Photograph: Wikimedia. Demo on Syntagma Square
‘The proposal of (Eurogroup) institutions includes measures leading to further deregulation of the labour market, pension cuts, reductions in public sector wages and an increase in VAT on food, dining and tourism, while eliminating tax breaks for the Greek islands.” Alexis Tsipras
Result! 6th July – 61% VOTE ‘NO’ to AUSTERITY
Tim Jones, an economist at the Jubilee Debt Campaign, called the ‘agreement’ an outrageous imposition on the Greek people. Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, added: “The deal that Greece has agreed to has nothing to do with a democratic union of countries, but rather resembles the imperial politics of the 19th century.”
‘Deal or no deal?’ for Greece: more like ‘Shaft or be shat on’.
Speech translated by Stathis Kouvelakis.
Throughout this period of negotiations, we were asked to implement the agreements concluded by the previous governments with the Memoranda, although they were categorically condemned by the Greek people in the recent General Election. Not for a moment did we think of surrendering: that would be to betray your trust.
After five months of hard bargaining, our partners issued at the Eurogroup the day before yesterday an ultimatum to Greek democracy and to the Greek people – an ultimatum that is contrary to the founding principles and values of Europe, the values of our common European project. They asked the Greek government to accept a proposal that accumulates a new unsustainable burden on the Greek people and undermines the recovery of the Greek economy and society, a proposal that not only perpetuates the state of uncertainty but accentuates even more social inequalities.
The proposal of institutions includes measures leading to further deregulation of the labour market, pension cuts, reductions in public sector wages and an increase in VAT on food, dining and tourism, while eliminating tax breaks for the Greek islands.
These proposals directly violate European social and fundamental rights: they show that concerning work, equality and dignity, the aim of some of the partners and institutions is not a viable and beneficial agreement for all parties but the humiliation of the Greek people. These proposals highlight the insistence to impose harsh and punitive austerity. It makes more timely than ever the need for leading European powers to seize the opportunity and take initiatives which will finally bring to a definitive end the Greek sovereign debt crisis, a crisis affecting other European countries and threatening the very future of European integration.
Alexis Tsipras. Prime Minister of Greece.
Athens, June 27th at 1 o’clock in the morning.
‘The moral crusade against Greece must be opposed’ – Zoe Williams. Guardian article from 28th June.
‘In 1992 the late economist Wynne Godley called it the “lacuna in the Maastricht programme”: that while its single-currency proposal made provision for a central bank, it had nothing to say on the matter of what would replace the democratic institutions – the national governments whose power, once they had no control over their own currency, would be limited.
Now we have our answer: the strongest takes control. At the moment, Germany knows best. How do we know they know best? Because they are the richest. The Euro was founded on the idea that the control of currency was apolitical. It has destroyed that myth, and taken democracy down with it.
These talks did not fail by accident. The Greeks have to be humiliated, because the alternative – of treating them as equal parties or “adults”, as Lagarde wished them to be – would lead to a debate about the Eurogroup: what its foundations are, what accountability would look like, and what its democratic levers are – if indeed it has any. Solidarity with Greece means everyone, in and outside the single currency, forcing this conversation: the country is being sacrificed to maintain a set of delusions that enfeebles us all.’ Zoe Williams
July 1st update from Alexis Tsipras:-
“I never expected a democratic Europe not to give space and time [to hold the referendum]. It is a disgrace that we have these scenes of shame because they closed the banks precisely because we wanted to give the people the vote. The ultimatum given to Greece was unacceptable. Our only chance was to appeal to the people and that’s what we’re doing. No is not a slogan. No is a decisive step for a better solution. No does not mean conflict with Europe but a return to a Europe of values and pressure for a viable solution to the debt. No means strong and powerful pressure that the burden should be on the shoulders of the rich and not the poor and pensioners. Those who want a Europe which is stuck on austerity and no respect for democracy, they are not visionaries for Europe. Those who say I have a secret plan to come out of the Euro are lying. They want to suffocate our people and this is unacceptable in a Europe of solidarity. I call upon you to say No to the prescription of the memorandum. It is our responsibly for our parents, to our children to ourselves.”
Varoufakis said: “This has nothing to do with economics. It has nothing to do with putting Greece back on the rails towards recovery. This is a new Versailles Treaty that is haunting Europe again, and the prime minister knows it. He knows that he’s damned if he does and he’s damned if he doesn’t.” Yanis said that he’d tried to talk economics to the eurogroup ministers before his resignation but they had blanked him: “It’s not that it didn’t go down well – there was point-blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on, to make sure it’s logically coherent, and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you’d have got the same reply.”