Sunday, July 03, 2011

International rescue

In a stimulating piece Iannis Carras writes about the environmental costs of the Greek bailout. He doesn't pull his punches about the self-interested funding pushed by the EU for inappropriate, destructive, large-scale and hugely expensive projects and their contribution to Greek indebtedness.
Much of the debate around the economic, political and societal crisis gripping Greece has overlooked the role of the European Union in fuelling the crisis. Quite apart from the distortionary effects on the competitiveness of peripheral states precipitated by the introduction of the Euro and the subsequent lack of adequate oversight, it was misplaced EU subsidies that resulted in a lack of competitiveness in many sectors of the Greek economy, and misplaced EU subsidies that allowed the dramatic growth of the Greek public sector following the election of Andreas Papandreou as Prime Minister in 1981.
He concludes:
The irony is that the Prime Minister, George Papandreou, whatever his other faults, has thus far stood out for his commitment to the environment... He is now being forced by the EU and the IMF to take responsibility for the worst man-made environmental destruction in the history of the Aegean.
How reassuring then that those self same officials are coming over to take control on behalf of those simple Greeks who just aren't up to running an economy. Reuters reports Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker discussing how "the Greek crisis had been largely caused by itself" through paying too high wages (!) and saying,
"One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone"
Wow! Insulting? Patronising? Or both?  The failure of EU officials to acknowledge even the slightest responsibility for the crisis, all the while developing a new doctrine of bureaucratic infallibility, is profoundly depressing and gives little hope for the future. However, this is Greece we are dealing with and these people should remember that in these parts hubris is inevitably followed by nemesis.

No comments: