Friday, May 1, 2015

Paranoia Combined with Self-Aggrandizement

TheGreekAnalyst published this article by Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Greek Minister of Reconstruction of Production, Environment & Energy and also, as I understand, the leader of SYRIZA's Far Left faction. In short: Lafazanis proposes a rupture with Europe. Here is just one taste of what his article is all about:

"Greece must play a pioneering role through its path and its contribution for a progressive subversion in Europe. The progressive subversion in Greece can be the first step of a larger reversal in Europe. An overturn in our country does not imply only a new progressive path with socialist horizons, but also the discharge of our country from the shackles of servitude and dependence, and the implementation of a new, genuine, independent, and multidimensional foreign and economic policy".

Subversion? Overturn? Socialist horizons?

Oh my, here is paranoia at work combined with delusional self-aggrandizement. My understanding is that the Far Left represents about one-third of SYRIZA and holds about 40 seats in the 300 seat Parliament. What a reflection on Lafazanis' understanding of democracy when a clear minority of society wants to impose something which, according to surveys, a clear majority opposes!


  1. Very scary, to become aware of the insanity of Lafazani's mind. How far is his mental illness, his psychopathy, away from the level of psychopathy of Hitler's mind?
    It is the same, in my opinion.
    He, Lafazanis, has not created a war, yet.
    He has not yet created the victims Hitler created.
    WHERE and WHEN starts the responsibility of all who witness this, him, Lafazanis, so, me, you, you, and all in EU, Europe, the world, to AVOID a crime against humanity, caused by this Lafazanis, this Greek government?

    Alarm. All alarm bells should start ringing. Sirens are needed. As loud as possible. Greeks do not hear it. They are unconscious, senseless, numb, out, as an effect of breathing smoke when there is a live-dangerous fire.

  2. Well, this was always the danger of electing a government with a very far left component in it. It is the result of the Troika's stubborn behaviour with weak centre politicians in the recent past, and if they continue to deal with this government as they have done so far, it will probably result in a future Greek government with a Nazi component. There are no surprises in any of this.

    1. C´mon. You are such a blue-eyed western leftist.

      1. there is no far left "component" in Syriza. It might be as much as half of Syriza, former KKE's and the like who saw there chance to creep into parliament, particularly among the 50+ members.

      2. You don't get it ... they are the Nazi component. Remember ... Hitlers party was a "national socialist workers party". There is no difference between the "far left" and the "far right". The two ends of the political spectrum are always meeting each other naturally. Hitler-Ribbentropp-Molotov-Stalin. There will be cooperation between Ukip and Le Penn too, like there is between Pegida and the German Left Party.

      They are already united in this Greek government. It was well planned ahead. Or why do you think we had this Kammenos-Tsipras coalition already one day after the election, without any negotiations?

      And if Lafazanis has his will later, he will work together with GD as well to take Greece outside of EU, Nato, the West. He has been planning this for a long time. It has nothing to do with the Troika. He is and has been the brain of Syriza. People like him were too vicious even for the KKE.

    2. @ Anonymous 9.35
      The question whether the Nazis were socialists or not has often been debated. In the early years of the Nazi-party, NSDAP, there were embittered battles between their socialists and nationalists. Interestingly, Goebbels was one of the most outspoken socialists. Not a Marxist socialism but a socialism within a nationalistic state. In his view, socialism would have to come before nationalism. Hitler himself showed no sympathy for socialism whatsoever. To him, socialism was not compatible with the "Führerprinzip", i. e. that the leader is more important than the ideology.

      At one point, I believe it was in 1928, Hitler read the socialists the riot act and shortly thereafter he got Goebbels 150% on his side. The brain of the socialists, Gregor Strasser, was later killed in an internal party coup.

    3. @Anonymous: the claim that there is no difference between hard left and extreme right is one that many people seeking to discredit left politics make, repeatedly, and with not a shred of argument to back up their opinions. It is your opinion and nothing else; moreover, it is an opinion that flies in the face of facts.

      As far as the Nazis are concerned, Klaus has already replied to you, but I will add that the meaning of "national socialists" was very unclear, and can be seen as merely a label for a party to gain power by electoral means. Having gained it, Hitler rapidly assumed absolute power and showed no interest in either democracy or socialism (although nationalism played a central role).

      So, your specious argument about leftists being Nazis is just absurd. You do not have to agree with Lafazanis or anyone else, but casting those on the left as Nazis is downright offensive as well as being stupidly wrong.

    4. The Nazis was socialists by all means.
      The state(the fuhrer) was the organizing principle for the companies and the people -
      even if the state didn´t owned the companies it surely ruled and tood the executive decisions.
      The infighting between communists and nazis is like two mafias that struggles for power.
      Don´t forget there was cooperation too between those socialist fractions.
      Communist was all state and international
      Nazis was der fuhrer princip and nationalism
      Same shit with various minor differences and different faces.
      Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian

      The last decades in the west there have been a leaning to the left in the political scale.
      All parties has drifted to the left since the sixties.
      Liberal and conservativ parties was for some decades ago on the right side of the scale.
      Nowadays liberalism is firmly in the left side - a form of socialism in reality.
      There are very few on the conservative side - but they gathering steam.
      The conservative new parties nowadays is the new parties that soon will challenge the order.

      On the left side:socialism
      big gov
      individ is under the kollektiv and the state

      On the right side: anarchy (what else could there be?)
      no gov
      state is small and the servant of the individ

      Basically, the individual in context, a network of individs, a realistic anarchy, is the future
      Socialism with the big state will slowly be fased out.

      BIG GOV---------------------------I----------------------------ANARCHY

    5. @Anonymous May 7, 2015 at 10:39 AM
      I have never read such garbage in my life. When the entire world academic community is more or less consensually agreed that mainstream European politics has moved decisively to the right over the last two decades, and you claim that parties have drifted to the left since the 1960s.

      From a personal perspective I can also assure you that what you have written is complete rubbish.

      Nor can I make any sense of your ridiculous assertion that far left and far right are the same. The Nazis were NOT socialist by any criteria, other than the name they initially used to gain power.

      You have the right of free speech to utter this crap, but don't expect people to take it seriously. You are a fool.

    6. @ Xenos at 9.38
      If I recall correctly, you are British. I have always admired the British for their ability for telling others what they think of them in the most elegant ways. To the British whom I got to know when I lived there, calling other people's opinion crap and calling others outright fools would have represented poor education. Knowing that you are well educated, there is something else which prompts you to make statements which I just don't find acceptable in this blog. Please respect my opinion!

  3. Yes, A very dangerous man. He wants

    I do not know how much of Syriza he actually controls, could be more than 30%, could be at least 40%. He might even be able to master a complott against Tsipras and Varoufakis. A grexit is closer than ever.

  4. "understanding of democracy when a clear minority of society wants to impose something which, according to surveys, a clear majority opposes!" - isn't that also the case of all the memorandum policies since 2010?

    1. Good dialectic! I guess it depends on whether there is a choice. Regardless how great a majority of Greeks opposed austerity, if you need money from others in order to avoid austerity and others don't give you that money, then you don't have much of a choice. Whether or not Greeks go for a rupture with Europe is an available choice. If a majority does not want it but a minority goes for it, then we are talking about something else. But, yes, you point is well taken.

    2. Syriza has promised the impossible:

      - Receiving immediately enough cash from Eurogroup.
      - Immediately stopping the humanitarian crisis.
      - Negotiating an agreement not violating the red line.

      For some time they had the possibility to make a choice: Either get the money and surrender to the Eurogroup or do not get the money.

      Nowdays, imho the do no longer have a choice, because they will default before a contract in which they surrender can be agreed.


    3. Well yes, I agree there are many contradictions in what we call "public opinion" etc. especially in these dire circumstances But, despite the adjustment costs which were inevitable to some degree, I do have the feeling that had the Troika focused on making the Greek tax system fair and efficient (which they clearly didn't) and on reforming the Greek public administration (not necessarily "reducing" the State, but truly "reforming" it - which they didn't neither) the wide majority of Greeks would have supported the EZ policies post-2010. Back then the discourse "only Europe can change us [for the better]" etc. was widespread. That discourse isn't there anymore - now the widespread discourse (rightly or wrongly) is the one of exploitation: syriza surely surfed on it, but it didn't create it. And that in itself says a lot...

    4. @ Anonymous at 6.11
      No one will ever know whether the Troika purposely 'imposed' those parts of the memoranda which were silly from the start or whether they imposed them out of exasperation after they saw that Greece wasn't complying.

      I can't tell you how Greeks think but I think I can tell you how Northern lenders think when they face a borrower in as deep trouble as Greece was in early 2010. They think that the borrower will 'behave well'. Behaving well, in their minds, means that a borrower who is in such deep trouble as Greece was in early 2010 would immediately set out to do all those things which he agreed to do. I think it took Greece quite a while and several reviews until it dawned on them that the memorandum was not just for optics. It would be interesting to look up the first memorandum. I am sure it stipulated things like making the tax system fair and truly reforming the public sector. It would also be interesting to know how many points of only the first memorandum are still open today.

      When someone like Lagarde hands over to the Finance Minister a list of potential tax cheaters, a Northern mind would assume that the Finance Minister jumps at that list with great joy and gets working on it. The Northern mind simply doesn't understand why this did not happen.

      One thing is certain: the Troika was and still is a representative of creditors' interests, not a vehicle that sees its role as doing some real development work. For the latter, the EU Task Force was established but not even that Task Force got the attention from Greece which it had hoped for. The principal mission of the Task Force was to 'be at the disposal of Greece' wherever Greece needed assistance with reforms. If could only offer its help because going beyond that would have been interference in sovereignty. But it's impossible to help someone who doesn't want to help himself.

    5. @ Anonymous at 6.11
      Below is the First Memorandum.

  5. "What a reflection on Lafazanis' understanding of democracy when a clear minority of society wants to impose something which, according to surveys, a clear majority opposes!"
    Thats what lobbies of any directions quite regularly try to do, in every country and every social order at every time.
    And often they dont present themselves and their goals as open as Lafazanis do, many prefer a much shadowy operation field . ;-)
    So he has the moral right to propose his ideas as others have the right, if not even the duty to oppose his ideas.

    1. I appreciate your rational and calm comments on the situation. The idea that there is something evil and underhand about Lafazanis or others on the Left, while everything about the Troika and centre-right and very right governments is transparent and laudable is such bigoted propaganda -- yet I expect to see it almost everywhere these days.

      Perhaps we can analogise this "standard public thinking" to the way that ordinary German people accepted and admired Hitler and the Nazi movement for a decade or more -- and now try to pretend that the Nazis did not have much popular support at the time.

    2. I appreciate your praise but I have to contradict some additional comments and suggestions you made.
      There is not one side that makes propaganda (aka one-sided opinion pieces), there are many sides. As always.

      By the way: Ordinary German people do not think Nazis did not have much popular support. It is widely known and realized in Germany that Hitler was backed by the huge majority of the German people. Germans know by experience that even a great majority can fail in frightful dimensions.
      But it is also understood that this happened 70-86 years ago and Germany has quite changed since. So your subtle analogy of nazi-Germany and these-days-Germany is quite misleading.

      As it is misleading to always try to binarize the actual situation to a clash "Greece versus Germany" as it is more like "18 democratically elected governments of Euro countries clash with the opinion of 1 democratically elected government of Greece", a clash between 18 and one governments. But not nessecary the people of these countries, of course!

    3. Below is a quote from someone else's analysis:

      "Leftists SAY they hate the West because it is warlike, imperialistic, sexist, ethnocentric and so forth, but where these same faults appear in socialist countries or in primitive cultures, the leftist finds excuses for them, or at best he GRUDGINGLY admits that they exist; whereas he ENTHUSIASTICALLY points out (and often greatly exaggerates) these faults where they appear in Western civilization".

  6. By the way: A good guardian article about how the Eastern European Euro-countries, most of them poorer than Greece, feel about the Greek way.

    I do not see any chance for Lafazanis plan to get support of the Euro-countries, at least Eastern European countries will veto it. So his suceess would be an end of Greece in the Eurozone, perhaps even followed by an Exit from European Union.
    Its a kind of road junction. Greeks now know this alternative path, proposed by the leader of an important Syriza-wing. Its up to them to decide if they like or dislike this path.

    1. Sorry, forget the link:

  7. ANY Greek will tell you that although he suffers paranoia, they are still out to get him.

  8. @ kleingut, curios question: Is there a reason to delete the link to the english version of "To Vima". I also liked to use your linklist as a hub to Greek english speaking newspages as Ekathimerini, To Vima and sometimes Macropolis.

    1. I figured that if I listed all the Greek newspapers which I read (some of them via GoogleTranslate), the list would get far too long. So I decided not to list any.

    2. Sorry, I do not understand. Before you listed two newspapers, now only one. That was no too long list neither it is now zero.

  9. Don't worry it will all be democratically decided at the coming referendum. According to Alexis Mitropoulos (Parl. Dep. Chair) the question posed to the voters will be "do you want continued support on the lenders terms or on Syriza's?" Don't say Greeks do not have a sense of humor. I peed my pants again.

  10. It is like a car dealer asking a potential client "do you wish to pay for the car or would you like it as a present from Mercedes"?

    1. And I wonder exactly how many Mercedes were given away free by the company, in the negotiation of foreign deals. I claim no knowledge on this, but merely point to the systematic and known engagement of German companies with extensive corruption abroad.

      So, your simplistic analogy looks very simple at first sight: the real world is a lot more complex than you appear to grasp.

    2. Oh my! Once again you completely misunderstood the analogy, but managed - obsessed as you are with it - to put the word "German" into your text.

      The phrase could equally well have been: "do you wish to pay for the car or would you like it as a present from Chrysler"?

      .. continued support ... on Syriza's terms = a present from Chrysler

      Got it now?

  11. Sigh, my intention was only to amplify what Lennard had written in his subtle way. That Syriza is buying votes with money that is not theirs to give. A free lunch. The choice of Mercedes was maybe unfortunate, but I live in Greece, and was watching the traffic while I wrote.

    1. Excuse me! Not only was the Mercedes analogy "unfortunate", but the ideas that (a) a Greek government is buying votes with money they don't have is hardly new; (b) that system is common to about half the world and most of the Mediterranean, commonly called clientelist politics; and (c) rather a lot of developed countries have been doing exactly that, although in a different way, with their management of economic regulation over the last 30 years. The global banking crisis arose out of governments arranging free lunches via banking deregulation.

      I have many criticisms to make of all Greek politicians, but to accuse them of this is simply erroneous. The only difference with the rest of Europe is their style, and the fact that the current fashion of austerity economics (the illogical extreme of previous policies) is not acceptable to Greece because it cannot work, and visibly does not work.

    2. Wrong again.

      Syriza has previously been very critical of clientelism. They wanted to be a party that was sooo much better than all the others. They wanted to be different from ND and Pasok.

      And now they want to ask the people this silly question: "do you want continued support on the lenders terms or on Syriza's?" That's the point. What has Syriza to offer - other than others money? Nothing.

      Fortunately now the Greek people are slowly realising that Syriza's policies "cannot work and visibly are not working".

    3. No, you are the one who is wrong again. It is very clear to all except bigots that Syriza remains critical of clientelistic politics, but is obliged to seek continued support from the electorate for their political stance. That is called democracy in practice, as opposed to the theatre of democracy that most of northern europe exhibits with occasional elections and no consultation of voters otherwise.

    4. @ Xenos
      Bewareof people who are critical of bad conduct whatever it is, including clientelistic politics. Oftentimes, they aim at others only to hide the fact that they are the greatest perpetrators themselves. May I remind you of DEI and the unionist?

  12. The link below will undoubtedly fire up the discussion here. It's a video of an interview with Warren Buffett about 2 months old. I will say no more...

    1. Come on, Klaus: The publisher is kindly invited to be the first to comment ;)


  13. Klaus, what is your opinion about what Pedro Schwartz has published?

    >"The time has come to examine the possibility of turning the euro into a choice currency in competition with the national currencies."

    This looks similar of the old suggestion from Poland and imho is the only way to get out of the mess...


    1. Interestiingly, I have met Prof. Schwartz back in 1996 when he was on a jury which awared me a prize for a paper on the welfare state.

      First, the Euro is not a national currency the way it functions. The Euro is to Germany more or less the same thing which it is to Switzerland --- a currency which neither Germany nor Switzerland can print (except that the Euro is legal tender in Germany but not in Switzerland). Switzerland has a national currency to compete with the Euro, Germany does not (and I think it would be a violations of EZ treaties if a country introduced a currency other than the Euro).

      Having said that, I think Schwartz's points are very well taken and I remember writing similar things around 2011/12.

  14. @ Guest
    No wonder the guy unconsciously picked the brand Mercedes if he was watching Greek traffic.
    And no, there is another difference.
    Politicians in European countries do buy votes with the money of the voters (it's the only money they have). They do so with the voters consent (votes). That results in a national wealth distribution based on a democratic process.
    Syriza attempt to buy votes with money from other nations tax payers, without their consent (some of them poorer than the average Greek).
    Well, you may call that an honorable solution and a victory for Greek democracy. I call it theft and a blatant contempt for democracy.
    P.S. Should you wish to discuss solidarity, then let me remind you that it starts at home. Syriza is most welcome to do some much needed wealth distribution in Greece.

    1. One could counter-argue that other states also borrow from other nations because they sell their bonds outside their borders (i. e. the US and China). The key difference is whether a state can obtain financing on a voluntary basis. Since May 2010, with only a couple of exceptions during 2014, the Greek state could not obtain financing on a voluntary basis, be that from its own citizens or from the citizens of other countries.

      The issue of solidarity beginning at home cannot be emphasized strongly enough in the case of Greece. I have been waiting for some time that some mean foreigner makes a TV documentation about the overflowing (and expensive!) cafés, bars and restaurants and the cars in their parking lots. Not to mention other examples of the ‘extremely good life’ which a good portion of Greeks are still enjoying. Close to our apartment, there are 3 large beachfront cafés/bars with huge parking lots at the periphery of Thessaloniki (Shark, Les Zazous, Remvi). They are very busy on weekdays but what happens there over weekends defies description. And a good portion of the cars are fancy and expensive vehicles. Certainly not an example of a ‘humanitarian crisis’. A Greek friend of mine once told me that I should understand that, essentially, Greeks are egotistical people: first “I”, then “my family” and then perhaps a few friends. Full stop. What puzzles me is that, on one hand, Greece certainly has many traits of collectivism but when it comes to money, they are all invidualists (I add the caveat about the danger of generalizations…).

    2. Klaus, imho that chain of preferences in Greece is the same as in the rest of the world.

      Those who are hit by the humanitarian crisis in Greece do not show up in the part of Thessaloniki you can overview.

      If I correctly remember the number of persons having applied to a novel program for food stamps, free electricity etc. is in the 30'000, most probably mostly in big cities.


    3. I don't have time to translate this:

      ... but it is clear that your impression is wrong. The current luxury car market in Greece is definitely an example of a financial crisis.

      Also, I'm not sure what your definition of "good portion" is, but in a country where "2.5 million Greeks are living below the poverty line, while 3.8 million are in direct danger of crossing the poverty line":

      ... my guess is that those who can actually afford a rich lifestyle are far less than you are implying.

    4. @Klaus: I agree with your first paragraph, but not with the second. This is probably because you see Salonika, which is in a different position to Athens and most of Greece. As I lived in central Athens, near Kolonaki, until last year, I can assure you that all of your descriptions are unknown to me. There is a class of Greeks that patronises the luxury clubs on the coastline near Athens during the summer months: their access to money is rather different. It is a matter of conjecture, since I know no systematic or serious research on the topic. However, my view is that they are the wealthy families that benefited from politics over the last decades -- i.e. actively associated with Pasok and ND. A few may be successful business people, but not too many. These are the parasites of Greek society; they are also the ones who took their money out of the Greek banking system.

      So you see, in order to comment on what is really going on with the Greek situation requires a very detailed and sophisticated grasp of the complex reality. The parasite class (akin to the parasite class I observe here in the UK) is part of the political and economic mess of Greece: it is no reason to make the majority suffer, as the Troika has done. They are a minority, despite the local appearance of a large number of persons. Birds of a feather flock together, as the saying goes.

    5. Rest assured that I am aware of all the hardships prevailing in much of Greek society. I don't even have to go beyond my wife's family in the village to recognize that.

      You overlooked the fact that I said 'a good portion of Greeks' are still enjoying the good life. I obviously can't put an objective number to it but I would guess no less than 25%. Yes, the excesses are not representative of the total but I suggest you visit Bratislava because you won't find anything close to those excesses there (not to mention the Slovak regions).

      The foreign debt which entered Greece from 2001-10 went somewhere; money doesn't disappear, in only changes owners. You can argue that about 200 BEUR of it left the country as current account deficit but that still leaves 100 BEUR which became private income/wealth of Greeks either within Greece or abroad (at the outside of the crisis, the Swiss Central Bank alluded that deposits in Swiss banks by Greek residents were about 150 BEUR; that is only Switzerland!). And the ECB has meanwhile put over 100 BEUR funding into Greek banks to replace deposits. Don't tell me that all those deposits were withdrawn to pay taxes and sustain survival. If that had been the case, tax revenues and economic activity would have blossomed.

      I was talking about domestic solidarity. Or rather: the honest redistribution of wealth created in the country (even though much of that wealth had been created by foreign debt). There may be a top-1% of ultra-rich in Greece but the percentage for very wealthy Greeks (by Austrian standards) is certainly, in my perception) much, much higher. As I guessed above, no less than 25%.

      Too bad I cannot link the Facebook survey of the journalist Joanna Kakissis on the question of whether Greece faced a humanitarian crisis. Very serious people from all over commented. The following comment I found very apt (and it was representative for the majority of commentators):

      "Joanna, I have all along felt that this "humanitarian crisis" used to describe what is going on in Greece is too far stretched. The Greeks are getting on with less, but I do not think we can call it such a crisis. The real "humanitarian crisis' in Greece is the crisis of the Refugees in Greece.. nothing else!!!!!!! When tavernas, clubs, bars, holiday destinations, ski resorts, streets, cinemas etc are FULL at anytime of the week, I can hardly call this a crisis. It is a scam even to use this expression... hugs".

    6. @ Alexiou at 3.27
      Yes, I know the statistics that over 5 million Greeks are close to poverty or in poverty. That, of course, leaves another 6 million Greeks. I would guess that the vast majority of public sector workers and/or pensioners are doing ok. Not rich, but doing ok. But the vast number of self-employed and SME entrepreneurs have amounted great wealth over the good years unless they wasted everything. Athens is obviously a case in and by itself. The epitome of Greece's structural problems. My understanding is that 3-4 million people live in Greater Athens. If that is not a bloated capital I don't know what is. Berlin would have to have over 20 million residents to compare with that! Maybe someone can explain to me what 3-4 million do when they are in an area with - as I understand - a totally underproportional economic value creation.

      A PS on pensions: a friend told me of his sister-in-law who died in 2012. Her last pension was a bit over 1.000 Euro. That pension had begun in the early 1950s when her father retired. After his death in 1974, his wife received the widower's pension. And after she died, the daughter/sister-in-law received that penion because she was unmarried and had taken care of her parents. I know this is an excessive example but the pure fact that such examples exist is an indication that something is rotten in the pension system.

    7. A few replies, Klaus. The population of Greater Athens is more lime 5 million -- not appearing in censuses because people register with their villages of ancestry to help them get a regional subsidy for the village or town.

      I doubt that the rich are as much as 25%, maybe as much as 20%. But there are no data on real wealth distribution, so this is pure guesswork. Nor did any government ever finance any research on wealth distribution (or even income distribution) because it would show that Greece was and remains the most inegalitarian country in Europe.

      This does not alter the fact that the vast majority of Greeks are suffering; it is also true that refugees and immigrants are suffering even more. Unless the EU actually considers dealing with the serious and deteriorating income and wealth distributions in each country (and I doubt that it can, because the EU is confined to European-level legislation), then that is the way Greece is fixed. The only government that stands a chance of altering it is the one currently in power -- the one that the eurozone is determined to bring down.

    8. @ Xenos
      I don't think anyone will bring this government down, not even SYRIZA itself. Should it still happen, it will be SYRIZA again after the next election because of Tsipras' skills to move emotions (and Greeks' susceptability to them).

      I will say this, though: SYRIZA (or the entire government) seems intent on bringing the Greek economy down, cause tremendous financial trouble which could eventually lead to Grexit. If that was the goal, I would have to say WELL DONE! And they didn't even require 6 months for it! Even Allende needed 3 years for that.

  15. Breaking news (from Guardian comments):

    News Bulletin;

    Tsipras and Varoufakis have indicated that a deal will be signed to eventually determine if a deal will be signed. The current deal is still under discussion and after further discussion with it's partners, will agree to discuss it further until a deal is signed. Supporters of Syriza see this as a good sign that a deal will eventually be signed. Government insiders have indicated that a deal will be presented on Monday for final review. They have also stated that they don't know which Monday or what year the deal will be presented, but a final deal will be eventually signed. Information Minister, Uranis Verbaldiarrhesis has indicated that if a deal is not signed they always have time to ask the Greek people. He says that a referendum is a possibility, but prefers to telephone each Greek citizen first before any such vote is presented to parliament. The Greek stock market reacted positively and the Euro gained some ground after this breakthrough announcement.

  16. Dear readers,

    given the choice between Panagiotis Lazafanis and Marco Veremis (see below), which of the two do you think has the better answer for Greece's future? Veremis certainly doesn't suffer from paranoia (even though he has fierce competitors) nor from self-aggrandizement (even though he seems to be a great one).

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed the News Bulletin. May I ad today's headline in Kathemirini "Syriza to start mulling position on possible deal", they are planning to make a plan. They will talk until the decisions are taken by time and the surrounding environment, and then whine about those decisions forever. KEEP TALKING GREECE.

  18. Klaus, there are a few weak points in your arguments that needs clarification. When USA and China borrow money abroad the voters in the lender countries have given their consent, it is voluntary. I know that the Baltic (and other voters) have not given their consent to Syrizas demands. Syriza do not ask for loans, they ask for gifts. As long as they threaten default and demand debt reduction it is not loans.

    I have also noticed the use of buzz words, from austerity over economic waterboarding to humanitarian crises. I think humanitarian crises offended me most, maybe because I have seen the result of it.
    Like most Greeks I think there is a humanitarian crises in Greece, my reasons are however different, I think it is a humanitarian crises when:
    - Human Rights Watch again documents the Hellenic Police's violence against people not being sufficiently Greek.
    - Greek Reporter month after month (latest 4 May) publishes long lists of apparently poor Greeks (many of them on social support) with accounts of several million EURO each.
    - The church censor the school books.
    - "Foreigners" cannot serve in the armed forces, the police and as civil servants.
    - A young man can be sentenced to jail for writing that Alexander the Great had imperialistic ambitions.
    - Farmers shoot at, and flog, foreign workers without being punished.
    - Another young man can be sentenced to jail for making fun of a dead monk.
    - 65% of the population expresses anti-Semitic sentiments.
    - "Foreigners" have taxation without representation and large parts of the Greek population have representation without taxation.
    - Foreign "prostitutes" (mostly colored) are arrested and forced to HIV test, and their identity is published.
    - A large part of the population supports a Nationalist party that threatens and violates people who are not sufficiently Greek.
    - A journalist can be sentenced to 26 month jail for stating the obvious truth about the Lagarde list.
    - TV presenters go on screen and suggest drowning foreign fugitives.
    - Police officers, high and low, are caught red handed, time and again, for all sorts of crimes, without any consequences.
    - The parliament speaker threatens a gas station attendant with sacking if he does not comply with her whims.
    - Ministers can use prosecution of corruption and tax fraud as bargaining chips for more money from the lenders.
    The above humanitarian crises are not the result of the last 5 years budget balancing. It is the result of decades of upbringing where nationalism entitlement and corruption was taught as values.

    There is another humanitarian crises. I live in a district that is not posh. When I drink my coffee at the balcony at 0530 I can look down at the garbage can at the parking lot, every morning there is a woman scavenging in the can for food. Yes there is a Range Rover and other expensive cars there. Or I can drive out to Perama, the shipyard district. The men spend their time in the kafenions, waiting for 2009 to return, that's what all the parties have promised them. They have also told the that the only reason it has not yet happened is Ms. Merkel. These are the resigned or angry people that are held hostages by a rather affluent Greek society, not by the Troika.

    1. Dear Lennard,
      these are very impressive and informative observations from someone who lives in Greece, and helpful for those who live elsewhere in Europe. Thanks for sharing them!

  19. I think that all these discussions about whether or not SYRIZA is on the right track or whether a deal will eventually be closed ignore two basic facts: trust & confidence. Even if a deal will be struck, the continuing issue will be trust & confidence. Without trust & confidence, no deal will ever be successful.

    If I receive 100 Euro in payment for something, I accept the Euros because I trust that someone else will accept them when I pay them. If party A enters into a contract with party B, party A trusts that party B will comply with it. If not, party A trusts that the courts will force party B to comply. Margaret Thatcher was a radical free-marketer and Mikael Gorbatchew was a communist. And yet, Thatcher said after their first meeting that she could do business with Gorbatschew. That reflects trust & confidence in the other party.

    No potential foreign investor of sound body and mind will consider investments in Greece’s real economy in the climate which the current government has created. Some have called them clowns. I disagree. Clowns are entertaining. What some members of the current government have done since January is simply reckless in the context of Greece’s reputation abroad. The back-and-forth’s about a gold mine, about Cosco, about regional airports – just to name a few – have sown mistrust & lack of confidence. Investors like Cosco and/or Putin’s Russia may behave differently because the Russians and the Chinese always find ways to exercise sufficient pressure to protect their interests. But the ‘normal’ private investors will simply stay away from the Greece as it is presently being portrayed by its government. And who will invest in Greek banks when there are undertones of nationalizations? I can say today “let’s be friends again” but it will not be forgotten that I threatened yesterday “to blow the whole thing up!”

    FinMin Varoufakis has just published an article titled “A blueprint for Greece’s recovery” on ProjectSyndicate (see below). My comment was: “The message well I hear, my faith alone is weak”. I invite everyone to ponder how things might have developed if he had published that article on his first day in office.

    Noone in international politics or finance expects the other side to behave like naïve boy scouts. Of course everyone watches his own interests. But everyone has trouble shaking someone’s hand when he is not sure that, after turning around, he will not be stabbed in the back.

    Now one could turn the play game around and say that it was the EU which, from the start, never had trust & confidence in the new Greek government. I can sympathize with Greeks who feel that way. But trust & confidence is not something which ‘one gets’. It is something which one earns. It takes a lot of time to build up trust & confidence but it can be destroyed quickly. Once destroyed, it is hard to ever rebuild it without a change of players. The new Greek government has not understood todate that “it wants something from other countries”. They seem to think that other countries owe something to them (even on that point I am not quite sure because it is not too long ago that FinMin Varoufakis said “We don’t want the 7,2 BEUR”). And to make it worse: they have not understood that if one wants something from someone else, the only way to achieve that goal is constructive negotiations without threats or blackmail.

    My guess is that, when the figures for the first half of 2015 are out, they will show what devastating effect this new government has had on the Greek economy. Personally, I doubt that this damage can ever be reversed by this government. The members of government have little to fear. Some will return to university, others will continue to make their money in politics. Regrettably, those are options which the vast majority of Greeks will not have.

  20. Spot on, no trust whatsoever.
    The only investors will be "hit and run" outfits who believe that EZ will bail out or at least not cut Greece so fast that they won't get out in time. Fraport is already making huffing noises about Syrizas re-negotiations for the airport lease. I don't blame them, who wants to have a 14 year lease with this government?
    Or if you have to count the fingers after the handshake.

  21. Well then its just luck that, of all civil servants and a lot other professions, university professors are the only ones who do not have to resign their positions when they become members of the parliament.
    Greek constitution part 3, article 56.

  22. AT: Yanis Varoufakis
    FM: Lennard
    RE: Your proposal, A Blueprint for Greece
    Thank you, but no thank you.

    As a common business project it is not attractive to us. It lacks Purpose, Scope of Work, Master Schedule and Budget. Your track record and proposal indicate that you do not look for a business partner but a donor. That is not in our area of interest. Please feel free to seek others at your discretion. Your threats of damaging our business in case of non co-operation has been handed over to our corporate legal advisers.

    As a marriage proposal it is not attractive. You have no dowry and are of doubtful virtue and honor. You are flirting with other men and have been unsuccessfully married several times before. I do not think you look for a life companion, lover and friend. You look for a provider. We would not be happy together; I shall not hold you to your proposal. Do not shoot yourself; it will hurt you more than anybody else.

    Above was my initial reaction to the paper that I read carefully and with a bit of confusion. I was happy to stumble over a piece in Politico (11 May, The Varoufakis Puzzle) with the explaining flow chart. I am not an economist but an engineer and have problems with his rather flowery language. I was sure the flow chart would clarify things for me, to my dismay it did not. I was comforted though by the comments from several economists who did not understand it either. My thanks to Daniel Gros who made a circle around the whole thing and added an incoming arrow marked "other peoples money", that clarified all.

  23. Lennard, the slide is pretty bad. Much of the material is irrelevant to investors in the audience. And why are the only two "synergistic reforms" in the Real Economy segment: Labour market reforms and Product market reforms? And where's the arrow showing source of funds for the Bad Banks in the Private Investment segment?

  24. Lennard, I will explain Varoufakis offer to you, "if you will give me a bottle of gin I may offer you a gin and tonic if you will give me some tonic". Simple yes?