Athens 31 July 2015

Evaggelos Venizelos
Article in Huffington Post

Greece's Current High-Wire Act

Six months after the January 2015 elections and after Greek society lived through the novel experience of a referendum that posed misleading questions and gave self-defeating answers, the country is in much worse shape than the that which it found itself before the notice of elections at the end of December 2014.

The cost of the last six months is enormous, no matter how one calculates it: as a return to the recession, as a negative consequence to the dynamics of public debt, as a need for new loans from the EU and the IMF, as a leak of deposits, as an explosion of non-performing loans, as the obligation of a new recapitalization of banks with a greater public debt burden to avoid cutting deposits, as an undermining of healthy entrepreneurship, etc.

The situation in Greece now, however, is not only burdened economically and socially but also politically and institutionally. After five years of sacrifices, we slipped as a society into a spiral of questions concerning the European identity of the country, a crisis of self-consciousness that went beyond the question of "euro or drachma" and took us to the defining question: East or West.

This spiral has already caused a deep crisis of democratic legitimacy with which we are attempting to deal by stubborn insistence on the possession of power around which the forces of SYRIZA unite, though they are fundamentally divided when it comes to the substance of the governing policy in place. They deeply disagree as to the party line, but passionately agree as to the need to maintain the government. As if they received a carte blanche mandate to exercise power independently of the program's content.

Tags: Articles

Αθήνα, 20 Ιουλίου 2015

Interview d’ Evaggelos Venizelos a accordée a L’ Echo

"Nous avons été traités bien plus durement que Tsipras"

Dans une interview qu’il nous a accordée, l’ancien ministre des Finances grec, Evangelos Venizelos, estime qu’après l’accord intervenu avec les créanciers, la situation politique intérieure en Grèce est devenue intenable. Pour ce membre du Pasok, le parti traditionnel de gauche actuellement dans l’opposition, "les arguments que le Premier ministre Tsipras a utilisés pendant cinq ans ne tiennent plus la route". Le gouvernement de ce dernier, estime-t-il, ne tient sa majorité parlementaire que grâce à l’opposition, qui lui a permis d’approuver cette semaine l’accord intervenu lundi à l’arraché. Et de prévenir: "On ne peut pas espérer réellement appliquer l’accord conclu sur ces bases-là.

Vieux routier de la vie politique grecque, l’ex-vice-président du Gouvernement Papandreou, Evangelos Venizelos a aussi été ministre des Finances du pays entre octobre 2011 et mars 2012 et président du Pasok, le parti socialiste grec, de 2012 à juin 2015. Il est aujourd’hui député et porte-parole parlementaire du parti.

Tags: Interviews

Athens, 19 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos 

A public debt of truth*

A most brutal “anti-memorandum” mythology has been built, systematically and methodically, during the last five and especially during the last three years on the issue of public debt. In order to achieve this, three stereotypes have been formed:

The first stereotype is that the people are subjected to harsh sacrifices due to the large and unsustainable debt. Unfortunately, few have a clear understanding that the aim of the tough fiscal measures (which are now unfortunately extended until 2018) was to cover the huge primary deficit, which had reached 13,8% of the current GDP in 2009, i.e. 24,7 billion euros. A primary deficit, which since 2013, thanks to the sacrifices of the people, turned into a -however small- primary surplus and has sadly relapsed to a primary deficit, due to the five lost months of 2015, with the last nail being the referendum, the closure of banks, the capital controls. Unfortunately, only a few know that our country paid approximately 14 billion euro in interest (debt servicing costs) in 2010, while in 2015 -due to the 2012 restructuring- it pays only 5,5 billions, i.e. almost a third of that amount. Unfortunately, only a few know that the total financial needs for interest and repayments were -again due to the 2012 restructuring- at the internationally safe 10% of the GDP and have now -due to the referendum and the closure of banks- skyrocketed between 13,5% and 15%, depending on whether we use the analyses of the European Commission or the ones by the IMF; the latest ones, though, the ones that refer to the harmful effects of the last three weeks on the dynamics of the debt.

The second stereotype is that the 2012 intervention to the debt was supposedly catastrophic to Greek pension funds, which lost 25 billions from their reserves, and was overall considered from being non-consequential up to harmful to the country!

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Athens, 8 July 2015

 

Evangelos Venizelos’ statement on the results of the Summit:

 Mr. Tsipras has caused a referendum to be held in order to ward off an ultimatum, while the European institutions were saying that the proposal documents were still under negotiation and the second program was still in force.

The “No” vote requested by Mr. Tsipras achieved a 61%, was interpreted in the joint announcement by the parliamentary party leaders as a mandate for negotiations and not as a command for a breach.

Mr. Tsipras returned to Brussels and was unfortunately given a real ultimatum that has to be initially answered until Thursday and finally untilSunday.

Moreover, the first time the European leaders have unfortunately chosen to speak openly about the possible exit of Greece from the eurozone, a possibility that legally activates, in accordance with the Treaties, the institutional scenario of a -at least- temporary exit, even from the European Union. Hence the convening of the European Council of the 28 member states, and not just that of the 19, on Sunday.

The fact that on a business day, with the marketsbeing open, European leaders have explicitly mentioned a Grexit scenario, unfortunately means that they require that markets calculate and thus absorb a potential Grexit before Sunday. It is obvious that the ECB has been prepared to take thenecessary defensive measures.

Tags: Statements

Athens, 6 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos

The People as a tool

The meeting of the leaders of the parliamentary parties, under the President of the Republic was a positive move. Each move involving dialogue is welcome. Any search for consensus is much more welcome. Of course, the meeting could have been made months or weeks earlier, and certainly before choosing to resort to a referendum that was by definition dilemmatic and therefore divisive.

* Does, therefore, a democratic pro-European arc exist? *

The issuing of a joint announcement by the leaders of the democratic parties arc that declare their European orientation, is positive. It is important, first of all, that the existence is accepted of a similar, democratic and pro-European, spectrum, with the participation of the two government partners and three opposition parties. This occurred a day after the referendum, in which we saw Golden Dawn allying with the “No” front, along with SYRIZA and ANEL, while ND, To Potami and PASOK partook in the “Yes” front.

However, the pursuit of the consensus at the highest and narrowest level of representation, that of single-member representation by each party leader, came paradoxically a day after the triumph of direct democracy with a referendum that was not seeking consensus, but clarification in favour of the greatest possible majority that would politically neutralize the weak minority. The clash after all took on an “ethical-patriotic” character with personal attacks against the “voluntary slaves” of “Yes”.

Tags: Articles

 Athens, 4 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos

Article in “Ethnos” newspaper 

On Sunday, has to win the Greece of a “Yes” that unites

Greece can make up for the lost time. It can regain its aim as a nation. It can plan again its exit from the Memorandum, the transition to the phase of the precautionary credit line and a return to markets, a non-dependence on loans from the European partners and the IMF. 

Greece can improve its national competitiveness, be organized again as a cohesive society around a production model that facilitates the internal resources of the country: the land and people. “Land” means culture, history, primary production, landscape, environment, monuments, tourism, geography, networks, energy, transports. “People” means knowledge, work, entrepreneurship, family cohesion, memories, feelings, dreams and ideas, values, solidarity, sustainable welfare state.

For all these to be achieved, though, the European identity of the country has to be affirmed, as well as its irrevocable participation in the European family and the eurozone. The banks have to reopen, the free movement of capital has to be restored, along with imports and exports. Bank deposits must be protected by the only institution that has the ability to offer this guarantee, the ECB.

A main prerequisite for all these is the will of the Greek people. The will to say “Yes”, even in a referendum that is dumb-cunning, blackmailing and spurious.

Tags: Articles

Athens, 3 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos

Can the meteorologist/Prime Minister distinguish spitting from rain?

He has led the country into an institutionally extortionate process, to an unprecedented “fast-track” referendum on an issue that is primarily fiscal, i.e. an issue which a referendum is constitutionally forbidden to be called for.

He has divided the Greek society when national unity and consensus is needed.

He tries to appear as a representative of “No”, when he could be the representative of the whole nation in the negotiations with the creditors and partners.

He has violated accepted the procedural guarantees of a genuine referendum that are accepted by the Council of Europe. He toys when he should not with the Armed Forces in tandem with his nationalist-populist associate.

He has mobilized the state mechanisms in favour of the government's point of view.

He has presented the “No” vote as a “No” to the attack of the other EU member states and the European institutions on the Democracy in Greece and in the European Union in general.

He has presented the matter as a question of national sovereignty and dignity, as if the other EU member states demonstrate a void of democracy, sovereignty and dignity that they have to fill.

He has lost every potential ally at the level of the European Council and the Eurogroup.

Tags: Articles

Athens, 1 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos
Article in capital.gr 

There is now a matter of democracy

We have unfortunately arrived to the situation we fought - with pains, suffering and mainly with sacrifices by the Greek people - to avoid the five previous years. When I said, before the January elections, that five years of sacrifices can be lost within five days, I hoped my warning would act as a deterrent.

I was really worried by the ease with which the SYRIZA/ANEL government squandered, for nearly four months, precious national time telling obvious lies in the same cyclical rate every week.

The last twenty days, however, and especially after the publication of the government proposals on the list of financial measures, the belief was embedded that we are heading towards an agreement, one that fits perfectly in the logic and the legal framework of the Memorandum 2 and constitutes the proem of the Memorandum 3, of course.

But all of this came up against the internal political associations of the SYRIZA/ANEL construct. Party expediency prevailed over the obligation to protect the national interest.

A fleeting moment of parliamentary euphoria with the SYRIZA and ANEL MPs clapping excitedly –accompanied by the smiling tolerance of the members of the Golden Dawn- for the energetic Prime Minister who suggested a referendum, asking the people to say a loud and proud “no”, has led Greek citizens almost immediately to humiliating situations.

Closed banks, restrictions on capital movements, inability to pay pensions normally, insecurity, undermining of the tourism industry, cessation of payments to and from the public sector, a market freeze.

Tags: Articles

Athens, 1 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos made the following statement referring to today’s “address” and yesterday’s letter by Mr. Tsipras to the heads of the Eurogroup, the Commission, the ECB and the IMF:

After having led the country to the brink of dissolution, after having deprived the country of the shield that is the EFSF programme, and the support of the ECB, after having issued a legislative act for the closure of banks and capital controls, after having sent the Greek men and women to form queues before ATMs, Mr. Tsipras continues the dumb-cunning communicative games. He is not up to the occasion.

Instead of boldly declaring that he will convene the Parliament in order to withdraw the referendum to seek reliable immediate resumption of the negotiations, he sends letters, with the only purpose being, unfortunately, to be able to say that he made several attempts, but the European institutions are intransigent. Each and every day, he makes an address, affirming his belief in Europe, while at the same time he pushes the country to the exit of the eurozone.

He is panicked by the reaction of the society, but refuses to respect the national interest.

He does not respect the democratic institutions either, since in his letters he admits that the question of the referendum is a spurious one in any case. He has already turned Greece into an object of concern for the Council of Europe, which sees violations of the institutional guarantees for free and genuine expression of the popular will in the referendum.

Tags: Statements

Athens, 1 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos
Article in capital.gr 

There is now a matter of democracy

We have unfortunately arrived to the situation we fought - with pains, suffering and mainly with sacrifices by the Greek people - to avoid the five previous years. When I said, before the January elections, that five years of sacrifices can be lost within five days, I hoped my warning would act as a deterrent.

I was really worried by the ease with which the SYRIZA/ANEL government squandered, for nearly four months, precious national time telling obvious lies in the same cyclical rate every week.

The last twenty days, however, and especially after the publication of the government proposals on the list of financial measures, the belief was embedded that we are heading towards an agreement, one that fits perfectly in the logic and the legal framework of the Memorandum 2 and constitutes the proem of the Memorandum 3, of course.

But all of this came up against the internal political associations of the SYRIZA/ANEL construct. Party expediency prevailed over the obligation to protect the national interest.

A fleeting moment of parliamentary euphoria with the SYRIZA and ANEL MPs clapping excitedly –accompanied by the smiling tolerance of the members of the Golden Dawn- for the energetic Prime Minister who suggested a referendum, asking the people to say a loud and proud “no”, has led Greek citizens almost immediately to humiliating situations.

Closed banks, restrictions on capital movements, inability to pay pensions normally, insecurity, undermining of the tourism industry, cessation of payments to and from the public sector, a market freeze.