New Greek Government Gets Off to a Good Start

The first hours in office of the new Greek government seriously displeased the European Union fanatics, with their genocidal economic policies and anti-Russian march to war.

Even before taking his oath of office, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras telephoned European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, to protest the “joint” statement of the EU heads of government threatening Russia with more sanctions, declaring,
“We underline that it does not have our country’s consent.”

This issue will come up again tomorrow, when the EU Foreign Ministers meet.  Greece will be sending its new Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, who is a political science professor and former Communist, and a strong advocate of closer ties with Russia.  In the 1980s, he reportedly praised the Polish government’s crackdown on the Solidarity movement, whose members included Donald Tusk, President of the EU’s Council of Ministers and former Polish Prime Minister.

Upon being sworn in as Foreign Minister January 27th, Kotzias declared,

“Anyone who thinks that in the name of the debt, Greece will resign its sovereignty and its active counsel in European politics is mistaken.  We want to be Greeks, patriots, Europeanists, internationalists.”

Tsipras convened his government’s first cabinet meeting today, where he reaffirmed his government’s priorities:

1) a return to dignity for all citizens;
2) the support of the economy;
3) renegotiating the Greek debt and cracking down on corruption.

One of the first acts of the relevant ministers was to halt privatizations. Minister of Energy and Environment Panagiotis Lafazanis said on television that the state energy company will not be privatized.  “We will stop immediately any privatization of PCC.”  Greece gets virtually all of its gas from Gazprom, and both Syriza and the Independent Greeks have stated that Greece wants to participate in the Russian proposal to build a new pipeline through Turkey up to the Greek border, and then through Greece and to other European countries.

Lafazanis, as a student during the military dictatorship, spent time in prison for his anti-junta activities. More significant is that he is the leader of the “left wing” of Syriza, which wants to leave the Eurozone.

The new government’s Alternate Minister for Shipping, Thodoris Dritsas, announced the cancellation of the privatization of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP).  He stated that
“the public character of the port will be maintained.  The OLP sell-off stops here.”
He said that the state privatization fund, TAIPED, would suspend the process for the sale of the majority stake in OLP. While China was one of the bidders for OLP, their access to the port will not be affected.  The Chinese are interested only in expanding the throughput of the port, not in its ownership.  They already have a 30-year lease on the container port, which had been negotiated by current Defense Minister Panos Kammenos when he was a minister for Marine Affairs in 2007.

The privatization of the state railways will also be halted. The new government wants to finish the double-tracking of the main north-south rail line.

The Undersecretary of Administrative Reform and Electronic Governance, George Katrougalos, has revoked the dismissal of certain categories of civil service workers, which had subsequently been ruled unconstitutional.  Katrougalos said,
“We have committed ourselves to revoking all dismissals that were unconstitutional, including those due to the measure of availability.”

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis reiterated the government’s demand that there has to be a huge cut in the debt. He also said he will be meeting Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who will be visiting Athens on Jan. 30, and French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Feb. 1 in Paris.

Tsipras announced that his first trip abroad will not be to Germany, France, or any of the creditor countries, but he will be making an official visit to Cyprus as early as next week.

This entry was posted in Austerity & Bank Bailouts, Economy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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