FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Back to a Feudal Europe

by SERGE HALIMI

Are the economic policies needed to maintain the euro still compatible with democracy? Greece’s state broadcaster was established after the fall of the military dictatorship. Last month the Greek government (which is implementing EU injunctions) decided to shut it down without authorisation from parliament (see Where Syriza stands). Before the Greek courts suspended this decision, the European Commission could have recalled the public service broadcasting protocol to the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997, which states that “the system of public broadcasting in the member states is directly related to the democratic, social and cultural needs of each society and to the need to preserve media pluralism.” Instead, it backed the Greek government’s actions, stating on 12 June that the closure “should be seen in the context of the major and necessary efforts that the authorities are taking to modernise the Greek economy.”

Europeans know all about constitutional projects that have been pushed through despite being rejected by public referendum. They remember candidates who, having promised to renegotiate the terms of a treaty, then get it ratified without changing a comma. The people of Cyprus very nearly had a percentage of their bank deposits seized by the government (1). But this is a new milestone: the EC is washing its hands of the dismantling of the only Greek media not yet owned by shipping magnates, since this will make it possible to sack 2,800 workers immediately from the public sector, which the EC has always abhorred. It will also allow Greece to meet the targets for job cuts that the troika (2) has imposed on a country where 60% of young people are unemployed.

This misplaced zeal coincides with the publication in the US media of a confidential report in which the IMF concedes that the policies it has implemented in Greece over the last three years have resulted in “notable failures”. Were the errors due simply to over-optimistic growth forecasts? Probably not. According to the Wall Street Journal’s interpretation of this verbose document, the IMF admits that “an immediate restructuring [of Greece’s debt] would have been cheaper for European taxpayers, as private-sector creditors were repaid in full for two years before 2012 using the money borrowed by Athens. Greece’s debt level thus remained undented, but it was now owed to the IMF and Eurozone taxpayers instead of banks and hedge funds” (3).

The speculators have extricated themselves without losing one cent of the loans they made to Greece at astronomical interest rates. Obviously, such skill in robbing Europe’s taxpayers for the benefit of the hedge funds qualifies the troika to make the Greek people suffer. There are also hospitals, schools and universities that could be closed without any opposition. And not just in Greece: it’s only by making such sacrifices Europe that will be able keep its place in the triumphal progress towards a new Middle Ages.

SERGE HALIMI is director of Le Monde Diplomatique. He has written several books, including one  on the French press, Les nouveaux chiens de garde and another on the French left in the 20th century – Quand la gauche essayait – both are fine works.  He can be reached at Serge.Halimi@monde-diplomatique.fr

This article appears in the excellent Le Monde Diplomatique, whose English language edition can be found at mondediplo.com. This full text appears by agreement with Le Monde Diplomatique. CounterPunch features two or three articles from LMD every month.

Notes.

(1) See Serge Halimi, “Anything’s possible now”, Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, April 2013.

(2) The European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

(3) “IMF Concedes It Made Mistakes on Greece”, The Wall Street Journal, New York, 6 June 2013.

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail