Sunday, November 6, 2011

The kiss of Death for the Euro, or a bluff?

After months of announcing to the Greek public new cuts, austerity measures and the worsening state of Greece's economy, here comes a bomb from the country's Prime Minister. Mr. Papandreou decided to give the Greeks a referendum on the EU/IMF bail out plan.

One would think that such actions would take place right in the beginning of the bail out negotiations, not now.

Mr. Papandreou lied to the Greek public many times before, like when he reassured them that Greece has money and no bail out would be needed. He also promised them no more austerity cuts after the first ones were announced.

Then after trying so hard to stamp out any protest or opposition, he announces out of the blue a referendum. Of course after a mounting pressure by his European counterparts, he then withdraws the referendum option while fighting for his job.

Was his action a gaff, a bluff or a well calculated act? Some claim that it was a mistake to plan a referendum. But suddenly, the focus of the crisis in Greece went from the austerity cuts, the suffering and fight for survival of the Greek public, to if Greece will stay in the eurozone or even EU itself.

His actions certainly act as a blackmail to the Greeks, by giving them two options. Either you accept the austerity measures, or you are out! Of course we knew that he won't go ahead with it, simply because we knew that the outcome would be a secure NO.

The Greek public for the record never questioned their country's EU membership. They just can't take any more cuts. But by voting NO they would unwillingly put in question the country's future in the euro-zone and EU. So either you say yes and "democratically" accept the cuts, or you are out of the club.

Others claimed that he tried to show himself seemingly caring for his people and give them a "democratic" choice. So where was democracy in the beginning of the crisis, when salaries were slashed up to 40% and taxes rose to 23%?

Why didn't he practice "democracy" then, instead of using lying, bullying and propaganda in order to make the Greek Parliamentarians to vote for the austerity measures? And not just once, but for two bail out packages, the second just to repay the first one.

Another opinion says that in this way he just tried to blackmail Greece's European partners, threaten them so they can ease on their demands of Greece. He knew that if the Greeks were given a referendum, they would vote NO and that certainly would mean the end of the country's euro membership. And if Greece leaves the euro, it is most likely that the rest of the "peripheral" euro-zone members will follow suit. 

In that way the euro currency's own future is put in doubt, if the Greeks decide to leave. By casting a doubt over Greece's euro membership, he actually tried to threaten his European counterparts and make them back off their irrational demands. If that is the case, then it certainly indicates the real state of the European "Union," where the rich and powerful members are definitely bully the weaker ones.

What is going on in Greece right now is a pretty frightening scenario. It is no different from Britain during the early '80s and the "Thatcherite" policies. We hear on the media on a daily basis, about new cuts and austerity measures, plans to reform the country, different scenarios of potential disaster.

Jobs to be cut, sell out of all national companies and resources. Merging of hospitals, universities,ministries and local authorities, in an effort to  weaken any social services and coherence. Imagine the stress that the Greek public are going through. Which of the global media ever focused on this aspect of the crisis?

Greece is forced to sell out its national assets to its lenders. It is doubtful that the austerity measures are to shape up the Greek economy, rather to satisfy the global markets and economists and end the so called "European protectionism." By that of course they mean the European and Greek social model, that is loathed by many global financiers.

Greece's social policies were outdated of course and needed to be reformed, but not by impoverishing the people. All it needed was a determined and skillful leader, that Greece lacked for sure. Now the Markets attack the euro and its members, in order to force reforms that will favor the capitalist system and its powerhouse, the Markets themselves.

Recently in Ireland they discovered a “mistake” which revealed that the country has an extra 3.6 billion euro in its accounts. Yet no consideration to redesign the up-coming new austerity plan for 2012.Since the country has an extra 3.6 € billion, why doesn't the Irish Government put it towards the debt and lift some weight of the backs of the people?

As if austerity must be placed on the shoulders of the citizens at all costs. Money appear and disappear by “mistake” in Ireland and the Prime Minister of Greece lies on the country's finances. So are there any doubts still, that this crisis is designed to transform Europe's social policies, starting from the least progressive members like Greece?

We do not have a democracy in Europe, rather an intergovernmental institution that is elitist and relies on lobbyists and international financial institutions, rather the will or the interests of the citizens. Any actions coming from any Prime Minister in Europe, are not a "mistake." They are a well orchestrated theater that send signals to the real players of the European economy, or to confuse the European public opinion.

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