Euro Blackmail 67

Watching the international blackmail of Papandreou and Greece to cancel his referendum plan has been pretty ugly – I imagine the diplomatic style and atmosphere of the Munich conference was similar. The joy in the financial markets at the cancellation of the referndum may be foolish.

The Greeks have effectively given up all effective sovereignity over their economy. To do that without having voted on it is quite a difficult step for any people to take, particularly a people as nationalistic as the Greeks. There will be blowback.

There has been little reporting or understanding of what happened on the ground in Greece over the last week. 372 Foreign “advisers” moved in to take over Greek ministries, in some cases even sequestring minsters’ offices. They have absolute financial control of budgets and have to approve and sign off spending before money is paid out. In effect, these advisers are now the government of Greece. 28% of these “advisers” are civil servants from other Euro states. The majority are of bankers, and executives of private financial institutions, accountancy and consultancy firms.

Anybody who thinks this is going to work out is raving mad.

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67 thoughts on “Euro Blackmail

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  • TFS

    Given that Goldman Sachs and the finance ministry of greece fudged the figures to get membership of the EU, don’t the citizens of the EU have the right to sue them for money recieved under false pretences ie Membership by Fraud?


  • david

    I agree its a disaster of epic proportions just waiting to happen. Which ever way it went it was always going to end badly for Greece. Italy next. Then Spain. The Euro is dead in the water, all they are doing now is pouring good money after bad.
    Its time the Euro countrys woke up and smelled the coffee.
    Greece is now run by Germany, a lot of Greeks died preventing that from happening during the 40’s.
    I do feel for them, but then if you dont pay your taxes, and make a national sport of it, but still want a bloated benefits system, then to some degree you sow what you reap.

  • Richard

    Doesn’t democracy mean that the people should decide the most important things, such as the Greeks are being asked to agree to? Democracy seems to be a dirty word in the EU. I think they should have a referendum but do it in 2 or 3 weeks, not 2 months. If they vote against the “rescue package” then they would be out of the euro and in a terrible mess, but it still should be their decision, not that of foreign technocrats.

  • mike cobley

    “Its time the Euro countrys woke up and smelled the coffee.”
    Its time Europe woke up and seized the banks and investment corporations and currency traders and all their assets – these vermin are the ones responsible for the whole gigantic bailout clusterfuk, and its time they got theirs. To quote Jack Burton – son of a bitch must pay!

  • Wiz

    Let’s hear it for Mike Cobley, who is right on the money. But the bankers are undoubedly going to get theirs. They might be running all the ministries, but they can’t stop the Euros walking out of the banks and right into Switzerland. I agree it is utterly undemocratic, what they are doing to Greece. But Greece is not the problem, as has been relentlessly pointed out by Nouriel Roubini. The problem is the mad lending of banks. The people of Greece are being punished, but they didn’t do all the mad lending. The bankers did. What will happen now, if I can look into the crystal balls of several forecasters I follow, is a banking crisis. I would be amazed if it is not already happening, frankly. I read this morning that 200 billion Euro has already been taken out of Greek banks by governmental fiat. When do you think the average Northern Rock investor would have been queuing outside the banks in the High Street in Athens? Last week? Last month? Last year? No wonder the cost of borrowing is beginning to squeeze Italy in a way that is already familiar to several European countries. It’ll be Italy shortly, and it’ll be virtually every southern European bank thereafter. I’d appreciate anyone’s guidance on the knock-on effect on British banks, especially as quite a few of them are part-owned by continental interests.

  • mary

    Note that the Bank of England have a ‘court’ but no jesters are named here. Did not know that the trades unions were represented.
    I was attempting to discover the lending banks’ current leverage compared to that in 2008 but got waylaid. This is a response from the FT to a speech given by Andy Haldane, the BoE’s current executive director for financial stability. There’s a title to conjure with.

    The threat of the “volatility junkie”

  • ingo

    What do you call Papandreou, if he’s not a backstabbing sod and crook? How can you blackmail a black hole with a direct connectiopn to a swiss bank account?

    utterly daft idea, Greece should have never been in Europe, if bwankers would not have fingered the books.

    ‘Greece is now run by Germany, a lot of Greeks died preventing that from happening during the 40′s.’

    David, all before the coma might just be right. Truth is, as already mentioned above, Greece’s economy was never healthy, not even before it joined the EU.
    It had an awefull tax system that allowed the upper echelon, the political class, the ship owners, etc. to extradite money out of the country. private personal wealth in swiss and other bank accounts approx. amounts to 600 billion Euro’s, a third of what would tie Greece over.

    These hardline nationalists must hate their country if they can’t help it out when its needed. The normal person in grweece dispairs, they are at their wits end. If they get to know about how these big families, who ruled Greece for some time, could siphon off all these vast sums, they’ll go spare.

    The ruling classes in Greece’s kleptocracy have ruined the country and some are connected to intrigue and murder, maybe they should be arrested and their private wealth confiscated just as done with Ghaddaffi, one way of getting greece its moneyb back, it has its spine sucked out by these crooks.

    Craig, you fail to mention that this bailout was never ment to be part of a referendum, never discussed, an aborition of papandreou’s mind on the way back to Athens, poor sod is probably on Osborne’s best catnip, he could not have slept very much during the last two weeks. He and his family have held their claws over Greece for decades and I think this will come to an end now.

    Now to your second part of the sentence, David, many Greeks died for trying to prevent Germany ruling them during the 40’s.
    Thats a very cheap shot, because since then a hell of a lot has changed, new generations are changing Germany for the better, it does not waste money on silly wars, it invests it in trust, always renewing and modernising its economy, you should try it here one day. Much positive change has happened due to the proportional representative electoral system introduced by the then Allies, thank you.

    Bad mouthing Germany and making inappropriate comparrissons to the 1940’s, because it is giving it all, trying to sort out the problems, guaranteeing the debt of other countries? get a life.
    How many of these ‘advisors and bankers’ are British? and if not why not? Oh, why are there not enough Brits at the centre of the EU decision making process that it has come to such calamity?

    Cheap sniping from the sidelines, whilst benefitting from a 350 Million Plus consumer market, by some old boy network who bummed each other in boarding schools, all genetically reduced for that extra strenght little Englander trait, such pettyness just does not cut the mustard at all, meshugge.

    To start finding blame in those who supported Greece, whilst not even looking at what the likes of Goldman Sachs or their own Government are doing to this country, never mind Greece, is finger pointing is like asking someone else to wipe their nose, whilst one’s own is streaming with snot.

    Germany has invested all in Europe, all the UK has done for Europe was divisive bickering over this that and the other, special veto’s for bag swinging Primadonnas, vetoing this that and the other, rather than putting their full weight behind it and being constructive from the start.

    This all looks very much like a construct, a planned event that makes Europe focus inward, busy, whilst the UK and US fool their people and go to war.

    Whatever the people of Greece want they should get, and that includes a pension age of over 65, not 59. And if it means that Greece’s public service is not corrupt anymore, does not lord it over its people or exceeds its pensions rights, so be it, they need help with getting rid of their ripp off merchants.

    Just to repeat my question, how many of these 372 advisers are British?

    If there aren’t any, why? can’t they be trusted? Is it because Briatin has refused to take any responsibility for its partner Greece? what a partner indeed.
    A European partner that loves itself, Israel and a murderous, hopelessly inhumane and indebted US.

    Phew, that had to be said.

  • Guest

    “new generations are changing Germany for the better”
    They are in Afghanistan, and explain their role in supplying weapons to Iraq, submarines to Israel, CIA secret prisons in Frankfurt, Germany participated in the Libya war.

  • glenn

    Bet these 372 “advisors” are charging for their services at no more than the previous administrators’ rates. And I bet they’ll get the best deal for Greece when they flog off state assets to their mates. Of course.
    There will be very little by way of local accountability, particularly when they clear off once it’s all sewn up. Private security enforcement and bank fees will be at the top of their spending list, no doubt. Greece first… take a look at the future, boys and girls.
    Curiously enough, this very thing – parachuting in “Emergency Financial Managers” (EFMs) to take over entire towns has already started happening in America, notably Wisconsin and Michigan. They don’t care about protestors either, because they’re not and never will be answerable to them.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Presumably, even if they did have a referendum they would only have to have another one if the people got the answer wrong.

  • Parky

    Currently state broadcasting channel one doing a hit piece on “!benefit cheats” do they really miss the irony of who is really doing the stealing from us? Panorama was upon a time a serious documentary programme examining important issues and the bbc was a credible broadcaster. what a shower they are now!

  • santiago alba

    ‎”We have suffered a total and unmitigated defeat…you will find that in a period of time which may be measured by years, but may be measured by months,. We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude…we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road…we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies” W. Churchill 1938

  • Duncan McFarlane

    I thought Papandreou was making the right (and democratic) decision in calling a referendum – but he should have done it a long time ago – and if calling it now scheduled it for 1 month from now.

    Unfortunately everyone from the right wing main opposition party to the right of his own PASOK party, the left of his PASOK party and the Communists were all condemning the referendum plan.

    I heard one Greek Communist MP interviewed on Channel 4 News condemning the referendum plan as “undemocratic” and saying it was “blackmail” before she’d even heard the question that would be in it.

    Polls show the majority of Greeks want to remain in the Euro – and that the majority of Greeks reject the bail-out conditions.

    Unfortunately they can’t do both. They have to choose one or the other.

    I think the bail-out conditions are far too harsh and will ensure Greece stays in recession if they’re enforced, which will mean Greece’s creditors never get a penny, as a country in massive debt and a recession can never pay off even part of the debt.

    I’ve read a couple of different economists’ blogs saying that a free trade area between countries with economies of such different strengths as Greece and Germany is bound to lead to the weaker economy (Greece’s) running a trade deficit and so going into debt, unless there are mechanisms to redistribute some of the trade deficit back to the weaker economy – e.g regional growth and development funds.

  • Brendan

    The one good thing is that we have, in real time, evidence as to how it all works. Market ‘panics’, EU\IMF bullying, and military coups, are all used in concert to force a ‘Government’ to toe the line. It’s not hidden, nor subtle. This constitutes authoritarianism, by any measure. Perhaps not Fascism, but a new variant on authoritarianism, for which we don’t yet have a word. I’ll start with Bureaucratzism.

    The term may not catch on. But the concept is clear: the people do not have a say. It’s really as clear as it can be, and, whilst dismal in itself, at least we know the truth.

  • nuid

    “For the euro’s architects, the currency was to be the catalyst for the deeper integration they always regarded as essential for European corporations to grow large enough to compete on a global scale. Now they see the eurozone crisis as a springboard to create the fiscal union and economic government they have long wanted, among a smaller group of countries.
    “But the loss of credibility created by the crisis goes beyond the eurozone to the economic ideology that has shaped the whole European Union for decades: of deregulation, privatisation and the privileging of corporate power, regardless of the modest employment rights introduced to limit social dumping.
    “That is exactly the model that is now in deep crisis across the western world.”

    –Seumas Milne
    For about 2-3 weeks after the initial bust in the US, there was a lot of talk about the American version of capitalism being dead in the water, and economic textbooks having to be rewritten. Anyone remember that? And then all the talk drifted away, out of the mainstream discourse. Major efforts were underway to prop up the old system, at enormous cost to taxpayers on both sides of the pond.
    Nobody is propping up Greece and Ireland. The taxpayers of Greece and Ireland (and elsewhere) are being raided to prop up French and German (and other) banks that gambled and lost.
    And meanwhile I’m watching Sky presenters talking about Sarkozy and Merkel “summoning” the Greek PM, and debating in their smug Sky way “whether the Greek people should be allowed to have a referendum or not”. Kay bloody Burley is going to lecture us on THAT too?
    Personally, I hope the whole Eurozone project goes to the wall. America is a corporatocracy. I have no desire to live in a European version of the same.

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