All posts filed under: Greece

Greece has become the EU’s third protectorate

by Jan Zielonka, August 14, 2015, OpenDemocracy The EU looks increasingly like an empire, having just created its third protectorate in the Balkans. Greece will effectively be run by the EU the way Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina already are. The EU looks, walks and talks like an empire. After extending its borders into Central and Eastern Europe, the EU has just created its third protectorate in the Balkans. From now on Greece will effectively be run by the EU the way Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina already are. Empire is not a synonym of evil despite some bad historical connotations, especially from the colonial era. Power can be exercised in noble ways, and peripheries often prefer to be “conquered” than abandoned. However, the EU’s ambition to run dysfunctional countries by decree is doomed to fail and will represent yet another blow to the project of European integration. Formal involvement of the UN or the IMF in running the protectorates will not exonerate the EU. Enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe has been successful because it empowered local actors. …

What is the European Union For?

by Frank After all the initial eu(ro)phoria and hopes placed upon the original concept of a non-aligned, social-democratic Euro-bloc, the reality has turned out somewhat differently. In a pamphlet written in 2011 – Europe: The Unfinished Project – I wrote: At the present time the EU project seems to be stuck in no-man’s land, unable to press ahead with full political integration, or retreat back into a northern European protectionist Deutschmark zone, and leaving the peripheral member states to the tender mercies of unfettered, globalized capitalism. However there seems to be a sufficient residue of the original EU idealism in the present stage of development to persevere further with the political struggle taking place.” Ibid, page 19 I believe that this view, which seemed justifiable and plausible enough at the time of writing, has now become difficult to sustain. And the reason for this came in the next sentence, viz. One only has to consider the Anglo-American alternatives (to the Euro model) and globalization more generally to make this choice.” This statement was, however, based …

Debt and Austerity: Greece Continues to Be Sucked Dry

by Peter Koenig, via Global Research How long will this go on? How long will we see the photographs of a Mr. Tsipras and his Finance Minister in despair. Yet the blood-letting continues. Already new austerity measures are being projected for 2018 – between 5.4 billion EUR asked by Europeans and 9 billion EUR requested by IMF – and the securing of the Greek debt sustainability through deep restructuring measures (meaning more selling of public assets to foreign corporations), as reported by journalist Yannis Kibouropoulos. Yes, € 9 billion by the IMF, of all institutions! The very organization that has ostensibly pledged with Greece’s creditors to forgive some of the debt to let the country breathe. This noble idea seems to have given in to the abject, murderous greed of the banks, one among them, the Deutsche Bank, currently the most vulnerable and indebted in the world, not just in Europe, for its derivative exposure of almost € 66 trillion, or about the world’s GDP. The globe’s most criminal financial speculator is to be paid more …

Life in a Modern-day Debt Colony: The Truth about Greece

by Michael Nevradakis, via 99GetSmart In May, likely for the first time in the post-war history of the Western world, a national parliament willingly ceded what remained of its country’s sovereignty, essentially voting itself obsolete.  This development, however, did not make headlines in the global news cycle and was also ignored by most of the purportedly “leftist” media. The country in question is Greece, where a 7,500-page omnibus bill was just passed, without any parliamentary debate, transferring control over all of the country’s public assets to a fund controlled by the European Stability Mechanism, for the next 99 years.  This includes all public infrastructure, harbors, airports, public beaches, and natural resources, all passed to the control of the ESM, a non-democratic, supranational body which answers to no parliamentary or elected body.  Within this same bill, the “Greek” parliament also rendered itself voteless: the legislation annuls the role of the parliament to create a national budget or to pass tax legislation.  These decisions will now be made automatically, at the behest of the European Union: if …

The Left and the EU: Why cling to this reactionary institution?

by Joseph Richardson, via Counterpunch Why is it that many people who consider themselves left-wing have such difficulty grasping that the EU is a deeply reactionary institution? The mere fact that those running the EU present it as an internationalist venture dedicated to the creation of a world free of nationalist enmities does not make it so. If we want to examine the EU in its proper light, then we should ignore the high-flown rhetoric in which its supporters indulge, and consider its actual record. And what is the record of the EU, once we penetrate the obfuscatory rhetoric about ‘internationalism’ that surrounds EU policy? Without a doubt, that record is one that should cause those on the left now defending it acute embarrassment, as it starkly contradicts the ideals that the left has always claimed to uphold. Across the Continent, the unelected officials who have usurped the power of national governments and asserted their right to determine the fates of countless millions, through their adherence to the damaging creed of neoliberalism, have wrought suffering …

Greece: Open Letter to the UK citizens about the June 2016 Referendum

by Tyler Durden, via ZeroHedge The Amesi Dimokratia Press writes to advise us that they are sending a document signed by Greek personalities from political parties and groups, as well as from the cultural field, addressed to the people of the United Kingdom regarding their Referendum to remain in the EU or not. The open letter is an act of solidarity from Greeks to the British people, so that they may have essential information and make informed decision in the Referendum. Your Battle of Britain in the 23rd of June 2016 will be against the new Axis powers of the Eurounion, which occupies our Europe and tries to split the UK society through fear. We experienced this in Greece, starting some years ago, when their troika instrument (with decisive role from the EU regime) started trying to split our society and occupying our country again.  We fought together against the Axis powers of the 20th century and now we are fighting them again in the 21st century. We fought for freedom, independence, justice and the …

Greece’s “left-wing” Syriza joins NATO’s gas war

by F. William Engdahl, NEO Only eighteen months ago prospects for a major southern Europe natural gas pipeline from Russian gas fields across the Black Sea, into Turkey and on to the Greek-Turkish border was in negotiation between Russian President Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan. Turkish Stream as it was called, was proposed in talks in Ankara between Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2014 after EU economic sabotage had forced Russia to cancel plans for its South Stream pipeline into Bulgaria and on to the states of South East and Southern Europe. Now Greece has foolishly decided to join NATO’s “gas war” against Russia by signing a far more costly agreement to build the so-called Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to carry gas from Baku’s offshore Shan Deniz II field across Greece, through Albania then under the Adriatic to Italy. European gas geopolitics are rapidly becoming as risky as its oil geopolitics. On May 17, Alexis Tsipras, Greek opportunist-in-chief and Prime Minister, signed an agreement in Thessaloniki to inaugurate the start of construction for the 550 km …

How “German logic” turns into irrationality

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, Katehon I remember the talk I had with the German Ambassador in Athens and Mr. Tsipras in February 2013, during a reception at the Russian Embassy.  I was speaking with the Ambassador, when Tsipras, then leader of the opposition, as he finished his private discussion with the Russian ambassador, saw us talking and approached.  I was in a rather jovial mood, so I decided, out of a sudden inner impulse, to make a joke, which was not in reality so much a joke.  As Tsipras joined our company, I said “you will destroy Europe”. The way I put it, not looking specifically to any of my interlocutors, it was not clear  whom I was really addressing.  They both jumped on their feet asking me: “Who?” (will destroy Europe).  “Both”, I answered them.  “You will revolt”, I said looking to Tsipras and then, turning to the German ambassador, I added, “and you will suppress him”. Fifteen years ago I interviewed Karl Lamers about German strategy towards Europe and the world.  He is supposed …

James K. Galbraith on Greece: Austerity without debt relief

by Lynn Parramore, via DDP Economist James K. Galbraith warns that ‘unrealistic expectations’ by Athens’ creditors is a recipe for turmoil. A breakdown in negotiations may be the best outcome of Monday’s Eurozone finance ministers’ meeting on debt relief for Greece, warns INET grantee and University of Texas economist James K. Galbraith. That’s because, he believes, Greece’s debtors continue to demand unsustainable austerity measures as the price for bailout funds — measures the Greek government will, sooner or later, be forced to halt. “A breakdown of the [Brussels] discussion would be the best outcome,” Galbraith says. “That would move some of the creditors a little bit more towards reality, perhaps. There’s no point in making more concessions to them. They just keep on asking for more. There’s no way to satisfy these people. They’re engaged in a land grab. They have a strategy to achieve that, but the time of reckoning will come sooner or later.” The Brussels meeting follows a day of dramatic protests by thousands of citizens in Athens and Thessaloniki on Sunday, …

The Most Viable and Bloodless Option

by Peter Koenig, via DDP What happens when the accuser of terrorism are themselves the terrorists? – Namely the supra-national corporations and financial oligarchs acting in their own profit-driven interest, but under the direction of Washington and the protection of the US – NATO killer armies? Fear and confusion happens. Fear is the weapon of choice of the real terrorists, those who make us believe they are spreading and defending democracy. With fear they are subjugating the world to lick their feet – and worse. – But the people are waking up. All over the world. The linear Anglo-Zionist plans, like the PNAC – Plan for a New American Century – are imploding and their rubbles are becoming a dynamic, unpredictable mass-movement against this neoliberal, globalized One-World or New World Order tyranny. Protesters – in the tens of millions – are in the streets all over the so-called Western World, the western population, oppressed and enslaved by their own elite, the descendants of the past and present odiously nefarious colonialists. Latin America In Brazilian cities …

I am not Greek! But is Schäuble a German?

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, via DDP I usually work more than ten hours a day and most of the weekends. I am often happy with what I do and I don’t want to complain, as it is very rare for people to be doing what they really want to do. Still, I criticize myself for not being able to master my life and enjoy it more. But now I am in deep confusion. Recently some European politicians and parties have been returning to the argument that Greeks are lazy and that Europeans should immediately put a stop to the money they are paying to help us. Of course I don’t believe those conspiracy theorists who keep telling us that Goldman Sachs and other institutions of the same kind orchestrated a financial attack on Greece in 2009-10, after first launching a preliminary “communication” attack against Greeks, portraying them as lazy, disorganized and corrupt. These conspiracy theorists say this massive “communication” attack served no other purpose than to justify what they afterwards did to Greece. They are even …

Soros-Obama-Merkel-Erdogan Win Control of Europe

by Eric Zuesse On Friday, March 18th, a combined effort by George Soros, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Tayyip Erdogan, has arranged to get the EU to abandon previously sacrosanct fundamental human rights of refugees, and to transfer $6B+ to Turkey, in return for placing the refugee burden onto Turkey and getting Turkey to cooperate so as to assist the breakup of Syria, which will enable a gas-pipeline and an oil-pipeline to be built through Syria to enable Qatar’s gas and Saudi Arabia’s oil to be pipelined through Syria into the EU, so as to replace Russian oil and gas, which now fuel the EU. Here, in my rush translations from the original German-language reports at German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten) are the key reports and headlines: Turkey deal: Germany could take majority of refugees [Translated by Eric Zuesse from] German Economic News  |  Published:18:03:16 02:56 Clock The most important consequence of the EU summit is not in the official statement. A plan long discussed, now finalizing: Germany takes the majority of refugees from Turkey, and oil and gas pipelines will …

The New Colonialism: Greece and Ukraine

by Jack Rasmus Greece and Ukraine represent the development of a new, more direct management of wealth extraction. A new form of colonialism is emerging in Europe. Not colonialism imposed by military conquest and occupation, as in the 19th century. Not even the more efficient form of economic colonialism pioneered by the U.S. in the post-1945 period, where the costs of direct administration and military occupation were replaced with compliant local elites allowed to share in the wealth extracted in exchange for being allowed to rule on behalf of the colonizers. In the 21st century, it is “colonialism by means of financial asset transfer.” It is colony wealth extraction by colonizing country managers, assigned to directly administer the processes in the colony by which financial assets are to be transferred. This new form of colonialism by direct management plus financial wealth transfer is now emerging in Greece and Ukraine. Read the full text here.

Paul Mason’s Privileged Utopia

by Joshua Tartakovsky How should one view the economic crisis in Greece? Is it fair to view it not in isolation but as a harbinger to the end of capitalism along with the phenomenon of various collaborative efforts worldwide that include making information free and hosting soup kitchens? According to Paul Mason in his triumphant article in the Guardian titled ‘The End of Capitalism has Begun’, the answer is clear. We are entering not a socialist era, but a post-capitalist one in which free information and free goods replace regular goods. This is evidenced by the fact that information is becoming more and more free, that people spend a significant amount of their time providing information freely to others, and that within the current market various collaborative practices are taking place by communities connected by networks worldwide rendering the traditional market obsolete or irrelevant. In Mason’s view our entry to a post-capitalist utopia is inevitable and nearly predetermined. In the future, he believes, we will all be able to enjoy flexible working hours and greater …

Thousands of Refugees Flee Northward from Greece

Translated by Eric Zuesse, from German Economic News The precarious situation in Greece means that thousands of refugees are making their way to northern Europe. There, the reaction is increasingly panicked: The Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer has announced plans to fend off refugees with “rigorous measures.” In Germany, there have been several attacks on asylum facilities. In Italy and the Czech Republic, there were demonstrations and riots. Dramatic scenes at the station of Gevgelija in Macedonia: Refugees from Greece fight for a place in a train to the north. (Photos: AP) On Friday, tumult came to the station from Gevgelija in Macedonia (as shown in the AP photos above). Thousands of refugees flooded there heading northward due to the unclear situation and the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Greece. They try to get into the EU via Serbia from Macedonia. On Greek Islands the humanitarian conditions are unbearable. However, on the Greek mainland, refugees at the moment also have little prospect of improvement: The Greek Orthodox Church considers itself unable to cope with them in …

Greece’s Lesson For Russia

by Paul Craig Roberts Greece’s debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far.” International Monetary Fund Greece’s lesson for Russia, and for China and Iran, is to avoid all financial relationships with the West. The West simply cannot be trusted. Washington is committed to economic and political hegemony over every other country and uses the Western financial system for asset freezes, confiscations, and sanctions. Countries that have independent foreign policies and also have assets in the West cannot expect Washington to respect their property rights or their ownership. Washington freezes or steals countries’ assets, or in the case of France imposes multi-billion dollar fines, in order to force compliance with Washington’s policies. Iran, for example, lost the use of $100 billion, approximately one-fourth of the Iranian GDP, for years simply because Iran insisted on its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Russian journalists are asking me if Obama’s willingness to reach a deal with Iran means there is hope a …

John Pilger: ‘the problem of Greece is not only a tragedy. It is a lie.’

“…An historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide “No” vote and secretly agreed a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world..”

Tsipras’ Bailout Reform Package: An Act of Treason against the Greek People

After having launched a Referendum to refute and refuse the debt bailout agreement put together by the Troika, Prime Minister Tsipras comes up four days later with an austerity package broadly similar to the one which was turned down by the Greek government in June. This about-turn had been carefully engineered. The Greek people were misled and deceived. The Referendum was an outright ”ritual of democracy”.

Time for Bold Action from the people of Greece

by Dick Eastman The Greek people voted against austerity and the debt structure the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Greece’s International Creditors and the European Union governments were imposing. In retaliation these interests have inflicted upon Greece a policy of near total deflation, allowing only bare subsistence incomes at present prices and availability of goods foreign and domestic, prices – which of course will not remain obtainable as producers no longer have the revenue to pay employees or to order new factor inputs. Make no mistake, Global Finance has declared total war against the people of Greece and the weapon they are using is as terrible a killer and destroyer as any you can name outside of bombing of cities and villages. The Greeks must face this fact, maintain their resolve not to give in and, most important, offer a response that is both just and measured and sufficiently aversive that it will make the EU sorry t it chose to resort to the conomic terrorism of money sanctions. Here is what the …

Greek Crisis Awaits Other NATO Partners

by Finian Cunningham One notable consequence of the Ukraine conflict and the ongoing confrontational stand-off between the West and Russia is the dramatic surge in military spending among several European countries. However, this unprecedented militarisation of economies across Europe portends a disastrous Greek-style future of crippling debt for these same countries. Those most at risk from a future hangover of military overspend in the years ahead include the Baltic states, Poland and the Scandinavian countries. This outcome may indeed explain why Washington and its closest NATO allies have embarked on what appears to be a reckless geopolitical confrontation with Russia. The tensions being stoked from the alleged Russian threat – mainly by Washington – are in turn leading to lucrative weapons sales for the Pentagon and its military-industrial complex. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently assured that the US-led military alliance “would not get dragged into an arms race with Russia”. But that’s exactly what appears to be underway, at least for the eastern European and Scandinavian members or partners of NATO. The agenda of …