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Thoughts and facts about measures and memorandums
by Ovi Magazine Guest
2015-07-05 10:45:50
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Thoughts and facts about measures and memorandums
Bahal Yabastasov

Hello to all,

I’ll start by apologising to everyone for Greece’s celebrity status monopolising the media. I assure you I’m getting increasingly annoyed too and hope for this to change as soon as possible.

I’m here to hopefully not bore you with a long text and I will only use a bit of time to do something that weirdly enough media, who are supposed to do the information sharing bit, are ignoring.

We’ve now watched many episodes of the Greece-is-in-deep-shit financially sitcom and the latest development is the referendum in which Greek people are called to participate this weekend.

What is it about though? Is it about Greeks being irresponsible? Is it about exiting the Eurozone or even EU? That’s what we hear, right?

Well nope. It’s something a lot less dramatic and a lot more democratic. It’s about accepting or not accepting the terms presented by Troika (ECB, IMF and Commission) which were presented to the Greek government last week as an ultimatum. Measures tested in the past which made the Greek economy have negative growth, killed local businesses and drove poverty sky high.

And since this is not about Yes or No to Europe here’s what it is about. For anyone interested the full text of the Troika proposal is available through the European commission web pages as a pdf. What I am about to highlight is problematic terms that hurt Greek people, Greek economy, negotiations and democracy.

The following is not a summary but rather points that may explain to some why people voting this weekend for NO are going to be doing so.

Let’s start.

oxi02_40023% VAT for all eating establishments while income has shrunk tremendously. Anyone wonders if this is going to hurt the rich or the poor? Anyone wonders if this is a measure that improves local entrepreneurship? No reduced VAT for islands, tourism being one of the biggest incomes of Greece 100% advance tax payment for companies and freelancers Abolish agricultural work related tax reductions 900€ million reductions in welfare Restrict early pensions and raise the pension years limit to 67+ Abolish gradually EKAS retirement benefit. This is a benefit of approx. 150€ to those whose pensions are lower than 450€ monthly Implement the 0 deficit clause. This means Greek state ALWAYS will have to present a balanced budget allowing for no welfare if the state budget is not balanced. Something that all other European sovereign nations have for granted Abolish 3rd party pension fund support =roughly -700€ million. Employers basically will not have contribute to pension funds other than what individuals get reduced from their salaries Raise healthcare pension contributions from 5% to 6% No pension shall be raised until 2021 Legislate mass layoffs, abolish irreversibly collective bargaining Reduce the 1500€ exempt from deposits seizure limit Increase interest rate for debt settlement Further reductions to public worker wages Full implementation of OECD toolbox for goods like bread which pretty much means seizing to protect the right of small businesses to survive. Full privatisation of electricity Full privatisation of telecommunications No 12% added contribution for 2014 profits over 500.000€

There’s a few more but you get the picture. This is not to say that the Greek government refuses every reform suggested. As a matter of fact they have accepted a lot more than planned since the negotiation started back in January.

So let’s get this further clear and hopefully be done with it after:

People are called to vote for YES say yes to all these terms including the ones I shared, end of negotiations, immediate end of Greece’s economical strangulation by the financial institutions and memorandums and loans to Greece for years and years to come. People who vote for NO are asking for further negotiations and are willing to continue living under the conditions so gravely painted by media until a reasonable agreement has been reached and most importantly one that is not hurting democracy.

Because after all…. we are easily by now lost in the details. Well, details aside the terms of the loans fiddle with state policies that should not be dictated by financial institutions. Last time I checked financial institutions are not voted by people but governments and parliament representatives are. Financial institutions can just say yes/no to give a loan not dictate how you live your life.

And I’ll stop here with this little metaphor I like to use to explain the democratic deficit of this whole situation. Would you go for a bank loan if the bank asked you to sign as part of the deal that you are never allowed to wear sandals, eat cereal in the morning or drink coffee ever again and also give 90% of that money immediately to their bank friends?

Thank you all.


Bahal Yabastasov is prominent Political Scientist who lives in Helsinki Finland


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