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The Troika’s Policy in Greece: Rob the Greek people and give the money to private banks, the ECB, the IMF and the dominant States of the Eurozone

On 20 August 2018, the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras, the IMF and the European leaders celebrated the end of the Third Memorandum.

On this occasion, the major media and those in power spread the following message: Greece has regained its freedom, its economy is improving, unemployment is on the decline, Europe has lent Greece 300 billion and the Greeks will have to start repaying that debt in 2022 or in 2032.

The main claims are completely unfounded as Greece remains under the control of its creditors. In compliance with the accords that the Alexis Tsipras government signed, the country must imperatively achieve a primary budgetary surplus of 3.5% which will force it to continue brutal policies of reduction of public spending in the social sector and in investment. Contrary to the dominant message that Greece will not begin to repay its debt until some time in the future, it should be clearly understood that Greece has been repaying considerable amounts constantly all along to the ECB, the IMF and to private creditors, and this prevents it from responding to the needs of its population.

by Eric Toussaint

Part 5 - What were the objectives pursued by the European leaders when they set up the Memoranda?

Since May 2010, the question of national debt has become a central concern for Greece and for the rest of the Eurozone. The first program of €110 billion, imposed by the Troika –comprised of the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – for the purpose of elaborating and executing this programme, caused a sudden jump increase in Greece’s public debt. This was also the case in various forms in Ireland (2010), Portugal (2011), Cyprus (2013) and Spain. Those programmes had five main objectives:

1) Bail out the private banks with public funds so that they may avoid the damaging consequences of their own private credit bubble, averting a new major international financial crisis.

2) Give to the new public creditors, who replaced the private creditors, enormous coercive powers over the governments and institutions of the peripheral countries in order to impose policies of radical austerity, deregulation (eroding large numbers of labour and welfare benefits), privatizations, and stricter authoritarian controls (see the last point).

3) Preserve the Eurozone perimeter (in other words, keep Greece and the other peripheral countries within the Eurozone), which is a powerful instrument in the hands of the multinational corporations and the major economies of the Zone.

4) Bring neoliberal policies to bear more heavily on Greece, in particular, but also on the other Eurozone peripheral countries as an example for all the European populations.

5) Reinforce a Europe-wide (as much for the European Union generally as for each member state) authoritarian form of governance, without resorting to new experiments resembling fascist or Nazi regimes or that of Franco, Salazar, or the Greek colonels (1967-1974). This aspect is insufficiently taken into account because the accent is placed on the economic and social repercussions. The authoritarian tendency within the European Union and the Eurozone is a key issue and corresponds to a deliberate goal of the European Commission and big capital. It includes strengthening executive powers, expeditious voting procedures, limiting or violating many rights, disregarding voters’ choices and increased repression of dissent.

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