27 Ιουλίου, 2015

Anyone can claim to tear apart a Memorandum. But, now you have no choice but to implement your very own.

Stavros Theodorakis addressed the Parliament during the session to discuss the bill for the second package of conditions precedent to the start of negotiations for the third bailout agreement: 

"I will be short. Besides, I think that the time for smart remarks has passed. To be honest, I am kind of suffocating here. On the one hand, Mr. Tsipras is the advocate for Europe.. On the other hand, Mr. Meimarakis is the centrist. So, at 2 o'clock in the morning, I am just wondering: who exactly am I…

Mr. Prime Minister, I think that beyond mutual applause with Mrs. Konstantopoulou, you must give an answer: how much longer will you tolerate her as President of the Parliament?

In her letter today that she addresses to the leaders of the entire universe, she gives lessons of constitutional law to the President of the Republic, who is a professor of constitutional law. And, she talks about Ministers who are forced to legislate and about members of parliament who are forced to vote. This is an insult to all of us. But, especially to you. For us, it is clear. Mrs. Konstantopoulou must come down from her chair, must stop having her private TV channel that promotes only her opinions and only her friends, and be restricted to her parliamentarian duties.

The truth is that many MPs and, unfortunately, several Ministers engage in radical empty talk. We listen to them on TV, all day long, saying how much the measures bother them. How much they understand the people that do not want them. They present themselves as victims of a policy that Alexis Tsipras forcefully and secretly brought to the country.

If there is something that should bother you, ladies and gentlemen of the government, is that, as a result of your mishandling, the country is in worse shape than what had been left by the previous government. We must all leave behind the rhetoric and go to work. SYRIZA and ANEL must stop present laziness and incompetence as a struggle against the memorandums. Dare to speak the truth to our society.

I heard you saying today, Mr. Tsipras – and frankly I thought that you were not going to make the same mistake again – that you do not "believe in this program”. You are the Prime Minister of the country. Who are you saying this to? Are you saying to the Greek people that will pay the piper, who have to pay the taxes, that they should not do it? That it is not likely that this program will work? Is it not an insult to the people listening to us that the leader of the government says that he is dragged into a program in which he does not believe himself? It is one thing to say that we need to make improvements to the program, and quite another for the head of the government to say that he does not believe in the program.

We already say that there are things that we can change in your Memorandum. We have been working on it, we have been talking with several experts, we will be presenting proposals. Yesterday, we submitted specific proposals. This is the new patriotism. to be useful!

Do the same thing and stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourselves. You remind me of the story of the pampered princes that were promised only pleasurable celebrations and now, suddenly must go to the front to fight, and feel uncomfortable...

It takes a lot of work for your Memorandum to work. I can hardly believe that we are the ones telling you what you should do with your own Memorandum. It takes a lot of effort on the government’s part. It takes planning and people with determination.

Anyone can claim to tear apart a Memorandum. But, now you have no choice but to implement your very own. Let us make this clear. We will not join the civil war of Memorandums. It has now become clear to the Greek people that the Memorandums will not save the country. Greece will only be saved by the major reforms and the major changes that must be made! And, you too must get ready for these major changes.

The economy is dying and slogans will not resurrect it.

The capital controls that you so frivolously brought about have torn everything apart. Even the mothers of some ministers had predicted what would happen. Let me make a small parenthesis, because we often talk about the ethics of the Left. It is shameful the way that the Minister reacted to the story about her family withdrawing from the bank 200.000 euros days before the imposition of capital controls. She issued a missive of 1.010 words, without giving a clear answer and without apologizing to the Greek people.

Ceasing this opportunity, I would like to remind you that, since March, we had asked that the Ministers and MPs bring their money back to the country. It is inconceivable that Greek MPs have transferred their money abroad. The politicians must keep their money in Greece, and take the same risk as all the citizens of the country. Did they do it? The MPs, and especially those of the governmental majority, who are lecturing us that we must trust the Greek state, did they bring their money home? Why is it that common people must have confidence in Greece, but the politicians are allowed to have a nest egg abroad?

No more lies. No more double-speak. Truth and reality. Do not fool the citizens anymore.

I heard, even today, Ministers say that “there will be no taxation for farmers”, “no cuts in pensions”. But, you have agreed otherwise, so why do you continue to fool people? Lies do not give birth to hope, at least when we are not in a pre-electoral period.

And now, let us discuss the major issue of the economy. You cannot be saying that the banks function normally when export companies – the ones bringing money to the country - cannot purchase raw materials. Companies apply for the authorization to pay 500.000 to suppliers, and they get an approval for 5.000.

Workers in the private sector have been forced to take obligatory leaves. They are only paid small advances, and many are forced to work in the black economy. The dismissals increase every day, but I think that you, our colleagues in government, have stopped counting the unemployed since January.

But, nothing changes in the running of the State. The common people are suffering, but certain ministers keep hiring more high-level employees. Party members, friends and relatives. Tens of people are being hired in the Ministry of Defense, according to press reports.

And, in a period when the national image of the country has collapsed, we hear that Mr. Pappas has decided to suspend the function of nine Press Offices abroad, not in order to cut down on expenditures, but in order to appoint his own people. It has been decided that 39 people will be transferred, of whom 16 are in high positions. So, we ask you. The ones that are leaving, are all of them inadequate? Was their performance appraised? By whom? How? The ones that are coming, are they all supporters of SYRIZA and ANEL, or has there been a mistake? Has Mr. Baltas given you a manual, or will you improvise and find ourselves in front of a surprise again?

Let’s now move to the big picture. Let us tell you what we will do. What Potami will do. We were first in the effort to save the country, following the divisive referendum. We are proud of that and even more proud because people, who used to be suspicious of Potami, now acknowledge our contribution.
But, we keep warning that the risk of bankruptcy and Grexit still exists. The Schaueble plans are still there, in the top drawer. They are waiting for us to make mistakes. This is why we say that what matters is not to settle the internal issues of the parties, but the stability of the country.

I mentioned the name of Mr. Pappas, and I need to say a few more things. He brought a draft of a law regarding TV channels. What is our position? We believe that it took you much too long. We had told you, right from the start, that Potami will be with you in this battle, if you are indeed determined to tackle corruption and break the triangle of politics, banks and media. There must be regulations, and we all have to pay. But, in the draft of the law, you say that you will decide how many channels will receive a license. Why not have the National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV) – an independent authority – decide, which is the case in every country in the world? Why is it up to the Minister to decide how many channels will be broadcasting? I say this, because the point is not to tackle the corruption of the others in order to replace it with our own corruption. In other words, replace other people’s interests with our own. I think that the real challenge is to join forces in order to put an end to the games of the sharpies, who think that they can control either the media, public procurements or the flow of capital. But for this to happen, it takes a transparent game, away from any impression that you are trying to build your own regime. And I am afraid that many of your actions reveal that you are trying to establish your own regime in the media too.

To sum up. I hear some SYRIZA and ANEL MPs whisper that the program will not work. They say “let’s take the humanitarian aid and leave". We say that we will not leave. The fort will not fall. Greece must stay and fight in Europe.

With a fast running RIVER, clear and life-giving, against an infertile political landscape. With new creative forces in the front line, with new people, new values. Can we do it? We say “Yes, we can”."

25 July 2015

Photo credit: Theodore Manolopoulos