The events overnight in Brussels have been nothing short of what can only be considered as a brutal attack against the Greek government and its people.
Watching the images of the embattled Tspiras and Tsakalotos, the new Greek Finance Minister, struggling in meetings with Merkel and the rest of Europe’s leadership, while doing their best by the people who elected them and also gave them a clear ‘No’ vote last weekend, was painful.
However, despite the struggles, I cannot but feel a deep respect for the Greek government who are trying valiantly to hold things together in the face of such steadfast adversity.
Germany and a raft of other nations are demanding that Greece pass a whole series of legislative reforms in the next 72 hours before they extend any credit lines. Some of the bills being demanded include:
- VAT reforms
- Changing the pension system
- Implement spending cuts
- Increasing the tax base
- Establishing greater independence for the national statistics office
- Privatising the electrical grid.
- Return of the ECB, IMF and the European Commission to Athens
How this is meant to all be realistically debated, agreed and passed by the Greek Parliament in 72 hours is ludicrous. In essence, a gun is being held to Athen’s head and a series of demands are being made which, if not met, will lead to an economic and social collapse in the country. In circumstances such as these, what options do the Greeks really have?
Privatising national assets worth €50B
Amidst these changes, there is also a plan by the European Commission to privatise €50B worth of Greek national assets and use it as a trust to pay off their debt! Again, this is an example of a country that’s down being crushed in an absolute and merciless manner.
This call towards privatisation is worrying. If all basic services are privatised, who is going to buy over these national services and run them? The Greek people, already suffering from a 25% contraction of their economy over the last few years, massive unemployment and falling pensions, will be dealt with possibly higher prices and debt! How is this going to realistically alleviate the conditions of the Greeks?
The word ‘Europe’ is Greek
Where is the famed European solidarity? The European experiment was meant to be a showcase of unified achievement, progress and development. It was meant to highlight how Europe, as a whole, is greater than the sum of all its parts. However, tonight’s events have hardly been a ringing endorsement.
To their credit, Hollande and Dragi have been fighting Greece’s cause and maintain a united Europe, but it is a fight they are surely losing.
The IMF is also seeking to replace the Tspiras government with one that is more likely to carry out the painful reforms which are being demanded of Greece. If this does happen, it does make a shambles of the whole notion of democracy, ironically, in the birthplace of democracy as we know it!
What hope of espousing the values of democracy, fair-play and justice to the rest of the world which will see this and realise that in the end, the might of economic power will trample over the notions of decency and support every time.
It is no coincidence that #ThisIsACoup is trending on Twitter right now.