Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What has been achieved with austerity in Europe so far?

Last June the Greeks were called to vote on a new government. These last elections were actually given a referendum outlook by many in Europe; it was decision time for Greece and the Greeks had to decide if they wanted to continue being in the euro-zone and vote for a pro-austerity party, or risk to be kicked out of this special "club" if they voted for the radical leftist party, Syriza.

Under such pressure and with the use of lots of propaganda and scaremongering during the electoral debates, the Greeks decided to swallow the bitter pill of austerity in order to remain in the euro-zone.  Now the latest reports coming from many European officials and "analysts" say that Greece will leave the euro-zone anyway and in fact there are more austerity cuts announced for this winter! Are they joking us?

The Greek people can just hold their heads above water and they can not take any further reductions of their salaries. In fact austerity was so unsuccessful in Greece, simply because it did not push for any constructive reforms in the country, like the much needed tax system reform. The taxation system of Greece is rather outdated and purely unfair! The only thing that austerity has managed to achieve in Greece is the rise of far right and far left groups in the country's political life, the demolition of the Greek people's living standards and the total sell out of all national assets of Greece.

So excuse me, but to me this was the only reason that some wanted to impose austerity on the Greeks in the first place; the take over of all Greek natural resources and national assets and of course as someone had to pay for the damages in the banking system and cover the black holes that were created by the greedy attitude of the European bankers, well our elites chose the weakest links. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus!! This is a disgrace!

Another thing that this austerity and financial crisis have achieved is the total division of the European population and the European public opinion. Our "national" media- the how national they are is another discussion- have been playing one nation against each other just like the Markets and the rating agencies like Moody's have. And of course that is for a reason! Divide and rule politics. Instead of mentioning the real cause of this crisis, the American irresponsible finances for the past few decades and the weaknesses in the euro-zone itself, they found it easier to scapegoat a few nations starting with the weakest.

The euro-zone was set up wrongly. It is not even a monetary union, rather just a currency union. Many countries with different economies just using the same currency! And the cracks became apparent only during the crisis. The euro-zone lacks a strong central bank and government and everyone was playing by their own rules, exposing themselves and all their partners who used the same currency to grave dangers and risks. Instead of naming those two factors our media blamed the Greeks. Now that Cyprus has also asked for a bail-out, a country that had a very strong currency and economy in the past and Moody's have threatened to downgrade Luxembourg, Germany and Holland, now our leaders have decided that something must be done about it....At last!! It is a case of when the fire is coming to your doorstep, the you realize that you have to do something to put it out, after it has already consumed the houses of your neighbors.

Meanwhile 2,000 Greeks are committing suicide each year because of the austerity and the economic crisis. That counts to a small town disappearing in Greece and in Europe if you like every year! And our leaders are still debating about it, they know what needs to be done they just don't want to do it! Because some will lose their interests and comfortable easy money and power. I wonder how our leaders can sleep during the night! I haven't seen a worse case of apathy, negligence, selfishness, stupidity and greed in Europe's recent history!

Will we ever see a true European solidarity?  And I do not mean more bail-out loans or money thrown into Greece and the other 4 EU states that have received similar "help" by the EU/IMF. It would be a case of solidarity if the loans came interest free. But now that there are high rates imposed on the loans, meaning that the lender countries will actually make profit out of these loans I see no solidarity there but an opportunity. And now that it became too costly, they just want to get rid of Greece out of the euro-zone, again for the detriment of the Greek people and their benefit.

I will bring the example of Italy. Many, many years ago, it was actually the South of the country that was rich and prosperous. After many wars that the country had endured things have changed, the industries have moved to the North and now it is the North that is the richest part. Why? Because simply they have won a few wars and they were favored by the victories of others. Something similar happened in the whole of Europe. It was always the South of the continent that was more prosperous and developed. After WW2 though things have changed dramatically and now most industrial activity on the European continent is gathered on the "North."

No, I am not suggesting that we should take all the industries back to the South, because that would mean a poor North again and we do not want that. What we would want though would be a fair and equal distribution of wealth, opportunities and industries throughout Europe, so that everybody can prosper and there will be no need for rich countries to carry the weight of the poorer ones. Our media have made this crisis all about the rich countries paying the mistakes of the poor, corrupt and dysfunctional states, something that is far from true. The crisis is about the interests of the rich few in the rich few countries and the preservation of the current status quo. Now why they are trying to mislead their citizens and make them think that it was the Greeks who caused all that and they should pay, well it is obvious; someone has to pay for all of that and it ain't gonna be the richer or strongest ones!

The only way to gain support by their citizens is this, but what they are actually doing is the widening of the gap between our communities, the mistrust and the lack of support for each other. How can you create a united Europe on this? How do our leaders believe that by allowing this to happen, the European project will eventually succeed, when the citizens think so bad of one another? Or do they actually want it to succeed? The Americans and the British must be rubbing their hands out of joy, as this is exactly what they wanted. To destroy any unification or harmonization in Europe, thus a Europe united challenging their hegemony. How can our leaders not be able to see this and do something about it?

To conclude to me this crisis exposed the real face of the economic system that we have created, the role of USA, Britain but also of the other European "powers" like Germany, France and their accolades like Finland, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Luxembourg. Each to their own, allowing the Markets and the rating agencies to make huge profits out of the unfair competition against each other, the lack of unity, solidarity and the lack of trust. They play, they gain, we pay, go hungry and inevitably die! Not the Europe I want, not the Europe I have dreamed of!

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