Greek elections, German and European Union interference

Posters signed by main opposition party Syriza depicting Ms. Merkel and Mr. Samaras that read in Greek and English 'No more thank you' and 'Never again memorandums,' in Athens, Thursday. European Pressphoto Agency

By Maria Margaronis on December 31, 2014:

Will Snap Elections Bring Greece’s Syriza to Power?

Greece is on the world’s front page again. The headlines bristle with words like “crisis,” “instability” and “fear.” After parliament refused to endorse the ruling New Democracy party’s candidate for president, elections have been called for January 25; the left party, Syriza, has led in the polls for months. This time the fear of “contagion” is not so much financial as political. The markets have priced in the cost of a Greek default, the proverbial firewall has been built around Greek debt—and Syriza has underlined its wish to negotiate with the lenders and keep Greece in the euro.

But if Greece votes in a government committed to ending austerity, the whole European picture shifts. Anti-austerity parties elsewhere—Podemos in Spain, Die Linke in Germany—instantly gain conviction. The deep tide of resentment against scorched-earth neoliberalism dressed up as fiscal rectitude acquires a cutting edge.

This is Greece’s fourth election in five years. No government has been able to survive the cost of imposing the austerity program mandated by the EU and IMF.

Like PaSoK Prime Minister George Papandreou in the autumn of 2011, ND’s Antonis Samaras himself provoked the vote that is almost certain to unseat him. Desperate to hold onto power but with no appetite left to govern, he has grasped at straws for months, peddling an ersatz “success story” to skeptical Europeans and incredulous Greeks; trying to exit the bailout program early, only to be rapped on the knuckles by the lenders; filling the streets of Athens with stormtroopers on steroids.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

‘Germany is playing political games with Greece’

Today, 11:19

A Greek exit from the eurozone probably is not without consequences. That said Carsten Brzeski, senior economist of the German DirectBank in Frankfurt. He is responding to an article in Der Spiegel, which states that the German government thinks that the euro is strong enough to survive a Greek exit.

Brzeski thinks the Merkel government with this statement is playing a political game. “These are threats to try to influence Greece and the Greek elections,” he says. “Like, we can do without you, and if you want to get out of the euro, you can do that, but that’s just very shortsighted.” …

Brzeski is not worried about the statements of SYRIZA that they do not want reform. “It would not be the first time that politicians say something before the elections which they are not going to do after the elections.”

‘Reform’ is this context has become an euphemism for ‘austerity‘ policies, privatizing and destroying everything, for the benefit of the richest 1% of people and the detriment of the other 99%. Contrary to decades ago, when ‘reforms’ used to mean better pensions, better health service, etc.

The German government is threatening to expel Greece from the euro zone if it does not stick to the austerity dictates of the “troika” (the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank). This was reported in the latest edition of the news magazine Der Spiegel: here.

Germany: Ten years of Hartz IV welfare cuts: here.

This video says about itself:

13 November 2014

Almost one week after a journalistic investigation revealed secret agreements between more than 300 companies with the government of Luxembourg in order to avoid taxes, Jean-Claude Juncker has finally broken his silence, first at the European Commission and then at the European Parliament.

Juncker, who is now the president of the European Commission, was also the prime minister of Luxembourg when the agreements were reached.

– MEP Frank Engel (EPP)
– Carl Dolan, Transparency International

Author and presenter
– Ahinara Bascuñana López, Euranet Plus News Agency

From the European United Left/Nordic Green Left in the European Parliament:

GUE/NGL slams Juncker‘s interference in Greek politics


Recent provocative interventions in Greek politics by the European Commission are objectionable and must be withdrawn, according to Left MEPs.

On three consecutive occasions, Commission President Juncker and Commissioner Moscovici have issued statements relating to both the forthcoming election of the Greek President and the next Greek general election.

Their interventions in Greek domestic politics directly backed Prime Minister Samaras’ fear-mongering propaganda against SYRIZA, the party of the Left that currently tops opinion polls.

These unprecedented interventions undermine the authority and political neutrality of the Commission and call into question the sovereignty of a member state. This is undemocratic and anti-European and brings to mind the worst practices of neo-colonialism.

The Greek people should be left to determine their own political future. If the Greeks decide against austerity and in favour of a social Europe at the next elections, then their decision should be respected, especially by the European institutions.

From The Spain Report:

Podemos & Syriza Ready To Storm Southern Europe

Monday, December 29th, 2014

EDITORIAL: The Spanish establishment reacted with horror to the appearance of “weirdo rancid commies” at the European elections, in the form of Podemos. They’re coming anyway.

Suddenly, the threat of a major eurozone crisis is back, and this time the contrast between cold-hearted market-focused eurocrats and the will and passion of the poorer people in southern Europe will be very stark indeed. The Greek parliament failed to elect a new president at the third attempt, and Mr. Samaras has called a snap general election, likely to be held on January 25 … Coincidentally, on January 31, Podemos will hold a big protest march in Madrid.

One of Tspiras’s first remarks following the result this morning was: “With the help of the Greek people, the memorandum policies of austerity will be history”. Pablo Iglesias tweeted “2015 will be the year of change in Spain and Europe”. Tag-teaming with Tsipras at a rally in Athens in October, he referred to the Troika eurocrats as “hyenas”. In the seventh year of economic crisis and after 18 months of insipid recovery, austerity will be put to the test at the ballot box. It looks increasingly likely that millions of the European citizens who have suffered the effects of German-led economic pain will vote for parties that promise to relieve it.

ATHENS must stick with austerity, the head of the eurozone finance ministers’ group warned yesterday: here.

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