? Where is our rights? Where is justice? Nothing happened.

Protesting right now Greece is involving all these matters that have been in our back and not only about austerity measures. I believe we agree in many matters.

Finally, i want you to imagine this. Let’s say your country was in need for help/loan. Let’s also say that Germany owe you from WWII 575 billion euro. The loan/help you were about to take from IMF and Europe had as rule that even if Germany pays you back you are NOT allowed to use this source of money to payback your loan nor you are able to find a 3rd source in the future with better interest to repay the other loan which is of course with higher interest.
This is only one of the outrageous rules that they have added to the Greek loan that is supposed to be for a fellow country… Rules that apply for first time in history and are considered criminal.

Some of the placards in Syntagma write: I have nothing to hope, i have nothing to fear, i am free. Certainly they are not people who fear of losing their good life, but people who that don’t have any good life.

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Anna June 24, 2011 at 10:25

Well, I don’t doubt that you are honest, or that the Greeks are suffering, but I would like to hear your thoughts on what you plan to do.

If you do not take any more money, Greece will default and essentially stop functioning. Is that what you want? How will you rebuild?

Or, do you want more money, but not the demands that goes with it?

Greece has a really low productivity, how do you plan to change that?

I am interested in your thoughts on how Greece should proceed. /Anna

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Maria June 24, 2011 at 17:27

The least bad option for Greece now is default. See the video of the excellent economist Mark Weisbrot:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xjgydd_weisbrot-says-greek-default-may-be-better-than-recession_news

It will be difficult in the beginning, but Greece will get back on its feet again. It was doing fine before the euro, and it will do fine after it leaves the euro zone, which it never should have entered in the first place.

Are Europeans competing for who is the biggest martyr? “We work until we’re 99; Well, we consider 100 early retirement, etc.” Greece has its own values and culture in which (being a Greek-American) I believe more than I do the other countries of Europe. The EU should let Greece leave, and allow it to once again treat its elderly with respect, make sure its workers have a good quality of life, and protect its assets.

effiegr June 26, 2011 at 10:42

Anna … about lower productivity as you claim,….

from WSJ

“What these numbers show is that the southern euro zone’s problems aren’t a result of workers there not working hard enough. The problem instead is lower productivity in the southern rim: In 2009, Greek workers generated just €18.50 per hour worked; for Spain and Portugal, the number is €24.40 and €13.80, respectively.

Dutch workers generated €39.50 and German workers €38.70. Yes, the gap is huge.

But what’s behind it? Is the right move to cut pensions and welfare benefits in the southern euro-zone countries, as the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are urging? This will likely get the southern Europeans to work even more, but it won’t get them to work more productively.

Part of the reason for the divide is that northern workers benefit from better technology and better infrastructure. A Greek worker trained as well as a German worker is still going to be less productive than a German worker because of superior German technology and infrastructure.”

Enough with this racist propaganda against Greeks

Jana October 5, 2011 at 16:46

Anna, you are an ignorant pain. Dont you get it? Dont ask these people how they plan to repay. They were never consulted for the plan, they are victims of it. Dont you get it?

António June 25, 2011 at 00:13

No, Stellar, you are not free, no one is; that’s a slogan. No, you have a lot to fear, yes, you need the money; yes, Greece received lots of money, billions and billions, the last too decades, from Europe. Few countries in the world received that amount of money, considering the área and population. Yes, you need the europe to give you more money. You still receive great amounts of free money to infraestrutures, roads, metro stations, etc. etc. Don’t want it?
No, the blame for what is happening isn’t only of the politicians and very rich people. That’s too easy. Yes, indeed, you need help. Because, in the end, after the shouting, the noise in the streets, the protesting, the daily strikes, you need to go with your life, to raise your children, to produce. You would be the richest country if you past glory was money. That’s gone.
I’m portuguese, I know what that is. We too have corrupt politicians, we too have people allways complaining, we have, as you have, many ordinary people who cheated the state, who cheated Europe (I’m not as naive as many greeks here pretend to be). But I’m gratefull to my fellow europeans. roads, schools, sewage, many things were built with european money. I live much, much, better than my grandparents. My grandmother started working at five years old (never gone to school), picking up cow manure from the roads to sell to farmers. Her parents starved to give their six children food, some bread and sardines, no meat. . Do you undesrtand what I’m saying?

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marios June 24, 2011 at 23:23

Anna I think you have to understand that by entering the EU, your government(=you) agreed to contribute and GIVE your sweet money to an EU fund destined to promote growth etc to countries that need it. Yes Greece is one of them as most south countries as also countries than entered the EU recently. I highlighted the word GIVE just to make clear that there never was an agreement that these money would be LENT or PAYED BACK in any case.
It’s as simple as that. Do you agree participating in a structure like the EU with all benefits and costs? If yes then de facto you agree to pay a percentage of GDP (like all countries do-yes Greece pays too) that would be channeled to countries in need (to Greece, amongst others)
There was never an expectation of getting back your money so this leads us to the conclusion: either you agree with EU and the benefits that you get from it or you don’t agree so you hold YOUR government responsible for dragging you in a never ending money loss game(as it seems), or you blame EU for it’s bad tactics in lending money this or that way.
Greece was already being supported with your money since the 70s and is supported now.
Philosophy is the same. So there can never be a case for an argument “I don’t want to give my money to Greece cause I will never get it back”. Of course you would never get it back! Nobody said different! Blame the EU! Developped countries pay more than they receive! If Greece wasnt there your money would still go to the 15 recently accessed or to any future newcomer. Greece just brought this problem up(due to the amount of money it requires).
So whatever happens to Greece it is it’s own problem, the money you already gave will never be returned(there was no agreement that it would!) the money you give now will be repaid with an interest(and since there is interest you always have a risk of a haircut too ;) and it is up to you to question whether being part of EU ended up being a smart choice in the end..

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irina July 1, 2011 at 02:31

No Anna! I am convinced that you HATE us. You have any right to feel as you wish about anyone, but at least be true to yourself. Because you have been doing nothing but posting insulting comments and complaining about “your money going down the drain”.
Well, you know what? I don’t want your money… I want Greece to fault…I don’t mind going back to the living standards we had in the 60s and 70s. I do care though about my pride and dignity and this is what I want back. And you wanna know one other thing too? If you hate me I can also hate you back! Not because you will not give me your money (I think we solved that) but because you have profoundly insulted me! Don’t ever visit Greece again! If you are happy having hatre between the peoples of Europe, then be my guest. And btw, keep reading and quoting the bild…oh yeah and T.I. a well respected organization with HQ in Berlin, run mostly by German nationals if I am not mistaken…

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Amalia June 22, 2011 at 16:21

@Anna: Greeks do not get two extra salaries a year; their annual salary is simply divided by 14 and they get two installments at Christmas, one and half at Easter and one and a half sometime in the summer. As far as I know, the Dutch and Australians at least do the same. So, before any more moronic journalists report that somehow Greeks get two extra salaries a year they should find out how the people of a country conventionally report salaries (e.g. the British mention their annual gross while the French only mention their monthly net; surely that does not make the British richer!). In short, there are no “fourteen salaries” in Greece and the idiocy of such reports must at some point stop!

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Justice June 23, 2011 at 05:52

I couldn’t agree more!
The same as in some European countries days of month count for salary are 30, 28, in Greece they are 22-23 if i am not mistaken.

@Anna, i would very much like to earn the salary you earn and pay my taxes, as i do now. There is a certain amount of people that avoid taxes, not the majority, and i would like them to payback too.

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Vassilios June 22, 2011 at 16:48

What about the fact that we borrow millions from the EU to buy their product such as military defence weapons, agricultural products, transportation etc. YOU lend us money so we can buy YOUR products with INTEREST??? This is how we have come to this situation. I wonder who is the hypocrite. You are blaming THE GREEKS who work as YOU have never worked before in your life in order to survive these cruel financial measures. And surely i am not talking about the fat dark greek guy with the moustache who sells souvlaki!!! Try to read more TRAVELL more and watch less news on the tele. Have you got any idea that there are people here who commit suicide due to their economical deadends. Try to imagine Sweden or Denmark having Albania, Turkey, Skopje, Bulgaria, Egypt as your country neighbours and of course not to mention thousands of immigrants deriving from middle east India – Pakistan – Nigeria – Ghana – Ethiopia. Have you ever thought of the Norwegians F16 fighters engaging the Swedish airspace EVERY DAY???? That is a hell load of money to spend every year for Protection. This is where your money go. To protect you from all these poor people not coming to your country but rather staying in Greece becoming a GREEK problem and also not to have a crisis in the Southern European Border. It’s easy to criticise when you are not participating in the real problem. Ask your Government where your money go!!!

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James Babalis June 23, 2011 at 05:10

Great post Vassilios.
Unfortunately, Northern Europeans can’t understand this and this is where some of the fault is. Yes, Greece’s economic crisis is to a larger extent a self created one. Yes, Greece unlike Turkey has ignored its diaspora and the role it can play in developing a functioning economy, and let’s face it Greece’s diaspora is more affluent and educated.
However, we can not look at Greece’s crisis in isolation.

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Anna June 23, 2011 at 11:01

Hi!

So you are saying that Sweden lended money to Greece so that you could buy our products. First, I don’t think neither Swedish banks nor the Swedish government had a lot of money in Greece, so I’d really like to see a source for that.

Second, we didn’t force you to buy Swedish products with the money we didn’t lend you. In a free market it is all about competivness. Greece for example could have made products and sold to us, and why you didn’t maybe you are better equpped to answer. Take for example Sweden and Germany. They are our biggest trade partner, after the other Nordic countries. They buy Swedish products, like forest, iron etc, and we buy German cars, chemicals etc. We both have products the other country want. So, why haven’t Greece been active in that market. I think there are several reasons that Greece has such a low productivity, and I am sure that I don’t know every single one of them, but please, don’t say you got forced.

As for Greece being forced to spend a lot on defending themselves, I think that is 6 % of your budget, or maybe it was 4%. If you are going bankrupt since you have big bad neighbours, shuldn’t every country who has them go bankrupt to? I think we should ask Finland, the competitive country with a balanced budget, next to Sovjet/Russia up there. If you think Turkey is scary, talk to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Ukraine anyone?

Are you seriously blaming global immigration for the state Greece is in? I am not saying it isn’t an issue, for everyone involved, but stating that the immigrants are to blame is blatantly racist, and wrong. How many percent of your budget, apart from the 4-6 % you spend on your military are you spending on them? Are they the reason for your borrowing money? I hardly think so.

I am asking my government where my money is going, and I think you will notice that in the next EU elections (2013 I believe).

Here is a link to an excellent report on Global comptetivness, which might give a few clues why Grece is not particularely competitive on the global market.

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2010-11.pdf

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marina June 26, 2011 at 20:26

Anna, I think you do NOT understand the situation in greece, so your comments are not valid.

Yes, EU did make Greece buy Swedish products and German and French, this is part of the common EU policies that decide how much of what each country will produce and how much it will import and from whom etc. If you don’t know this then you are not aware of basic EU financial policies and you should not comment on the situation.

No Greece is not as competitive as northern countries, neither are most southern countries, we dont have the same economies in size or kind. southern economies only became weaker and less competitive by entering the euro as they had to compete much bigger countries with much stronger economies. So the “solution” was: lend them money to buy our own products. Because when you produce, you need markets to sell your products to. It is the same with military equipment. Germany and France oblige Greece to buy their military products in return for their loans. Why do you think that EU will not guarantee the EU borders so as to minimize the risk of a turkish invasion (as much as it might seem unlikely to you)? Because it is not to the interest of the big players (germany, france etc). So please do not try to present the situation as if north European countries have the high moral ground, because if you know some facts then you cannot. Politics is about self-interest and since the EU is only a monetary union and nothing more, countries who have the power do what is best for them.

As for the immigrants, we are not talking about legal immigrants, we are talking about the millions of illegal immigrants that have entered greece in the last few years Greece has miles and miles of sea borders that are hard to control even in a well functioning country, how much more in a country that is in so much financial trouble). Greece is the first European country they reach, in their effort to get to the wealthier countries of the north. However, under european law, they are not allowed to leave the first European country they reach, so they all end up staying in Greece. But Greece receives no help with dealing with these illegal immigrants who are too big in numbers for a country as small as Greece to deal with. I doubt that your country has the same problem to this extend as north European countries are very difficult to be the first ones to be reached by these people. This is what Vassilios means when he says “This is where your money go. To protect you from all these poor people not coming to your country but rather staying in Greece becoming a GREEK problem”. This is not racist, this is just a fact. It has nothing to do with the plight of these people for which your country does not seem to care to do much at all since they are nor in its borders but it can oblige some other country to deal with it.

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marina June 26, 2011 at 20:32

However, if you want to see the bigger picture, this guy has a lot of interesting things to say (no need to stay in the article I sent, the rest are quite illuminating I find):

http://michael-hudson.com/2011/06/how-financial-oligarchy-replaces-democracy/

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TheSpandragon July 4, 2011 at 07:16

Anna,

You keep gibbering around “my money, my money, money”! Are you sure that you are indeed paying? This is not a rhetorical question… I mean, SWEDEN IS NOT PART OF THE EUROZONE. But even if your country does contribute it will be less that France, Spain or Italy. Still, I haven’t heard anyone from these countries complaining… So, the obvious reason for your attitude can be nothing else than enviou hatred towards southern european people, even though you wannabe-polically-correct consience does not allow you to accept the fact!
Advice No1- Get a shrink
Advice No2-Enjoy your holiday as much as you can. Me, and most of Greeks, do not even dream of going away on a holiday as early in the Summer as this, even though Greece is the most “Summery” country in Europe.

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elpis July 6, 2011 at 00:53

I can’t understand we do people even bother responding to your comments!You just keep repeating yourself .All your questions have been answered.I have a feeling this is rather personal…

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HanSolo June 23, 2011 at 12:00

Skopje is, as far as I remember, the town. The neighbouring country is called Macedonia and this is another head in the sand of the Greece, maybe you should finally come up with peace about that fact.

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Giorgos June 24, 2011 at 13:05

The country is called FYROM although it should be called FYR or FYR of Vsardaska or FYR of Paeonia or whatever.
Have a look.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paeonia_(kingdom)
They are not Macedonians. They are Slavs.
You are just ignorant.

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Effie June 26, 2011 at 10:12

MACEDONIA is & always be Greek!!!!! maybe the ignorant should come to VERGINA ,Greece & there they will see the truth.
Countries should not be trying to steal ther history of another ciuntry!!

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Efi June 24, 2011 at 05:08

Oh yes, all of your neighbours are out to get you!
Insecure? Perhaps this is why…. a quick google search shows:
“The name “Greece” was imposed on the modern Greek Kingdom by the Great Powers Britain, France and Russia.
Greece is a newly created state which never existed before the 19th century. The Kingdom of Greece, occupying the region of Morea, present day Peloponnesus, was created for the first time in 1829. Between 1829 and 1912 the Greeks enlarged their territory to present day Greece, by conquering Epirus, Thessaly and 51% of Macedonia.

At its inception Greece stated out with a small population of less than one million people, most of whom were Albanians, Slavs and Vlahs with a small minority of other ethnicities. By the time Greece conquered Epirus and Thessaly, its population grew to three times its original size. In 1907 it registered a population of 2,600,000. After it conquered Macedonia and exchanged populations with Turkey, its population tripled. In 1928 Greece registered 6,200,000 people. 1,100,000 of them were Christians, refugees from Asia Minor.”

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bill from Australia June 24, 2011 at 07:38

So what’s your point? The Greek language, culture and race just appeared from the moon in 1829 and its people and culture is a creation or fiction by the British, French and Russians after Greek independence and there is no such thing as a Greek? Do you know anything about the Byzantine empire? About the Greek Orthodox church and its history. About ancient history and classics? The Greek language? The Ottoman occupation? The lengths the Greeks took to gain their independence ? The Cyprus Turkish dispute and the UN resolutions about that issue. Anything at all about Greek history apart from your 30 second google search and cut and paste?
I suggest before doing your research and make embarrassing and somewhat ignorant comments on the net, that you take the time too look at for instance the concept of modern nation hood as we know it today, which you will find is a relatively recent concept.
It does not mean however that because there was no “nation” as we know it today with borders, the culture or race as such did not exist or is a mere fiction or creation.
Take the Kurds for example. Are they not a “people” with an ancient history because they do not have a separate state? Or according to your logic, they don’t exist because they are yet to have there own separate state.

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christina June 24, 2011 at 15:53

By a history book and read about Hellas before you present your opinion.

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Selene June 24, 2011 at 20:32

Sweetheart,who are we supposed to believe?Historians,anthropologists and geneticists,who strongly support both racial and national continuity in Greece,or scamps like yourself,who resort to decieving people by pasting extracts from propaganda sites?

I would recommend that you not be so naive as to think you can debunk historic and genetic studies.You’ve already embarrassed yourself in front of the entire Internet,so do yourself a favour and don’t answer back.

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Steve Finney June 22, 2011 at 20:34

Great article, When the shit hits the fan, the potential & actual tyrants rely on the default setting of the mob to turn on their chosen scapegoats, Goebbels knew that, it’s an easier than searching for the truth.
Some of you might find this blog interesting, it gives an extremely detailed account of the whys & wherefores of the crisis in Greece & worldwide.

http://golemxiv-credo.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-crisis-is-not-over-and-will-recur.html

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Christos Alatzidis June 22, 2011 at 22:04

Well-written article and with targeted content.
Greek people have made mistakes, but no one deserves to live in the social-economic situation there at present. The game of the debt was set up carefully and it will affect every country and a few people will make a lot of money. CDSs in Greece were the means. The government is useless and incapable to deal with the situation. BUT if the battle in Greece is lost, we will face another crisis, more severe than those we dealt with until now. And this crisis will affect EVERYONE. As for the Swedish commentator, I hope the time won’t come for Sweden, or you will face a situation you won’t like. That is what the Greek battle is about. It’s a battle against the economic terrorists, a battle against the bank speculators that will consume every resource from every country. If the battle in Greece is won, then the global financial stability will return.
We hope for the best.

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AA June 22, 2011 at 22:28

Sounds like Greece should really leave the euro. Common people standard of living would immediately be better, although imported goods would be more expensive. But food and basic needs would be in anyway produced in Greece.

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Nick June 26, 2011 at 14:24

There is not an option for Greece to leave the euro. There is not a Greek problem but a European one. European Union is not only an economic union. Many politicians cannot understand this (that’s why there are other currencies in EU besides the euro).

Probably the politicians have a significant interest that the idea of a unified Europe be banished from the thought of European citizens.

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GreekWarrior June 23, 2011 at 01:31

First of all Greece needs to get rid, of the treasonous liars aka the government by exiling them from the country and taking away their citizenship. Then we must reject the IMF and kick them out of the country, following a criminal investigation of their practices.

The debt should be investigated thoroughly, this was done in Ecuador with much success. The true debt was much lower then proposed by the IMF/EU/Government liars, and was restructured. Then the request for odious debt must be filed, this clears all the debt made by criminal regimes in the past.

We have to default and make an immediate exit, out of the Eurozone and it’s flawed currency. Then a return of the Drachma collateralized by Gold (Greece has 111 tons of GOLD) and Silver, this is actual worth and not tons of worthless toilet paper (like extra printed dollars) that looks like money. Money will come flooding in!!! (AS MAX KEISER SAYS):

http://youtu.be/HJSjPu7FYi0

After a thorough restructuring of the entire government, the taxation system, health care etc…. And elimination of corruption (for as much as can be done of course).

Then we must close all the borders, this is not some kind of racist or populist move but rather an economic and social one. Greece is simply not a country suited for mass-immigration, it costs too much money and considering the past of Greece (occupied by many foreign powers) does not fit it’s cultural background.

Another thing related to this issue, is the blockade of cheap “foreign” labor by introducing new programs through education. Making it more attractive for young folks to work in more traditional sectors, with all respect but we have too much highly educated folks working jobs that aren’t suited for them.

I strongly believe that the Greek people should be put first, in their own country in terms of employment etc. Next thing would be to make it easier for Greeks (especially entrepreneurs), and their offspring in the diaspora to return to Greece and work to stimulate the economy by opening businesses and creating employment for Greeks.

Turkey actually has a great system at hand, they stimulate Turks from abroad to open businesses in Turkey. They give those entrepreneurs 10 month tax free, and a small loan to open businesses in Turkey. But the conditions are strict and fair, one of the demands is that if one opens such a business is required to hire at least a majority of local Turks. Then they are allowed to have like 1 or 2 foreign employees, of course this stimulates the economy and attracts a lot of Turks to return to Turkey. As we all know the economy is booming over there……

These stricter policies will give Greece more power over it’s influx of peoples, it will also provide more stability on the streets and less poverty for those seeking a better future. The people will have enough other countries to flee to, for instance the EU countries which have more stable economies etc.

Then we must find other economic allies (I suggest South American, Asian, Arab countries and hopefully others that might drop out of the zone like Spain) outside of Europe to work with, build up the country with ethnic products. Export and import to those allied countries, important aspect of this is the return of power over the harbors. The Chinese will not give them up easily, so we have to find a way to force them either financially or legally. I am convinced that those sales went in a corrupt manor too….

These are just a couple of things (not everything of course) Greece can do, and i haven’t even mentioned the riches (oil etc) that are hidden in our land. The most essential outcome of these measures will be national SOVEREIGNTY and more FREEDOM and wealth for the people…..

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Tom June 23, 2011 at 03:04

i agree with all your suggetions. however, it will take decades to get the mindset of the average Greek to change. Paying tax is good for you and your country. It means you are earning more $$$. Govt should then re-invest to create a sustainable economy.

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GreekWarrior June 23, 2011 at 19:46

Paying tax is good for you, if the ones collecting the tax actually do something valuable for your country with that money. The fact is that the tax collectors om Greece ( a lot of them are in fact corrupt themselves, and yes then there is the corrupt government to deal with). It is quite hypocritical and naive for people to think, that if the chance is like 1% to get caught dodging tax. That people will go and pay their taxes voluntarily, i would bet all my money on the opposite happening anywhere in the world.

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marina June 23, 2011 at 04:14

this all sounds good, albeit I do not think things are as easy or as simple as that. however, the two issues that are of prominent importance I believe are:

how are you going to eradicate the corruption that is running deep not just in the parliament, but throughout the government and civil service sector, judiciary system, trade unionists that only serve their own personal interests to the expense of the majority of employees, conflicting interests between national media/businessmen/public sector commissions etc

and even more so, WHO is gonna drive the change, were from are you going to unearth the honest, capable, intelligent, honorable people who will lead greece through these very difficult changes were deep reforms have to take place, foreign pressures to be withstand (dont believe the foreign superpowers that are running the game worldwide will be very happy to see greece standing on its own two feet,do you?), status quo that has been in place for several decades has to be overturned? no such people have come to the forefront in recent years at all. those who tried in the past were quickly rejected by the system -including a huge number of greeks who were too blind,stupid or indifferent to try and change things

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GreekWarrior June 23, 2011 at 20:05

First of all the thought of eradicating corruption 100% is not viable, corruption exists everywhere in the world. In countries like Holland, Germany and other “so called” honest countries, corruption is played out on a whole different level and much more sneaky.

The starting point would be through education, in fact i believe that education of children and adults + more financial power for citizens is the key to eradicate corruption for a large part.

If you educate children and people, on the
importance of rejecting corruption it will create a new social and moral climate. Also if most citizens are in a better financial situation, small time corruption will slowly become less and less.

Another thing i would suggest are task forces, that monitor all levels of corruption. These would have to be made out of selected, screened and specially trained individuals. There are enough honest Greeks out there, that want to change things for the better.

No other countries will not appreciate, the fact that Greece will stand on it’s own two feet. That’s where smart diplomacy comes in handy, negotiating should be done in the interest of Greece and not in the interest of corrupt entities.

Cooperation between countries is a good thing, but what’s happening in Greece is not cooperation but a financial terror attack on Greek sovereignty.

Also the alliance with numerous other allies, would make it easier for Greece to stand on their own two feet. But the most important thing of all is (and i hate to say it) MONEY, money literally means power. Once the drachma becomes exchangeable with Gold and silver, foreigners will be buying up Drachma’s like there ain’t no tomorrow. This would put Greece in a powerful position to dictate it’s own future.

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marina June 26, 2011 at 14:50

This is all great but WHO is going to do all this? how many honest, capable people have you seen putting themselves forward (except Kazakis) to drive the country forward? I know there are honest people out there, but why would they want to get themselves into such a mess when corruption is really part of everyday life? how long will it take for all that to happen? Educating people does not happen overnight, it happens through generations. Greece in in the brink of collapse right now. And don’t forget that task forces to monitor corruption have been in place for years, only they proved to be equally corrupt and turned a blind eye for the right amount

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GreekWarrior June 27, 2011 at 00:25

I still believe that this is the only way, even if it takes generations.

It has to start somewhere and somehow so why not now?

GreekWarrior June 27, 2011 at 00:33

And as to who need to change this? Well this is almost a philosophical question, i guess it deserves a philosophical answer.

The people themselves?

courier-solidarity June 23, 2011 at 17:47

Make sure that this “free-lancer” bullshit stops!
A courier is a worker who cannot work alone in a city like Athens. So he cannot be a “indypendant contractor”!
Paying all the bills, the tax, the healthcare and the company owner gets away without nothing but profit!
All couriers of Greece should quit their jobs in this shitty conditions and build up huges collectives to take over the market!

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James Babalis June 23, 2011 at 01:37

Great article and spot on by the author. I am a 2nd generation Greek Australian living in Australia. It must be pointed out that Greeks in Australia have with the exception of the Jewish and Chinese communities been the most successful ethnic community in this country, as they have also been in the US, Canada and South Africa.
The anti Greek sentiment in the media is nothing new. It has been around for decades, motivated by envy, fear and a complete lack of understanding of the Greek historical experience.
The question the Dutch citizenry should ask themeselves is the following:
Did they experience the horrors of the Persian invasions?
Did they experience the horrors of the Crusades, and in particular the 4th Crusade and the destruction of Greek culture and the attempted forced conversions to Roman Catholocism?
Did the experience the displacement of populations caused by the Slavic, Hunnish and Turkic invasions?
Did they experience the initial onslaught of Islam? (Mr Wilders can barely handle Moslem immigration today, imagine he had to deal with the military might of the initial caliphate)
Did they experience 5 centuries of Ottoman rule and persecution, typified by genocide, a discriminatory tax system, forced conversions to Islam, the forced removal of Greek children to be raised as Moslems?
Did the experience an attempted communist take over and the horrors of a forced civil war?
Have they experienced another state trying to expropriate its history for its own use?
No, at no point have the Dutch people experienced this, but their colonial legacy and its impact in South Africa and Indonesia is one they dare not talk about.
Perhaps some logic in the political media might serve the Dutch people to foster a more sincere view of the Greek people and achievements, which far outweight anything that has ever come out of the low countries.

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Tom June 23, 2011 at 02:58

Which rock have you been living under? Many countries have experienced oppression under neighbouring countries. Check the history of other northern european states and you’ll realise. The question is, what is Greece doing today to move forward and have a free democratic and functioning economy? Answer: Nothing. they are doing exactily what you are, continuing to focus on all the historical events that you mention. Analysing and re-writing history. Move forward please.

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James Babalis June 23, 2011 at 04:45

Tom, your post is nothing more than an ignorant race bashing rant. Who said anything about re-writing history and its relationship to the economic crisis in Greece. The content of the author’s article if you bothered to read it is about the role of the media in portraying a negative stereotype. I mean is it that hard for you to read an article and understand the context of what my post is.
I agree that the Greek political and administrative structure has fault in the economic decline and lack of competitiveness of the country. Every economist and political commentator in the world agrees with that as do most law abiding citizens in Greece.
However, the role of the media and public policy sectors has been negative to Greece and this is what the article covers. It seems to debunk myths held by many Northern Europeans of a lazy Southern European culture.
Greece like many countries in the Balkans, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe share the historical connection of colonialism that has plagued most countries around the world. So, in your most intelligent argument you are trying to tell people around the world whose countries share this terrible experience to just move forward.
Quite clearly you and your thoughts belong in an era long passed. It is no surprising that real solidarity that people of Greece, Ireland and Portugal feel is from countries outside the EU.

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Justice June 23, 2011 at 09:14

Thank you James, for both comments!

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KT June 23, 2011 at 14:41

“The anti Greek sentiment in the media is nothing new. It has been around for decades, motivated by envy…”

hahahahahaha

“Did they experience the horrors of the Crusades”

Are you 2000 years old then? Within living memory Holland was occupied by the Nazis and many starved to death. Reading some of the nationalist crap from many Greek contributors it’s no longer a surprise why the country is in such a mess. Try a bit of self-criticism, you might get somewhere.

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Bill from Oz. June 26, 2011 at 03:51

But more Greek’s starved to death on a per capita basis than any other European country during WWII. And what about the reparations ? When will they be paid by Germany ? West Germany, which after WWII was supported financially by the west to assist it to rebuild to stem the spread of communism. Germany now boasts a strong economy when it almost single handedly destroyed Europe. But let’s not talk about the war.

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mina March 21, 2013 at 02:25

KT, you are right, nationalism has never helped anyone. That being said, it is true that there is tax evasion and a big informal sector in Greece which accounts for a big part of the debt. It is also true that due to problems (basically threats) from neighboring countries, the Greek government has been having since the 90s the highest consumption in weapons and guns, sold by Germany and France. Even now. Everytime Greece is asking for “help”, Germany and France manage to sell weapons that cost billions to Greece. You can google it to find all the details and the corresponding amount of money, or you can go to the world bank data (it’s free online) and check the money spent on military purposes for all countries worldwide. The money given to France and Germany correspond to 1/3 of the greek debt. And don’t tell me they had no idea that Greece could never pay…You try to get a debit card in Germany and they check all you background, Im sure they all knew the country they have been selling their weapons to…By the way, did you know that Holland has the fifth largest production of guns and weapons on the planet? yeah…you sell most of them in African countries..Did you know that? Guess you have plenty reasons to be proud of your fine economy huh?

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Tom June 23, 2011 at 02:36

I agree with Anna, Greece is not very democratic at all. The politicians are corrupt. They’ve spent millions if not billions on warfare they do not need, as they see an immediate threat from it’s neighbours Macedonia and Turkey. What a joke! Millions spent on propaganda and effort strangling it’s northern neighbour Macedonia! Wasted dollars. Now consider this, corruption aside, if Greece worked with it’s neighbours over the past 20 years, since Yugoslavia’s partitioning, worked closer with Albania, Turkey and Bulgaria on all economic levels, it would have strenghthened its own economy. This is a simple investment rule, surround yourself by like minded people/countries in order to learn and teach and succeed. If Greece, helped it’s neighbours, they would have found more exporting or entrepreneurial opportunities. Greece political policies have largely ignored developing south western Europe countries, this contributes to the mess it’s in. Lost opportunities and potential. Most Greek politicians are arrogant and there historical Hellenic reputation exceeds the intelligence.

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eleftheria June 23, 2011 at 17:07

Maybe with Macedonia it is a bit hard to follow but the shit with Turkey is boiling.
As long as the “EU doesn’t guarantee greek borders” (Daniel Cohn Bendit) there are good reasons to sell weapons:
-Turkey calls “casus belli” if Greece will exploit oil out from the Aegaen.
-Turkey came up with “Gavdos is Turkey” (Gavdos is south of Crete!) when gas was found in the Lybian Sea
-Turkey’s dogfighting bombers violating greek air-space
is ignored totally or called “greek propaganda” allthough the refugee-hunters of Frontex had to witness shit on patrol.
-Also that turkish war-fregates are crossing the aegaen up to Cap Sounion (Attika) is ignored in Europe
-Turkish right wing yellow press screams like german “Bild”: “Sell your islands!” while fueling rumors about a C.I.A.-led military-coup in Greece and what will happen if tanks role through Athens? Turks will occupy excactly these islands where they dogfight!
-Turkey is indignant about greek rememberance day regarding the Pontian Genocide!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m an anarchist without national identity but the truth can’t be ignored!
-All three Siemens-managers that the greek justice tried to trial on are protected by german justice!
-256 millions was the bribe only for Ferostal-submarines
-the olympic games were 4 times more expensive like in Barcelona simply because the german bribes secured it
-in south-east Athens are office-buildings built by german companies with olympic money that rot empty and close to it is the old airport that Quatar wanted to invest in.
Also they wanted to build a new harbour in western Greece. The EU said “nope, european investors!”
All together 10 billions of arab money lost out of rascism!
IF: This time the tanks will role without the colonels!

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Bill from Oz. June 26, 2011 at 04:06

The threat from Turkey is a significant concern arising from this crisis. It is a great opportunity for it now to exploit a cash strapped Greece to fulfill it’s territorial and commercial ambitions in the Aegean.

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idiots at happy hour June 23, 2011 at 17:33

Instead of complaining about greek farmers blockading the borders because they waited since 2007 to get paid, Bulgaria could use Vienna and not greek ports to ship their cheap fruits that ruin greek farmers.
It will be funny how they’ll get the shit from Austria to Suez.
Turkey is Greece’ biggest partner in biz btw, more than a million people of Albania are in Greece (don’t forget the “Albanians” of “riot-capital” Keratea that gave power to the people fighting in Greece) and there is the Egnatia-highway connecting Albania with Turkey right through Greece.
The only shit with that highway built with greek & european taxpayers-money is – beside being sold to shitty private companies that rent the road back to the taxpayers – is that on it lots of bears get killed by cars!

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Giorgos June 24, 2011 at 12:57

You are just ignorant.
The so called “Macedonians” are Slavs and live on ancient Paeonia Kingdom region.
Have a look.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paeonia_(kingdom)
They are not Macedonians and you can’t even tell that simple thing. Should I care for the rest of your opinions?
I don’t think so. You are just a minor creature fed on propaganda.
If you don’t believe me go and read ancient Greek and Roman historians.

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Justice June 23, 2011 at 06:35

You know to be corrupted and make deals with for weapons it takes two.

Yes our politicians are corrupted. So was Siemens who bride them, so are Germans and French politicians who wanted to make deals with broken arms for double prices.. and so on. I would like very much to meet a *clear* politician.
As someone said, actually we must pity them, cause they really don’t have power at all. The companies behind them move the world and them…

Now sleep well

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Geoff Hughes June 23, 2011 at 07:09

This article is somewhat biased. Twenty years ago I took out a mortgae to buy a house in the UK. For 20 years I ignored offers to increase my indebtedness, worked hard and have now fully paid back that mortgage.

I now work in Greece and see absolutely none of that financial responsibility anywhere. Shops are full of imported goods and my local roads are clogged with top-of-ther-range Mercedes and BMW cars. I see examples of poor public services and appalling waste by the state wherever I look.

Why has the Greek state chosen to borrow 340 000 000 000 Euros without a plausible plan of how it will it back?

No, the current standard of living in Greece is a fraud, built on what is effectively theft from other countries’ taxpayers and investors. Greeks have to accept a dramatic reduction in their living standard. Either Greece comes out of the Euro (and the currency drops 50% plus) or Greece starts by dropping salaries dramatically to reflect the true value of Greek efficiency and productivity. Perhaps start with a 50% cut in all Greek public sector salaries? The banks are effectively bust, so why not cut all bank salaries by 50%. Simply rioting on the streets of Athens does not allow Greeks to get off their debts.

Greeks – stop waiting for the rest of the world to throw yet more money at you. Collectively you have created this mess; you need to take responsibility!

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Justice June 23, 2011 at 08:51

I wonder how someone who claims to work Greece now doesn’t even know why people are protesting. But you did notice the BMVs. Let me guess, you live in elite suburbs of Athens, if at all. Maybe you should take a tour besides your nice villa/appartment whatever.

And now that i think of it, you were paying a house for 20 years in UK to come and work in Greece after you finally bought it?

I am sorry but i don’t trust a word, you sound like someone who is living far from our world and sees only bmws around. Well know that, i am a 40 year old woman and i never had a car in my life. Out of 5 persons in my family, only my father had and that was an car nearly my age.

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stop anti-hellenism June 23, 2011 at 16:09

just google for “alleycat-race athens”-videos and then count how many SUVs you’ll see…

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stop anti-hellenism June 23, 2011 at 16:11

and btw: instead of middle-europe is greece a country it sometimes makes sense to drive a jeep

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irina July 1, 2011 at 01:52

Dear Geoff,

Why don’t you just go back to your UK house and leave us alone? (if you really live in Greece, that is)

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Prismatic June 23, 2011 at 08:24

Just to add my two cents to the conversation, when Europe gives money to Greece, it’s not the Greek people who enjoy it. The money is used to sustain a bad economy, of course, but with the mere purpose to protect other European countries’ banks that are too exposed to faulty bonds. Why do you think Germany and France are so eager to give the money to Greece?

Have you noticed the daily demonstrations of thousands of Greeks taking place in Athens for the past month? What makes you so sure the Greeks want the money after all? Because to me it seems that the EU and the IMF are practically forcing it on the Greeks -with the help of the Greek political system and politicians, of course. And they will get their money back big time!

The Greeks are taking to the streets to actually protest against new loans and European funds, because they know quite well what that means. It means that they are going to be burdened with a debt which they will have to pay off eventually, only they are not going to be the ones who will see the benefits from it. Quite unfair to all Europeans, don’t you think?

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EP June 23, 2011 at 09:48

You are so ignorant… You really have no idea what is happening in Greece. You only hear what the local media tell you and you reproduce stuff such as “14 salaries per year” and “dont pay taxes”.

The 14 salaries thing is a joke! I cant believe there are arguments based on that fact! Yes, the Greeks get total 14 salaries per year because they get an extra salary in Xmas, half a salary an Easter and an extra half at summer. Is the only counry in the world that this thing happens? And what matters at the bottom line is the annual income – I dont think that the annual income of the Greeks can compare to that of the Germans or Swedish. Just check this link!

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Median_gross_annual_earnings_of_full-time_employees,_2006_(1)_(EUR).png&filetimestamp=20110207162224

20 thousand GROSS annual income for Greeks, 35 thousand for Germans, more than 40 for Denmark! And we talk now for 14 salaries?

Apart from that, the majority of Greeks pay their taxes because the salaries they get are fixed and cannot lie about that to anyone.

There is of cource a great amount of people like doctors and laweres who never give you a receipt when they get paid (they claim more money if a receipt is given, so the giver also “benefits” from that tactic) – so they dont pay the taxes they should. There is a great responsibility in all of us for that situation – we should stop reproducing this kind of bevaviours.

BUT the reason Greece right now is in the middle of this huge crisis is simply because some people descided to put it in that situation in order to benefit from its properties.

The rest is bullsh%t.

Enough with the arrogance and the ignorance.

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revolt June 23, 2011 at 10:27

Well this comes as no surprise… not to be racist or generalize but the Dutch have always thought and continue to think too highly of themselves and seem to think everyone is stupid or lazy. The joke is on the Dutch population however. For a country which is filled with Europeans and immigrants, they have the lowest tolerance rates and a media/government that just loves playing the racial card.

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bill from Australia June 23, 2011 at 10:58

Great article and interesting debate. I am watching Greek “come dine with me” on SBS – great show. Seriously though, Greece has structural problems of corruption and inefficiencies which it needs to address to improve efficiencies and for it to become a meritocracy and not a society and economy based on nepotism. Unless that cultural “flaw” is corrected, then I doubt Greece’s economy will ever succeed or reach its true potential. That aside, the EU too needs to take responsibility for allowing unsustainable loans to occur which will never be repaid. A bit like giving a credit card to someone one who has no capacity to repay. Under Australian law, a bank would be liable for the debt, not the other way around. If Europe continues to exploit Greece under the guise of “bailing out” the Greek people, Greece should leave the EU and find its own way by regaining its currency and devaluing it to gain a competitive advantage. High interest rates and austerity merely feeds the short term profits of the European banks and industry which will ultimately destroy the Greek economy, allow further exploitation to occur by forcing Greece to sell to foreign companies Greek utilities and sovereign assets at fire sale prices so that Greece will become the economic slave to its rich Northern Neighbours (if they aren’t already) who claim to take the moral high-ground and shift the blame unto the exploited through media spin and casting and reinforcing racist stereotypes. Great article.

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stop anti-hellenism June 23, 2011 at 16:01

Here is more stuff, the first link is a pdf with detailed statistics one can print out at din-a-7 size and hand it to tourists and the 2nd and 3rd are about the german never paid war-reparations, 162 billions of euro so far, estimated by resistance veteran Manolis Glezos:
http://www.rosalux.de/publication/37617/verkauft-doch-eure-inseln-ihr-pleite-griechen.html
http://www.athensnews.gr/issue/13434/38961
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,769703,00.html
Regarding the media-campaign, look here too, there will be live-ticker on 28th/29th action-days:
http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2011/06/21/when-the-foreign-press-gets-really-bold-on-greece/#comments

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friendly malaka June 23, 2011 at 16:20

SYNDAGMA-SQUARE and UNIONS CALL FOR STRIKES AND ACTIONS

“48 hours on the Streets”
– Syntagma Open assembly calls for days of action in face of parliament vote of the new IMF/EU/ECB agreement:

“The entire country in the Syntagma square in order not to pass the Mid-Term Memorandum!

For a month, now we have flooded the squares all around the country reclaiming our lives back. In late June, our struggle reaches a turning point. The government with zero social legitimation is attempting to pass the Mid-Term Memorandum. Their plans should not be passed. We cannot allow the looting of social wealth we will not tolerate the misery of the many to secure the profits of the few. The media manoeuvres, the fake reconfigurations and the blackmail of the government/IMF/EU, do not trick us. Now we know that the dilemma is not between bankruptcy and Memoranda, because Memoranda lead mathematically to the social bankruptcy.
Unions have called for a 48-hour General Strike during the two-day debate and vote of the Mid-Term in the House of Parliament. During these two days nobody should work, consume or support in the slightest way the break of the strike. On the morning of the first day of the strike we gather in Syntagma Square together with the assemblies from all over the country and all the neighbourhoods of Athens.

On the day of the enactment of the Mid-Term, we encircle the Parliament and we send the message that the people reject it!

For a month now we manifested that there are no one-ways, that we have the power to chart a new course for society. Now is the time to take the next big step. Now is our own time, now we talk!

Or us, or them – Direct Democracy Now!”

Greek trade unions call for historic first ever 48-hour General Strike in face of parliamentary vote on new IMF/EU/ECB agreement

As it has just been announced, the two mainstream trade-unions in Greece (GSEE and ADEDY) have just called for an unprecedented 48-hour General Strike for the 28th and 29th of June, to coincide with the parliamentary vote on the new bailout agreement between the Greek government and the IMF/EU/ECB troika.

The unions are calling for a Strike demonstration on 11 a.m. on Tuesday the 28th at the Mars Field (Pedion Toy Areos) and for a Strike protest gathering at 7 p.m. on Wednesday the 29th, at Klauthmonos square.

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Nikos June 23, 2011 at 16:29

Demeaning ethnic and racial stereotypes usually have nothing to do with the truth concerning Greeks or any other people. It’s utterly stupid for anyone to believe that all Greeks are lazy parasites, all Germans are Nazis and all Dutch are weed smoking pedophiles. Media corporations use the good old “divide and conquer” trick in order to manipulate their domestic audience. Follow the money if you are curious to find out why.

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chrysak June 24, 2011 at 11:37

I couldn’t agry more! You said everything in a few words!

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John June 23, 2011 at 17:53

It is my sincere belief that the bankers, neo liberals and the globalists needed a scapegoat for the orchestrated hardtimes about to hit the so-called rich and properous north Europe as well as in North America. They could have chosen anyone but Greece was selected as a punishment for their intransigence to the policies of the big players. One example was their VETO of FYROM from joining NATO a huge embarrassment for the White House and Pentagon…and that’s just one example, there are many more examples from within the EU. To put it simply, a scapegoat is needed and since Greece is one of the few small countries willing to resist the control of the elites it was chosen.

Greece has been bloodied and will now relinquish much of its sovereignty and be a good little boy…or at least thats what the Plutocrats hope, while at the same time they can appease their own people’s rage by blaming Greece while conveniently forgetting the role of the New York and London financiers in creating this global crisis.

New World Order indeed.

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MiLo June 24, 2011 at 19:51

Spot on, John!! Exactly my thoughts.

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marina June 26, 2011 at 15:29

Spot on, indeed.

But I do believe that all these bankers and globalists were helped by the fact that Greece has one of the most corrupt political systems in the western world along with a corrupt judiciary system, making it virtually impossible for any guilty parties to be prosecuted.

Other than that, the only thing I would say is the Greece is a female word in Greek, so it’s a girl really ;)

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Alexis June 23, 2011 at 18:03

“The crisis left Greece untouched in 2008″ ???
Ever heard of grandpa’s mortage on the small house built with money from double shifts in german factories?
Mortages to pay the private teacher for the kids!
Excactly that kids that exploded end of 2008 in the December Revolt.
It’s seems like a big unknown that Greece was already hit earlier by this crisis than the rest of Europe.
December lead in all its consequences to the snap elections.
One of Papandreou’s promises was to cancel the new “hoodie-law” that can give a ten year jail bonus. It’s still existing…

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Cherry June 23, 2011 at 21:07

to Anna and the rest of the haters: I hope one day your country and you personally face exactly the same or worse than what is happening to Greece and its people…People like you parrots spoonfed with lies and with myopic understanding realize a situation only when they are in it.

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marina June 26, 2011 at 13:53

very true!! as did the Greeks by the way.

The truth is that you may see all that is wrong with the system, as Anna has pointed out. A lot of people did before we got to this point. and a lot of people didn’t. The problem is that in a country were the judiciary system is as corrupt as the political and controlled by the political system (as the high court is appointed by the government), you CANNOT get justice no matter how much you try and fight the corruption you see around you. So you lose faith in the political system as a whole, it is not there to protect you and protect justice, it is there to protect the rich, the powerful and the status quo. So there is not a lot individual citizens can do to fight the corruption when they feel they are alone in this fight. It took the situation to get to the end of the road or the edge of the cliff for more and more people to see that it can go no further and start protesting in big numbers. Greeks are not shying away from their responsibilities in the situation but I don’t think any protest or revolt has taken place in history before these people reach the end of the line.

Having said this, the fact is that Greece has gained nothing as a country from joining the euro, when north European countries had everything to gain. For every euro North European countries have given to Greece,they have taken 2 in return, if not more. Greece lost in competitiveness because, being a small country with very little technical expertise, it could not compete with the big economies. EU policies drove a lot of profitable industries to destruction and made Greece import the same goods they until recently produced from Germany, France, Holland etc. The cost of living went up more than three times compared to before -Euro era, again having a detrimental effect to industries like exports and tourism, but salaries did not. All in all, the move did not benefit Greece at all.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/21/germany-a-euro-laggard

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Joan Ng June 23, 2011 at 21:32

Dear all,

If Greece didn’t go bankrupt, It is then the formation of
the future “Euroasia” in process.
Having said that, Greece is, to me rich in it’s own special way.
All my best wishes to the people of Greece.

Yours truly with love,

Joan Ng ( Singapore )

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Stellar June 25, 2011 at 09:15

Be well Joan! Thank you
peace & love back

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potatoes are not german but apache June 23, 2011 at 21:59

i remember a greek buddy 20 years ago living both greece and krautnation telling a joke: “whats the difference between greeks and krauts?”
“the greeks don’t like to pay taxes and the germans are proud taxpayers!”
hahaha
and now they are jealous cuz they’ve no balls against their state

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Petros June 24, 2011 at 08:21

In a Large Greek Colony, 200 B.C. The Canon

That things in the Colony are not what they should be
no one can doubt any longer,
and though in spite of everything we do go forward,
maybe—as more than a few believe—the time has come
to bring in a Political Reformer.

But here’s the problem, here’s the hitch:
they make a tremendous fuss
about everything, these Reformers.
(What a relief it would be
if no one ever needed them.) They probe everywhere,
question the smallest detail,
and right away think up radical changes
that demand immediate execution.

Also, they have a liking for sacrifice:
Get rid of that property;
your owning it is risky:
properties like those are exactly what ruin colonies.
Get rid of that income,
and the other connected with it,
and this third, as a natural consequence:
they are substantial, but what can one do?
the responsibility they create for you is damaging.

And as they proceed with their investigation,
they find an endless number of useless things to eliminate—
things that are, however, difficult to get rid of.

And when, all being well, they finish the job,
every detail now diagnosed and sliced away,
and they retire, also taking the wages due to them—
it will be a miracle if anything’s left at all
after such surgical efficiency.

Maybe the moment has not yet arrived.
Let’s not be too hasty: haste is a dangerous thing.
Untimely measures bring repentance.
Certainly, and unhappily, many things in the Colony are absurd.
But is there anything human without some fault?
And after all, you see, we do go forward.

C.P.Cavafy

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EP June 24, 2011 at 09:09

… and something more about the “BMWs and the Mercedes” a poster mentioned…

So what if Greeks drive “luxurius” cars? They didnt steal them, you know. They paid LOT of money to foreign companies and great amount of taxes to get them. Is it SO wrong for the population of a small southern country to live with “NorthEuropean” standards?

Stop blaming Greeks, and just “follow the money”, as a previous poster mentioned. Its all about it and nothing more!

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MarinaPapadaki June 24, 2011 at 15:31

Thank you so much for this article! After so many lies and such a propaganda against Greece from the media ( especially the German ones ) it’s wonderful when we see people from abroad telling the things the way they really are! Be proud of your work!

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Sabrathan June 24, 2011 at 16:34

Anna. I agree with most of the things you say in principle, and most Greeks have been in such a terrible slumber that they never realized tax evasion includes petty sorts (like not getting a receipt and thus avoiding VAT).

But out of curiosity, how much money are you making annually?

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Dorian June 24, 2011 at 17:52

Well, one stereotype is surely true. Greeks blame everybody else, but themselves: the politicians (who came from another planet), the xenos, the pope, etc. All those strikes, all that I don’t pay movement, all that shouting. You might as well stop breathing, like the children do.

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Stellar June 25, 2011 at 05:37

I think you understand that you from the lowest characters in here.

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MiLo June 24, 2011 at 19:26

Dear Anna and the rest of people who think likewise…

You point out the tax-evasion and low productivity of Greeks.
I will not talk about the latter; If you read the article it was very well stated and very logic; If you are underpaid and work overtime that is not paid, you are not productive. Point.

About tax evasion. Please, we all know where we are in the wrong in this. Please don’t find offensive what I’m about to say; You cannot efficiently judge a situation that you cannot conceive, let alone haven’t lived in. I appreciate where you’re coming from; What most people told you, and you have to believe, Greeks DON’T want your money. Keep it, buy an ipad or whatever.

Thing is, you have to imagine what it is to live in a country where the people who rule you are thieves. Not liars, all politicians are liars, but thieves. And we’re talking about HUGE indecipherable amounts of money.

Example;
The greatest national insurance institution (IKA) has been paid normally through taxpaying all these years. However, 3 years ago if I remember correctly, a huge scandal emerged; the media informed the Greek people that about 300 million euro disappeared from the institution’s banks. The whole thing was covered and hushed.

When I say hushed, no legal action took place, no names where given and we were asked to keep paying, to save the pensioners and sick people. Would YOU pay your tax after that??

A close person to me IS tax evading, keeping the money that would go to IKA to pay doctors and give money to her sick mother and retarded brother right away. Because she knows, if she would pay the taxes, they would still not get a dime.

The fiscal scandals are popping up every day and we all know, that nothing will happen to those who steal. Hard truth is, if you are rich or high in the social ladder and you steal, you will never be asked to give that money back.

Try to imagine living with this truth. Try to imagine keeping paying all your taxes and STILL not being sure of what the future will bring.

Please also consider, that Greece is a country with a very poor Social Care system. There is no housing benefit, student loan, income support, pension support. If you need money, you go to the bank. And if you can’t pay the bank back, they take your house, they take your car, even the shitty furniture from the 70s you might have, they’ll take that too.
In my old neighbourhood most of the houses are owned now by banks.

And this is why it is us that begin this domino effect; because our situation is very similar to the American; our health system is bankrupt, banks have completely taken over, we pay loads to military expenditures. We are the model of what is going to happen to the U.S., so keep up!

Maybe you won’t pay for us. Maybe we’ll go down the drain for all you know, but stay tuned! Another friend of yours will soon ask for money!

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GreekWarrior June 24, 2011 at 21:52

Exactly!!!! Great answer!!!

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Stellar June 25, 2011 at 05:12

Thank you Milo, i wanted to try to explain that too but your explanation covers me.
Unfortunately it can not be conceived by a clear mind, meaning one who has not live it.

@Anna / About your question on my opinion how Greek should proceed.

First of all i would like to see justice in action for all politicians & rich elite involved in scandals, thieves, traitors, famous singers that did not pay any tax for years, public workers who detached great amounts etc.

- Properties that have been build because of their theft to confiscate.
- Higher taxes for the really wealthy people.
- Set an international AUDIT COMMISSION ON GREEK PUBLIC DEBT to examine the real debt, how much it is etc. (http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43171.html)

-Fresh new political faces, clean! Participation of citizens.
A clean start for all us.

If all these happen Greece has already gain a lot. I can not say an amount, i am not an economist but understanding a lecture of Professor Richard D. Wolff (http://youtu.be/AG0zL1ZIw08) economy can be saved only by taxing the rich.

If Greece still needs to borrow money after all those measures it should be made under human rules, not criminal. Then everybody will be convinced that every measure taken is for good and future can be seen.

Can all these happen? That is what i am fighting for. Could all that be possible with world wide help also? I would love to see it.
But makes you wonder, EU (along IMF, but i’ll stay with our partners) demand from our politicians to act those austerity measures, why there is no demand for justice? They know of the scandals and you will witness it also at a following video i provide.

Interest rates that has been discussed, is something that not only me finds unfair. This video is from EU parliament http://youtu.be/dQGkP68AVTI

If you want to understand things even a little bit you have to watch full all videos provided.
Have a good summer Anna and thank you for trying.

I am not ungrateful as Antonio says to any honest human from any country, this is not a fight against countries. The fight is about corrupted politicians and banks. Keep this in mind people.

@Antonio a very wise woman at previous Portuguese protests said “It can’t be at the cost of human life some to get rich”
http://youtu.be/kqh6dZt8U8Q And as you can see in the video the problem is growing everywhere.

Greetings from Greece!

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Tasos June 24, 2011 at 21:17

I am Greek, i am proud and i don’t really care of what someone from Sweden or Germany or anywhere else thinks about the situation in my country. I’m completely legal as far as my taxes are concerned and i know for a fact that the major problem in Greece is that our politicians have been stealing the previous years HUGE amounts of money (with evidence, and not just because i say so) causing this financial crisis to us. The other fact is that the reason you loan money to Greece is that if Greece goes down, then probably the eurocoin will go underestimated causing instability and problems throughout the whole Europe -yes, including your countries. You don’t really loan money out of the goodness of your heart. Well, the truth is that we DON’T want your money. We don’t need it. In fact, bankruptcy would be the only solution so that we make sure that every Greek will get off his couch and chase away from the country all those filthy politicians who have been working for themselves and the foreign banks. So, yes, please do us a favor and don’t loan us again, we don’t want your money. We need a motive to clean our country from every little -or bigger- scum.

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GreekWarrior June 24, 2011 at 21:54

Fantastic answer brother!

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Effie June 26, 2011 at 10:22

BRAVO!!!

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della June 25, 2011 at 10:40

Jacques Delpla:
Everyone knows the fable of the grasshopper and ant. But the story continues because: it’s the ant who financed the cicada in the past and which is therefore its debts, and the grandparents of the ant have exterminated the grandparents of the cicada and they are therefore a heavy political and financial responsibility. According to my calculations, the Germans are the Greeks at least 575 billion euros in the second world war. The Germans have much more to Greece that the Greeks should Germany. And finally They both live in the same building, and if we implode the apartment of the cicada, everyone collapses. The moral of the story is that two things must be fulfilled in my opinion : the agreement between Greece and Europe and the contract of Germany with Europe.
http://economicsnewspaper.com/world-economics/jacques-delpla-germany-has-575-billion-euros-to-greece-36453.html

That is the truth Anna, not what you choose to believe in your racistic delirium.

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della June 25, 2011 at 10:41
Ater June 25, 2011 at 15:36

@ Anna

- Question1: Where were Swedish people during the World War 2, when the Greek population shrank by 12%?
Answer: They preferred not to oppose to Germans. Hence, they didn’t suffer what other populations suffered (then and thereafter).

- Question2: When did the Germans pay back for the ruins and the disaster they left behind in Greece (and elsewhere)?
Answer: Never. They just gave a loan(!) of 200 hundred DM to Greece (a loan with the money they received from USA to rebuild their country and economy).
Here are some aspects in French: «L’Allemagne doit 575 milliards d’euros à la Grèce» http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/monde/interview/0201458716889-jacques-delpla-l-allemagne-doit-575-milliards-d-euros-a-la-grece-184540.php
You may also look at this (someone above, also gave you the link): ‘Germany Was Biggest Debt Transgressor of 20th Century’ http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,769703,00.html

I set the above questions to show you that it is nonsense to exchange arguments such as “you did this or you are that” and “we did this and we are that”. The current economic crisis is rather more complex to be discussed in our (low) level. We don’t know all the facts, we don’t know the true plans and certainly we play a minor role in this game (if we play any).
The only truth (I guess) that we all understand is that humans are not as valuable as money.

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Vivianne June 25, 2011 at 17:00

Albrecht Ritschl, Historian, interview on the Spiegel:
“It is Germany who should be grateful to the Greeks”.

Here is why:
http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/0,1518,769052,00.html

Anna read well.

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effiegr June 26, 2011 at 03:43

Ας πει κάποιος στην Αννα ότι η χαμηλή παραγωγικότητα στην Ελλάδα δεν οφείλεται στην…ελληνική τεμπελιά όπως η ίδια ισχυρίζεται, αλλά στην έλλειψη τεχνογνωσίας-τεχνολογίας της ελλάδος. Παράδειγμα ενας γερμανός που διαθέτει όλα τα σύγχρονα μέσα (τεχνολογίας) μπορεί να δουλευει 7 ώρες κ να κατασκευάσει 10 αυτοκίνητα σε αντίθεση με έναν έλληνα που μπορεί να δουλεύει 15 ώρες κ να κατασκευάσει 1 αυτοκίνητο επειδή έχει ελλειψη υποδομών.

δείτε εδω
http://tvxs.gr/node/78173/474136

ας της το εξηγησει καποιος στα αγγλικά

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Cherry June 26, 2011 at 04:18
Stellar June 26, 2011 at 04:35

@Dorian
I am sorry i refuse to keep on explaining to stubborn & one side-focused people. Either you haven’t read anything here or you just don’t care, so why bother?

Bye bye Dorian

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Effie June 26, 2011 at 09:17

Why all this hatred towards Greece, rest of Europe …..so hipoctites.They accuse Greece of being racists.Why do you all kick out the illegal immigrants that make it to your countries & send them to Greece??? All these years Greece has been asking for help from the EU ,but what did EU do …..turn their back.Is this the UNITED EUROPE! Maybe if Germany pays back what it has “taken ” from Greece –1940′s ….loan payed back,hundreds of times.Also GB says it will not give money for lazy Greeks,well give back the marbels that you stole!! Britain gets a stach of money from the Greek marble excebition ….so we don’t owe you a dime.One last thing…….rename Europe ,i am sure you all know that EUROPE is a Greek name!!!!!
And i think the rest of Europe ,before slamming Greece,check out your role in this Greek tragedy.It angers us down south with all this.

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Effie June 26, 2011 at 10:40

below mentioned are the facts for the “LAZY GREEKS”
Here are the facts:
Hours worked per week:
According to Eurostat data of 2005, the Greeks worked 43.1 hours per week (compared to 35.7 hours in so-called ‘thrifty’ Germany, with its much-touted ‘Protestant work ethic’).
Hours worked per year:
More recent OECD data shows the Greeks to work an average of 2,119 hours per year — 690 hours more than the average German, 467 more than the average Brit and 356 more than the OECD average. In fact, out of all OECD countries, only the Koreans work more.
Amount of paid holidays:
The paid leave entitlement in Greece is 23 days per year. This is actually below the EU average, and significantly lower than the minimum of 28 days in the UK and 30 (!) days in Germany.
Retirement age:
Again, Eurostat data from 2005, shows the average age of exit from the labour force in Greece to be 61.7. This was higher than in Germany, France or Italy and higher than the EU27 average. It is being raised even further now as a part of the EU-IMF bailout conditions.

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Petor76 June 30, 2011 at 13:45

Maybe it’s a good thing to start your with hunt against Dutch Media with a Dutch magazine in stead of a German one. Or maybe you ment the German Media?

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Dimitri June 30, 2011 at 22:52

What the hell are you smoking Antonio? We had a bigger “revolution” than you in 74! And the Portuguese are in NO position to give lessons to Greece – or anyone else for that matter – as your debt to GDP is even worse than ours BUT you don’t have oil or huge natural gas reserves WHICH THE hyenas ARE ALSO TRYING TO GET THE FILTHY HANDS ON!

And as for all you squealing Swedes, Dutch, Germans and Brits, maybe you should ask your lying, hypocritical politicians IS ANY OF YOUR MONEY actually going to the Greeks and Irish or is it in fact virtually ALL going to the parasitic banks and hyenas in the so-called markets and Wall st because DESPITE THE TRILLIONS they have already received THEY ARE STILL HIDING ASTRONOMICAL AMOUNTS OF CRIMINALLY INSANE PONZI SCAMS, CDS and HYPER TOXIC DERIVATIVES which are about to blow up in their faces – and yet for most of the scum it is BONUSES AS USUAL!
So go on, ASK THEM.

Do Greece and the EU have problems they need to sort out? you bet they do! But the WHOLE of the Greek GDP – let alone debt – IS LESS THAN 2% of the EU’s and the TOTAL DEBT AND BAIL OUTS OF THE US and so-called “united” kingdom, make the EU’s look like petty cash!

The growing demonstrations are now putting pressure on the government and EU to get their act together to deal with the parasites who created this mess – primarily to try and protect the rotting dollar with obscenely corrupt, criminally insane ponzy scams on Wall Street and London AND THEY WILL SOON HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE REAL PROBLEM, which is and always has been from the start of the so-called “sovereign debt crisis”, the fact that the BRICS and others started dumping the dollar because they no longer wanted to sit on a mountain of worthless bonds and petro dollars (Saddam must be laughing his butt off!) to prop up their debt fuelled gluttonous and mindless consumption and big mac/sub prime mentality.

FYI Most of the billions Greece has received went straight back, especially to Germany to subsidise THEIR industries, with corrupt arms deals or useless submarines and other junk we don’t need, along with infrastructure projects and supplies to the health and telecoms systems by likes of Siemens who made all sorts of kickbacks and corrupt agreements and now the hypocritical, whingeing northerners want to give us lessons in “ethics”!

And all this was mostly done with the same treacherous so-called socialist government which is now also trying to cripple the Greek economy and will of the people so they “have to privatise” and sell out the country of it’s significant natural gas and oil resources “to pay off the massive debt” WHICH IS MOSTLY THE INTEREST ON THE PONZI SCAMS AND CDS !!THEY!! SET UP IN THE FIRST PLACE with the help of everyone’s FAVOURITE PARASITES, GOLDMAN SHITS!

Oh, if ONLY we could default! I would love to see what all you squealing little lemmings would do when all the hyenas (not wolves) who have licked all the bail out bones dry, then turned on your pension schemes and public assets . Oh, hang on, they’ve already started in the UK. Uh, oh, could YOU be next?

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irina July 1, 2011 at 01:19

THEY HATE US!!!
As simple as that. At some points I could agree with the ctiticism that Greece is receiving regarding the way we treated our finances and public spending. But the degrading comments and the insults that are thrown constantly against the people of Greece go far beyond economics and only hatred can be a reasonable explanation! I don’t know why…maybe because we have better weather and nice beaches, maybe because we enjoy life more than them (not just recently but always), maybe because their women used to visit Greece in search of the “Greek lover” icon… I don’t know and I don’t really care. I just feel that I am hated and I have decided to cut any ties I have with northern Europe and not travel there again for the rest of my life…

PS: Congrats for the article. It is an honest one!

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Dorian July 11, 2011 at 02:08

“I have decided to cut any ties I have with northern Europe and not travel there again for the rest of my life”

They are worried about that.
Thank god you have the sun, the sand and the stallions. So, keep enjoying your party.

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effiegr July 1, 2011 at 01:44

Now we have not only media ,we have the companies too. Click here to see a german company how ironic is with greeks , writes in german lang. “we accept drachma ” (old currency of greece) http://www.sixt.de/

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A Greek thief July 1, 2011 at 12:41

@Antonio
So, you think you are not biased against Greeks?!

Your country is at the mercy of IMF and you have the ideas you have about other people with the same problem. Keep dreaming that you are better than us…

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anna is a racist hypocrite July 3, 2011 at 10:03

So calling people who claim that the cost of illegal immigration is burdensome racists. While at the same time coming up with racist stereotypes and caricatures of greeks in general. Anna you are a hypocrite. Not only are you misinformed but you are clearly an angry hateful person. You think you are better than anyone else. I got news for you Greece is not the most indebted nation. There are nations in the G7 much more indebted. Greece has problems. The greeks are in the streets protesting their politicians not asking for money for you. As the song goes your so vain but his riot is not about you.

You mention Greece should be responsible like northern countries. yes like Iceland they should just walk away from their debts and refuse to pay anything. I don’t see you railing on about that. What about Ireland don’t here a peep from you on that.

Anyways from an outsider I hope the Greeks default take back their country and their economy. In the 80′s they made vehicles,ships, and had light manufacturing. Once they entered the euro they followed the lead of the anglo saxon economies and created a casino economy driven by finance and consumerism. Don’t be too worried about Greece all the anglo saxon countries are going down. But when they go down there will be probably more wars world wide.

By the way I don’t live in Greece but had to interject as your obnoxious holier than thou attitude was hard to listen too.

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Jazzprom July 5, 2011 at 05:38

When you say Northern Europe was stronger and better, it didn’t just happen that way. Those folks they built their nations to be stronger and better, and manufacture high-quality goods with sheer hard work, the pursuit of excellence (not sloppiness and mediocrity) and human creativity. Since you’re upset by criticism from fello Europeans, try surveying people from Japan, China or India in the East or Americans and canadians at the other to name high-quality European products. And see if anything Greek features in their responses. Ask travellers from these countries to name European countries for quality and efficiency of services and see if Greece figures in any response.

You say Papandreau’s strategy would have worked only in a protected economy but Greece was a member of the EEC. Sorry sir. The EEC didn’t exactly beg Greece to join. It was the other way around. And Papandreau’s policy did not fail inspite of him being an economics professor at Berkley but because of it. Most university professors lack the actual real-world skills to run a country besides tending to be left leaning and in favour of expansive government. You can say what you like but it won’t alter the fact that left-leaning economic policies just don’t work. Good old capitalism alone has proven to be behind the success of every propsperous society in the modern world.

There is certainly truth in your claims of the EU bureaucracy being inept and self-serving and unwilling to tackle a problem when they saw early signs of it. But the lion’s share of the blame for Greece’s unhappy predicament remains firmly with the Greeks. The unpleasant truth is far more Greeks in proporttion to total population who dodge taxes than there are in the prosperous European states. Consequently simple arithmatic shows that government hand-outs through all the entitlement programs (shamelessly forged by Greek politicians for votes) exceed tax revenues and that cumulative deficit has now come to a head.

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Ingeborg Beugel July 11, 2011 at 13:52

Wow! First I want to thank Jerome Roos for making the effort to translate my article. I had no idea that what I wrote would cause such an international discussion. Very interesting to read all these reactions. I must say, as I am quite shocked by the unfair, harsh, discriminating anti Greek propaganda in the media of my own country, Holland, without any compassion for a fellow EU memberstate, showing an unforgivable lack of historical knowledge, I am also alarmed by the biassed black an white comments of certain people above.
Dont you understand? The Greek crisis is not a national Greek crisis, it is the result of an international financial crisis, caused by some very, very irresponsible and greedy people that found for a very long time willing ‘partners in crime ‘ within the Greek political and industrial elite. Anyone who says that the Greek people are themselves responsible for their own politicians, doesnt understand anything about the Greek reality or history. Most Greeks themselves are appalled by the bad functioning of their own state institutions, they dont want bad hospitals, bad schools and bad roads, they dont want money from the EU to disappear in the pockets of those in power. Yet, in 30 years they could not change it. Brussels should have been a positive force in change, yet it preferred Greece to stay as it was, because it profited from that situation. I dont say certain Greeks have no responsability at all. For 15 years as a balcan correspondent based in Greece, I wrote about mismanagement, corruption and asked again and again why the EU accepted all this. Nobody did anything. Those who did nothing are as ‘guilty’ as certain Greeks themselves.
Please, watch the film INSIDE JOB, from Charles Ferguson about the crisis of 2008-2009. It is eye opening, reveiling – and shocking. When you see that film, you will understand how powerless any people is in the actual financial system, that has seen deregulation after deregulation to end up like it is now: a corrupted system where ‘anything goes’, where you can bet on default, whether it is Iceland, the USA or Greece.

What worries me the most is the fact that so many institutions and people bet on the default of Greece. (Why could ‘betting on default’ ever become legal?) Billions and billions will be made if Greece will default. Can Greece resist that? I fear the worst. You dont have to be an economist to understand that this bail out and these harsh measures imposed on the Greek people is like a ‘mission impossible’. Everybody knows it will not work. It will leave Greece in the worst situation, the country will not be able to change and reconstruct. What is needed is not only serious and revolutionary reform within the country, but also a restructuring of the debts and a Marshall plan for Greece so it will be able to rebuild itself. Eberybody knows that what is happening now can only end in disaster. So why do the EU, the IMF, the Greek government and all these banks go along with it.
WHY?
INSIDE JOB gives some good answers ….

Ingeborg Beugel, Dutch journalist

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Vivianne July 22, 2011 at 15:04

Thank you for presenting the truth Mr. Beugel.
A sunshine of thought indeed.

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Jimmy July 22, 2011 at 02:51

I really like what you are saying, and am glad I found your website. Please keep it up.

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Vivianne July 22, 2011 at 15:06

it is really appaling when you grow up with the sense of the unprejudiced, open minded, well educated north european nationals and yet, as an adult, to travel there only to find out how sickly easy many of them point their hatred to the south with racism so obviously rooted in their mentalities.

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Aetos July 25, 2011 at 02:26

Last week a German Professor from Munich exposed some truths.

He said that the EU polititians and Media like to make Greece look bad by stressing the point that our tax payers money is going to Greece.

Yes that would make anybody look at Greece and Greeks in a bad way.

But the truth is that they keep approving and giving Greece the money because it is actually good for the German economy and the other EU members who give money to Greece. Because it is a loan with interest earning mechanisms, one way or another Germany will be benefiting and profiting from the crisis in Greece.

But we as Greeks are stupid enough to rub our hands and say, ‘hey thats good we’re getting some more money coming our way so all these public servants can keep putting us in more debt as long as they get their 2000 Euro minimum per week plus their bribes that they get from the poor privat sector employees.

We should say no to the new hand outs and start looking at real solutions and good examples and build up a new Greece. We have to rise from this and put things right and make everything work and provide jobs to the private sector. Give pay rises to shop assistants and waiters and hotel employees. Instead of the greedy managers pocketing big profits of over 500% on supermaket goods.

I know because i have been through this and i still am.

Greece has to look at good examples in the world and invest in its own people and industry. Why have we not got our own Motor Vehincl Industry? Why are we selling our Utilities, Why? why? why?

Because as Greeks we are all selfish, we are not the Greeks or our fathers and grandfathers were, who are now in their 80′s. The Greeks who are now in their 50′s to 30′s now became greedy Dimosi Ipalili. We have lost what it means to Be Greek. We were known to be clean, healthy, honourable, hospitable people. But greed destroyed us we looked at appropriating that Mercedes and show it off in a matter to hurt our neighbours and relatives, that i have and you don’t have.

Prepi na xipnisoume, clean up our act our souls and most importantly our country our nation our future. Make everyone stand and appreciate us for who we are and what we are and what we are capable of doing. And we can only do this if we come together and help each other.

Firstly we should revolutionise our politics, no more Papandreou or Karamanlis dynasties ruling Greece for decades. We need to find the right people for the job. A politician works for the people, no more ‘Do You Know Who I Am’ attitudes. Because we know who you are and what you are doing.

STOP CORUPTION in Greece NOW

Look after the people and give them hope of a fair system, a good health program, a good education that really works and not as is at the moment.

Where the teacher just shows up to the class and does not do much and then tells the students that if they want to get ahead and learn more to come to their Frontistirio classes after school and pay.

And the police can start booking all the illegally parked cars and speedsters instead of sitting at cafe’s drinking Frappethes and smoking. And in this way the state can add money to the treasury instead of increasing the consumer taxes by 4% which hits the poor people and elderly.

Think positively get smart Greece, there is many industries we can create and make, manufacture and export we have so much but we don’t know how to do it properly because of jealousies and egostich greed.

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Brian OH September 15, 2011 at 06:51

Just how hard-working they are is largely irrelevant. Quite simply the Greek government like many others spends far too much. This is irresponsible government, and they are not alone. Eventually they must either pay-up, opt-out, or default. The protests are rather like me protesting because lenders required me to pay-up on my mortgage. Too many people are in denial when it comes to the monetary and fiscal responsibilities of their government.

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Ann Baker October 19, 2011 at 21:06

I have lived in Greece for 35 years and have a small business. The truth is that Greece is a corrupt country from top to bottom. There are no clear recors on piublic workers, pensions and National Health Service and even the tax program doesn’t work. This is why corruption can thrive throughout the puiblic system. As for Greeks, when 200 Billion Euro has left this country over the past 12 months, when they continue to strike, demonstrate and burnthe capital, I can understand why foreign Governments are at a loss how to solve the situation. We have rubbish in our streets which will take a month to clear even hospital waste has been left lying. When Greeks change their grammar from ‘Me and my Mother’ to ‘my Mother and I’ maybe we can straighten out this country. Until then, Greeks only though is for themselves, it’s a popu;lation of children that don’t want to grow up. Work, maybe they do work long hours but responsibility, they definitely do NOT want at any level. Soirry but that’s the truth.

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Chris October 22, 2011 at 13:36

Just found this article. Hi my name is Chris and I am from Australia. Let me tell you, the world knows that Greece was set up and set up by the stronger EU countries. They got their money back in exports (and then some) but the balance or debt on the ‘books’ still exists. I know this as an Accountant and it’s a nice loan shark technique just played on a grand scale. Look at this clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfNqDK1-W10&feature=related

As for Anna, it is clear she (I bet it’s not a she) is just a tool of used to spread lies against any country fighting back. Everytime a logical argumet was presented she kept harping about low productivity levels. She doesn’t live in the country to talk about this kind of thing. Clearly a set up.

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Aryn November 3, 2011 at 01:15

This is actually a pretty silly debate. There is fault on many sides but please don’t blame the people and remember a few things:
1) Greece has always had issues paying debt. Even before the EU. Terrible checks/balances. Heck, I am convinced your leaders are either drunk, corrupt or really need a lesson in finance. One wonders what type of accounting manipulation occurred to get them in the EU. This was always a concern from economists familiar with the country.
2) Just because banks are willing to lend to make a profit, doesn’t mean that you have to borrow. Further, it doesn’t mean that it is the banks fault when you can’t pay it back. Credit risk is always an issue but I would venture to say there was outright fraud with the Greek government, especially when it came to funding the Olympics.
3) Taking a poll based on what people in your ‘hood tell you, isn’t accurate enough to base an argument on.
4) Hours worked for all you people in the EU is laughable.

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Marko November 5, 2011 at 01:00

Dear Greeks,

There are Euro countries in EU (like Slovenia, Estonia and Slovakia), which have *lower* average salaries than you. And still poor Slovenes and Estonians pay for richer Greeks. If for nothing else, you should be *ashamed* of that.

I believe you that little people in Greece do not earn a lot and generally pay taxes. But there are large segments of society – not necessarily rich – like railway’s or electrical companies’ workers, which have very large salaries, comparable to those of Germans, and of course there are also rich Greeks and politicians which really earn a lot and pay nothing.

But this is *your* problem. *You* have to sort it out. Mrs. Merkel cannot come to Greece and say: stop corruption, lower salaries of workers in railway and energetic companies, take taxes from rich. *You* must do it. Stop complaining and sort out your country yourself and *only*then* you shall *earn*respect from us that pay from our pockets for *your* debts!

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Jérôme E. Roos November 5, 2011 at 03:30

Dear Marko,

Poor Slovenes, Estonians and Slovaks do not pay for slightly richer Greeks. They pay for enormously richer European banks. THAT is something we should all be ashamed of as Europeans. Neither Greeks nor Slovaks would have to go through any of this misery if the financial sector just took responsibility for the crisis it caused.

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Annabelle Buckhanan November 9, 2011 at 10:20

capitalism by its very nature will create a society of haves and mostly have nots. americans have never understood the power of a system to influence the organizati-on or a nation.

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Prof. George Kiriakidis November 12, 2011 at 17:17

It is time that more voices with clear mind and right inside information are heard!!
It is at least harmful for the “family” of European countries to allow to unjust and misleading articles, that bring Europe 70 years back, to revive again.
Let us not forget that the origins of two catastrophic wars in Europe (and the world) started by the very same country that, failing to dominate / concur Europe by armed forces, is doing the same now by economic forces. No country, France included, is any longer capable of imposing any objections. What a success!! We should all be proud of!!
And nobody is talking about it!!
The same way, nobody is talking about the more than 500 billion Euros that Germany is still to return to Greece as world war 2 compensations and the unlawful loan confiscated from the Greek Treasury during that war!!
Is this the EUROPE we all want to live in??
I wonder!!

G.K.

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PETER November 15, 2011 at 17:01

CORRUPTION IN GERMANY
Mark Twain once said “all generalizations are false, including this one.” Popular perceptions and stereotypes about someone, some people, or a people can be misleading, wrong, to downright malicious even dangerous. For example not all Americans are Brad Pitt look-alikes and not all Italians are members of the mob. Not all British men are homosexual and British women do in fact bathe. Not all Jews look and act like Shakespeare’s Shylock and the French actually do brush their teeth. Likewise not all Greeks are lazy, lying, corrupt tax cheats and not all Germans are bloodthirsty nazis or nazi sympathizers; By the same token it can be said all Germans are law-abiding and moral and ethical people. I do have serious reservations about the validity of that last statement if we judge it by some evidence that has been documented over the years showing that German corruption is alive and well at every level of society, from local city officials, diplomats, business executives, sports figures, all the way to university professors.

German society has been rife with corruption for years, corruption no different than the type you’d encounter in an African or Latin American country, or worse yet in some southern European “PIGS” nation as they like to refer to their southern “European family” members. I’m sure Germans reading this will choke on their blutwurst for being compared to some Latino or African country or to a “PIGS” nation but bear with me; it may just be that Germany is the worst offender of them all.
The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung had published as far back as 2001 a report by Transparency international that revealed that bribes were paid to German municipal officials for securing the ideal market stalls in the market and German immigration officials were bribed for issuing visas to Chinese nationals who didn’t qualify for one. The same publication reveals that German officials have demanded or accepted bribes for issuing driver drivers’ licences, residence permits, cafeteria operation licenses, hotel construction permits, casino operation licences, and road construction contracts. But this is petty crime compared to the institutionalized corruption and embezzlement practiced for years by Germany’s world business giants such as Volkswagen, Daimler/Chrysler, Deutsche Bank, Infineon, Deutsche Bahn, GM/Opel, Linde and Ratiopharm as revealed in a CNBC report in 2007. They should at least share half guilt for the corruption they’re involved in. When they get caught they work out back room deals to pay a fine that is the fraction of the cost of the money they stole, extorted or embezzled.
It’s not just small and big business who are involved in corruption; Germany’s political life has been rife with corruption for a very long time. The films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder portray fascinatingly and ironically the sleaze and corruption of Germany in the 1950s, suggesting that scandals and corruption in Germany has been a way of life for a very long time.
I guess a lot of Germans know the Greek term “fakelaki” refers to bribes given to facilitate exchanges. But do they know the meaning of the term “bimbes” as baptised by the great leader Helmut Khol to refer to bribery money? Yes the same Helmut Khol who in 1991 intervened personally to get German tanks delivered to Saudi Arabia and shortly after his party received a “donation” of one million Marks by the industrialists involved and according to Hans-Gerd Öfinger (Der Funke March 14th, 2000) this is the tip of the iceberg
And if one is so naïve to think that these are recent phenomena in German social, business and political life think again: Bernd Hafenberg, an economist reader of the Frankfurter Allgemeine online, reveals that tens of millions of euros had been paid by contractors to civil servants for work on an autobahn in Eastern Germany. “I consider this to be merely the tip of the iceberg,” he wrote. “Based on 45 years’ work experience, Germany is thoroughly corrupt and whoever talks about this is considered a Judas.” So here we see that the Germans have a code of silence, just like the mob.
One can hardly claim that these are isolated cases or corruption practiced by few individuals gone astray.
But let’s not stop in politics or business. The bribing of players, coaches, referees and other officials seems to be the norm in the German sports scene. The 2005 Bundesliga game fixing scandal with referees Robert Hoyzer, Dominik Marks and God knows who else is just but one example. But did this stop the corruption in sports? Of course not. In 2009 Der Spiegel reported another huge soccer match-fixing scandal with heavy German involvement. According to CNN over 200 people are involved in this one; hardly an isolated incident. East Germany for a number of years sent doped up athletes to world cups and Olympic Games to cheat their way to a gold medal and convince themselves and the world of their racial superiority keeping in tune with brother Adolf’s twisted ideology.
Even Germany’s “revered” academic institutions have not escaped what appears to be widespread corruption at all levels of society. Der Spiegel reported in August 4 2009 that dozens of professors were in thirteen cities and at least in as many universities were bribed to dish out PhD degrees to unqualified individuals wishing to indulge their ego or misrepresent themselves and their abilities out in the job market, a kind of theft if you will. Some people capitalized on the Germans’ weakness for titles such as Herr Doktor or Frau Doktor and founded companies that acted as the middleman. According to this report this was a multi-million euro business with companies operating in at least three cities(Halle, Leipzieg and Lohne) dished out fake PhDs like it was toilet paper from universities in at least thirteen cities across Germany(Frankfurt, Tübingen, Leipzig, Rostock, Jena, Bayreuth, Ingolstadt, Hamburg, Hanover, Bielefeld, Hagen, Cologne and Berlin) and god only knows in how many universities. So in reality we cannot talk about a few corrupt individuals but a well organized corruption business that any “PIGS” cheat would be envious of. A more recent example is the smug German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg plagiarized his PhD thesis, and of Silvana Koch-Mehrin the daughter of former Bavarian Governor Edmund Stoiber and a high-profile member of the European Parliament . Both plagiarized their Ph.D. In other words, they stole the work of another person or persons and presented it as their own and for years hthey fooled, cheated and lied to people by misrepresenting their abilities and his potential. I wonder how many other Karl-Theodor zu Guttenbergs and Silvana Koch-Mehrin are out there that we don’t know about?

It seems obvious that the notion that Germany’s cleaner than clean and holier than thou attitude is nothing but a huge lie, a myth. What appears to be true however is that German society is rotten to the bone. Germans too are “PIGS”! They have crawled from under the same sewer as that of Greece or any PIGS nation with the difference being the German sewer is a much bigger and much deeper that that of any of the “PIGS” nations. Some Germans should stop admonishing and insulting an entire people for the actions of a few and should wipe out the smug, arrogant neo-nazi look off their faces because their society is no less susceptible to cheating, embezzlement and corruption than that of their “PIGS” “family” members. They just have a better veneer covering it up.
The bottom line is no one is immune to corruption of one form or another. Vilifying and entire nation for the acts of a few is immature, vindictive, and racist. And if the reader of this article is is a hard working, honest tax paying German citizen not participating in any of the mentioned practices, perhaps you can understand the how the average Greek felt when German puplications are vilifying him/her for all the world’s evils. I for one will nor refer to them as PIGS. I will respect the pigs.

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Faris November 24, 2011 at 03:24

“Work harder than everyone”??? At tax evasion, definitely. In a country where exactly 5 people have declared incomes over €1m, and only a handful more any income more than half a million, they certainly don’t look like they want to take the blame for what they collectively put themselves into. And yet, they are STILL complaining. Throw them out of the EU, and install Turkey in their place just to spite.

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Sam.P November 26, 2011 at 17:50

Can some one explain to me and others how the Greeks were forced to buy military products from France and Germany? Forced? I am sure there is something to it but what?..I want to know, so if someone has the facts and not hear say I’d appreciate it. I am new to this forum and I WANT to get to the truth and not the bs.
Thank you !
Sam. P

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Afroditi January 4, 2012 at 16:28

Do not worry my Northern friends…You are the next target for the speculators. You will understand the truth in a while. But because of your “hate” (i better call it jelousy) attitude…Greeks will not help you at that time. You will be on your own. Enough! We have given more than a lot and we do not have to explain ourselves to uneducated people that are controled from the fasist media. We will not save you again as done several times during history…Do you want to bet who will survive at the end? (betting is on your blood…you bet on our debt you can bet on that too)

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dd February 6, 2012 at 09:44

Quit crying. Try capitalism, limit the governments power, invest in the free market with limited regulations, lower taxes and reduce the power of the unions- their as greedy as any politician or large corporation. If you rely on yourself to work hard, maybe start some kind business, if you do honest, hard work, you will be noticed and success usually follows. If you have to rely on the government to fulfill your future, you will have limited freedom of choice in what that future will be. They only feed you just enough, so you have to come begging to them for more- crumbs of servitude.

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P Li February 23, 2012 at 03:59

Hi
I am a Chinese who live in Canada right now, I remember my mother told me when she was around 5 years old her father made 6 Macau dollors a monther of which 3 dollars goes to the rent for a little room the other 3 dollars goes for the rest of the necessaries,that was like 80 years ago, nowaday Hong Kong people make around 7000.00 to 10000.00 a month but they spent 3500.pp for a room and the rest for necessities so it s petty much the same . what I am trying to say is no matter how hard it is people will live on and the earth will give all the necessities to you, Please don’t give up, protects against the goverment don’t help, Greece people should get together and make a living start from the scretch,
Greece people…. I believe you can do it …..please don’t give up…………..

Peter (sorry for the poor English I wrote , it is my second langauge)
22Feb.,2012

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jo July 1, 2012 at 01:09

Why the hell don’t we have politicians to say these things for us?I do my best whenever I talk to foreigners.Why can’t our politicians do it?
Thanks to the writer.All these things we read me us feel desperate.But people like this show us that this world isn’t inhabited by stupid ignorant empty headed people.
Thank you!!!!

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Vagelis May 14, 2013 at 08:34

I find it amusing that no one mentions that the crisis is INTERNATIONAl. No one mentions that it is NOT the first crisis, and no one actually cares/dares to point to the true criminal here, which is capitalism. People, just stop watching tv and read what an economic crisis is. A small help from me; it is actually an industrial crisis. Second cue: Greece doesnt have much of an industry.

The real enemy is capitalism, there can be no solution the crises if that rotten system remains in power.

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Polina June 17, 2013 at 16:14

Dear All

I dont really want to delv in the subgects mentioned before. All opinions are represented and mine will not add anything new… Many of you might concider what i am saying irrelevant but to my mind it is not.
I am 25 years old i was not able to find a work in Greece that would help me pay my expences and my mams as she is 55 years old and wherever she has gone for work they basically say they need younger people. So i decided with my fiance which is in a similar situation to come to The Netherlands to find any work in order to help our families, you see my father has been living here for 15 years so this country was our first thought. I am here one year now learning Dutch and doing any work i find in order to pay taxes in Greece (even though me and my mam our unemployed in Greece, whatever i will pay the taxes in the hopes of those taxes one day actually help Greeks or help to pay the debt) nevertheless i am happy to pay also the taxes here as this country gives back to the people from the taxes they get. I just want to have a job to be able to cover my expences nothing more nothing less, i might not be able to have a family like ever or do much more but if that will help next generations or other countries not to be in such a situation i will do it.

My point is i know who i am and what i do. Truthfully i am the only one who knows so generic sayings such as “All Greeks this and that” should not be taken seriously, different opinions will always exist and that is the core of who we are, the right to our opinion. To you Dear Anna and whoever shares your opinion i wish you to never have somebody to dismiss and discriminate against your country and your people no matter the reason. I wish i had enough money to give you back so you do not have such a big problem.

And one last thing i do not wish to change anyones opinion and i would like to make clear that i do concider my self to blame for the situation today because i am part of that country no matter the situation it is in and no matter if all this is preplanned or whatever. I new what was going on but because we as a family had enough money to be confortable (not that we were rich) i did not cross my mind that this would happen in the future.

From all that is going on right now the only thing i want to stop is people asking me for their money whenever i am saying that i am Greek. If i had it i would give it, but i dont because none of it came to me, the only support i had from the goverment is school and that was the end of it. i had private health insurance i was not able to find a legitimate work so i would have social security, it was always “black money” as they say, even though i still got taxes and payed them so nevertheless i did not steal anything from the public sector. While working i paid my mams taxes as well so i would say for a 25 year old i have given back to my country as much as i could and continue giving all i ask is that the people who are old or sick are covered by the goverment but noooooo, not even people with cancer are covered now adays that much, well you know what i will still pay in the hopes of doing something that previous generations did not thing doing about me, thinking of the future and not just the now (if you want to disagree on this point please do i said before it is your opinion and i completely respect it)

Anyway that is all, it is not exaclty relevant to your topic but this is me and nobody can have an accurate opinion about me except myself. Hope you all well and please do not spoil your day for the opinions of other people. And to whomever has small children right now, please keep fighting for them as i will try to do too.

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Jérôme E. Roos June 24, 2011 at 21:43

António, rather than getting angry at Panos, I think you should actually see the similarity of your struggle. All of us working people are suffering from the hardships imposed by a system that structurally disadvantages the ordinary citizen. Rather than telling Panos he’s complaining, you could join together and unite in your struggle for a more just world in which both of you (and all of us) receive a proper reward for the real value of our hard work.

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António June 25, 2011 at 02:27

Jérôme, I’m not angry at Panos, believe me. He’s just a confused boy. And no, I’m not in the same strugle as Panos, Jerôme. His strugle didn’t start yet. It will be in the future, with some of is own compatriots, those who say they don’t need nobody, they don’t need Europe, they don´t need more money, those who say the whole world is against them, the ottomans, the germans, the persians, the turks, the romans, the albanians, etc. Those who promise him a bright future only by standing there shouting slogans. You are a very nice guy, Jerôme, but you have nothing to offer to me. As I said before, I live in a far more just, democratic and wealthy world than my ancesters lived. I would be insulting my ancesters if I didn’t recognized this. You are probably too young to understand that, yourself, Do you want to give me what I deserve, do you? I need vacations in the Bahamas, for a month, thank you ;) . Doesn’t a working guy deserve that? I do.

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MiLo June 25, 2011 at 14:36

We are not ungrateful to the EU. Everyone says this, you still cover your ears.
With our corruption we’d rather not have its’ help right now. No amount of money will extinguish this situation. The contrary!

We are not a European country. We are rather African. Does this help you a little bit understand why we don’t want benefactors, bankers, defenders?

The battle you mention is already going on, has been going on for ages, thanks to the “divide and conquer” bait we’ve so blindly been eating all those years. Blues and greens, communists and anarchists, fascists and immigrants, nationalists and liberals.

You might think that these happen everywhere, but you haven’t seen how it all evolves in our country. That’s why you don’t see the VITAL importance of having all the people anonymously protesting together, even to only protest for the sake of it.

Every government has to fear its people, never the other way around!

PS: I try to explain as kindly as I can. You have been quite rude to people, and this makes me wonder, if you really thought that this is a just and great world why do you show nothing but resentment and condescension to our opinions?

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Stellar June 25, 2011 at 16:27

Antonio ola,
i have replied to Anna and partly to you a little above also (please search it by your name) but wanted to add few things here.
Hope i make sense cause i am very tired at the moment.

I understand what you are trying to say. Believe me our approach would be different if things had been different.

The bailout is serving the banks and only. And thus the reason is has been called by economists & experts around the world Odious debt.

(from wiki: In international law, odious debt is a legal theory which holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are thus considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion.)

As far as i remember life was good even before euro. You could have a good human life and by that i mean work, have a satisfactory salary and also be able to enjoy your family and friends which i believe is very important.
Since the euro and more over the years things are coming harder.
Prices go up dramatically in all goods while salaries remained the same or with little change. And what is happening each year is having to work more and more in order to make a living and lost connection between us. Perhaps in Portugal you are not there yet.
Perhaps other countries are used in this for years. For us it has different value.
Also, under these situations i can not make family and i am reaching my borders. Most of the people are like that. Family has become a luxury. On the other hand my mother and father had much more opportunities for a healthy life and growing a family. Not rich of course, a normal life.

As far as i know in Portugal and Sweden renting a house includes payment of other services. For example in Portugal “About 300 to 500 euros can get quality rental space inclusive of water supply, electricity and gas consumption.” In Greece for all these you pay extra. So a young guy like John if he has to live alone this money can easily not be enough. Most of the goods in your country Antonio have much less prices than here in Greece and i believe there is a little difference in our salaries as well.

I will not continue on personal experience. I’d like you to wonder on this fact . Portugal used to rely heavily on trade although in recent years, export has begun to decline in comprising the bulk of the economy. What happened in there?

Closing with the sign i referred is not a slogan Antonio :) It’s from Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph, adapted from The Saviors of God (1923)
“I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”
Stoic philosophy.

Yes i am free Antonio, because i can live with less or more the same good. I am not tied to bahamas vacation. Sure i deserve it too and i can enjoy it but this is not my destination.
What is going on in the world right now is totally different and i can see after what you said Antonio that you are not with this fight, you are not even with your own peoples struggle or the country next you to, Spain.

We are with the world, not against any.

be well, peace

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marina June 26, 2011 at 14:26

Antonio, numbers do not make much sense or have any meaning outside of context.
I don’t know which country you live in but in Greece and Athens in particular, you would not be able to rent a house for a family of four (that is: a two bedroom house) for less than 580 – 600Euros. Electricity, gas and other bills are a lot higher in Greece than the rest of Europe. The cost of living in Greece for BASIC goods is three times as high as the rest of Europe. So your 1800Euros combined will go a lot further than the 700Euros of a Greek person. http://archive.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_ell_1_17/05/2008_96688

Also, why do you make the assumption that a Greek person with 10 years experience will earn more than 1300Euros per month? My sister (who has a family) worked for 11 years as a qualified accountant and her salary increased from 850Euros when she first started, to 1100 after 11 years (not much of an increase in real terms, more a decrease really). It seems that after 22 years, so when she is about your age, she would earn about 1300Euros. Only, her salary would not go anywhere near as far as yours ten tears later and based on your core expenses. (Unfortunately, as it is she now had to go back to 750Euros, as her company went bankrupt and she had to find another job but with the situation as it is this is the best she could get).

Comparison have to be made in context, otherwise they make no sense at all.

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marina June 26, 2011 at 20:49

I think belittling somebody’s views and beliefs because of their age is a very patronizing and condescending thing to do. The revolutions start from the young who want to change the world and make it more fair. You might live in better conditions than your ancestors and good for you, but that should not stop somebody else trying to better the conditions for themselves. Nor does it mean that they should not fight injustice where they see in, on their doorstep or further away. Adults have a lot to learn from the young and it would be a better world if they took more notice. As for Panos, again you seem to make assumptions about his beliefs or his situation but do not know the facts. Because from his comment, I cannot reach the same conclusions as you do about his beliefs, his hopes, the reason for his fight. And I don’t know of anything really changing for the better at any point in history without some people “standing there shouting slogans”.

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António June 26, 2011 at 02:19

Stella, I was joking about bahamas, I’ve no wish to go there. Only beaches and palm trees
About the rent, you’re wrong, Where did you get that information? I wish my 350 rent could pay all the rest, the water, the gas, etc. It may be so in Sweeden, perhaps.
I don’t know about the prices in Greece. I pay 0, 50 for a pack of milk, 0,70 for a pack of rice (not basmati), 3 or 4 euros for ordinary olive oil, 3,50 for cigarettes, my computer costed 1000 euros, more or less (if I remember well) three years ago, courtesy from my parents (they are much cheaper now), a meal in an ordinary restaurant costs 6 or 7 euros (fried chicken, fried potatotes, and a beer). About the salaries, I don’t now either. My wife was a teacher till last year, and she earned 700 by that time (she was away, and she had to pay a room and the food with that money). Now she gets 500, but she is home, that’s good. My salary is 1300, I work as a lawyer for the state. Tell me how is it in Greece.
You say things were cheaper in Greece before the euro. It’s the same thing in Portugal. I could buy parsley by 20 escudos. Came te euro, the farmers in the market sell me the same amount for 1 euro (200 escudos) . But many things got much better. We must see all the perspective. Children in my grandparents village had to wake up at 6 in the mornig to go to school, 50 quilometrs away, by bad roads, and came home very late. Now, they have a school in the village, because the EU gave the money. I don’t know about Greece, but it wasn’t that easier here.
About the struggle and the fight. You say I’m not with this fight, or the fight of my own people. So, do you? What do you do, Stellar? I’m not an example, myself. My wife goes three times a week, all night, to the streets of our town (Coimbra) give food and blankets to the homeless. Mostly drug addicts, alcooholics, etc. I wish I had her strenght. That’s her fight. That’s the way she helps is brothers and sisters.

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Stellar June 26, 2011 at 03:55

Hi Antonio,
is nice to hear about that last, this is also a good fight. We usually give clothes, shoes and other things that can be useful, not old but used.
My husband to be is from Africa so we send a lot of things there too, among money when we are able to.

I am sorry i misunderstood your comment for bahamas.

The info for living in portugal i found online at some website, was from 2009 but thought things will not be much different.
Here the cheapest pack of milk is around 1euro (mostly in offers we find that price), rice 1,60euro, olive oil yes we can find with 3euro lately, most cigarettes are around 4+euro. A meal in ordinary (cheap restaurant) for chicken (not fried tho) and potatoes and beer hm, around 10-11euro/per person. Cinema (which i haven’t been for the last 2 years tho i love it) is around 8-10euro. Missed it ;)
Bus tickets start from 1euro in my city. For coffee in a shop you pay the least 3-4euro, drinks 8-10euro, we caught all that too to 1-2 times a year. I am not much of a drinker anyway, but i like a coffee by the sea to relax.
I am an artist, self-employed, my other-half most of the time unemployed. So far i am paying around 200-250euro per month for social security and retirement. That differs depending how many years you are self-employed and how much you make, until now. Of course that doesn’t cover everything in medicines, exams and visits to doctors. You still pay an amount. And i am regular visitor unfortunately.
Yearly taxes is different payment. Some other payments also included for professional institutes etc yearly. Now the gov announced extra yearly or monthly payments in taxes, and from now on they will not tax us on how much we have earned but on how much they thing we must have earned! Joke eh. Well i don’t think i will survive it and probably i will have to stop been self-employed as many many others i hear around. That is not good for me not good for the government also, who wish to take our taxes to support the country.

Sure we all like our countries to look better, new streets and all that, but the fact here is that they haven’t make much as they should. Many of those until now went to their pocket.
I don’t like that and i am sure u don’t either.

As for the last loan/bailout it went directly to cover the banks, not even passed through Greece from what we know.

The conclusion here is that if we had different gov, new and correct one, along with structure/system changes and no more corruption from any part things would have been much better to start.

As someone above said this is our chance to change all the bad things in Greece and the world? i would love that :)

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António June 27, 2011 at 19:15

We pay 350 euros, because we made the contract six years ago. We would pay 500 now. In Lisbon is much more expensive. We have hard times, too. My wife was a school teacher for ten years and the maximum she got was 700 euros. Away from home and our children, paying a room and the food, etc. Nothing left.. Now she is 45 and earns 500. And things aren’t that cheapper here than in Greece.
I’m in favour of revolutions. We had one, in 1974, in Portugal, who made life better for everyone. But in Athens there isnt nothing like that. We see angry people shouting, insulting the politcs, etc, and demanding for direct democracy, whatever that is (do you know what that is?) and saying No Austerity. They might as well shout No Inflation, No Politicians, etc. No plan, no proposals, nothing. What do greeks want to do?

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Stellar June 28, 2011 at 01:42

Antonio what is your impression of this video? http://youtu.be/ftkJlzDCz-4 (after the politicians it contains scenes from Syntagma square in Athens)

You see something not natural? not organized? Is it a crowd that only shouting? We are not a bunch of people, along there is crew of law advisors, economists from Greece and all over the world, artists and even politicians who want to say they are clean…
I am confident that they don’t show you anything of these scenes in Portugal. People from Spain are asking us to send them our video cause their tv also don’t not show anything, at least peaceful. You see violence sells more. Perhaps they are showing you only the govs theatrical clashes they make to fear people. Well none of the protestors react to them. They were united and finally riot police had to leave.
Is that what you are referring to?

The atmosphere in Greece is nothing more than the atmosphere is Spain. Peaceful protests, public assemblies where they share ideas/solutions for a better future. Because the people you see there are concerned of their future, of their children’s future, many of them already unemployed or about to be.

Why does it sound so strange to you? Is it so crazy that we demand justice? All our govs Antonio should have been in prison by now. Lies, stealing, making properties of mine and EU money… You like that?

I mean if you guys were for a fair system you and Anna and the whole earth should have been joining us by now too! If you haven’t realize it we are protesting for all the world!
Fortunately there are many others abroad who do join and support.

Why you people want to remain so blind? Does it seem natural to you that California, Winskonsin state, Oregon state, Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, maybe Italy, maybe UK are all in facing problems with unemployment, debt, IMF sooner or later ??

The other day an Egyptian spoke for few minutes in Syntagma assembly: My fellow Egyptians ask me “There are no public prosecutors in Greece???

That doesn’t ring a bell to you? Yes they are corrupted to, they are paid not to expose, to cover the political and elite dirty laundries.

and one last, http://youtu.be/mZtMismvlwg – Justice arrives at Syntagma… As you see WE ARE NOT ALOVE Antonio, nor you, this is the message for the whole world!

Don’t believe your tv and Do not fear! You will see that finally a new solution will arise…

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Alex July 1, 2011 at 16:43

Antonio, I will answer what we greeks want to do:
1. Discard the law that says that anything a politician does, can not be punished (voted by all political parties). meaning that whatever they do, they can not be prosecuted.
2. Simplify the tax system. I am an entrepreneur here in Greece, and I am telling you that I want to be legal and pay my taxes, but the tax system is so complicated and changes every couple of months, that it is almost impossible to be on track without paying a substantial amount of money to accountants. This means that the motive for tax evasion still is huge in Greece.
3. Cut spendings and optimize the public sector. This is the heart of our problem. A huge and corrupt public sector which mainly consists of people belonging to political parties (that is why the same political parties get elected all the time). Do you know that if a foreign company wants to have offices here they need about 5000 signatures? (hence the corruption – the motive of which is still very high). We need to optimize the process and be friendlier to investments.
4. Data gathering: Did you know that when this government was elected, they didn’t know how many employees are on the public sector? they also didn’t know how much money they paid every month! There is a colossal problem with data gathering and that’s why the government is taking horizontal measures which is totally unfair. It is unthinkable to horizontally cut the pensions from people who are 90 years old and receive about 400 euros per month! They do this because they don’t have the data to take vertical measures.
5. Rebuild the Production line: I am talking about agriculture, tourism and energy. The three things Greece can offer to the rest of Europe. We need fast track investment measures to protect these investments. The politicians need to shift the labor force from the public sector to the production line.

These are what we have to do as Greeks. And this is mainly our fault. Now let’s see what you and the rest of the Europeans have to do:
1. Guarantee Europe’s Borders: we spend each year nearly 40% of our GDP to army supplies because Europe does not protect us from a potential threat from the Turks. Ironically this 40% mainly goes to companies from Germany and France. By the way, imagine the surprise – this is still happening!!
2. Open up the bank accounts belonging to Greeks, from the European banks: this means: Follow the Money!!! Greeks who have evaded the law have a significant portion of their money to european banks!! Well, don’t you think that our european friends must pressure their governments to pressure their banks to open the accounts and follow the stolen money? This way, we Greeks, will take a significant amount of the money we are asking from the people who stole from us.
3. Have control on how each country spends their money: imagine this scenario: you have a heroin addict as a friend. You keep lending him loads of money. You haven’t got a clue about what he does with this money and you keep seeing him worse every day. Would you continue to lend him, or you would try to help him in another way? For me this crisis is a total failure of how Europe and the Euro work today. How can Europe lend Greece money having no idea on what Greece does with this money? Especially if the bankruptcy of Greece, affect other countries. This is a total disaster and total failure of the implementation of the meaning of Europe. Europe need a centralized financial control.
4. The Germans, who like to point fingers and provoke our history, before they point any more fingers, they should return the money they owe Greece from the second world war! Or we could divide our debt in a way, with what the Germans owe us and then we as Greeks would be responsible to pay up!

Finally, the thing we Greeks want more than anything else is a PLAN of action! We are not saying no to everything. We fail to see a plan! We see our politicians ripping us off because they don’t have the political will to make the appropriate changes and they are backed up by the European governments because they see Greece as the paradise place to have cheap holidays and in a couple of years, buy every public asset at a very low price!!

Yes Greece is ruled by mobsters and gangsters in the name of democracy!! But my friend, Europe is like that too! And this is what we call modern politics!!

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Selene June 29, 2011 at 03:32

I would also like to point out that even the Belgians are openly demonstrating their opposition to the austerity!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRd-blvtQZ0

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António June 29, 2011 at 11:28

My impression of that video? Politicians are thiefs and people is good. people will win and politicians will go to jail, we are not politicians, we are “the people”. Stellar, it is a very good video, very professional, very good coreography, a clever edition, congratulations, but I’m not an adolescent, anymore, I’m not that impressed, I’m sorry. What’s your point with that video? I was asking what “the people” want to do, who represents the people, who will go to the power, who will be the government, what they will do. As I said, I’m not affraid of revolutions, we had a revolution, in 1974. We had leaders, they got the power, they had a programm. Tell me, than, without videos, what the people will do and what are their leaders? Or will the people will rule Greece in a general assembly?

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Dimitri July 1, 2011 at 14:14

Hey! Antonio! Seeing as you are so smart and so critical, whattya you wanna do? heh? Or do you just want to wallow in your sofa of mediocrity and misery while others and your wife “has the strength” to do something – ANYTHING – to challenge to the criminals who are trying to stealing everything they can get their filthy little hands on by trying to impose their so-called “new world order”. And maybe, just maybe, the Greek people with these protests will bring down the government in the very least and then empower any new government with a new mandate from the people to then be able renegotiate with the EU and especially the IMF! – because they if they “let us” default, they – and most of us – now know it will bring down the whole criminally insane ponzi pyramid of debt down on their heads! So if you “are not afraid of revolutions” get off the sofa “find some strength” and do something useful.

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António July 2, 2011 at 13:01

Should I go there? I’m sure you can do it yourselves. As I noticed, your politicians are all rotten, but the “people” whaterever that is, is pure as angels. So, you should make a peoples party and take the power.

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MiLo July 4, 2011 at 18:33

Why are you eradicating any post that tried to explain you all your questions?
You lock us out with this black and white mentality, which we did not describe; if the politicians are rotten is because they had the liberty to become rotten by the people.
That’s what everyone is telling you, we want to bring change.. To ourselves, to the government, to the society.

I believe in democracy and I think you do too. Condemning opinions by keeping the phrases you find useful to maintain your negative idea is not a democratic thing, though it is what someone would expect from an individual who practices law to do.

You are not obliged to be helpful to us, to support us. But I’m sure you know, we are the first domino and you are one of the next. That’s why perhaps we expected solidarity from someone coming from Portugal.

As an advice, I’d say, please, don’t be so hard on other people and their beliefs.. If you want something objective to hold on, then talking with citizens is not going to help you unless you keep the big picture in your head, which you do not want to do and I respect that, I just want to point out that this thread is not going to help you this way…

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Aetos July 25, 2011 at 02:33

Milo you are, in my understanding not everyone sees the truth or reality behind the smoke they keep blowing in our eyes. The corruption and stealing by the politicians and most dimosi ipalili is drowing us.

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