Greek big two parties playing pre election games - note no firm date for the election has been set yet , items of interest in the Greek press today and election date to be announced during holy week - so let's see how that plays out !
BREAKING….Two main Greek Parties already breaking bailout agreement to gain votes
Dutch Finance Minister offers blunt warning against Athens trickery.
Desperate eurocrats still hoping for Chinese, G20 involvement.
Greek media sources last night revealed that a get-out clause – in one article of Greece’s legislation concerning the passage of Parliamentary Bills – is being exploited by both the leading Greek Parties in the run-up to Elections at the end of this month.
Thanks to the clause, some 35 amendments to the bailout legislation have been quietly passed without any reference to the Prime Minister’s office. Effectively, they water down some of the commitments that were made in order to get hold of the ECB’s extraordinary non-cash paper which Mario Draghi has presented to the world as ‘bailout cash’.
Greek newspaper Proto Thema this morning confirmed the story.
“With Greek politicians, there is always a back door,” said The Slog’s main informant, “and you can bet that when it was originally drawn up, this was the purpose of the clause. Their other classic trick is to get a quorum in Parliament at around 3 am, and then rush through bills granting all kinds of immunities, or contradicting reform legislation trumpeted to the electorate.”
Lucas Papademos has been aware of what’s happening for some time. In a thinly veiled reference to the practice last night, the Prime Minister ignored the technical legality of the trick in order to tell legislators in writing that ‘The premier must be have total knowledge of the content of a proposed amendment’ in all cases. This rejection of a legal clause, however sneaky, in turn reflects a special dispensation given to all unelected Prime Ministers who used to work for Goldman Sachs. Signor Draghi uses the same Natural Law to subordinate bondholders, and call worthless paper drawn up by the ECB ‘cash from the EFSF bailout fund’.
I understand that Papademos is now hastily getting all the amendments removed, but this won’t play well among Troika members. Perhaps Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager has also been tipped off about the scam: early today he made a blunt public statement about what would happen if Greece doesn’t live up to its bailout commitments.
“If the IMF decided that Greece is reneging on any part of the agreement,” he told reporters, “then we will not take part in any further bailouts of the country. But I am convinced Greece can solve its problems.”
Those last sentences are always added by europhiles in order to cover the backside. But de Jager knows perfectly well there isn’t going to be any further bailout of Greece. Mario Draghi has deftly kept a tight hold on the real 130 billion euros of cash. It is sitting in the eurozone’s shiny new bazooka in order to hide rather poorer levels of commitment therein than have been suggested to a gullible media set.
The other reason for the commitment, of course, is to get other global players (especially Beijing) to contribute to the Fund to be one day known as the ESM. But as the Chinese can both count and tell sh*t from putty, one suspects the eurocrats will have a better time (with much better food) trying to persuade the G20 summit to cough up.
“My irritation over a lot of stupid talk over the last few days has to do with the fact that it’s as if only the firewall is important,” Schaeuble told reporters in Copenhagen, “You could have put in 10 trillion, but if you don’t solve the problem, it’s worth nothing.”
So, um, why put any in at all Wolfie, hmm?
None of this is getting any better.
‘There is still a widespread belief here in Athens that Greece will go bust and declare insolvency over the Easter period,’ another Greek source wrote to me yesterday. We shall see. Stay tuned.
and as the parties play games , the date for the elections drags on.....
11.15am: News in from Greece, the country on the frontline of Europe's debt travails since the crisis erupted, where Helena Smith our correspondent, says the agonizing over when general elections will be held continues apace.
A new week and indeed a new month started off in Greece with the nation being told that they would have to wait a little bit longer before an election date is finally announced. Regular readers will recall that the dates currently being discussed are April 29, May 6 and May 13.
"There is a process, an official process, that has to be followed," the government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said this morning. "A date for elections cannot be announced before the president of the republic hears it first … there are some outstanding legal issues," he added insisting that while the date will "probably not" be made known this week, it would the following week.
The constant foot dragging has prompted not unreasonable debate that the interim coalition government is biding time. While May 6 was last week mooted as the most likely date, senior officials say "April 29th cannot be ruled out" and May 13, though less likely, "cannot be excluded either."
With EU governments, especially Germany the provider of most of Greece's rescue funds, being less than happy that the poll is taking place anyway, there is mounting speculation that technocrat prime minister Lucas Papademos wants to downplay the election as much as possible. That way, so the logic goes, passions over the prospect of yet more spending cuts can be contained as well.
"We have to say that the tough times are ahead of us. And they will be for many years – not necessarily in terms of the need for measures but in the sense that we are in a very deep crisis from which we will only emerge with a great deal of effort," said Kapsis.This would chime with (unusually candid) statements made by German chancellor Angela Merkel last week. Speaking to a Czech newspaper she said: "I do not want to make anything look prettier than it is. Greece still has a tough path ahead, but it has gone a long way. The Greek parliament has approved harsh measures such as slashing the mimimum wage, so that the country can compete with neighbouring countries, for instance, in tourism. These are extremely tough political decisions which I appreciate a lot. They will bear fruit with time."
The decision of the transport minister to exclude fuel tankers from the opening of the truck drivers’ trade captured intense press attention
Today is the first day that pharmacists are supposed to fill prescriptions for a series of medicines with only generic drugs. Doctors will be noting only the chemical substance.
But the plan will not be implemented right away, as the computer systems at pharmacies are not prepared for the task at hand. Pharmacists are required to pick the cheapest generic drug, but the computers are not equipped for that search. It takes about 10-15 minutes to check the cheapest drug manually, and of course no one will do that.
The above case shows how the most well-meaning reforms are often undermined by the government itself, because of shoddy preparation.
The same applies to the plan to round up migrants who are residing in Greece without legal residence papers. Despite all the pre-electoral TV hype, it seems that the migrants are held for a number of days at a large Athens aliens bureau facility, and then they are set free with a paper that says they must leave the country within six months.
The ineffectiveness of current sweeps seems to have escaped the political parties, who are exploiting illegal immigration to the maximum, for electoral purposes.
The decision of Transport Minister Makis Voridis to exclude – for eight years - fuel tankers from the opening of the truck drivers’ trade captured intense press attention. Critics charged that Voridis had introduced a patronage measure to help his new party – New Democracy.
In a late development, a group calling itself the 12 February Movement assumed responsibility for a bomb left in a metro car in Egaleo recently. The device did not explode.
“Merkel won’t pay 150bn euros to Greece” read Eleftheros Typos’ headline, regarding German war reparations to Greece. That, according to Bank of Greece figures, includes 54 billion euros (before interest) from a forced loan taken by the Nazis in 1942, as well as 108bn euros (before interest) for the destroyed infrastructure of Greece.
The issue was discussed last week in a parliamentary committee. There, Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis admitted that the war reparations file was “lost”. It must have been lost in the same way that the figures on the damages to the Greek state from the Siemens slush fund scandal were lost along the way, since everyone was convinced that the amount Siemens paid was a pittance compared to what was lost.
The fact is that no Greek government in the last 60 years has had the guts to put up a fight with the Germans over compensation for the unspeakable atrocities committed by Nazi Germany in Greece.
“They opened the tanker … with patronage” declared Ta Nea’s headline on the Voridis bill. “The map of illegal immigration: not only Athens is a ghetto” read another front-page title. The story spoke of cities such as Patras, where large numbers of migrants live in wretched circumstances.
“Written test for civil servants” read Ethnos’ banner headline. The report said that all civil servants will be required to take a multiple choice test by year’s end, to see if they are qualified to hold the job that they have. Presumably on that basis the state will decide which employees will be among the 150,000 civil servants to be laid off by 2015.
Elections date to be announced during Holy Week
An official announcement regarding the exact date of the next general elections will be made during Holy Week government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told Skai TV on Monday. President Karolos Papoulias will be informed by Prime Minister Lucas Papademos before a public annnouncement is made said Kapsis who reiterated that elections will be held on April 29 or May 6.