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Friday, February 8, 2013

A most remarkable interview with FM Stournaras!

In a remarkable interview with the NZZ (in German), Finance Minister Stournaras made the following statement which almost sounds like he had taken seriously some of the frequent appeals to develop a long-term development plan for the Greek economy made in this blog.

"When I was Director of a think tank of the Greek private sector, I wrote a book titled 'The new growth model for Greece'. All key elements for further development are included in that book. McKinsey took up those elements and developed them further. We have now requested the two leading Greek planning institutions, the private IOBE of which I had been Director and the public planning institute KEPE, to work with us and to provide answers to the following 3 questions:

* First, what should the Greek economy look like in 2020 - expressed in macroeconomic terms like fiscal and current account balances?
* Second, what is required to achieve these objectives? Are the Troika's proposals adequate? 
* Third, which branches of the economy will contribute to achieving these objectives? This is not at all an academic question because we will decide at the next EU summit about the distribution of Structural Funds. As a result, we want to have a plan in hand on the basis of which we can negotiate with the EU the steering of funds into those areas which have growth potential."

I take off my hat in respect of Mr. Stournaras! This is the first time since I have been observing the Greek situation that I hear of someone in government saying that they are working on a plan.

I once sarcastically quoted the phrase "We don't know where we are going but the faster we drive, the sooner we will get there" to describe my feelings about hectic Greek activities without an overall economic plan. There is now a chance that I may have to take that phrase back. That would be a good day for Greece!


  1. 2020?

    Time is running out for this government.

    Personally speaking, my income has tanked, while the tax burden has increased tremendously.

    The problem is that they don't tax income, they tax property. That's preposterous. I don't have enough income to pay for the property tax, and I can't sell my property either because prices have collapsed.

    I expect my savings are gonna run out this year.

    I also suspect that I'm not the only one.

    What then?

    Hence, time is running out for this government.

    1. I hear you talking!

      The only question is: what is the alternative? Since a Grexit is no alternative as far as I am concerned, Greece can't return to printing its own money. And if you can't print your own money but still need it, you have to borrow it. And when you borrow, you have to listen to your lender's requirements. Or not?

      My point is: there is not much of a point in belaboring the present, terrible situation because it obviously is terrible. One can only hope that it gets better and any signs that it may indeed get better should be most welcome.

    2. Yes, and it is not only the Greeks to be blamed.
      Two months ago (!!!!) I asked the EU and the European Commission for a Greek translation of "Questions and Answers on the Task Force for Greece".
      Until today there is no any answer.
      Not either on the question why there is not a special page on their websites completely in the Greek language. (When you go there you can see on the top a tool to find the English, French, German or Portugues language.)

      I sent a new email to the President himself: To Mr. Barosso.

      I also added a request on the google+ page of EU and after some messages they still do not understand where I am talking about.

      Myself, I have been on many Greek websites, that is why I understand Greeks who visit an English website (or another western European one).
      It is not possible to read it: a not Greek cannot read a Greek webpage, and vice versa neither. To make myself more clear: the most of the "common" Greeks do not speak English. The most of the Europeans do not speak Greek.

      They, EU, sent me a Greek version of the 40 pages (!!) where you wrote a post about. And reason for adding the Questions and Answers on the Task Force for Greece. Clear and simple. Short. But they do not have that in a Greek version.

      You will not believe it but even on the home page of Barosso's website (EU) there is not one Greek character to be read. Not one. Not even a button to a Greek version. A shame!!!
      The link to the Greek PDF file should be there but I cannot find it.
      This is incredible!!! It must be there somewhere.

      I have tried to explain to them that TASK number one, now, for the Task Force for Greece, is to add a Greek version to every single part of their website.
      To add a button on the home page, with a Greek text, or a Greek flag where Greeks can see where the door to the page is that they search for.

  2. I don't know what the alternative is, but the solution can't be turning half the population to outlaws (since we won't be able to pay our taxes, and I doubt we'll rush to liquidate our property at collapsed prices).

    Improvement or no improvement, that's where we're heading.

    1. The word "retrogade" explains that sometimes it can look like, can be experienced, as if something is going into the wrong direction, but it is a part, the beginning, the reason of what is a developing huge progress, in fact. We all meet that phenomenon in life.
      Why should this phenomenon create despair?

      Why should the salmon feel fear because the streaming of the river is going into the other direction as he is swimming?

      I, as an older human being, having met too many really heavy problems in life can guarantee you that counteracting forces wake up incredible positive forces inside of us, human beings. Forces of spirit, mind and body, soul, that never would have been awakened without those counteracting forces. It takes time however, and don't expect that it will be easy.
      Nothing can beat you after that. Nothing. The true spirit is unbeatable.
      This is reality.
      Let it happen.
      Dare to trust your own Self.

    2. Is this supposed to some sort of joke?

      My savings (which I had for case of an emergency, say, a health situation) have vanished because of taxation on property (!) and taxation advance payments (!!).

      Do you understand?

      Spare us the high philosophy.

      I'm sorry to say that most of the commentators on this blog appear to be rich folk who are happy that the numbers look good, but really have no idea of what happens in real life.

    3. If I would not have had one single phrase of a wise philosopher, I would not have been writing here.
      I would not have managed it.
      Philosophy works better than tranquilizers or antidepressants.

      About money: I had to live with the minimum and I can guarantee you that the total monthly income is in fact nothing compared where the Greek minima are blessed to deal with. In my opinion the so called poor Greeks are rich in my eyes. That is something that you, Greeks, all forget: the salaries in Greece go beyond that what is acceptable and.... knowing that the costs in Greece for food (for instance) are so much lesser than here, where I live, than I can guarantee you that I have proved to live with nothing at all and that I can do it so well that I even keep money left. I could be an economy professor on the University in Athens. As a simple housekeeper.

      I had to live with numbers, o yes.. Not one cent was thrown away. Not a magazine, not a newspaper, all what was possible to delete I deleted. I did not have holidays, not a car. Had/have for years the same clothes, and I even restore them. I did not have, still do not have, expensive charming sexy underwear. I cannot effort it and besides that: I do not want it. But I am clean and I can pay the cheap but good smelling soap to wash myself. I brush my teeth. I am clean. I all ways and perspectives.

      I do not wear high heels, I have no mascara, I have not even something what is mine. But I am happy. More than ever.
      I am proud of myself that I managed it to raise three children, alone, and not to have guilts. That I even studied and payed the costs for it, myself. I payed my own therapy because the therapy I wanted was not included by the insurance company. I have proved them that I can live with "nothing", just because my children were more important than me.
      I never complained. I was rich, I had/have three wonderful children, I have a life, I love music and dance, I love nature.
      I have teached them that nothing in life can beat me.
      I have teached them that they can do the same.

      Life has been very very difficult for me.
      I cannot write a book in a comment.
      But if I would write a book it would be without complaints.
      It would be written out of my strength, to empower others.

      But if you prefer to die, die.
      If you prefer to complain your whole life, complain.
      If you prefer to feel miserable. Be miserable.
      Self pity is a disgusting mood.

      Are you Greek?
      A Greek man?
      Do you know that Greek women are much more courageous than the Greek men?
      Greek men are machos, afraid that maybe somebody will experience them as weak.
      By trying to be the macho you show that you ARE weak.

      Be a man.


    4. I was on your blogger page, and that has brought me all the answers about you and for you.
      You say that I am philosophizing. You have published a sentence on your blogger profile, in "About":
      "But I am an enigma, and I want to be an enigma, forever, for the world and for myself"
      That is a philosophical quote.
      Why blaming me for being philosophical?

      You have a blog, named: L' INVITATION AU SUICIDE, or:
      THE INVITATION TO SUICIDE (or: the invite to commit suicide.)

      Do I have to be impressed?
      Do I have to feel respect for you, or else? You will commit suicide?
      Suicide is a cowardish act.
      But if this is your way. Do it.
      You can never ever say, when you arrived in the hereafter, in the spheres of darkness, that there has nobody been in your earthly life who dared to show you another way. Who dared to be against you, and dared to reject suicide. With the full name in the comment, with a real photo and not wearing a mask. As you do.

      I have also a blog.
      I have written about suicide and why it is needed to prevent it.
      Suicide Prevention

      Take your responsibility, and delete that blog. You stimulate people to do it, as if it is interesting. As if you ARE somebody if you do it. You are nothing if you do it. Start with being somebody.
      Being an enigma, or not, what is the difference?
      LIFE is an enigma. You are just a little molecule in the universe. We all are just little molecules, dust. In fact. But we can experience the universe in us. That is the most incredible Enigma.

      I have found some music on my classical music channel, and it has been composed by Edward Elgar.
      Enigma Variations


    5. Please, spare me with the high moralizing.

      All I read in your text is "me, me, me, did this, did that, did the other".

      Who cares? We're not impressed with what you say your achievements are.

      One other thing: quantity doesn't mean quality, so write less that says more. We don't have unlimited time to read your posturing. Life is finite and time is precious.

      You say that salaries is Greece are generous and costs are timid. You know nothing. By analogy, Greece has the lowest salaries along with the highest prices in Europe. To add insult to injury, working conditions in the Greek private sector are atrocious. Not China-like atrocious, but for European standards they are atrocious.

      That's how it is, where you want to accept it or not.

  3. There is now a chance that I may have to take that phrase back.

    ¡Why should you take anything back?

    When you wrote... We don't know where we are going but the faster we drive... it was a reasonable thing to write. If the situation changes in the direction you're hoping for, then perhaps its because (in part at least) you wrote what you did.

    So I hope for the day when you can sit back and take some of the credit... rather than take back your words ;)

    The NZZ article has Mr Stournaras stating ...the European Investment Bank... in December 2012 provided €1 billion - I can only find €550,000 for the whole of 2012, and there's not much in the pipeline for 2013.

    @Antoinette on Barosso's TFGR page you will see some links headed Reference documents and reports - the links in there with 'EL' are in Greek - here is the EU Growth for Greece report in Greek, and here it is in English and here is Barosso talking about that report in English, with some Greek text, but not subtitles

    If you click on the Press Release links you'll see a set of 2 letter language codes under the title - EL is the code for Greek. Most releases are in all 23 languages - one notable exception being the Questions and Answers on the Task Force for Greece page which is only available in English.

    It's disappointing that Barosso's people couldn't point you in the right direction.

    The links above give an indication of why I get a bit impatient with "the Troika has no plans' line - the Troika as such doesn't exist, its a media confection. The EU is, like it or not, the lead agency, so it's where to go for information - I won't pretend its dead easy to find, but ...

    Its a waste of time relying on the MSM as a source of information, all most of them can do coffee/pasta a couple of paragraphs from a press release into their iPhone and send it to their sub-editor to butcher the headline and write a trite strapline.


    1. That €550,000 should be €550,000,000

    2. Thank you CC. Don't you agree with me however that it is very poor for a website of the president of the European Commission, that not any Greek will find "his" language? EL.... I guess it is from Ellada. Not any Greek will understand that.
      The Greeklish is a way of writing Greek as it is pronounced, and it is not strictly Greek.
      Mister Barosso should be ashamed to use Greeklish for his website.

      Even if there would not be any Greek speaking employe behind the curtains of the webpage then they can use google translate.
      To copy and paste: Greek / Ελληνική

      Yassou CC...., καλησπέρα


    3. @Antoinette - today I discovered that if you go to the Start of the EU Commission Website you will see that 'el' is for ελληνικά, 'ga' is for Gaeilge, 'bg' is for български etc.

      I doubt Mr Barosso has much say on the EU Commission website presentation - that would be in the hands of the technocrati

      Sunlight invests in battery recycling plant in Thrace - investment in an import replacement facility using scrap material by a Greek industrialist - I hope its successful. I read that there was a cloud over Panos Germanos a few years ago - did it blow over?


  4. Jim Slip, you, me and most people I know are in the same boat. We are trying desperately to meet all our obligations, as best we humanly can. And we are in real FEAR of the repercussions if we fail to pay the totality of the taxes because of lack of income. Will we will lose our properties (most of us we own them outright)? Will we be jailed?