‘European Union austerity will help neo-nazis’

This video says about itself:

Athens protest warns Greek government against debt deal with more austerity

11 June 2015

With Greece under constant international pressure to make more cuts and reforms to secure bailout money – at home there was a strong warning not to cave in.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Golden Dawn will be strengthened by more austerity, Yanis Varoufakis warns

The former finance minister told the ABC the bailout agreement is a ‘new form of postmodern occupation’ and predicts Greece will fall into the grip of the far right

Helen Davidson

Tuesday 14 July 2015 06.23 BST

Austerity measures demanded of Greece by its European creditors will strengthen the far right, the country’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said.

Varoufakis also dubbed the bailout agreement reached in Brussels this week as a new Treaty of Versaille[s], and a coup d’état which used banks instead of tanks.

The Greek government has found itself in a dire political situation after it was forced to accept draconian austerity measures as part of a bailout offer even harsher than the one a national referendum voted no to last week.

The outspoken former minister, who resigned from his role after the national referendum, despite it returning the result he was calling for, told the ABC the far-right Golden Dawn party could “inherit the mantle of the anti-austerity drive, tragically”.

“If our party Syriza, that has cultivated so much hope in Greece – to the extent that we managed to score 61.5% in the recent referendum – if we betray this hope and if we bow our heads to this new form of postmodern occupation, then I cannot see any other possible outcome than the further strengthening of Golden Dawn,” Varoufakis said.

Speaking to Radio National’s Phillip Adams in his first post-resignation interview, Varoufakis also said he “jumped more than he was pushed” when he resigned from the ministry.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras “didn’t have what it took, sentimentally, emotionally, at that moment, to carry that no vote to Europe and use it as a weapon,” said Varoufakis.

“So I … decided to give him the leeway that he needs to go back to Brussels and strike what he knows to be an impossible deal. A deal that is simply not viable.”

Varoufakis said he stood back to allow his successor, Euclid Tsakolotos, and the Greek negotiating team work in Brussels.

“I know very well what it feels like to walk inside those neon-lit, heartless rooms, full of apparatchiks and bureaucrats who have absolutely no interest in the human cost of decision-making, and to have to struggle against them and come up with something palatable.”

Greece was “set up” by eurozone leaders in dealings to address the economic crisis, Varoufakis later told the New Statesman, adding Germany was responsible for the view of the Eurogroup.

“Oh completely and utterly,” he said. “Not attitudes – the finance minister of Germany. It is all like a very well-tuned orchestra and he is the director.”

Varoufakis has previously accused the EU of putting a bailout of French and German banks ahead of Greece’s socioeconomic viability.

After 15 hours of talks that stretched through Sunday night and into Monday, Greece walked away from the emergency summit of Eurozone leaders with a “compromise” bailout package.

Growing anger at the creditors’ wishlist played out on social media under the hashtag #thisisacoup, as the drastic demands made were presented as the price to pay if Greece was to stay in the European union.

The referendum result, and the government’s about-turn, has shocked Greeks who had overwhelmingly rejected the previous offer.

Varoufakis said he had not expected a no vote, and suggested neither had Tsipras.

“I had assumed, and I believe so had the prime minister, that our support and the no vote would fade exponentially, but the Greek people overcame fear, they set aside their pecuniary interests, they ignored the fact their savings could not be accessed, and they gave a resounding, majestic no to what was in the end an awful ultimatum on behalf of our European partners,” Varoufakis said.

Tsipras must now take the measures, which include VAT reform, spending cuts, a pensions overhaul and €50bn in privatisation, to a hostile Greek parliament.

“This is indeed the politics of humiliation,” said Varoufakis.

By violating its election pledges to end European Union (EU) austerity, Greece’s Syriza-led government is paving the way for the growth of a powerful far-right movement in Greece. After Syriza repudiated the overwhelming no vote in the July 5 referendum on austerity and agreed to impose tens of billions of euros in new austerity measures, this is acknowledged even by members of Syriza: here.


17 thoughts on “‘European Union austerity will help neo-nazis’

  1. Athens caves to troika demands

    EU BOSSES have pulled off a “coup” against Greece, campaigners and MPs warned yesterday after Athens capitulated to privatisation and austerity demands.

    The new “bailout” deal forced on the country is more severe even than the terms Greeks overwhelmingly rejected in July 5’s referendum. Greece’s parliament has been given until the end of tomorrow to pass legislation enshrining the crippling “agreement” in law.

    “The oldest democracy in the world has been subjected to a coup,” Green MP Caroline Lucas charged. “Over the course of just a few days the Greek parliament is being forced to rush through emergency legislation to cut pensions, raise taxes and privatise swathes of the economy.

    “The forces of darkness — the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the eurozone and the European Central Bank (ECB) — are subjecting an already deeply impoverished country to further needless cruelty.

    “These are dark days for anyone who believes in democracy. The will of a nation has been superseded in favour of relentless, economically destructive austerity.”

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faces a potential rebellion by MPs after agreeing to the demands, which include privatising the electricity grid and ferry services as well as handing €50 billion (£35bn) in public assets to a holding company which will either sell them or seek to generate profit from them to repay creditors.

    Representatives of the “troika” of the European Union, ECB and IMF will return to Athens with full access to ministers and veto power over legislation, a proposal Mr Tsipras had long rejected. But the Greek premier’s desperation not to leave the EU left him with no get-out clause.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s determination to punish the country for rejecting austerity was blamed for the exceptionally harsh conditions — which Mr Tsipras admitted would do further harm to an economy which has already shrunk by 25 per cent thanks to EU-mandated austerity.

    Fellow Syriza minister Giorgos Katrougalos told BBC Radio 4 that the talks were “never about Greece, but whether we will have democracy in Europe.

    “The Europe of austerity has won, but not without showing the world the essence of the problem. This was a forced agreement, forced under the threat of the murder — the political murder — of our economy.”

    German newspaper Der Spiegel seemed taken aback by the “catalogue of horrors” being imposed on Greece while Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was reported to be concerned by Ms Merkel’s “humiliation” of the country.

    Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins told the Star that Greece had been “bludgeoned” into agreeing to terms which would force its people to “struggle with poverty and unemployment for the foreseeable future.

    “The EU is now showing its true colours as an authoritarian right-wing regime,” he said. “Today’s news will not be the end of the story.”



  2. Beset PM prepares for wave of austerity laws

    by Our Foreign Desk

    GREEK Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced the hard task yesterday of selling the terms of the EU bailout deal to his party and nation.

    Parliament must pass a new raft of draconian austerity laws to comply with the demands of the troika of international creditors — the European Union, the European Central Bank and the Internal Monetary Fund.

    These include opening up sectors of the economy to privatisation, including energy and ferry transport, while more goods and services will be taxed.

    “We managed to avoid the most extreme measures,” said Mr Tsipras, claiming that the deal was better than that rejected by a referendum a week ago.

    He has rejected a demand by some creditors to transfer Greek assets abroad as a form of collateral and to prevent the collapse of the banking sector.

    But workers face attacks on their rights to collective bargaining, industrial action and protection from collective dismissal and cuts to pensions.

    And in a clear attack on democracy, laws must be passed that would trigger “quasi-automatic spending cuts” if the government misses its budget surplus targets.

    The government must also consult the troika on all relevant draft legislation before submitting it to public consultation or to parliament.

    If it meets these requirements, Greece will get a three-year “rescue” programme and a commitment to restructure its debt, which is unsustainably high at around €320 billion — approximately 180 per cent of annual GDP.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman rejected suggestions that Berlin had sought to humiliate Greece.

    But Mr Tsipras has faced immediate resistance to the deal from within his own Syriza party.

    The Left Platform swiftly denounced the agreement as the “worst deal possible … that maintains the country’s status — a debt colony under a German-run European Union.”

    Communist trade union front Pame will stage rallies and pickets against the new measures on Wednesday evening.

    And the small ultra-left Antarsya party also called a demonstration outside the Athens parliament last night.

    Labour Minister Panos Skourletis said another general election was on the cards before the end of the year since the government will need “borrowed votes” from the opposition.

    “I cannot see how we can avoid elections in 2015,” he said. “It’s unnatural — we believe in something different than what we’ve been forced to sign with a gun pointed to our head.”



  3. Tuesday 14th July

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    “CRUCIFIED” was the term an unnamed EU official used to describe Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after his marathon weekend of talks with eurozone leaders.

    The term might aptly be used to describe his country’s predicament — subjected to deliberately painful and humiliating punishment at the hands of the European Union.

    This is not a case of unpleasant medicine, something Greece will have to swallow in order to secure future prosperity.

    The “bailout” “agreement” does not offer light at the end of the tunnel.

    Subjected to the austerity demands of the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank since the financial crash, the Greek economy has nosedived — just like every economy that cuts wages and public spending, leaving everybody poorer.

    Greece’s economy is a full 25 per cent smaller than it was before the EU administered its leeches. Further bleeding will further immiserate the country and its people.

    Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, the principal cheerleader for austerity on the continent, held firm against Mr Tsipras’s pleas for some of the debt to be written off. But the reality is the debt will never be repaid — an economy condemned to permanent recession will never be in a position to do so.

    The reason is that — just like the blizzard of cuts unleashed on this side of the channel by Messrs Cameron and Osborne, all while Britain’s debts continued to rise — cutting the debt was never the aim.

    Austerity is not an economic strategy. It is a political one.

    Across the European Union, attacks on wages, on pensions and the retirement age, on public services and on employment rights are all geared to strengthen bosses and weaken working people.

    In Britain, a willing government has enthusiastically carried out the programme, but the EU is ready to step in and override democracy when it faces popular resistance.

    Athens has now agreed that the retirement age, already raised from 60 to 65 for men in line with EU instructions over the past few years, will rise further.

    Earlier retirement exceptions for “arduous” and “dangerous” professions will be purged, in a sinister move reminiscent of the British government’s bid to force firefighters to continue their physically taxing and exceptionally risky work well into old age.

    The sweeping privatisations Syriza was elected to prevent are going ahead. The electricity grid, the ferries, the ports.

    A new fund will be established, handed €50 billion (£35.5bn) in public assets and given free rein to flog them to repay creditors or otherwise turn a profit from them.

    Tsipras views it as an achievement that this fund will now be based in Athens, rather than Luxembourg.

    But this is small comfort since the EU has also won concessions that the body in charge of privatising state assets, Taiped, will be “independent” of political control — that is, beyond democratic accountability.

    Greece must also “depoliticise” the administration of major services, all steps towards the nightmare vision at the heart of the euro — the removal of political control of economic policy.

    In other words, the end of our right to a democratic say over the issues of most importance to how we live — from our pay, our rights at work and our pensions to our ability as a society to ensure everyone gets access to healthcare, education, housing and much more.

    Everyone who believes in democracy must stand in solidarity with Greece and raise our voices in rage at the crucifixion of a people for their temerity in opposing the neoliberal EU.

    And as this country approaches its own referendum on membership, we should reflect too on whether this anti-democratic monster is something we want to be part of.


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