After the smashing NO of the Greek referendum, Greece’s people have much more than before an established belief that the country’s euro-“partners” have no intention of helping this Greece. Or, at least, this Greece by this (leftist) governmenet , which the eurolenders definitely dislike.
“There is no base of new negotiations, and solidarity is needed from both sides” Angela Merkel said today, on the greferendum-after euro-summit
But is this a joke?
It is almost half a year now, that the hope for which Alexis Tsipras was elected on January, has been unstopably canceled by the European creditors’ side, multiple times a day, every single day, since Alexis was elected . Today, it is true, Greeks have been left with no traces of hope for a more altruistic, humanitarian, or at least, fair stance form the European side.
And it is almost proved , that there hasn’t been any such intention from Euro creditors ever.
Here is how this was unveiled recently
It was just two days before the referendum in Greece , while the Greek’s agony, mass mind torture and mass despair, were rising on the peak, by closed banks frightening as never before the daily life in every single Greek household, and while the armed missinformation propaganda was chocking any thought of democratic freedom , when NYT decided to publish the true story, word-by-word, that led Greece to its worst No-way-out.
It was exactly just on time, two days before the referendum, that the Greek heart had started to overcome the foggy laid set up of misleading information , the scary blackmailing quotes of European aders and Greek exleaders claiming that a no would be a Grexit d nothing else, and also, it was the moment that Greeks, and especially the veterans Greeks had found the courage to stand on the line for 50 euros daily, -the most lucky of them-, or 120 weekly the pensioners-, but not minding at all for these moments, since the brave Greek heart had awakened Greek mind and had let them see beyond that presend foggy shade. Greeks looking straight to the clear blue sky and Greece’s horizon decided to say a brave NO to the world.
None could deny, of course, that the shock of the banks’ closure , which was scheduled to last throughout the pre-referendum week , and after, was not of the best sufficient tools to scare the Greek public on real terms, picturing a humble tomorrow, for all the Greek families in case they would vote for the NO, as the Euro creditors would see it, while they were keeping reassuring that this was it: You vote NO, that’s what your life is going to be, and worst….
But the NYT article, on July 3, surprisingly revealed on its article 48hs before the 5th of July referendum, that this was what W.Schaublhad suggested on the last nightmarish- for Greece eurogroup, when also, the “Take it or reave it” ultimatum was said straightly to Yianis Varoufakis, shamelesssly, in forn of all the Euro finance ministers in a supposted to be United Europe financila summit.
..Yanis, if you keep talking about the debt, a deal will be impossible, Mr. Dijsselbloem said, according to people who were briefed on the exchange between the two men.
Mr. Schäuble began criticizing Mr. Moscovici, the senior European Commission official, over his positive comments regarding the Greek offer.
Even the latest proposal from the creditors was too lenient toward the Greeks, Mr. Schäuble argued, saying that he saw little chance that he could get it past the German Bundestag, the national parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The only solution here is capital controls, he said, his voice rising.
But Mr. Varoufakis persisted on the issue of Greece’s staggering debt load, ignoring the admonitions of Mr. Dijsselbloem and others.
Then Mr. Varoufakis turned on Christine Lagarde, the French director of the I.M.F.
Five years ago, the fund had given its blessing to the first bailout, doling out loans alongside Europe despite internal misgivings that Greece would be in no position to repay them.
Now the I.M.F. was pushing Greece to sign up to yet another austerity program to access more loans even though the fund had now concluded that their initial misgivings were correct: Greece’s debt was unsustainable.
I have a question for Christine, Mr. Varoufakis said to the packed hall: Can the I.M.F. formally state in this meeting that this proposal we are being asked to sign will make the Greek debt sustainable?
Yanis has a point, Ms. Lagarde responded — the question of the debt needs to be addressed. (A spokesman for the fund later said that this was not an accurate description of the exchange.)
But before she could explain, she was interrupted by Mr. Dijsselbloem.
It’s a take it or leave it offer, Yanis, the Dutch official said, peering at him through rimless spectacles.
In the end, Greece would leave it.
And not only.
Greek bravery would win , though Yianis would have become, 10 days later, a “Minister No More”.
But it was not only this part of the harsh european manner towards Greece, of these latest words to Yianis Varoufis that set fire on the Greece- and- its -creditros relationships that led to the referendum. 0n the same article of the NYT , the whole proceedure, and intention, of a non agreement is unveiled
…That Monday, June 22, Greece’s technical team in Brussels submitted an eight-page proposal to their counterparts. The paper was an effort to bridge a six-month divide on how Greece planned to sort out its future finances.
For political reasons, the Tsipras government had said it would not cut pensions or do away with tax breaks that favored businesses serving tourists on the Greek islands. Instead, the new Greek plan envisaged a series of tax increases and increases in pension contributions to be borne by corporations.
The initial response seemed positive. Both Pierre Moscovici, a senior finance official at the European Commission who is known to be sympathetic toward Greece, and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of Europe’s working group of finance ministers who is one of Greece’s harshest critics, said on Tuesday that the plan was promising.
The Greek team was elated. For the first time, the Greek numbers were adding up.
The next morning, though, that optimism evaporated.
Greece’s creditors — the I.M.F., the other eurozone nations and the European Central Bank — sent the Greek paper back and marked it in red where there were disagreements.
The criticisms were everywhere: too many tax increases, unifying value-added taxes, not enough spending cuts and more cuts needed on pension reforms.
The Greek team couldn’t believe it. The creditors had seemed to dial everything back to where the talks were six months ago….
The specific NYT’s article, indeed, reading it back again, -from today’s point of reality, where Europeans find Again Greece’s negotiation role as inadequate-, is sheding light to thuth behind the Eurogroup closed doors, which Europeans, probably, never wanted to be unveiled.
Apart from that, it was also around those days of 3-5 of July that IMF decided to publishize officialy its report that had assesed the Greek dept as non susstainable, early enouph, and of which the Euroleaders had been fully aware. A publication of which, the Reuters had wrote that
the report could distract attention from a view they share with the IMF that the Tsipras government, in the five months since it was elected, has wrecked a fragile economy that was just starting to recover.
It was the dept reduction, restructure or reform, that had made Yianis Varoufas sying, while he was Finance minister that he would better cut his hand than sign an agreement without debt reform.
Finally , Yianis sacrifised himself on the altar of a deal for Greece, but debt reform still remains as priority on the table .
This is Yianis Varoufakis’ resignation statement as he released it on Monday July 6.
The referendum of 5 July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt bondage.
Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25 June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid no vote be invested immediately into a yes to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted “partners”, for my … “absence” from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today.
I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
We of the left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office.
I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new minister of finance, and our government.
The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous oxi (no) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.
Our courageous No to a Non-solidarity Europe. #Proud2beGreek , Visit our #Greferendum updated Home Page. This is Greek to me ! Stay with us, 24/7
Some leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of holding a referendum in Greece, wrote UN experts on June 30, 2015
Why? they ask, adding that “Referenda are in the best traditions of democratic governance.”
It is disappointing that the IMF and the EU have failed to reach a solution that does not require additional retrogressive austerity measures
Any agreement that would require such a violation of human rights and customary international law is contra bonos mores and hence null and void pursuant to Art. 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
30 June 2015
GENEVA ( (Issued as received) –– Two United Nations human rights experts today welcomed the holding of a referendum in Greece to decide by democratic process the path to follow to solve the Greek economic crisis without deterioration in the human rights situation.
The UN Independent Experts on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, and on human rights and international solidarity, Virginia Dandan, stressed that there is much more at stake than debt repayment obligations, echoing a warning* issued earlier this month by the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky.
“All human rights institutions and mechanisms should welcome the Greek referendum as an eloquent expression of the self-determination of the Greek people in conformity with article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in pursuance of article 25 ICCPR on public participation. Indeed, a democratic and equitable international order requires participation by all concerned stakeholders in decision-making and respect for due process, which can best be achieved through international solidarity and a human rights approach to the solution of all problems, including financial crises.
It is disappointing that the IMF and the EU have failed to reach a solution that does not require additional retrogressive austerity measures. Some leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of holding a referendum in Greece. Why? Referenda are in the best traditions of democratic governance.
No one can expect the Prime Minister of Greece to renounce the commitments he made to the people who elected him with a clear mandate to negotiate a fair solution that does not dismantle Greek democracy and lead to further unemployment and social misery. Capitulating to an ultimatum imposing further austerity measures on the Greek population would be incompatible with the democratic trust placed on the Greek Prime Minister by the electorate.
By nature, every State has the responsibility to protect the welfare of all persons living under its jurisdiction. This encompasses fiscal and budgetary sovereignty and regulatory space which cannot be trumped by outside actors, whether States, inter-governmental organizations or creditors.
Article 103 of the UN Charter stipulates that the Charter provisions prevail over all other treaties, therefore no treaty or loan agreement can force a country to violate the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of its population, nor can a loan agreement negate the sovereignty of a State. Any agreement that would require such a violation of human rights and customary international law is contra bonos mores and hence null and void pursuant to Art. 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
A democratic and equitable international order requires a commercial and financial regime that facilitates the realization of all human rights. Inter-governmental organizations must foster and under no conditions hinder the achievement of the plenitude of human rights.
Foreign debt is no excuse to derogate from or violate human rights or to cause retrogression in contravention of articles 2 and 5 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In 2013, the Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights stated that the policy austerity measures adopted to secure additional financing from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank had pushed the Greek economy into recession and generally undermined the enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.
This is the moment for the international community to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Greece, to respect their democratic will as expressed in a referendum, to proactively help them out of this financial crisis, which finds a major cause in the financial meltdown of 2007-08, for which Greece bears no responsibility.
Indeed, democracy means self-determination, and self-determination often calls for referenda – also in Greece.”
Europe’s helping hand to Greece for five years, wroteJoseph Stiglitz the same critical day, June 30,in Huffington Post has been far different from what one might have expected if there was even a bit of humanity, of European solidarity.
“There was sometimes an element of neo-colonialism: the old White Europeans once again telling their former colonies what to do. More often than not, the policies didn’t work as they were supposed to. There were huge discrepancies between what the Western experts expected and what actually happened.
Somehow, one expected something better of Greece’s Eurozone “partner.” But the demands were every bit as intrusive, and the policies and models were every bit as flawed. The disparity between what the Troika thought would happen and what has emerged has been striking — and not because Greece didn’t do what it was supposed to, but because it did, and the models were very, very flawed. ”
On Sunday’s Referrendum in Greece , conludes Nobelist Stiglitz, both choices could lead to even worse social disruptions, calling, though, the Yes, “austerity and depression without end”. But while with one of them there is some hope, he says, with the other there is not.
(*) Read the statement by the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights (2 June 2015) – “Greek crisis: Human rights should not stop at doors of international institutions, says UN expert”:
- The first ever fat-tax in Europe was imposed by Denmark in September 2011, oblidging Danes to pay an extra 0.41 euros on each pack of butter, 0,11 euros on a pack of crisps, and an extra 0,18 euros on a pound of mince, as a result of the tax. The tax was levied at 2.5 per Kg of saturated fat at the point of sale from wholesalers to retailers.
- France, since then, also applied the fat tax, with taxing, also, sauces (ketchup and mayonnaise), as well as soft-drinks with high sugar concentrations, exempting light and zero-percent-sugar soft-drinks.
- Hungary on October 2011, imposed a tax is on all packaged foods containing unhealthy levels of sugar, salt, and carbohydrates, as well as products containing more than 20 milligrams of caffeine per 100 milliliters of the product.
- Hungary and France are taxing foods that have more than 2.3% saturated fat.
In those countries, the tax was said to be imposed so as to protect the citizens against obesity. A study by Mike Rayner’s group at the UK, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, had said since the year of 2007 that a combination of taxes on healthy foods and tax breaks on fruit and vegetables could save 3,200 lives a year in the UK.
Greece, welcome your perfect olive oil .So cheap in here, so expesnive abroad
But Greece does seem to urgently need the tax, not only for the apparent two reasons, of the protection of citizens’ health and the collection of some hundreds millions. It is the (almost) forgotten asset of the Greek olive oil, that is ideally boosted by this tax to be promoted more and more, by its usage within the households and also on the Greek restaurant industry.This could make the popular Greek food even more valuable to all tourists and visitors, making more clear that restaurants will be “clean of trans fats and have their menus based on olive oil”. And also, it gives a chance to protect the malnourished Greek mass from -cheaper coming to the stores otherwise-, unhealthy trans fat based products. Let’s not forget the 2006 NYC ban of the use of artificial trans fats in foods in restaurants and other eateries as well as required chain restaurants to post the calorie amounts in their food.
Third reason that we urgently need this tax is coming from the obesity rates in the Greek popuation in comparison with the average European rates , which multiply threatens the Health of the Greeks under the Greece’s Great Depression Times.
According to OECD, 1 in 10 Danes are obese, when in Greece the percentage reaches 22%, while the EU average stands at 15%.
Greece, is not only of the most stressed countries in the world and Europe, by the augmented austerity- stress level causing thousands of deaths yearly, but faces due to austerity also, the Health servises degradation that contributes to the increase of cardiovascular deaths.
In the States, “Sin-tax ” of tobacco
This type of “sin tax” first worked in reducing the consumption of tobacco products over the last decade. High tobacco taxes significantly reduced cigarette smoking and other tobacco use. When President Obama raised federal tobacco taxes by 62 percent days after he took office, the numbers of smokers have since decreased by 3 million, and the US Treasury raised more than $30 billion in new revenue.
In the States, Fat- tax since 2015 , trans-fat ban since 2006
In the USA, California is the first of the United States who applied ‘fat’ tax since the start of 2015, to purchases made of butter, milk, cheese, pizza, candy, soda and all processed food if the item contains more than 2.3% saturated fat.
Lobbyists with the Organic Consumers Association, crafted the ballot measure working closely with First Lady Michelle Obama’s #LetsMove program,, with the aim, a majority of taxes collected to go to obesity education, preventative counseling and support groups, and a percentage of the funds to go to work and housing programs for the state’s exploding immigrant population.
The latest proposal involving a “fat tax” was made in Nevada, when legislation was proposed to impose a 5-cent tax on fast-food items containing more than 500 calories.
According to Oliver Mytton, a researcher for the British Heart Foundation’s Health Promotion Research Group, junk foods need to be taxed at least 20% to have a significant effect on obesity and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, his studies have found that taxes on a wide range of unhealthy foods and ingredients are more effective than narrow fat taxes.