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 7 - As early as 2010 an alternative was both possible and necessary
Following their winning the 2009 elections thanks to a campaign during which they denounced the neoliberal policies of New Democracy, the Papandreou government would have had to socialize the banking sector by organizing an orderly failure of the banks and protecting depositors.
Several historical examples demonstrate that organizing such a failure and then starting up financial services again to operate in the interests of the population would have been quite possible. They should have taken the example of what had been done in Iceland since 2008 and in Sweden and Norway in the 1990s.
Instead, Papandreou chose to follow the scandalous and catastrophic example of the Irish government, which bailed out the bankers in 2008 and in September 2010 agreed to a European aid plan that had dramatic consequences for Ireland’s people. When in fact what was needed was to go even further than Iceland and Sweden and completely and permanently socialize the financial sector.
The foreign banks and big private Greek shareholders should have been made to bear the losses stemming from resolving the banking crisis and those responsible for the banking disaster should have been prosecuted. That would have allowed Greece to avoid the successive Memoranda that have subjected the Greek people to a dramatic humanitarian crisis and to humiliation, without any of it resulting in truly cleaning up the Greek banking system.
Papandreou should also have launched an audit of the debt with citizens’ participation to determine who was responsible for the increase of the public debt and question the need to repay debts that are identified as illegitimate, illegal, unsustainable and/or odious. This is what a powerful popular movement had started to demand from end 2010 and beginning 2011.
He should have implement a large-scale programme of structural changes, especially in terms of taxation. He should have taken concrete measures to reduce the private debts of low-income households and small enterprises, which employed a majority of workers.
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