Greece

With Syriza in power in Greece a lot will change not only in that country but probably also in Europe.
I am following the news about Greece and are trying to get an unbiased view on it, which is not esasy these days, so I asked a long time colleague from Greece what she is thinking about the situation in her country.
Her answer:

About the political situation in Greece: the party that won the elections, Syriza, is a left party and its policy is going to be for the people’s benefit.
We already have samples of this policy, from their first days as a government. They increased the lowest salary in private sector from 500 euros to 750.
They banned the 5 Euro fee in hospitals, and in the public sector they are going to give jobs back to people who lost them illegally, anticonstitutionally.
Not to those who deserved to be fired though, because they had fake diplomas or degrees, or because they had committed some kind of crime e.g theft, interweaving,blackmailing, scandals e.t.c.
The previous government and (I’m sorry to say this) all previous governments showed no will at all to punish crime. They had had the “Lagarde list” and quite a few more similar lists with some thousands of names involved mainly in tax evasion, theft and money laundering, illegal offshore companies et.c and within 3 years they only checked 300 cases!!! You can obviously understand why: because those names are connected in some way or another to ex ministers, their families, friends, financing supporters, their closer or wider circle of acquaintances.
With Syriza, these lists are already open!!
The EU asked Greece to make institutional transformations as a way to come out of the “tunnel” but, believe me, there has been almost none, simply because the way everything functioned in the state was what the previous governments wanted, was what kept them in power, helped them become richer. And in order to find money to pay the loans, they cut down on poor people’s salaries, confiscated their houses or sold state property at humiliating prices!
I won’t tell you more about them, Samaras and his “gang” or Papandreou and his “gang”. The reality we experienced all these years was: no essential transformations, which Greece really needs and which would help the country recover to a certain extent, but only cut downs on poor people.
This extreme austerity led to 29% of unemployment, 60% of it in the young generation, a lot of small-medium businesses closed down, a lot of young people really well qualified had to seek jobs abroad (Greece has been left without young scientists and everybody here is talking about the “burnt” generation). Everything shows that previous policies have failed.
It’s really significant to mention that it’s the first time in Greece’s history that a left party is elected.In my opinion this shows the despair people had gone in.
Now, about Syriza: Tsipras, the PM, and his cabinet, come from working class, not the elite. These are well educated people with rich CVs, they have proofed in their life so far that they are real democrats. They are not corrupted as they had never been in power (let’s hope they won’t eventually!!) and they seem determined to fight corruption, tax evasion and interweaving, to eliminate bureaucracy (corruption flourishes with bureaucracy, you know) and apply pro-people policies.
With these first step, the salary increase, it is estimated that 340 million will flow in the country’s economy (people will get a bigger buying force).
Many people ask: where will this government find the money to do all that? They claim that 1st, they will combat tax evasion which is huuuuuge, and 2nd they will make a better financial management. They started already, i.e Tsipras forbid Ministers to appoint consultants, bodyguards, assistants e.t.c. They will keep their own cars they won’t have limos or Mercedes to travel, no business class in airplanes, no mansions to live in. The Minister of Finance, Yianis Varoufakis, said that with the money they will save from such expenses  his Ministry will be able to give jobs back to the cleaners who had got fired!! ( Varoufakis is a very clever economist, I suggest you read some of his articles, you can get an idea of what kind of policy they are going to apply). What they suggest is: “we will live frugally, not with austerity”.
I voted for them, I am sure about their quality, honesty and good ethics, especially on local level, I am sure they are determined to make the necessary transformations especially against corruption which has always been Greece’s main problem and cause of every misfortune since the 1830s when the free from Turks Greek state was established. It’s not the bad financial situation we are in our major problem. Our major problem is corruption, if corruption is unrooted, then Greece will have a better future. I, together with 36% of Greeks, hope Syriza will manage. Let’s wait and see. Also,there’s another hope that Podemos will be elected in Spain, in autumn. Hollande has shown some signs of being willing to support Syriza’s principles. Hopefully Italy will follow, maybe Portugal and Ireland. It’s time something changed in Europe, neoliberalism, globalisation and this tremendous increase of capitalism should be moderated, don’t you think?What could hinder, stop them?
If there is a risk somebody will try to stop them, then it will come from the big funds and the banks. I was reading yesterday rumours that banks in cooperation with funds will create a fake financial crash in order to drop the government which I find somewhat possible. We’ll see and let’s hope it won’t happen.
It’s true that Greece is armed to the teeth, it has always been for the risk of our neighbours the Turks. However, nowadays this army is unnecessary as a war between Greece and Turkey is very unlikely to happen and it’s a waste of money actually.
The leftists as an opposition had always pointed out that waste of money. On the other hand Tsipras has placed as Minister of Defence Mr. Kammenos with whom he cooperated to form the government and who actually comes from the right wing, so I think it’s unlikely that we have a “military coup” but a fake  financial crash I mentioned above is possible.

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Christine Graf

 

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