In what for some will have been a surprise move, the Greek Cabinet has unanimously agreed to Prime Minister Papandreou's call for Greece to hold a referendum. In doing so the cabinet has in effect put its support behind the PM. Perhaps cabinet members feared he would resign, after all who would want to take over?
Currently Papandreou is in a no win situation.
He may have been temporary flavour of the month with Eurozone leaders such as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, when he went along with their plans for Greece, but it must be for the Greek people to decide their future.
As this debt crisis in Greece has lumbered on the people have seen their standard of living savagely cut, violent protests in the street and less tourists visiting this wonderful country of theirs, which simply adds to financial woes.
At least now the people can make a choice. If they vote no to the debt package then it will probably mean that Greece will leave the Eurozone. In doing so they will attack the financial future of other countries in Europe, notably France and Germany. However if unity in Euorpe, as far as an economic community goes, is not possible so be it.
Why flog a dead horse.
One way or another we are reaching a make or break time as far as Europe and the EU goes.
The Greek emergency cabinet held today, November 2, 2011, was told that a referendum, possibly in December, would offer "a clear mandate" for the austerity measures demanded by eurozone partners. If the majority of the people vote "Yes" then this should put an end to some of Greece's problems, as far as the confidence of the people, disruption and strikes goes.
Already today the markets have tumbled further, on top of huge losses experienced yesterday. You can say that the Greeks are acting in a totally selfish manner but who can blame them? Eurozone and EU unity has become something of a standing joke in recent times. Each leader is simply protecting their own back yard and trading interests. Is it time to tear up the original design and start again?
The fact that such news of a referendum can cause such chaos in World Markets leaves this writer agreeing with the Occupy Protest Movement, that 1% of the people are controlling the finances and the future of the other 99%. That cannot be right, can it?
A week ago leading members of the Eurozone thrashed out the latest debt deal for Greece. It seemed that yet another life-line was on its way to Greece and this one was less harsh than earlier debt packages. Members had worked hard to come up with the deal but, once it was agreed, they patted themselves on the back and decided all was right with the Eurozone and Greece.
On Monday the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreous threw the proverbial spanner in the works. He calmly announced that he was going to let the Greek people decide whether to accept the bail out or not. A sharp intake of breath resounded around Europe and today, November 1, 2011, the fall out has begun.
2009 Greek Strike
The Greek economy has been in free-fall for some time. Much as the government of the country plans austerity measures and cuts the people will not play ball. Watching an interview with a Greek person it was easy to see what part of the problem is. As the man told the media “Greek people live for today and care not for the future“. He seemed pretty sure that sooner or later the Greeks will default on paying back EU loans.
If he can see all of this why can’t EU leaders such as Angela Merkel and others?
Well in truth they will be able to see reality but for various reasons choose to ignore it. Such is the EU that each country has become intertwined. So much so that such a thing as a bad economy in one country could cause many countries to fall. The dreaded Domino effect.
Yet it must be close to the time when EU countries decide enough is enough. If countries such as the UK are enforcing stringent measures on their people why should it be possible for the Greeks to ignore such measures themselves?. If they were not reliant on EU countries for a bail-out fair enough but fancy expecting people who have had their salaries and future prospects cut to bail-out those who will not accept such changes.When you visit Greece the people are warm and friendly but like it or not they will have to experience changes.
Today, October 18, 2011 the head of the huge Public Sector Union in Greece has aired his views. Costas Tsikrikas, head of the 500,000-strong ADEDY union
said that Greece is set to fall into a "death spiral" if more cuts and restrictions are put in place. He accused George Papandreou's Socialist government of blindly falling destructive plans. Coasts said that such strict measures would ultimately plunge Greece into a deeper recession and set them on a downward spiral to more debt and despair.
Urging those who have the power to vote against these measures Mr Tsikrikas said, “This will exacerbate recession, unemployment and state revenues will continue to fall, creating a death spiral. It must not continue. The government has to call on the rich to contribute. Workers look more like squeezed lemons now, they can't take it anymore. The state must take the money from those who have the income to pay the taxes. The rich, the big companies that use the workforce of this country. Don't they owe the country and its people something? People are right to want justice, the burden equally shared, a just tax system and a crackdown on tax evasion."
As some of the poorer paid public sector workers face what in effect is a 40% pay cut it seems obvious that such cuts must include everyone and be fair to all Greeks.
Greece faces a 48 hour strike which has been scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, October 19 and 20, 2011. The timing is to coincide with the Greek government’s vote on the latest austerity measures. Already today, Tuesday October 18 railway workers and journalists, joined ferry crews, garbage collectors, tax officials and lawyers in the planned action.
For many the big question is can the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, cling to power let alone ensure the package of austerity measures are passed?