By Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos
Ambassador ad honorem
The Greek government announced measures this week to alleviate the plight of those Greeks who had been hit financially by the closure of their businesses within the framework of the measures adopted to protect the population from the corona virus.These measures amount to 6.8 billion euros and cover a period of one to two months.They were correct and were welcomed by the population.The problem arises of what will happen after this amount is used up and the pandemic continues as is expected,
The government has started to deny that it is thinking of reducing salaries and pensions of the public sector.But we all know from past experience that these denials mean that they are already contemplating on it.However,if the government dares to make these reductions,the consequences will be the following:Those who are in pension,have already had their income reduced by 60% because of the memoranda obligations imposed upon Greece by the EU lenders and the IMF.Consequently they will no longer be able to pay taxes and the installments of their loans to the banks and whatever remains from the reduction will go to maintain themselves and their families.The same applies to the salaries.The banks will threaten those who cannot repay their loans with confiscation of their properties,but it will be a useless threat from the banks since they will not be able to sell the confiscated property now that the global economic system is collapsing.A possible reduction of salaries and pensions may also lead to the collapse of the State and spontaneous popular uprisings may take place that could lead to more fatalities than the coronavirus itself
So what can the government do instead? It can declare a cessation of payments or a moratorium to the EU lenders for the so-called public debt of Greece.But let us see first what obligations have been imposed upon the country..
For 2020 Greece must pay 5.9 billion euros,2021 4.9 billion euros,2022 9.4 billion euros,2023 11.7 billion euros,2024 9.4 billion euros,2025 9.24 billion euros,2026 8 billion euros,2027 5.9 billion euros ,2028 11.5 billion euros etc.
Due to the exceptional measures taken for the protection of the population from the pandemic,the government must declare a cessation of payments for the so-called public debt,at least for the years 2020 and 2021.This money will be needed to assure the survival of the population of Greece.The government will not ask for permission of the lenders to cease payments but will inform them simply out of courtesy..The existing global economic chaos and the anticipated dissolution of the EU makes it difficult if not impossible for the lenders to react to the cessation of payments that Greece will declare.And we must not wait for EU decisions concerning the Coronabond since such a decision will be too little and too late.Already,Klaus Regling,head of the European Stability Mechanism,recently declared that he will need at least one year for a eurobond of any kind to be issued.
Cessation of payments is the only solution that will be able to guarantee the survival of the Greek population and of the country in these difficult moments that humanity is facing.The so-called easy solution of reducing salaries and pensions will only lead to social unrest of such a magnitude that its victims will be much more than the victims of the coronavirus,something that we hope will not happen.