Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Insults fly as Greeks turn to anti-austerity parties
It’s pretty clear now, isn't it, what Germany and the other Axis powers are up to. They’re trying to force Greece out of the euro. No promises Greek politicians make, no amount of self-defeating measures they adopt, will be enough. The Axis has decided that Greece is not worth salvation and that to protect their own interests, it has to be cut adrift. So much for European solidarity, so much for European union. That myth – which Greeks have clung to more determinedly than any other country in Europe – has disintegrated.
But even if it is the intention of the Axis powers – Germany, Holland, Finland and Luxembourg – to make life so impossible for Greece that Greece decides by itself that it jacks in the euro; then Greece mustn’t fall into this trap. Why give the Germans and the Finns what they want? Wouldn't it be harder for them – and easier for Greece – if Greece says: ‘We're defaulting; but we’re keeping the euro.’
Anyway, above is President Karolos Papoulias’ outburst today after German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said Germany was no longer prepared to ‘pour money into a bottomless pit’, and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of eurozone finance ministers, said Greece would need increased supervision to ensure it implements the austerity programme.
Papoulias said: ‘I can't accept Mr Schauble taunting my country. I can't accept this – as a Greek. Who is Mr Schauble… to taunt Greece? Who are the Dutch? Who are the Finns? We always had the pride to defend not only our freedom, not only our country, but the freedom of Europe.’
And what of the humiliating pledge the Axis are making Papandreou/Venizelos and Samaras sign that they will retain the austerity measures after the April elections? Well, it seems to me as if it’s being made on the false assumption that Samaras, in particular, will emerge as the new prime minister. In fact, the latest opinion poll suggests New Democracy’s fortunes are flagging and Samaras’ position may deteriorate even further if the general election turns into a referendum on the austerity programme. Thus, the current standing of the parties is as follows: New Democracy 27.5 percent; the Democratic Left 16 percent; the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 14 percent; Coaltion of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) 13.5 percent; PASOK 12 percent; LAOS 4.5 percent; Greens 3 percent; Golden Dawn 2.5 percent.
If these numbers were reflected in the actual election, then Samaras would not be prime minister – or would be PM of a weak, minority government – while those opposed to the troika measures would be considerably strengthened in parliament.