Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Specific Plans of a SYRIZA Government

To date, I have become familiar with 2 policy statements of SYRIZA: their First Economic Manifesto of June 2012 and the reports about Alexis Tripras' Thessaloniki Speech on September 15, 2014. The latter seemed to be a rather loose accumulation of bullet points for public consumption.

SYRIZA has now come out with a full report about the Thessaloniki Speech. I must say that this is the first comprehensive (and understandable!) policy statement I have seen from anyone in Greece. If I didn't know the country and if I didn't know the authoring party, I might guess that it came from the inventors of the Social Market Economy (Ludwig Erhard). There isn't really anything in there where I could say upfront "This is stupid!" or something like that. In fact, some of the most critical points are phrased in very moderate fashion ("gradually" we will do this or that).

Of course, I am missing something in the paper but knowing that the paper comes from a socalled radical left party, I am not surprised that I am missing it. What I am missing is much more emphasis on a competitive private secctor; an emphasized belief in a market economy; an emphasis on foreign investment and know-how transfer from abroad; and other things like that.

Well, Mr. Samaras, where is your policy statement?

One of the commentators below has come to PM Samaras' rescue and provided the link to the policy statement of ND titled "The New Growth Model". I have browsed through it. It is long but not necessarily comprehensive and I am not sure that it is as easily understandable as the above statement of SYRIZA. It is long on prose and short on bullet points which are easy to remember. Still, it is a policy statement.


  1. "Well, Mr. Samaras, where is your policy statement?"

    Do you mean this?


    The 2nd video is labelled "reforms and competitiveness".

    The entire website was made for these elections. Under "policies", there is a link for every sector.

    Very much like McKinsey's plan in general. I think if it was done by Tsipras, you would be enthusiastic about it.

  2. Mr. Kastner

    The Long version in greek of Mr. Samaras' statement, is here:


    But, this is a summary in english i managed to find:


    Let's be honest Mr. Kastner. Samaras will lose and he is Samaras. Nobody wants to support a loser. If his program though was Tsipras', it would be wonderful, wouldn't it?

    1. AnonymousJanuary 13, 2015: Thank you for your link in English. I bewildered how Samaras glorifies his past achievement without losing a single word about how his actions did waterboard the less wealthy half of the Greek population.

      I was his government that increased all possible (AND impossible) kind of taxes thereby strangulating the whole economy.

      If Tsipras will be able to clear up the mess and bad habits built up in the last 50 years - who knows?

      Imho it can not become worse and hope dies last...


    2. Samaras was a success story, according to Wolfgang Schauble and Klaus Regling.

    3. Yes, from the point of view of the Troika and other creditors, Samaras was a success story: he achieved a primary surplus and, more importantly, a current account surplus. The latter means that Greece is totally self-sufficient to pay for all its imports and to pay interest on all its debt.

      What Greece cannot do is to repay principal of the debt but which country can do that these days?

  3. Mr. Kastner,

    I agree with you that it isn't as comprehensible, but you see, the parties don't prepare these for foreigners. The greek one is quite comprehensible. The main difference though with SYRIZA's, is one that you mentioned too. SYRIZA's is centered on the state being the motor of the recovery. But, from where will the money come?

    The less comprehensible of ND, is centered on private sector/investors becoming the motor.

  4. In the last general elections, even though I could not vote, I was living in Greece and so went through the economic policy proposals of all the significant parties. It was a struggle, in Greek, but I did it!

    My clear conclusion was that the ND plans had two facets: one was to accept the demands of the Troika without any fight, the other was a rather crude neoliberal approach to how economies should function. Of course, the latter was always intended in practice to be implemented through traditional Greek clientelist and corrupt practices. In such a case, entire sectors of the economy are caught up with state corruption and nepotism; this represented a continuation of everything that was wrong with Greece. The only additional component was the idea that support for the poorer sectors of society would be lessened; in other words, the neoliberal reforms were intended for the poor, while Samaras and his cronies would effectively participate in another sort of economy (without austerity).

    Syriza on the other hand had a clear platform of challenging the Troika about the austerity measures and management of debt. At that time, as I recall, they did not have a very developed plan for developing the domestic economy. However, I thought that less pertinent since the situation was not favourable to economic recovery (let alone development) within the Troika memorandum framework.

    So, years later we see that nothing much has changed. Samaras has done as I expected, the economy has deteriorated as I expected, and Syriza has had time to develop a more coherent economic policy plan. Doubtless they would have struggled to improvise if they had been elected last time, so perhaps this was in their interests as a party. For Greece, however, it was clearly a disaster.

  5. The below link provides additional information about SYRIZA's plans.


  6. Speaking of clientelism... Some of you may remember that Samaras shut down ERT and made a new, trimmed down version of it. One of the most known ERT journalists, who was licensed, now directs SYRIZA's radio. Another journalist, who was presenting the 8 0'clock news, is on the SYRIZA's electoral list, in a small, special group of people who will get elected without vote. The lady today, promiced that all former ERT personnel will be hired back in SYRIZA's re-establishment of ERT:


    The wonderful news continue, as Tsipras makes good on his promice not to keep a primary surplus anymore. Stratoulis (likely a SYRIZA minister in a few days), anounced that the ENFIA of 2015 will not be paid (will be immediately abolished) and real estate tax will be paid only by those whose property exceeds 450.000 euros. The exact number will be known officially in the next days, he promiced, but this is the baseline.


    With all the goodness that SYRIZA brings, the primary surplus, from 3,9 beur at late November is now at 1,9 beur, as nobody pays taxes, waiting for Tsipras to abolish everything.


    It's one of rare occasions where a greek goverment makes good on her promices before even taking office!

    I don' t know whether Mr. Schaeuble will have any objection, but i imagine Tsipras will charm him very quickly into accepting everything.

    1. Today, Mr. Milios, decided to make a small adjustment to Mr. Stratoulis' statement. Instead of 450.000, the limit beyond which the new real estate tax will kick in, will be 200.000 euros. Everyone can make a mistake of 250.000 euros.


      One this is certain. They have a plan!

  7. Did Jens Bastian's analysis in yesterday's Macropolis clear some of the confusion about the political programs? In short form, Greek parties do not have election programs, they have personalities. I should like to ad that the program they follow after being elected is the same, "back to the bad old days". Albeit, we will internally squabble about sharing the imported pie slightly different.

    1. An interesting exercise is to compare what Tsipras actually said in Thessaloniki with the position paper that was now published (and where I can see Varoufakis' handwriting all over the place). Just count how often the word "gradually" is being used.

      I am not so naive as to expect that politicians will do after the election what they promised before it. But Tsipras has promised so much and oftentimes in such unquivocal terms that it will be fun to watch how he gets out of that bind. I am beginning to believe that he may get out of any bind as long as the voters see him as savior.

  8. I did the same comparison, you ought to do the November 2014 London presentation in the same review, and you would swear that they are not made by the same organization. Then take into account the latest days statements from various Syriza members, that they will not cash in the remaining EUR 7,5 BIO from the bail out, that they can print EUR 100 BIO if they run out of cash. Mr. Varoufakis, whose opinions I do not share, appears to be a level headed man. He sure has his work cut out for him with all these loony's leaning over his shoulder, while he try to negotiate with the Troika. It couldn't happen to a better man.

  9. Mr. Dritsas about Cosco:

    "Piraeus harbour and the rest of the harbours are pillars of strategic importance for the strategic reorganization of production in Greece. The state control over harbours is a necessary prerequisite for this. The deal with Cosco helps the company's profitablity, but doesn't give added value to the greek productive process. It is obvious there are many margins towards that."


  10. Mr. Alexis Mitropoulos (front line SYRIZA MP): "In our first laws, we will hire back, all those who incostitutionally were licensed or were suspended and can't yet receive pension: municipal policemen, cleaning staff, school guardians, ERT employees. It is a comintment of SYRIZA and its leader".