By Haneul Na’avi
Greek-EU relations parallel the epic battle of Hesiod’s Theogony, in which Kronos (Saturn/ restriction) overthrows his father Uranus (innovation) to become ruler of the Cosmos, and then devours his five children save for Zeus (Jupiter/ expansion) to prevent their future uprising.
Similarly, the trade bloc has done the same by devouring Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, and Greece in order to cement dominion over Europe, using the global financial crisis as an impetus.
1. “[…] the son from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and […] swiftly lopped off his own father’s members…”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ struggle with the bureaucratic Cerberus known as the European Troika—the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—failed after he betrayed former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who sought radical fiscal options to rescue Greece’s economy.
Tsipras later signed the 2015 Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding, which claimed to “tackle tax evasion, fraud and strategic defaulters”, but in reality, shackles the country to another immovable €85 billion bailout and imposes a neoliberal, graduated privatisation scheme.
Unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was the architect of Greece’s calamity, where in 2001 he feloniously hid Greece’s debts using complex credit default swaps in order to meet Eurozone requirements set by the Maastricht Treaty, but the spell did not last long.
“After the 9/11 attacks, bond yields plunged, resulting in a big loss for Greece because of the formula Goldman had used to compute the country’s debt repayments under the swap. By 2005, Greece owed almost double what it had put into the deal, pushing its off-the-books debt from 2.8 billion euros to 5.1 billion,” Salon reports.
“[…] as interest rates plunged and the swaps turned out to cost far more, Goldman and the other banks refused to let the municipalities refinance without paying hefty fees to terminate the deals.”
Since then, Hellenic ministers have desperately sought options to revitalise its economy whilst battling austerity, but even rational measures to save it have come under fire from Brussels.
In 2008, Greek ministers tried to bail out its national industry Hellenic Shipyards before selling it to a German enterprise, which was later declared an “illegal move under Brussels law”.
EU technocrats imposed “a six million euro upfront penalty on Greece’s cash-strapped government, to be followed by a daily levy of 34,974 euros,” the Express highlighted.
“[…] Greece will be required to pay 34,974 euros to Brussels every day until it has recouped all of the 250 million euros it used to bail out Hellenic Shipyards”.
The country continues to battles a Hydra of problems, and despite slow gains, very few options remain within the EU framework. Fortunately, it is not alone and there is still hope. Continue reading The Clash of the Titans—How Greece became the target of an epic energy struggle