New anti-poverty law in Greece

This video says about itself:

Greece defies EC with anti-austerity law

18 March 2015

The Greek parliament has approved a package of social measures, despite warnings from the European Commission against “proceeding unilaterally”.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

GREECE: Anti-poverty law passed by MPs

Thursday 19th March 2015

GREEK MPs overwhelmingly passed an anti-poverty law yesterday despite European Union warnings not to.

The law will see food vouchers issued to 300,000 people, pay 30,000 households a “rent allowance” of €220 (£160) per month and offer free electricity to some of the poorest families.

EU economy commissioner Pierre Moscovici complained that the measures were not compatible with a bailout extension signed on February 20, which stated that the Greek authorities must “work in a constructive way with the institutions” — the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

“That implies that there be consultations on new measures,” he said, echoing a letter sent by European Commission representative Declan Costello that urged Athens to negotiate over details of its Humanitarian Crisis Bill to ensure “consistency with reform efforts.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the Bill was supporting the weak and needy.

“Who has the nerve and the right to send a letter which will condemn thousands of Greeks to freezing from the cold?” he asked.

The Bill received cross-party support, with the conservative New Democracy and even the fascist Golden Dawn backing it.

But the Communist Party of Greece argued that the new law would leave most of Greece’s problems untouched.

“The government’s programme says nothing about the average wage that has been reduced by 25 per cent in recent years, the enormous tax increases, direct and indirect, which the workers are already paying for, about the serious wage and pension reductions, about the increase of living costs,” the party said.

EU, demanding deeper cuts, rejects Syriza’s austerity list: here.

BOTH the Greek Port Workers’ Union and the Greek Seafarers’ Union on Monday condemned the Greek government’s intention to privatise the port of Piraeus, the largest in Greece and in the east Mediterranean. The unions said that the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) programme states unequivocally that all Greek ports will remain state owned, a position reiterated in the Vouli (Greek parliament) by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in his inaugural speech in early February: here.

Greece pushed a step closer to Grexit after IMF snub. Christine Lagarde’s refusal to allow any delay in bailout repayments heightens fears that the US and Europe are preparing for Greece to leave eurozone: here.

10 thoughts on “New anti-poverty law in Greece

  1. On Tuesday night, the Greek government tabled in the Vouli (Greek parliament) its first Bill since taking power two months ago. The Social Humanitarian Crisis Bill includes free electricity and meals to those families in ‘absolute poverty’ but it fails to address the needs of the millions of Greek people on or under the so-called poverty line estimated at one third of the total population.

    A government amendment to the Bill provides a 100-instalment payment scheme for taxpayers to settle their debts to the state and to safeguard homes from sequestration by the banks.

    But the European Commission’s chief representative on the troika, Declan Costello, currently in Athens examining Greece’s books, has described in a letter to the Greek government the Social Humanitarian Crisis Bill and its amendments as ‘unilateral actions’ by Greece contrary to the austerity measures extension agreement signed with the EC, ECB and IMF on February 20 this year.

    Costello demands the withdrawal of the Bill.

    The Greek government has dismissed Costello’s demands and has called on all parties to vote for the Bill scheduled for Wednesday night.


  2. In the early hours of last Thursday, the Vouli (Greek parliament) passed the government’s Social Humanitarian Bill that provides free electricity and health care as well as food coupons to about 30,000 families in absolute poverty.

    This is a drop in an ocean compared to an estimated three million people living in Greece on the verge of poverty unable to pay the household bills and buy all the food they need.

    The Bill was voted on by the opposition conservative and social-democratic parties as being in line with the requirements of the austerity agreements with the troika of the EC-IMF-ECB. The KKE voted against the Bill as being too little.

    The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, in his speech for the Bill condemned the intervention against the Bill of the European Commission’s representative Declan Costelo.

    This was the first Bill introduced by the Greek government, a coalition of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) with the right-wing Independent Greeks party (ANEL) since the general election of 20 January.

    SYRIZA is still to honour its election promises to reinstate the sacked Finance Ministry cleaners, school guards, teachers and universities’ administrative staff and to reopen the state ERT TV and radio corporation. These promises ‘will have to wait’, as Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has stated.


  3. Saturday, 21 March 2015


    REPRESENTATIVES of Greek students’ unions along with hundreds of university students carried out mobilisations last Thursday in Athens and Thessaloniki.

    The three main demands of the students’ unions are the abolition of University Councils, an authoritarian body made up of professors and business’ representatives, the reintroduction of the Academic Asylum which prohibits police entering university grounds, and provision for free accommodation and food for all students. There are no university fees in Greece, except on post-graduate courses.

    In Thessaloniki, students intervened at the meeting of the University Council to state their demands, but some professors and guards tried to prevent them doing so. Students then occupied the room where the meeting was to be held.

    In the capital, Athens, Education Minister Aristides Baltas, a university professor, invited students into the main hall of the Ministry building to announce that he was preparing a government Bill which will abolish University Councils.

    Baltas did not provide any specific pledges especially on the Academic Asylum, a right won by students with the Athens Polytechnic Uprising in 1973.

    The majority of Greek families cannot meet household bills nor buy the food they require. Youth unemployment is officially 55 per cent and students cannot find any part-time jobs. When they do, they are being paid 400 euros a month (about £320) for an evening job.

    While Education Minister Baltas was talking to university students, the Law and Order Minister Yannis Panousis proclaimed that under current law police have the right to enter university buildings even without the authorisation of a public prosecutor.


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