24 thoughts on “German corporations exploiting Greece

  1. Pingback: German corporations exploiting Greece | Dear Kitty. Some blog | sdbast

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  3. Wednesday 19th August 2015

    posted by Morning Star in World

    by Our Foreign Desk

    GREECE’S Syriza government has announced that it has contracted out the running of 14 regional airports to a German company.

    The decision, published in the government gazette overnight on Monday, would hand over the airports to Fraport AG, which runs Frankfurt Airport among others across the world — including several on popular tourist island destinations.

    The €1.23 billion (£870 million) sell-off is the first privatisation decision taken by the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was elected in January on an anti-austerity manifesto.

    The government had initially vowed to cancel the country’s privatisation programme, but Tsipras has been forced to renege on his pre-election promises in return for a new €86bn (£61bn) bailout from international creditors.

    The prime minister is widely expected to call a confidence vote in his government this week, after dozens of Syriza MPs voted against the bailout deal in parliament last Friday.

    In a separate move, the government slightly relaxed its restrictions on banking transactions, allowing small amounts to be sent abroad for the first time in about two months.

    The finance ministry’s amendments, also published in the government gazette, include allowing Greeks to send up to €500 (£350) abroad per person per month, and allowing up to €8,000 (£5,600) per quarter to be sent to students studying abroad to cover accommodation costs.

    Greeks can now also open new bank accounts that will have no withdrawal rights, in order to repay loans, social security contributions or tax debts.



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  12. Monday 14th December 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    FAWZI IBRAHIM from Trade Unionists Against the EU, reports back from an international fact-finding delegation to Greece

    THE abiding memory of the four days the international fact-finding delegation spent in Greece is the anger, frustration and exhaustion etched on the faces of everyone we talked to as they outlined the effects of five years of austerity measures.

    Neither could we escape the defiance and determination of everyone to do something about it.

    Flanked by another doctor and three nurses, the chief consultant of Naflio hospital, a small hospital in the north-east of Peloponnesus, described the situation in Greece as tragic.

    “When it comes to the health service, it is 10 times more tragic. They are destroying the right to healthcare in the country of the oath of Hippocrates.”

    In Naflio, hospital operations can only be carried out in the morning for lack of nurses.

    “This hospital has 120 beds but only 35 nurses. Before the first memorandum we had twice the number of nurses.

    The accepted norm in an operating theatre is three nurses, here, we work with two. The shortages of staff mean that our working day may extend to 16 hours.”

    A similar situation exists in other hospitals. In Gennimatas hospital in Athens, the biggest in the country, a nurse and a young house doctor told us of the loss of 620 posts out of 1,200 staff since the first Greek bailout package and how the new casual contracts added to the uncertainty of staffing levels at all departments.

    The situation got worse as local clinics were closed, resulting in a 25 per cent increase in hospital attendances.

    In the whole of Greece, 25,000 posts are vacant and 13 hospitals have been closed while at the same time dismissed doctors, nurses and other health professionals sit at home twiddling their thumbs.

    In a nation of 11 million, 15,000 public-sector workers — mostly teachers and municipal employees — were laid off by the end of 2014.

    For schools this meant class sizes going up from 25 to 30 and the loss of special needs tutors, with teachers having to do the work that was carried out by administrative staff who have been dismissed.

    Add to that the rise in VAT to 23 per cent, 20 per cent cuts in public-sector wages, reduced pensions of up to 40 per cent and you get mega-austerity — austerity on an industrial scale.

    All of this in the name of paying back the national debt, which as everyone we met said, Greece cannot pay back because “we have no money.”

    As for the bailouts, 90 per cent of the billions of euros “handed over to Greece” bypass the government and go straight to the banks which triggered the crisis in the first place.

    There was general agreement that there is no popular support for an exit from either the euro or the EU. This was based on hard-headed analysis of the economic and geopolitical situation in which Greece finds itself.

    The textbook answer that you need a revolution to leave the EU, as some left organisations argue, only begs the question whether Greece can survive outside the EU.

    As was explained to the delegation, the Greek economy depends on agriculture and tourism. Both are being undermined, the first through the takeover of smallholdings by big agricultural corporations and the second through the erosion of local amenities and services such as health and waste disposal — so important for the tourists who come to Greece.

    It soon became clear to the delegation that if Greece is to survive as a sovereign nation with its own currency, it can only do so among friendly neighbours who are not beholden to the EU — in other words, the EU must be weakened, if not dismantled altogether.

    If the EU is treating Greece with such harshness and contempt while it remains a member, can you imagine the hostility it will face if it exits?

    Can you imagine the scale of the revenge that the EU will want to exact if Greece leaves?

    Add to that the fact that half of Greece’s reserves in gold are held in London, which the EU Commission regards as collateral for the national debt, and the impossible situation Greece would face outside the EU would be only too apparent.

    And what about the conundrum of the referendum and the metamorphosis of an overwhelming No into an emphatic Yes?

    Why, the delegation asked, hadn’t Syntagma Square and other squares been occupied in protest against that “betrayal”?

    Some blamed “leaders” for failing to call strikes and demonstrations, but that does not suffice if one considers that the “occupation of the squares” in October 2011, which was leaderless, attracted one million people.

    The the Communist Party of Greece correctly analysed the referendum as a device to bring in another memorandum and therefore called for “neither a Yes nor a No” vote, but it completely misread the public mood for an expression of defiance.

    The more Angela Merkel, Jean Claude Junker and other EU leaders warned that a No vote means an exit from the eurozone, the greater became the determination to vote No just to spite them.

    At the end, 62 per cent voted No to the third memorandum. Two days later, parliament endorsed a harsher third memorandum.

    Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said that had he not signed there would have been a civil war. There were signs of a counter-revolution when pro-EU demonstrators gathered outside parliament the day before the referendum.

    At an open-air meeting in the small town of Kranidi, population 4,000, in the Peloponnesus region, attended by the town’s councillor and other workers, some accompanied by their children, the delegation heard how following the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by the police in Athens in December 2008, the town’s square was occupied, the first time that has happened.

    But things are quiet now following the debacle on the referendum. In the army, as it is in agriculture, you must have rotation. The same applies in struggle.

    For small Greece to take on the EU would be suicidal for the Greeks and detrimental to the fight against EU-enforced austerity.

    A chef summed up the message we were hearing throughout our stay in Greece: “We don’t need sympathy or words of solidarity, as welcome as these are.

    “We want real practical support. We are a small country, not like France or Britain — it is over to the big battalions now. For the British, the best thing you can do to help us is to vote to leave in your referendum.”



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