August 20, 2018
A historic day. The end of bailout program. The begin an new era. Lenders celebrate the “great news.”The Greek government cheers. Greece ‘s creditors and and the country’s government congratulate each other. Internationale media are in euphoria. A success story with happy end.
You did it! Congratulations to Greece and its people on ending the programme of financial assistance. With huge efforts and European solidarity you seized the day.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) August 20, 2018
I have always fought for #Greece to remain at the heart of #Europe. With the conclusion of the stability support programme the Greek people begin a new chapter in their storied history. They will always find in me an ally, a partner and a friend. https://t.co/eGNcX8sLm6
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) August 20, 2018
Regling: “(The end of the bailout) is great news! The Greek people should celebrate. From my visits to Athens, I have come to really appreciate Greek wines. But tomorrow, I will celebrate it with a good glass of ouzo.”
— ESM (@ESM_Press) August 20, 2018
— Mário Centeno (@mariofcenteno) August 20, 2018
Are they serious? Really? They pushed Greece into the biggest recession since the WWII, threw millions of people into impoverishment, destroyed the largest parts of the middle class, demolished wages and ruined stable work, forced half a million Greeks to migration, shattered health services and implement a personal debt of more than 30,000 euros to every Greek aged 0-99 and beyond.
They ruined a whole generation of young Greeks who independently of their skills and education, they have to be satisfied with wage of 300-400 euros with part-time jobs in cafes and fast food businesses.
Young, Greek, Jobless pic.twitter.com/i6nUDyuosu
— Nicholas (@Nicholas___D) August 20, 2018
And of course, they skyrocketed Greece’s debt to 345 billion euro.
Are they serious? Is there any reason to celebrate?
I could have written a long list of what the three bailout agreements 2010-2018 left behind, in addition to the growth of debt.
I could have looked into my archives and in fact write a book about the Greek crisis. About those who lost their homes and ended on the streets, about the thousands who committed suicide who were cracked by pressure of the new situation, about all those businessmen who took their lives unable to cope with their skyrocketed debts, about all those, the silent ones, who isolated themselves socially unable to bear the loss of their dignity.
Do we, Greeks, have any reason to join the lenders’ cheers and festive mood?
I’m sorry. We don’t.
The only positive thing I see in the end of the memoranda, that is the bailout programs, is that no more disbursement consequently no more new debt.
I started this blog and website in March 2010 because I thought Greeks need their own voice to inform the international media and the public about the economic crisis, aside from the government or mainstream media narrative. I started this blog because I couln’t bear how then PM Papandreou was going around to European capitals and disparaging Greeks as tax evaders and the main slogan across the globe became “Greeks lazy.”
In the eight years, I have been writing, reporting and commenting on this blog and reporting on this website, there were times when I thought I had reached my target. To persuade even a handful of people that not all of us Greeks are not lazy cheaters and tax evaders as the mainstream trend prevailed for several years.
I could have written a chronic but I don’t want to. All the crisis protagonists are not worth even a few clicks on my keyboard anymore.
However, I, and millions of Greeks, cannot forget the hardship we went through, the tears we shed, the agony about the present and the future.
Eight years of bailout agreements and inhumane austerity and still nobody has answered taken the crucial question: Who brought the country to economic collapse?
Who is responsible for the whole mess? PASOK loves to blame New Democracy, New Democracy loves to blame PASOK. Both love to blame SYRIZA for the famous first six months of 2015 that allegedly cost the country 100 billion euros… Until last year. Over the weekend, ESM Chief Regling found out that the cost was 200 million euros. Next year, next weekend, Regling will find out that the cost was 300 million.
Should he not stop at one glass of ouzo, the cost may be even double to 600 million.
Who cares, what Regling, Juncker and Turk, Centeno, Draghi and Lagarde drink. Fact is that they treated the country and each elected government like a pariah for 8 whole years. At the same time, old-men’s club in Brussels turned a blind eye to the shortcomings in the implementation of the bailout programs and “reforms” between 2010 and 2014, and decided to punish the the Greeks who voted for a left-wing government with their even stricter demands.
They changed elected Prime Minister Papandreou in November 2011 and blackmailed Tsipras in 2015. They drained liquidity and enforced capital controls.
Three years later, the capital controls are still present.
Greece’s lenders cheer on August 20th and their hypocrisy has the shine of crocodile teeth.
I’m sorry. I, and with me many Greeks, cannot so easily forget that dreadful 8-year past.
The price Greeks have paid is much higher that a 345 billion euro debt.
On the example of Greece they have discredited the European Union, the politics and the Eurozone. But they are unable to understand. The glasshouse they live in is just for them.
The more I write about it the angrier I get.
And that’ a pity for the day.
After all, even if we are broke, we still got the Greek sun and the sea and a lot of broken dreams.