Posts Tagged ‘euro’

Force ECB to release #TheGreekFiles

February 21, 2017

Those who support the EU, why do they continue to turn a blind eye to Greece?

Greece dared stand up and challenge the EU, for that Greece had to be destroyed.

The main route for destroying Greece was to destroy the Greek banks.

That action may have been illegal.

Deep in a vault in the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) lie #TheGreekFiles, a legal opinion about the ECB’s actions towards Greece in 2015 that could send shockwaves across Europe.

As a European taxpayer, you paid for these documents. But the ECB’s boss, ex-Goldman Sachs head Mario Draghi, says you can’t see them.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Fabio de Masi MEP, together with a broad alliance of politicians and academics (below), have announced they will file a mass freedom of information request to the ECB to uncover #TheGreekFiles once and for all.

If Mario says no, they’ll take the campaign to the next level, and consider all options – including legal action – to make this vital information public.

Please support their request to release these  critical documents  by signing the petition calling for the release of #The GreekFiles. 

This DiEM25 petition is supported by a coalition of politicians and academics, with divergent views on the future of the EU and the Eurozone.

Here is the most recent list; check back for updates:

  • Benoît Hamon, Socialist Party candidate for the French Presidency, 2017
  • Katja Kipping, Co-Chairperson, Die Linke, Germany
  • Gesine Schwan, President, Viadrina European University and twice the SPD’s candidate for the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Yanis Varoufakis, co-founder of DiEM25 and former Greek finance minister

with the support of university professors including:

  • Klaus Dörre, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena
  • James K. Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin
  • Rudolf Hickel, Bremen Universität
  • Gustav A. Horn, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung
  • Aidan Regan, University College Dublin
  • Jeffrey Sachs, University of Columbia
  • Joseph Vogl, Humboldt Universität
  • Arthur Gibson, University of Cambridge

In June 2015, the newly-elected Greek government was locked in tense negotiations with its creditors (the ‘Troika’ – the ECB, EC and IMF), doing what it had been voted in to do: renegotiate the country’s public debt, fiscal policy and reform agenda, and save its people from the hardship of the most crushing austerity programme in modern history.

The Troika knew they needed to make a drastic move to force the Greek government to capitulate. And that’s just what they did: through the ECB, they took action to force Greece’s banks to close, ultimately driving the Greek government – against its democratic mandate – to accept the country’s third ‘bailout’, together with new austerity measures and new reductions in national sovereignty.

But in their haste, their zeal to crush the Greek government’s resistance, the ECB feared their actions might be legally dubious. So they commissioned a private law firm to examine whether those decisions were legal. The legal opinion of this law firm is contained in #TheGreekFiles.

In July 2015, the German MEP Fabio De Masi asked Mario Draghi to release the legal opinion. Mario refused, hiding behind ‘attorney-client privilege’. Clearly #TheGreekFiles contain something he doesn’t want us to see.

One of the foremost experts on European Law, Professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano, examined whether the ECB was right to refuse to release #TheGreekFiles. His detailed conclusion leaves no room for doubt: the ECB has no case for withholding from MEPs and the citizens of Europe the legal opinion the ECB secured (and paid for using your money) regarding its own conduct.

But in addition to the legal imperative: in today’s Eurozone, the power of the ECB to close down a member-state’s banks violates every democratic principle. It also violates the ECB’s own aspiration, and charter obligation, to be independent and above political strategising.

We must all throw light on the lawfulness and propriety of ECB decision-making – beginning with this case – to give European democracy a chance, as well as to make the ECB less vulnerable to power politics.

Is 2008 our 1929?

June 28, 2016
Come on Greece It's Time to Leave

Come on Greece It’s Time to Leave

Leave won because too many British voters identified the EU with authoritarianism, irrationality and contempt for parliamentary democracy while too few believed those of us who claimed that another EU was possible. — Yanis Varoufakis

Britain has voted to leave the EU. The reason? A large section of the working class, concentrated in towns and cities that have been quietly devastated by free-market economics, decided they’d had enough. — Paul Mason

While I remain convinced that leave was the wrong choice, I welcome the British people’s determination to tackle the diminution of democratic sovereignty caused by the democratic deficit in the EU. And I refuse to be downcast, even though I count myself on the losing side of the referendum. — Yanis Varoufakis

I predicted in Postcapitalism that the crackup of neoliberalism would take geo-strategic form first, economic second. This is the first big crack. — Paul Mason

As of today, British and European democrats must seize on this vote to confront the establishment in London and Brussels more powerfully than before. The EU’s disintegration is now running at full speed. Building bridges across Europe, bringing democrats together across borders and political parties, is what Europe needs more than ever to avoid a slide into a xenophobic, deflationary, 1930s-like abyss. — Yanis Varoufakis

1929 the Wall Street crash, followed by The Great Depression, followed by dog-eat-dog mentality, austerity, followed by rise in Fascism across Europe, Spanish Civil War, General Franco, Mussolini, Adolf Hitler come to power, World War Two.

I was at a garden party Saturday. Live music, Lamborghini in the stable block, tennis court in the grounds. Very scared people.

On leaving, I thought, was this like June, a lovely sunny June, people at garden parties before the horror of World War Two?

Since the 2008  banking crisis, economies have flatlined. Forget the lies of politicians, who get out a magnifying glass, see statistical noise and claim they see recovery.

EU is a failing economic zone thanks to structural flaws in the euro.

Across Europe we are seeing a rise in Fascism.

Yanis Varoufakis sees exact parallels with the 1930s and fears the worst if the EU breaks up. That was why Yanis Varoufakis campaigned with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell for UK to Remain in the EU. Not because he sees anything good in the EU, he does not, he bears the lashes on his back, it is because he fears for the future and wanted our help to fight the EU from within.

Those who saw the EU for what it is, a big business cartel, a democracy-free zone, even if on both sides of the debate, had a common aim. There were those who felt EU was beyond reform, therefore Leave and hope others follow. Others like Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Yanis Varoufakis thought best to fight from within.

Greece dared challenge the EU, and for that Greece was destroyed.

UK has done more than dare challenge the EU, UK has dared to Leave, has sparked a Revolution across Europe. This is the spark that will set Europe alight.

We should fear what the EU will do next.

We have seen attacks on David Cameron for resigning, demand he start negotiations to leave.

We are being told no access to EU markets.

Unelected EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has ordered eurocrats to not enter into any negotiations with the British informal or otherwise, he has questioned why UK MEPs are still sitting on the European Parliament.

Who do these people think they are?

But what it does do, is illustrate the mindset of arrogant unelected eurocrats.  Contempt for democracy, contempt for the Greeks, contempt for the Brits.

They are frightened, they know their days are numbered, as they know if UK can have a painless exit from the EU, other countries will follow, and the EU will collapse.

Greece was punished, brought to its knees by the ECB turning off funding to Greek banks.

What therefore will EU do to UK, what punishment will they mete out?

We have already seen threaten to stop the mechanism by which British banks operate across Europe for clearing euros.

EU may pick a fight with UK, the fifth largest economy in the world. Adolf Hitler picked a fight with UK.

EU would come of worse if they tried, but they will take down the entire world economy with them. They would turn southern Europe into a wasteland and create a world recession that would last a generation.

If no deal with EU, would under WTO rules have Most Favoured Nation Status. This would grant both sides access to markets with low tariffs, but without any diktat from the EU. It would then be for both side to reach agreement to lower those tariffs.

We have already seen how jittery are the world markets. Markets hate uncertainty.

Economic illiterate George Osborne has threatened yet more austerity. The worst possible outcome if facing a recession.

Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Paul Mason, recognise, we have to deal with mass migration, the devastating impact it is having on working class areas.

Free movement of people, never envisaged mass movement of people.

This is being used, and it was encouraged by war criminal Tony Blair, to drive down wages.

It is not only in UK.

In Cyprus, unscrupulous hotel chains, fire all their Cypriot workers, hire in their place, temporary cheap labour form Romania and Bulgaria. Another hotel chain, employs students from a hotel and catering school in Slovakia, girls who are bullied, work in an atmosphere of fear. Cheap labour via the back door, no training programmes in place.

All parties have to cooperate, call public meetings, to reach a consensus. This is too important to be left to a handful of politicians or political parties. The EU Referendum showed how of touch they were with ordinary people. There also has to be at grassroots across Europe, cooperation to decide what Europe we want. And that Europe cannot be one where we are being dictated to by the EU.

UK has to have full unfettered access to the European market, in turn, they to the UK.

To trade, we do not need trade agreements, but removal of tariff barriers, especially punitive ones, helps.

UK has to look to other markets. UK could quickly reach agreement with India. There are historic ties and it is clearly easier for India to reach agreement with one country, than with 27 countries.

To attempt to turn UK into a fiscal penal colony with creditor guards and debtor prisoners, as has been to Greece, would fail.

By the same measure the debt of Greece must be written off. It is unpayable, why therefore pretend otherwise?

Jeremy Corbyn is being blamed for Brexit, which is farcical, were it was not so tragic. It misses the point, as to why a referendum was held, it was for the people to decide, not politicians.

The Parliamentary Labour Party has revolted against Jeremy Corbyn, but they have no mandate to do so. And they have done it at a time when we all need to be focused on a post-Brexit future. Their self-indulgence will not be forgotten. And if Jeremy Corbyn was at fault then what role those MPs who have mounted a coup?

Brexit has shown the eurocrats have still not got it. Sadly neither have the many embittered Remain who are spewing hatred on social media, many seem to lack any understanding of the difference between EU and Europe, that anti-EU is not anti-Europe or anti people of Europe, they are stirring up racial hatred which has already lead to attacks on people from Eastern Europe.

DiEM25 are pushing for democratisation of the EU. They now as a matter of urgency need to push for retention of trade links with UK.

Massive IMF Bailouts are “Ponzi Austerity” Scheme

April 28, 2016

https://twitter.com/democracynow/status/725750944009474048

Yanis Varoufakis on Democracy Now discussing the fiscal waterboarding Greece was subjected to.

Greece dared challenge the EU dictatorship. For that Greece had to be punished.

The loans to Greece did not bail out Greece, they were bailouts for French and German banks. The money flowed into Greece, and straight back out again.

A Ponzi scam: Money flows in, the scheme appears to be growing, but it is not growing, it relies upon finding fresh investors to keep pouring in money to give the illusion it is growing. Indeed, the fund is shrinking because those running the scam are creaming off from the scam. Eventually the bubble bursts.

We are seeing the same Ponzi scams with high tech scams. The value of the company is entirely dependent upon finding fresh mugs to pour in money to inflate the value of the company. The intention being to flog off the company at its inflated price before the bubble bursts.

Ponzi austerity is a variant of pretend and extend. Keep lending money to an insolvent entity, in this case a country,  to enable it to pay off the existing loans. In the meantime, strings attached, in the trade known as conditionalities, to implement austerity. The economy shrinks, making it ever less likely to be able to repay the loans.

Lame duck President Obama, visited first UK, to try and intimidate the Brits to stay in the UK. It was then visit Germany to discuss forcing through TTIP that strips us of democratic accountability, handing control to global corporations, then on to Saudia Arabia to sell weapons to the corrupt House of Saud, which when the corrupt House of Saud falls, the weapons will be in the hands of ISIS.

IMF is wishing to trigger a crisis in Greece.

62% of the Greek people in a referendum last year said No to the EU. This was in spite of the intimidation they were subjected to (similar intimidation we are seeing in the UK to force Brits to vote Yes to the EU). The Greek people showed courage and voted No. They were betrayed by Syriza who capitulated to the EU.

Greece is now ruled by diktat from the EU. The government a puppet of the EU.

At the end of the Second World War, the Americans created the Bretton Woods system. Currencies in Europe were linked to the dollar, the dollar linked to gold. US, as the surplus country, recycled its surpluses through Europe.

J M Keynes wanted to create an international body to recycle the surpluses. The Americans vetoed this as it was their money that was being recycled.

This worked fine until 1971, when US flipped from being a surplus country to a deficit country.

US then decided as a deficit country, it would recycle the surpluses through Wall Street.

Not sustainable, finally crashed in 2008.

Real vs Money Incomes – the one thing we need to understand during deflationary times (with an illustration from Greece and Cyprus)

March 13, 2016

Yanis Varoufakis

deflation.jpgIn inflationary times, real income growth is always good news. However, in deflationary times, real income growth may well reflect a deepening recession (or even a depression). This is important to know lest deepening recession is presented as… economic recovery (as has been the EU’s wont in recent times).

How can real income growth reflect a deepening recession?

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Yanis Varoufakis at AlpenSymposium

January 14, 2016

Yanis Varoufakis in discussion at AlpenSymposium.

Extend and pretend, grant huge loans to a  country, in this case Greece, when it is known the loans cannot be repaid, the loans then used as an excuse to destroy a country.

Last January, Syriza were elected to great hope. Six months later they betrayed the Greek people, hope replaced by despair. Greece now under occupation by the EU.

The Greek crisis in reality is not a Greek criss, it is a European crisis.

EU is a corrupt, malignant force, it is not democratic, it was established as a cartel, it still functions as a cartel. The euro was introduced to aid price fixing.

TTIP is being pushed in secret by the EU.

We have David Cameron claiming to be renegotiating UK relationship with EU. He is doing nothing of the sort. The focus is on whether or not immigrants can claim benefits. Few are in UK to claim benefits, they are there to work, high unemployment and low wages in their own countries forcing them to seek work elsewhere. The rare exception being the filthy Nepalese parasites that have poured into the UK.

Any meaningful change would require Treaty change, agreement of every single country, of the European Parliament (an expensive talking shop)  and  the European Commission (a Fascist dictatorship).

David Cameron is not arguing for any meaningful democratic reform that would make the EU accountable to the people of Europe.

It was EU meddling in Ukraine, that has created the crisis and civil war in Ukraine and brought the West to the brink of war with Russia.

There are only two ways forward for Europe, one is the democratic reform proposed by Yanis Varoufakis  (It ignores that the EU is too big an entity to ever be accountable). The other is to smash the EU, the Fourth Reich in all but name, for it to be broken up and replaced by cooperating, democratic, sovereign states.

For some perverse reason, only five minutes is available of what looks like an interesting discussion.

#THIS IS A COUP – My comments on Paul Mason’s documentary

December 19, 2015

Thank you Yanis for your corrections.

https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/thisisacoup/

We await with interest your detailed account of the first six months, and what led to those six months.

Exit from the euro would have been the best option, but, Greece was not in a position to exit. Greece lacks a currency, it would have taken a year to introduce one, in the meantime Greece would have gone into meltdown.

What Greece should be doing, is introducing a parallel currency or local currencies, that are outside the control of EU and ECB.

There also has to be resistance by the Greek people, they can no longer depend upon Syriza who signed a surrender document.

https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/an-alternative-greek-currency/

Yanis Varoufakis

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 14.20.44.pngPaul Mason’s recently released four-part documentary #THIS IS A COUP, on the crushing of the Athens Spring, offers much food for thought. Paul and I have had many opportunities to discuss the issues it covers, including on stage in London in front of a magnificent audience. When the time comes, I shall publish my full account. But for now, here are some comments for each one of the four episodes, culminating to a general comment at the very end – see below.

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A Greek Drama (a BBC Radio Play) – My 10 factual corrections

December 19, 2015

Thank you Yanis for your corrections.

https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/thisisacoup/

It is a pity the BBC did not properly research the facts.

We await with interest your detailed account of the first six months, and what led to those six months.

Yanis Varoufakis

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 11.40.58.png

As I am a central character in this dramatisation of the five month-long standoff between our government and the Eurogroup/Troika, I am loath to offer a critical review. However, it may be useful to listeners (but also to the BBC’s production team) to correct some factual errors.

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#ThisIsACoup

December 18, 2015

I felt as if the earth had imploded under my feet. I felt incredible sadness and a sense of having betrayed the 62 percent of Greeks who had shown astonishing courage—and I don’t think we had the historical right to do that. — Yanis Varoufakis

#ThisIsACoup, a four-part series telling the story of the European Union’s confrontation with the Greek Syriza party in 2015. With unprecedented access to key Greek politicians.

Directed by Theopi Skarlatos, edited by Andreas Loukakos, produced by Paul Mason

Released by Field of Vision, the filmmaker driven film journalism unit co-created by Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack, and Charlotte Cook.

Funded through crowdfunding.

In 2010, Greece was broke. More money was lent, classic pretend and extend, the money came with strings attached, Draconian conditions set, which destroyed Greece.  Austerity was used as a front for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, to pensions. As a result the Greek economy collapsed, unemployment rose, making it even less likely the loans could ever be repaid. And the money that was loaned to Greece, did not find its way into Greek pockets (except maybe that of oligarchs and corrupt politicians), it went straight back out to bailout German banks.

Syriza were elected with a democratic mandate to challenge the EU, to reject austerity that was destroying Greece.

ECB turned off finance to Greek banks. This caused a run on the banks, and the banks were forced to close. It was part of the pressure put on Greece, a delibearte attampt to bring Greece to its knees.

Fiscal waterboarding.

A referendum is called. The people vote OXI, over 60% vote No to the EU proposals.

Syriza had what they wanted, Greeks had said no to the EU. Syriza then betrayed the people, signed a surrender document with the EU.

EU was not interested is solving the Greek debt crisis. They had only one intention to crush Greece. to serve as an exam[le tp any other cuntrty that thought to challened the EU.

In January, when Syriza were elected, there was hope. Now, with what the people see as betrayal by Syriza, hope has turned to despair.

If any lessons learnt, it is that the ordinary people have to take control and drive change themselves.  The only way forward, is for Greeks to run their own affairs.

Paul Mason is Economics Editor of Channel 4 News and author of PostCapitalism.

Yanis Varoufakis in conversation with Max Keiser

November 19, 2015

GDP growing up to 2007 at a rate of 5% per annum. Everything looks great, except for one thing, credit was rising at 10% per annum.

The rich have access to as much credit as they want, free money, they pay no interest.

The poor, one could also add small businesses, find it nigh impossible to obtain access to credit, and when they do they pay very high interest rates, in the case of the poor with Pay Day Loans paying interest rates of several thousand per cent per annum.

Silly money is chasing silly projects, forcing up the price of property and the value of high-tech death stars.

Syriza signed a surrender document with the EU. It was a betrayal of the Greek people, the country is now under occupation by the Fourth Reich.

EU was not interested in negotiating an agreement that would deal with the economic crisis in Greece. They were only interested in destroying Greece, making an example of Greece for daring to challenge the EU.

In 2010, Greece was in serious debt, the debt unpayable. Greece was bailed out by the EU, but this money did not see the light of day in Greece, it was used to bail out the German banks that had made risky loans.

Greece, with the help of banks, fiddled its debt to gain entry to the EU. This was done with the connivance of the EU and was common practice at the time.

By 2007, it was known the Greek debt was unsustainable, and at some point the bubble would burst.

Yanis Varoufakis at Cambridge Union

October 30, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis at Cambridge Union.

It is not from the centre of empire we see collapse, not from the glass towers in the City of London, it is from the fringes, it is the slums of London, on the banks of the Dniestr, where poverty is that of Africa, where the people would rather be in the gangster economy of Vladimir Putin in Russia, it is in the south, in Greece, in Cyprus, Portugal, Spain.

Greece is the canary in the cage, where there was hope, there is despair. In Athens, stray dogs and homeless sleeping on the street. The people voted no to the EU proposals, they were betrayed by Syriza who signed a declaration of surrender, the people to be punished for daring to challenge the EU, a whole country to be destroyed.

J M Keynes quite rightly attacked the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was to be punished, the country bled dry. We saw the result, the rise of Adolf Hitler, World War Two, a continent destroyed, 20 million dead. Lessons were learnt. And yet it seems no lessons have been learnt. Greece is now under occupation, ruled by a Vichy Regime, a puppet government of the EU, the country to be raped and pillaged, stripped of its assets.

For perverse reasons only known to themselves, Cambridge Union only publish highlights, and the entire talk not until the end of term.