German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Greece on EU business. A bold visit when you consider that many Greeks hold her in some ways responsible for their current economic woes. It is not so much a belief that she created Greece's financial chaos but that she has been pulling the strings of those negotiating bail outs to the troubled country. This means that those who are at the sharp end of EU austerity measures hold her to blame.
Of course it is true that she has to protect the interests of her own people. Each leader should be doing that. Some compassion is needed in such dire times though. Already we have heard many comparing the financial bail out Germany received after the Second World War to current bail outs. They of course did not have to pay money back. Yet the war it has to be said was created by Germany.
Times have moved on but of course the older generation will remember Germany during its darkest days. oIld wounds do not always heal.
Expecting protests on the streets of Athens today police were out in force. 7,000 police officers, secret agents, snipers and commandos have been deployed in the Capital. Surprising perhaps when you consider public sector worker job cuts. They are after all public servants also. Perhaps the Greek administration erred on the side of caution maintaining high numbers of police officers for when times get tough. They may be tough now but could get so much tougher.
Merkel landed this morning in Athens. Already a Swastika flag has been burned by protesters. Some you see believe that having been unable to dominate Europe by force in the past, modern Germany wants to dominate by the economic route.
Around 25,000 protesters gathered in Syntagma Square. Stcks and stones were thrown although initially the violence had only involved a minority of protesters. In the last few minutes police have fired teargas at protesters. Things are beginning to take a turn for the worse.
Teargas is the order of the day in Europe and beyond it seems. In Paris a jobs protest outside of an Auto show resulted in police firing tear gas canisters into the crowd.
There will be protests throughout today in Greece. The leader of the main opposition party Syriza has called upon Greeks to get on the streets to show Merkel the real Greece.
Late yesterday protest gathering was banned by the Greek authorities. The people have opted to ignore this ban. It is laughable when you consider the West's opinion of Russia if it tries to curb protests. As usual we play the Hypocritical card and hope people have short memories.
Apart from Merkel and the eyes of the World witnessing Nazi flag burning, plus some in the crowd wearing nazi uniforms, banners were carried stating, "Merkel out, Greece is not your colony" and "This is not a European Union, it's slavery".
And that dear readers is the truth of the matter. The elite cause the mess and carry on regardless. Those less able to pick themselves up and start again suffer. Those who worked hard to make a lfve for themselves lose everything and no-one cares. Those who run banking systems, stock exchanges and governmnet pull the strings but care nothing for the man, woman or child on the street.
Merkel is in Greece to offer support to the Greek administration given the task of formulating a workable austerity package for the country. She will not care about those who are bleeding. She wants to make sure that the cuts go deep enough. She also has a vested interest in ensuring that Greece stays in the EU. The German people have money committed to this venture.
Merkel is the first German leader to visit Greece in decades. The media may class her visit as symbolic but the Greek people may see it as a red rag to a bull. A person rubbing salt into raw wounds.
Late Monday protest gathering on Greece was banned. Most people have chosen to ignore that. It is laughable when you consider the West's stance when Russia for example tries to curb its protesters. Yet once more the West is playing the hypocritical card and hoping that we all have short memories.
Updates will follow......
Greece went to the polls last weekend for the second time in six weeks. This time however the New Democracy Party won a majority and its leader quickly began trying to forge a coalition government.
The New Democracy majority may have been small but with willing political partners it is expected to be enough to form a workable government. Today June 20, 2012, Antonis Samaras, leader of the New Democracy party, will be sworn in as prime minister. At time of writing the Greek coalition talks were ongoing but reportedly close to a finalised deal.
The people of Greece need a government but whether a coalition can bring stability to Greece is not known. Their debt crisis continues and too many people in Greece are suffering. As they struggle on in poverty tax dodgers and system abusers in the country prosper. These two issues will need urgently addressing by the new government.
The Markets around the world are still faltering as Greece forms its new parliament. There was no huge surge in the markets on the back of the Greek election, as the situation remains unstable. Angela Merkel the German Chancellor and leading light in Europe right now, has made it plain that the Greek bailout will not be renegotiated.
Yesterday President Obama speaking, as the G20 summit in Mexico drew to a close, said that Europe knows what it has to do. The talk is of leaders having to make tough choices and decisions. Of course those tough choices rarely affect those who make the decisions. It is easy to play politics when it is someone else who will experience a massive drop in income, or the loss of a home, for example.
President Obama should also publicly acknowledge that Europe's financial woes stem in so many ways from the USA.
Samaras is meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias prior to being sworn in as Prime Minster. Updates will follow....
Latest: Samaras has been sworn in as PM. "The ceremony came shortly after he agreed a coalition government with the Socialists (Pasok) and the smaller leftist party, the Democratic Left. Mr Samaras took the oath at a Greek Orthodox ceremony in Athens."
Predictably global markets have responded badly to the threat of a Greek referendum
on the latest EU bail out package.Yesterday the Greek Prime Minister announced that there will be a yes or no referendum in which the people will decide the future of Greece and in effect the Eurozone.
For people who underestimate the power of the markets think again.Markets may no longer hold the proverbial one person who, when he or she sells the markets tumble, but basically things are still the same, The referendum announcement was enough to wipe millions of stock exchanges around the world. This will reduce confidence further and cause more rapid selling of shares. And on it will go.
If the Greek people vote a resounding NO to the latest bail out deal it will cause an unprecedented crash. Some are wondering just why Papandreou has chosen to call a referendum now. Many see the latest debt package as the most lenient yet. Perhaps this is the reason why he has decided to let the people have the final say. If they do not want this package then he will be finished. A vote of confidence is also to be scheduled.
This debt referendum will be the first held in Greece since 1974. That referendum decided once and for all the fate of the Greek Monarchy and established Greece's Third Hellenic Republic. Perhaps the 2011 referendum will result in the end of this republic.