Saturday, May 3, 2014

Don't Fool Around With The Lαικεσ Aγορεσ

I don't know what this debate about the laikes agores is all about but I definetely hope that noone is getting any ideas about reforming this Greek institution (local farmers' markets) which, to me, is one of the most positive hallmarks of everyday life in Greece!


  1. Unfortunately the linked text does not explain those plans of the government?
    H. Trickler

    1. That's why I don't know what this debate is all about...

  2. It's difficult to judge what's happening without having the law in your hands. The media aren't the best source for this, because it isn't an issue explained in great detail.

    The original plan was this:

    Since then, there have been modifications, like these:

    The minister, claims that he only wants to make the laikes function in a more regulated framework. Some changes seem good. Without having the full text, it is hard to see exactly what's wrong. This said, the producers seem the most upset and in the last 4 days, they 've distributed free fruit 3 times (one at the highway toll stations). Yesterday they gave for free 20 tons of product.

    - One thing that may unsettle some, is that now once a year they will be drawing spots. Usually everyone wants to have the same spot, because the client remembers him and returns to him. Now the spots will remain the same for 1 year. I am not a farmer, so i can't judge, but some may like this, other may not. The minister claims that some farmers were using their connections with the local municipal authorities to grab the best post for themselves. At any rate, drawing by luck, is fair.

    - Another is that producers will be separated from non-producers (that simply buy from a producer and then sell). Producers will have green color on their selling points, non-producers blue color. I imagine that non-producers don't like this.

    - Another is that in order to be allowed to sell, they must be OK with taxes and insurance contributions. This has caused reactions, by producers complaining that they are small fish and can't compete with supermarkets if they have to be always in line. Well, in such periods of time, there is some risk that some of them get kicked out of the laiki... Many people have tax debts nowday and it's certainly a bad surprise having this introduced without warning... The minister replied that "we can't ask from profesionists that operate under fixed, covered locations to be in order and let you go rampant".

    - If someone tries to sell without license, 6 months imprisonment.

    - It is forbidden to either category to rent agricultural land (to grow crop) outside the limits of the "periferal entity where their residence is". I can't even understand what exactly this phrasing comes down to. Either the journalist is very vague or the law is very vague. This could be a serious problem. I don't see for example why someone can't live in south peloponese and have land in north peloponese... This does sound like an odd clause...

    - New categories of products are included on the products that can be sold in laikes. Traditional pasta, sausages, jam, "spoon sweets", cheese and some traditional alcohol beverages. I don't think this is problematic, unless it reduces the posts available for the already selling profesionists. Usually, there is a limited space where a mayor allows laikes to extend. If more, new professionists enter the game, then the posts for the "old" fruit and vegetable selling professionists, gets smaller.

    There are also some changes in the markets in the open (apart laikes), like those in cases of festivities in villages (saint patron fiestas).


    1. Aha, the laikes are going to get some solid German organization and structure...

  3. 2of2

    - Such markets in the open and bazaars will be allowed once a year per municipality. Until now there was no limit. Only exception Christmas and Easter. To me, this is an obvious gift to regular merchants who hate with a passion the bazaars. In the province it is regular to have a bazaar moving throughout Greece during the year. Now, a mayor will have to decide: who do i let? The bazaar or the open market in that saint patron? Plus, given that municipalites have been extended in the last years, he will even have to pick which village out of a big number will be allowed to have open market. To me, this is obvious attempt of the minister to press the people in province to go to the regular shops to do their shopping.

    - To the previous, there is an added clause. Only unemployed will be allowed to sell in open markets, after obtaining license. I think this combined to the previous point, will eradicate good part of bazaars and saint patron's markets for good. In practice, whoever wants to sell, must first find an unemployed and sell through him, after paying for license? I think the only bazaars that will survive will be near big cities, the rest will cease to exist.

    - Ambulant vendors aren't allowed near fixed covered businesses (regular shops) that sell products of the same category, but also in municipalities with less than 3000 people. Same as above. Gift to shop owners, eradicate ambulant vendors from low populated areas.

    I don't know, i would need the law's text to have a definitive opinion. Some of it does seem regulation, some seems taking cheap shots in favor of shop based merchants and supermarkets. It is no secret in Greece, that both hate laikes and open markets. If not for anything else, because these are not normal times and there have been public accusations without response from other politicians that the minister is let's say, not resistant to lobbies. Karantzaferis, leader of a small party now fallen out of grace (and parliament), has become a loose cannon and has often said that when he was in EUparliament, he had seen how Brussel lobbies work and the minister was in front line. He repeats an example of when EU voted in favour of increasing the tyre width by some millimeters or centimeters and the minister came to him to ask him to vote in favor too. When he told him "but, who cares about half a centimeter or not", the minister said "don't you understand? Can you imagine how much money we talk about, if every trucker that wants to move in EU highways has to put on new tyres with the new requirements?". Truth or not, this is the usual tale Karantzaferis has said for years and no lawsuit for defamation was ever moved against him.

  4. The nature of the beast... PASOK, no matter how bad gets beaten, can't abbandon its good old populism. It has it in its veins.

    PASOK just informed the minister, that they won't vote the article of the new law, about drawing posts by luck.

    Probably because in 30 years they 've given so many "good spots" as a favour, that they are afraid they will lose the last votes they can get. PASOK is so desperate that in these elections, the voter, not completely aware of this, will not find a "PASOK" vote to put in the ballot box. PASOK will be undercover, by the name "The Olive Tree" in these elections.

    So they try to save whatever farmers' votes they can by protecting their own "farmers" that over the years were given the best spots in laiki...

    Like the article says, it is strange, because last week PASOK was defending the changes and suddenly today it warns the minister that this article won't pass.

    The latest polls must be terrible for PASOK and when one struggles for political survival, he can get desperate.

  5. And yet another sample of what PASOK means. Venizelos a while ago said:

    "If Elia (The Olive Tree, which is PASOK in disguise), doesn't perform well in the elections, then PASOK can't continue to lift a weight that is disproportionate to our historical responsibility".

    In other words, Venizelos is trying a sort of blackmail to the voter: "Vote me or i will make the goverment fall".

    In another recent occasion, Venizelos said that he won't resign even if PASOK suffers a collapse in the elections. This is in line with the proud "chairgrabbing" tradition of PASOK, where you clinge on your chair until your fingers start bleeding.

    PASOK is the party, that in the name of "socialism", introduced budgets that for the first time were predicting a priori a deficit, took the debt at 25% and raised it to 90% in 10 years, bloated the public sector, almost officialized tax evasion, cancelled any sort of judgement of the employees of the public sector, failed miserably even to find a way to properly default and they still have the face to say that the weight they lift is not proportionate to their historical responsibilities...

    Amazing, but 30 years of massive brain-washing through the mass media, it has affected themselves too apparently. In Greece for instance, PASOK is the "democratic party". Because the media passed this label on them. Apparently the others aren't democratic. The left in general is the "progressive". If you say in Austria that you are progressive, it means nothing. In Greece it means you are leftist... In Greece one is almost afraid or ashamed to say he is part of the right. Yet every time, things go like this: Left makes a blunder, right is called to clean up the mess.

    There, the progressive Venizelos is tired of the disproportionate weight. He needs a helping hand.

  6. Meanwhile New Democracy brings a new draft law, where a new independent entity will be created, a Council that will periodically give publically its assesment of the state of public finances. When needed, the Council will intervene to put public finances back on targets. It's part of a wider mechanism, that will aim to ensure that public finances won't derail again in the future, prohibiting deficits.

    Let's see whether PASOK lets this pass.

  7. PASOK also blocked the article about differentiation of producers from non-producers.

    Some comments from ND MPs:

    - The old guard PASOK MP, no matter how much you try to rub him, you 're only wasting your soap.

    - It's shameful for PASOK itself primarily what happened. It's shameful to cut pensions (with PASOK's support) and step back in front of those who buy laiki spots with money under the table.

  8. PASOK must know must have internal polls that show an awful truth about its percentages that the rest of us, who only come to know the "official" polls of the mass-media don't know. They seem that during the weekend they went crazy. Statements of desperation that have no precedence in the greek political history. Even in times of war, there has never been a political party to become so desperate and threaten the voters. Even before defeat in a battlefield, politicians were retaining some dignity. Here in PASOK, it seems that the idea alone, after 30 years of power, of ceasing to be a party that governs, has made them turn wild.

    - Grigorakos (vice minister of interior affairs): He called the voters to ask themselves, "whether at Sunday night of the elections, they want Greece to suffer things that Ukraine or countries of North Africa have suffered". "The voter must support PASOK, that has lifted a lot of weight and has arrived to 12%. If PASOK's choice to be in the goverment isn't rewarded by the voters, then there can't be stability for the goverment".

    Venizelos, despite a meeting with Samaras, continued:

    "Without us, there is no goverment".

    I hope the greek voter gives these arrogant socialist vermin what they deserve and they can shove their stability where they know.

  9. Klaus - talking about the disapperance of a greek landmark: Did you follow the news, that our dear Peripteros will be gone soon?

    1. As a matter of fact, I was going to make the comment that, before long, they might even get ideas about the peripteros but then I thought that was a bit too far-fetched. Well, apparently not so. Unbelievable!