As every Radio, TV and social media outfit in Europe, including here in Ireland, is talking about Greece, the 50% haircut etc, I thought it would be useful for those of us who read the ILR to revisit the issue from another angle. To take note of some of the comments made, verbatim, by the main Greek Party political figures, including one of the protagonists, Evangelo Venizelos, Minister of Finance and Vice-Premier of the Government, pictured above. While I’d appreciate comments, I will refrain from adding any of my own at this point.
“Every advantage accruing from the earlier decisions of July 21st has been maintained by last night’s decisions. Our country has now got the opportunity to benefit and work through the fact that this historic debt has now been reduced….especially as we have already discussed and decided on all the necessary measures to move forward. There remain, of course, a number of very complex issues to be discussed and resolved. Until we arrive at the required objective….our State and Government will have to engage in and work solutions with all those who are in possession, at the moment, of Greek State bonds. The banks will be recapitalised and their shares will be offered to the market during the next couple of years by the State which is working for the interests of all the Greek citizens. Last night’s agreement projects that the Greek sovereign debt will be reduced to 120% of our GDP – something we can all live with”.
Venizelos repeated that Greece will have a primary surplus by the end of next year and added that it was a Greek Government decision to request that a troika team sets up a permanent office in Athens to avoid the dramatic stories about them arriving in the country every three months. He finished his comments by attacking the opposition and the Left, saying it was extraordinary that progressive people reacted negatively to a decrease of the country’s sovereign debt.
Anthony Samaras, the leader of the opposition New Democracy Party, concentrated his criticism on the lack of growth which has been the result of the austerity programme imposed by the PASOK Government.
“What is necessary is not just the reduction of the debt but the achievement of growth….if things remain as they are we will not be any closer to a solution.” he added. “We will be facing nine more years of poverty and social degradation – things that neither the economy nor our society can live with. There is no reference to growth….the mistakes of the past and present continue. And those responsible for bringing the country to the edge of the precipice cannot pose now as being our saviours. The time for this Government to quit the scene has arrived.”
” I cannot find the right words to express how I feel about these decisions ” said Aleka Papariga, the leader of KKE, the Greek Communist Party.
” The Prime Minister had the gall to say that our people are in agreement with these horrific austerity measures…..the ordinary people, all of us in Europe, will have to pay for this haircut”.
“This government led by Papandreou, always absent from the key discussions, is now trying to present the situation as paradise – things that for the last couple of years they had characterised as hell. All their decisions were criminal and led the country to a shameful default” said Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left Synaspismos Party.
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