An Open Word Concerning Greece - by Rotger Kindermann
An Open Word Concerning Greece
A reply by
I am both appalled and sad about how some of my European colleagues comment on the German role concerning the Greek crisis.The attacks, comparisons and allusions (i.e.Auschwitz ) are disgraceful, retrograde and prejudiced. Facts are turned upside down, the understanding of a united Europe tends towards zero.
If the Italian daily „La Repubblica“ after the Brussels compromise comments that „Greece is not an independent state any longer“ that comment reveals a complete misunderstanding of the European idea. Each EU member state has been ceding almost automatically more and more elements of sovereignty to the Community, this being a permanent process which is discussed and adjusted all the time.
A basic principle applies: the more a state is offending against the common rules – as Greece has been doing for years – the more the rest of the Community has to take over responsibility. Europe as a whole, even states having rescued themselves out of their crises thanks to their austerity programs, have tried to help Greece. Each German citizen has got € 700 in the fire of the creditors even if his or her pension is remarkably lower.
It is not the austerity programme which is responsible for the Greek crisis; it is not the creditors but the Greek governments that has led the country more and more into misery. Whoever has lived all the time beyond his means must not be surprised today. Whether socialist or conservative Greek governments they all have delayed the necessary reforms and have refused to cooperate. Even the media have failed in their function of control. They have not scrutinized the politicians critically enough; on the contrary they have partly become their accomplices. They have not revealed misconceptions and wrong developments.
The nonsense of “ lost national dignity, honour and humiliation“ is absurd above all if a country is not able to run a functioning state ( i.e. public sector, financial administration, land register etc.)
If Greece wants to stay in the EURO group, a fundamental restructure of that country must become a European project. In spite of their mistakes Greek politicians must not lay the blame on the other states. Whether or not the Greek crisis will ever be solved, cannot really be answered yet.
The problems of Greece have their deep roots:
Greece has always suffered from an insufficient productivity; there was no industry worth mentioning; Greece got stuck in clientilism and patronage and did nothing to fight corruption nor to introduce reforms. Reforms were avoided like a plague ! Where is the political power in Greece to alter course radically ?
There is a deep mistrust in Greek mentality to accept their state as such. The Greek remain disloyal as long as there is suspicion towards their state. Only when the Greek have the impression that there is justice in their state, that the money is not wasted any longer by their state, that prviledges are not tolerated any longer and that cooruption will be really fought will they be inclined to trust their country and to pay taxes.
Today , taken into account the low Greek economy, there is a debt burden of €28 800 on each Greek citizen. This debt policy is the gravedigger of Europe and for that grievence one can certainly neither blame Chancellor Angela Merkel nor the German government ( respectively the other 18 governments of the Euro group ); they all have been helping Greece time and time again even if they had to carry through austerity programmes themselves in their own countries.