(9g) Victory for Syriza and Anel

The elections in Greece are over and the expected party won, i.e. Syriza, and thus congratulations to them although their choice of coalition partner puzzled me and others. In fact, this choice let me almost forget Syriza's victory, a victory that also reduced the parties that were in power for decades and that were to a large extend responsible for Greece situation while many of the old powers throughout Europe still think the loosing parties are the solution for a reborn Greece.

Indeed, Syriza's PM Alexis Tsipras chose Anel (or Independent Greeks) as coalition partner, a right-wing party that is like Syriza opposed to austerity but also seems to be nationalistic and supportive of the Greek-Orthodox Church and also xenophobic, anti-Semitic (and thus probably also anti-Muslim) and homophobic although only gained 5% of the vote and thus Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras may think that such a small anti-Europe and anti-austerity party may scare the EU into more goodwill while Anel is small enough to control. I believe the new PM and his finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (who is very anti-austerity if it only benefits those who bankrupt the country) when they say they will do everything to find a compromise with the EU, including honouring the past agreements. This includes accepting a strong hand against corruption in his own country (something it seems the previous parties didn't accept for the rich but enforced on ordinary people) in return to a different form of help. But he should be careful because he is leader of a weak country that costs others money and doesn't give much in return apart from criticism. Even PM Merkel (who should like a man who worked at universities) recently indicated that she may accept that Greece leaves the EU although prefers them in (and Greece out still means it will have to continue repaying what other countries gave in financial help (to banks so the main players responsible for the financial crisis can continue paying themselves bonuses)). Still, the Greek finance minister was already welcomed by the most Eurosceptic country that is one of the strongest advocates of austerity and the banking sector in Europe while didn't give much to save Eurocountries.

And be warned, right-wing parties all over Europe will do everything that is in their power to oust the left and regain position. Indeed, since the end of WWII it seems never a left-wing government was allowed to rule Greece and it seems the democratic West even supported overturning the voice of the people by the army that resulted in instability and military rule that impoverished Greece so that even today we still deal with the consequences. After the announcement that Syriza chose Anel as its coalition partner, the markets returned back to a higher level. I think PM Tsipras should have chosen a more equal-minded party if that was possible while now the right can demand that certain of their own policies will be implemented in return for continued support. Already Anel's defence minister seems to have upset Turkey by flying over some disputed islands that caused Turkey to respond. I fear the country is still too unstable to try such a risky coalition.

And thus, although I know too little of Anel, I fear it may be a bad deal. Greece will have to balance between determination to help its own people and show gratitude for the European countries that donated much of their own money to help Greece but of course want some of it back while prevent a future repeat. Because countries are getting fed-up with countries that received help but show little thankfulness and even blame the countries that helped to prevent a total collapse and thus an even worse situation. Still, the PM now has to stick with Anel and reflect later whether another coalition partner may be more helpful. Syriza believes the coalition can work and thus we have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But the PM and his party members should be wary because people seem to have voiced their anger that the party only gets one chance. Let's hope the right but also other countries mean it well with Greece. If PM Tsipras gamble fails, right may win next time, or anarchy may descend upon the country so the army may feel the duty to restore order. Indeed, an old evil woman (around 2'30'' in video) who didn't support Syriza but voted for Golden Dawn explained what she hopes will happen: if PM Tsipras and his party fails, extreme right may gain. Therefore, if Europe means it when it claims a return of extreme right should never happen again, it should take PM Tsipras serious and talk to reach a solution because if extreme right comes into power, it will have consequences for any now ruling politician (and everyone else); remember, if people vote for extreme right it is because they want that punishment descend on the old elite. No, Greece (and Europe's) troubles are not over yet.

For instance, why can't Europe help Greece with paying the wages of teachers, nurses, civil servants, ... instead of demanding that people loose their job while the country needs to pay directly to banks? Then Europe can also demand people pay their taxes (including the wealthy and multinational companies) or go to jail. Tsipras promises it will stop corruption, therefore Europe should listen to them and judge their actions. Further, why should Europe force Greece to sell its treasures (such as sea ports) to foreign countries and companies that will result in a Greece that has little left in future, although of course some parts can be sold. Why can't Europe not demand that, in return for money, it is involved in the proper management of Greece's infrastructure, improving its functioning while employing Greeks and this can be used to repay debts in the longer term? Invest in university so a new generation can rise. Later, when debt levels are reduced, infrastructure can return to Greece while a sell-out will further impoverish Greece and even the whole of Europe when Greece may loose some of its treasures for which it will have to pay much more if it ever wants them back. If the infrastructure is sold, there will be nothing left for Greece to repay any debts as profits will mainly go to foreign countries. Even President Obama seems to indicate that more austerity on an impoverished country can't work. Indeed, impoverish a country and it will drag its neighbours with it in its fall. It seems the average Greek only receives a few hundred Euro each month and unemployment benefits are limited in time after which people loose them and thus people need to help each other survive via networks. With unemployment rates as high as 50% for the youth, everyone with a minimum of intelligence understands many people will not be able to find a job unless workload is shared and thus will have to beg or steal to survive while the troika is demanding people pay more taxes so the (foreign) bankers can be paid. Thus, I hope the German and other leaders will accept that they needs to talk about more effective ways of helping people. Many leaders understand their actions will result in people starving and thus leaders who demand even more austerity and refuse any new negotiations may become guilty of crimes against humanity. But the Greek should also understand that no-one wants to help people who don't accept to take responsibility for their own situation such as having to pay taxes. Still, unfortunately it seems the elite (some bankers, industrials and politicians) are impoverishing their own people for their own benefit while politicians (and others) who decide to help should also understand that help can only work if the main players no longer remove from society to benefit themselves but pay as everyone else their part of taxes.

Now it seems the Greek (with coalition partner Anel's support) are also demanding German compensations for the atrocities committed by the Nazis in Greece during the second World War. Of course, Germans should take these sentiments into account, certainly because Germany caused major destruction and death in many countries while Germany also received debt relief in the 50's after Hitler's reign destroyed Germany. On the other hand, it is remarkable that 70 years after WWII, some people still live in the past by remembering a time of divisions and destruction (and that number will grow as each day people are reminded during for instance remembrance days how bad Germany was) while I acknowledge Germany was one of the largest donors to save Greece from a total collapse. Nevertheless, if PM Merkel refuses more collaboration with the new Greek government, then this will be interpreted as Germany benefits from a poor Greece and anger towards Germany and the Germans will only continue to grow. In addition, people may look towards the countries that didn't help but pretend to be on the side of ordinary people. As long as history troubles our minds, we can't think properly. Still, unless the opposite, I think PM Merkel really wants to help but others don't. What is happening in Europe I experience already my whole live in Belgium: one part gives billions to the other part while the other part demands more with nothing in return. If the north didn't demand sacrifices from the country over the past decades, Belgium would be in a similar position as Greece while it also makes me realise that countries can never remove their debts unless their inhabitants accept not to become too wealthy.

I have come to realise the dream of one Europe that is an example for the rest of the world on how to live peaceful together in diversity will probably always remain a dream because it seems never to be able to overcome its past and the hate against one another because there are always situation that reminds the people of bad things in the past. Europe should celebrate the victory of Tsipras because it was also a vote against extreme-right and even for a multi-cultural society in a country where many people became poor. But Europe fears it and thus fears the voice of ordinary people. This fear may cause its downfall because it is judging before the actions while it thinks that the old powers have solutions, even when they caused the problems. And thus, those who want Europe's fall may win, unfortunately. Still, the collapse of Europe into a number of even smaller countries than today will also liberate people when people no longer have to struggle with language barriers and make compromises on their economy. An unimportant Europe will result in peace worldwide as we saw during the past decades.

In addition, against the will of many German institutions and PM Merkel (and some other politicians), the ECB decided unexpectedly to flood the European markets with money, the so-called Quantitative easing (QE). Let economists and more specifically (investment) bankers rule and expect disasters. The ECB declared afterwards it took their responsibility by flooding the markets with money in the hope it will stimulate the economy without, it seems, even having the politeness to inform politicians in advance of their intentions. The ECB felt good and concluded it is now the responsibilities of the politicians to take measures to stimulate the economy and spend the money well. But, by the time there are ideas, the money will be gone and the politicians will get the blame for having done nothing. And the bankers, they can pay their bonus because they took their responsibility.


Popular posts from this blog

Brexit, refugee crisis and the EU

(7i) Return to (travel) business in times of a virus

(20b) Coronavirus statistics: how to present data about cases and mortality