By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
During a debate in the Committee on Employment of the European Parliament, a Greek Eurodeputy asked the President of the Eurogroup (the informal economic government of the Eurozone) if the Greek bail-out program was an effort to help and save Greece, or an effort to save the banks. Mr Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch Finance Minister, answered that “We have used the money of the taxpayers to save the banks. Those who say that everything was done to save the banks have some point”.
We remind our readers that Mr. Dijsselbloem threatened the Greek government with closure of Greek banks three days after the election of the new SYRIZA-ANEL government in January 2015, asking it to recognize the legitimacy of the debt and the validity of the neocolonial agreements signed by previous Greek governments, both accepted by Tsipras and Varoufakis one month later. He also applied every kind of pressure and blackmail during the first six months of 2015 in order to scupper any attempt by the Greek government to resist the program designed “to save banks” (and destroy Greeks), as he admitted in the Europarliament.
This same Dijsselbloem said more or less the same things in a recent interview to a Greek newspaper. Speaking about the way Europe addressed the problems after the 2008 crisis he answered:
“We improvised. We did it in a very expensive way for the taxpayers, including the Greek taxpayers, but the same goes for almost all the European countries. Banks were saved by the taxpayers at a huge price, leading to very high sovereign debt. Would we do it the same way again? No”.
Of course he did not explain why they “improvised” in such a way. They saved the banks, but they destroyed a member state of the Union. Why did they not improvise in the opposite way – giving priority to saving the population and not the banks? Just in passing, this “improvisation” in reality required much more preparation time than other run-of-the-mill “improvisations”. Two years before imposing the catastrophic bail-out (in reality bail-down) program on Greece and one year before the German media began the concerted sadistic slander campaign against Greece (very much reminiscent of the propaganda campaigns against Serbs, Iraq, Libya, before the launching of the military campaigns against those nations), the international press began calling Southern Europe PIGS. A year and a half before the “improvised” imposition of the “bail-out” program on Greece, a close friend of Berlin, ex-Prime Minister Simitis, warned in the Greek parliament of the danger of seeing the IMF arrive in the country.
There was not any improvisation. Everything indicates that the program applied to Greece was nothing other than a carefully prepared and executed “experimental program” of abolishing the welfare state, democracy, popular and national sovereignty in a member state of the EU, by destroying its economy and its population. No more, no less. Mrs. Merkel herself went on record, the day the program was imposed, to explain that other Europeans will see what Greeks will suffer and they will get a lesson (BBC, May 10, 2010).
What does a country (or an enterprise or a person) facing the problem of a huge debt do? They invite their creditors (in Greece’s case mainly German and French banks) and they try to negotiate the restructuring of the debt. What happened with Greece? It was obliged, in the context of the bail-out program, first of all to recognize the debt and undertake to pay it to the last cent. To do that it was given money by the Europeans, and this is why the Greek program was indeed a bail-out program, but for the banks, not for Greece. The journalist interviewing the Dutch Eurogroup President asked him exactly that, i.e. if there should be a restructuring at the beginning of the program, and he got the following answer
“If there were to be an up-front restructuring in the future, I would be in favour of it because in the ESM treaty it actually says that before a country can enter a program, there needs to be some debt sustainability up-front. The only way to do that is if you include the private sector. But of course it’s a fundamental change that we have to think about”.
Ok, let them think about it. The fact remains that Mr. Dijsselbloem, along with Merkel, Juncker, Lagarde etc. inflicted upon a European nation damage comparable to what Nazi occupation troops did to it in the past, albeit with very different methods. And they insist on continuing to inflict this damage.
Mr. Dijsselbloem is not alone in making such a self-criticism. The IMF and Oli Rehn did the same in connection with the Greek disaster. But after performing such self-criticism not only do they not propose some compensation for the country they have destroyed: they multiply the pressures to continue with the same policy that is ruining the Greek people.
Here is the interview with Kathimerini: Leave Greek elections till 2019, Dijsselbloem tells Kathimerini, Alexis Papachelas | Kathimerini