Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html en-gb 30 Fri 04 Sep 2015 14:31:55 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html Tasos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=99#comment278 Intelligence police, please take care of Borat...Now, there is really ONE BBC-article to read on Greece:>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8661786.stmFrom the outside, it looks like a spendthrift country getting what it deserves in painful cuts to public spending.At street level, however, the anger stems from a sense of injustice. Many feel that the average citizen is now paying the price for corruption and government spending that they did not benefit from."I am willing to take a cut, because we all have to. But I'm feeling more and more angry every day, because those who got us into this mess are not held responsible. Their children aren't going to suffer because of this."Most Greeks we spoke to acknowledged that sacrifices would have to be made, and some were in support of cuts.But nearly all referred to lower paid workers "carrying the can" for decades of mismanagement and political corruption, and it is this sense of injustice which is propelling people out onto the streets.And another ONE BBC-article to read on the BIGGER PICTURE:>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/04/rating_agencies_who_made_them.htmlAll that S&P has done is to say that Greek debt is junk; but surely Greek debt can't in reality be junkier today than it was last week just because S&P says so?You may wonder what on earth is going on. If S&P doesn't create economic reality - which it doesn't - how can its assessment of that economic reality wreak such havoc?The answer is that S&P - and the two other leading credit-rating agencies, Moody's and Fitch - have been endowed with enormous authority by governments, central banks and regulators.They are the gods of the credit markets... Fri 07 May 2010 20:15:08 GMT+1 Bora http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=99#comment277 113-Nik: "So what are you up to? Is it that any Greek here accused "others" like US, Turkey or the aliens as directly related in Greece's financial problem? Can you point one?"What? That's all You do lolIrony police! Arrest this man! Fri 07 May 2010 14:16:28 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=98#comment276 Re276: If Churchill was alive Pavel, Britain would come to "aid" Greece, and next month Greece would be attacked militarily by a neighbour, as it usually happened when British were around. Either you know it or not, Churchhill had been one of the biggest enemies of Greece as a state and of Greeks as a nation but that will take long here to analyse. Just think of it, Britain is a maritime nation, Greece is one, Churchill had been a prime representative of the former, at the end there is no case where two maritime nations will collaborate: the bigger will attack one way or another the smaller. British did it mostly by allying to Greeks. There has been nothing more catastrophic for Greeks than to be allied to British (and that does not mean they had better ally with Germany - the neutral way is always the way to go for Greece).PLutocracy is the right word, and exactly describes the situaiton in Greece only that the local plutocrats are more resembling villageois mafias, public servants of bigger plutocrats of the international, the ones anyway who gave rise to them. There is no single Greek plutocrat that can trace his financial rise due to the whatever business he started in Greece. ALL of them are linked to the international and as such they are the representatives of the international (= anciently mainly British, since 1950s mainly US) interests in the area. Local industrialists are like pariahs and are actually often found on the 70% being exploited by the ruling 30% which revolves around a 0,01% of ruling plutocrat families who are the basis for the whole political construction of the country. Fri 07 May 2010 10:32:57 GMT+1 Pavel http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=98#comment275 Plutocracy - this is how the Greek system of government must be called. And this system have been in existence for many decades if not to say - centuries. It deserves no respect, no trust, no confidence. It is simply disgusting. Angela was not right when she gave in. She knows how to keep Germans in hands by mother-like treatment, but that does not work with some others. Everything had been prepared by them in such a way as to make Angela to face the seeming inevitabity of the bad consequences to the euro, the inevitability revealed by the rating agency's report, so that the last moment, when there seemed to be no other alternative, brought the deal. If Churchill was alive, I guess, Greece would receave no bailout; and even more, he would force it to pay reparations to the Great Britain and the EU for breaching the confidence of investors and all nations. Fri 07 May 2010 05:49:28 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=98#comment274 We have the will to leave unlike you, Hellenic enjoy Fri 07 May 2010 03:45:57 GMT+1 hellenic 1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=97#comment273 Greece is the canary in the mine.Collapse of the Euro is imminent,perhaps even collapse of the EU. I expect the Euro to trade at near or below parity with the US dollar by Christmas.The death of those people in Athens is an act that should be condemned.With the US economy faltering,despite the Obama administrations suspect figures of recovery,i do not think there is another engine for growth in the world.Greece and the USA with their huge debts are like Thelma and Louise...we know how that story ended. Fri 07 May 2010 01:37:14 GMT+1 DurstigerMann http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=97#comment272 I agree. Some people thorwing molotof cocktails doesn`t equate to a riot or all protesters kiling those 3 or 4 people.Autonomous protest-hijackers are like a disease nowadays. Thu 06 May 2010 15:10:50 GMT+1 commonsense_expressway http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=97#comment271 #270 #271Absolutely correct. You can guarantee that any protest will be hijacked by some anarchist or anti-capitalist rent-a-mob looking to fight with the police or destroy banks or whatever. It happens in the UK everytime there's a protest in London, whatever the cause. I'm not defending the murders, dont get me wrong, but i highly doubt they were carried out by ordinary Greeks protesting to save their jobs, public services and incomes. Thu 06 May 2010 13:55:22 GMT+1 Tasos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=96#comment270 Apparently NOT many people in here have EVER been in a big or average protest (I haven't been in more than 2 myself, 1 of which in London 2003 amongst 1.000.000 anti-war march protesters ... was just visiting London back then by luck)!!!!There are many frequent protests happening in Greece for as long as I remember - which I find actually a Very Positive thing vs. having people doing Sofa/Couch 'revolution' ... HOWEVER ...Whoever HAS BEEN present EVER in such a protest/march WILL know that a bunch of 20-30 anarchists (most probably always on a mission!! aiming to give a 'bad name' to the cause of the peaceful protesters) can Very Easily RUIN the protest cause for ALL the rest ... and trust me, those 20-30 are NOT looking at all like the rest of the peaceful protesters ... and they are NOT LIKELY to be confronted by normal people shouting for their rights!! Thu 06 May 2010 10:00:42 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=96#comment269 265,266,267... Guys... your indignation comes for free. If you want to think it is protesters that did the murders feel free to believe it. You from your own countries perhaps you think to know better than us who have been born and lived in this country.All I say, is that these murders are the work of an organised extremist group and as such they were organised and conducted according to plan as ordered. Who is behind it should be quite clear from your own reactions, these are actions designed to bring to people inside Greece (and as a side-effect you outside) such reactions. After these deaths there will be fewer people out in the streets and the protests will be monopolised by organised extremist groups and it will be the usual show of such groups against police, one of the usual and people will just watch.It is an old game, nothing knew. If you are not prepare to see the reality it is your own issue. Do not attack me personally as-if I do not show respect to the deaths of innocent people. I do give the best respect ever showing WHO is the real murderer behind. Thu 06 May 2010 09:49:58 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=96#comment268 Yes, Nik didnt kill them...and perhaps we do need to focus less on tear gas and watercannons and more on..non violent forms of stopping violent protests.Don't they have research going on to perfect liquid foam--which solidifies--use on people? The militaries all need more people friendly non violent weaponry for.situations...instead of ...say drones..A rain of pleasure gas ..sounds like BarbarellaBut, until someone is willing to make sacrifices for other peoples , ie Marshall Plans, or build open mindedness with ...oh forget it, I can't think of anything my mouth hurts--dentistry sucks..But, let me tell you Nik is much more harmless and fun to read than UFO theorists..no offense Nik or any UFO theorists, I just don't think are fun for getting "into"WHEN IS THE CIA GOING TO DECLASSIFY ALL COLD WAR DOCUMENTATION? NATIONAL SECURITY MY .. BUTT!!! BLUSH , BUT TRUE WE PAID FOR IT I WANT TO SEE THEM NOWWW 30 BN A YR W NO PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE EVER?LETS HAVE A HIPPY 60S REMEMBRANCE DAY AND SPEND IT READING IN THE PARK...OH WELL SHUTTING UP :o))))) Thu 06 May 2010 02:06:41 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=95#comment267 I don't quite get it - why Nik has to be shut up - on the occasion of protesters killing people with Molotov cocktail.Clearly it's a radical group of protesters - can be both - genuine or sponsored action - nevermind - who has "promised" to the German and British public (above) - there won't be violence in Greece?Taking high brow stand - THIS - will never happen in MY country - WE - will always accep a radical turn in our fortunes - GRACEFULLY - is nothing but hopes and wishful thinking. It is a misfortune, to have country in this state. Nik didn't throw Molotov's cocktails, for one thing. Busy here. He DID NOT wish it to happen. He likes it even less than you are - because that's his country. He can't fix it.You think it's right time to plug him up? Thu 06 May 2010 00:26:44 GMT+1 Chris Camp http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=95#comment266 How can you even consider trying to justify this? The people who died have got nothing to do with the financial crisis. Do they really deserve having their horrible deaths justified through one of your byzantine conspiracy theories? Wed 05 May 2010 22:20:49 GMT+1 MaxSceptic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=94#comment265 Nik,Your attempts to defend the indefensible are worthy of utter contempt.The truth is very simple: Violent protesters murdered innocent people. Wed 05 May 2010 21:27:44 GMT+1 Max http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=94#comment264 Three dead, shame on the protestores!I can not believe that we are giving money to these people.Nick i find most of what you post hypocritical. Wed 05 May 2010 19:44:17 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=94#comment263 (...continuation)4, 7, 8)Linearly you are 100% right, no you are 1000% right. And it is not about democracy at all. Under any regime, people have ALWAYS the responsibility, don't you know that? The difference with democracy is actually that the reaction against a well set "democratic" political system is more difficult than the one against a dictatorship. Do not let yourself confused with the above. I am with you on that. The people HAVE the main responsibility. They have been led by syndicate-fathers to protest in the past for their own little professional gains, whether right or not, they have been led to protest for ridiculous things, young people have been dragged via ridiculous reasoons (e.g. to find a girlfriend!!!) to protest for unimaginably irrelevant reasons that I dare not even refer to here...... and till now I have not seen a single protest organised by people to ask more tax controls, full punishment of financial criminals, more tansparency in state affairs, more commitment of a voted government to its pre-election promises.Why it has not happaned? Well DurstigerMann, try do yourself a portest. Try organise it and see how many you will gather. Protests are always centrally organised and methodically controlled by the "system" (that is not necessarily the govenrment but the underlying power, the real). People cannot telephone themselves and go out in the street just like that. It never worked that way in antiquity, never in middle ages, nor in the Renaissance not in the American or French revolution and nor in the Red Revolution. NEVER. The citizens' protest is merely to vote "the other party" in elections but that is what the system has anyway orchestrated: "if you vote blank it is like voting for the current corrupt government". From there on you have the endless army of unemployed, destitute people lining up outside the political offices begging for a job or any other facility - blame them for voting their benefactor.That IS the essence of democracy. You think it is only in Greece?Is it only in Greece where people voted a party for bringing 1, 2, 3 measures only to find out them doing the opposite?- In 1975 people voted Karamanlis (the uncle) and his ND party to bring back stability and progress and above all to solve the Cyprus issue ang get Greece out of NATO altogether. He brought stability but sold the Cyprus issue completely (a national treason) while he started deconstructing the state and he only retired from the military part of NATO remaining in the political part of NATO (i.e. worst decision!!!!). - In 1981 people voted Papandreou (the father) to get Greece OUT of NATO kicking out US bases and OUT of EEC!!! Papandreou not only did not do that but while playing the anti-American (himself a US citizen and a US-agent) did all actions to return Greece in the military part of NATO, maintaining US bases and keeping Greece in the EEC while spending all aid packets in "social" benefits = gifts to the "green guardians" (green is the colour of the PASOK party).- In 1990 people voted Mitsotakis (the father) to tidy up the horrible mess that Papandreou made in the 1980s in full knowledge that he would take some harsh measures, however Mitsotakis not only continued corruption but took more loans and wanted to privitise hugely beneficial state companies like electricity and telecoms prior to those losing ones (unacceptable by people) so he fell due to street protests followed by a movement of the current ND leader, Samaras.- In 1993 people voted again for Papandreou (knowing he would not govern being in his last days) ONLY to get rid of the misery of Mitsotakis since PASOK people promised to reverse ALL unacceptable privitisation laws- After 2 years of almost non-government in 1996 the new PASOK leader Simitis, a man known as the only good manager of the 1980s (who tried to tidy up economics but placed aside by Papandreou) is voted to tidy up things. Instead Simitis privitised in the worst manner electricity and telecoms, gives rise to new financial-mafia families (need names?) to fund his propaganda, owning by now the 80% of press, passing anti-popular laws in the moonlight and people found by surprise, commiting treason of the 1996 war between Greece & Turkey (Turkey had invaded with 12 commandos on a Greek island...), spending billions of drachmas on fiestas like the 1997 International Classic Sports Games, commanding pharaonic projects of dubious utility (like the bridge of Rio-Antirrio) and going on with the Olympics (Germans last vote!!!)... all that WITHOUT asking the Greek people, finally pushing down the bank interests so low that it forced even common people to move their money to investing only to lose them 2 years later in late 1999 early 2000 in one of the biggest stock market scums Europe saw post-WWII.- In 2000 elections PASOK party cheated in elections and all other parties shut up. As simple as that. Take it as it is: PASOK ruled from 2000 to 2004 having overruled Greek elections! A dictatorship. Financial problems exploded, more loans, more stupid projects to have command lists to Germans and still this huge propaganda machine behind to support Mr. Simitis as a great leader.- In 2004 people vote Karamanlis (the nephew) in hope to bring some cleaning and order. Karamanlis does nothign much of that, other than giving great speeches - already his environment starts "eating".- In 2007 "circles" push for elections, creating a "Dantes' hell" scenario with summer fires and dead people, huge protests in the streets etc. all that to move people vote for PASOK and Jeffrey Papandreou (the son, grandson) - yer Greek people are not fooled this time and vote again for ND in a desperate effort to give time to Karamanlis realise his promises... only to be fooled, since Karamanlis does absolutely nothing other than watch his underlings dance around even participating in the same scandals with PASOK MPs (like Siemens!!! The Germans unite them obviously!).- That was it, when after months of protests and even deaths of people in the streets, "sudden" elections are called, people vote to get rid of ND, what do they vote? Well PASOK of course. However, be ware here... even these elections are suspicious as the % that PASOK took is not justified linearly. None ever counted how is it possible to have more voters in a country whose population is decreasing... and while ND too is the "system", PASOK is known to be the main "system", the one that runs the state mechanism even when ND rules (PASOK is US supported, ND is more loose in that aspect: in 2004-2009 it became too Russo-phile...).... so yes mate, there is no question it is the people's responsibility and they have none to blame apart themselves! I really do not argue with that. I only present you the real world.Take it as it is. The Greek society is sick. Very sick. A huge 30% of people rules benefiting from the hard work or the unemployment of the 70% rest. It is an interclass (i.e. not a rich vs. poor division, no...) and that is why contrary to other countries you see corruption on all levels (while in Germany where there is huge corruption too, you do not see it but only in the upper levels where rarely anytihng is disclosed).The cure is known but it is not of any point analysing it here. People here have no deep understanding of how exactly Greece is sick, and how it found itself in that situation. They think superficially, "corruption", "bad management", "welfare state", "lack of productivity" and they do not realise that the people that have governed Greece have been extremely intelligent people and very capable in their work only that... their allegiances were to their funding partners (masters), NOT to the Greek people that voted them - and who with their vote took the major part of responsibility. Wed 05 May 2010 17:53:14 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=93#comment262 Re445. (of "Explaining German angst over Greece" thread)10:15pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:I said:- GREEKS ARE CURRENTLY TAXED BY EU MORE THAN ANY OTHER EU COUNTRY:- Greek citizens pay almost double the tax of UK citizens- Greek citizens pay 50% more than German citizens"- The above mean that Greece enterred the German-run EU so that its citizens work 40% more than Germans, pay 50% more than Germans out of their salaries, tear down the import taxes killing most of internal production with no hope of finding anything to sell to others all that for what?"To which DurstigerMann replied:1=> Percentages mean nothing in this context.2=> Your wages are lower, you pay less.3=> Your working time means jack shit. What counts is productivity, efficiency, innovation, etc.4=> Now here comes the funny part about democracy: you voted for the people who brought you in! You, the Greek people. Nobody else.5=> Not the wealthier Eu-nations are at fault that Greece can`t offer much of value, its own shortcoming.6=> Nobody forced your nation to run such an overbloated welfare state.It was you, the greek people, who decided on it.7=> And if you say that your government is corrupt and most greek hate it, why do you still elect them and let them run business instead of taking care of it yourselves?8=> Stop blaming others. The other nations have their own problems, they don`t need others telling them their poor story of how unfair they are treatet by them.-----------------------------------------------------------------------DurstigerMann first of all thanks for your well-though reply. And as such I will try to reply to your points point by point:1) What you say is the equivalent of supporting a tax system where the one who earns 28,000 gross per year is taxed at 32% (taxes & social security) and the one who earns 128,000 gross per year is taxed 12% (taxes & social security)... perhaps we should give the latter some tax-refunds too!2) Wages are lower thus people should even pay even less in % of their salaries than others! At least, they should pay the same. Not more!!! Not 50% and 100% more! What else do you want me to say here!3) You are right there. Productivity in Greece is extremely low. However the statistics are there to say that one can accuse Greeks of low productivity NOT of being lazy and avoiding hard work.5) None accused any other country directly. The desindustrialisation was operated by Greek governments.... bribed by international corporations of course. Sorry, the one goes with the other. Why EEC reacted negatively when Japan wanted to invest in Greece in the 1980s? Why EU reacted negatively in the 2006-2007 pre-accords of Greece with Russia and China? Ok, Greeks should follow their own plan, ok accept that but how? And with what leadership? Show to Greeks 1 valid leader and they will vote for him to do so. There isn't. They have NO choice but to re-cycle the "system".6) First of all Greece does not have an extended welfare state. It never had. It simply had some weird measures provided in place of a welfare state so as to be given on will and according to political motives so as to ensure voters. Greeks had not asked directly for a welfare state! It has been mainly the syndicates driven by political motives related to parties themselves. Now it is difficult to see how an employee benefiting from an irrational and unfair measure would react against it! Would you?Well of course NOW he IS responsible for not having done that!!! No doubt on that! Wed 05 May 2010 17:25:48 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=93#comment261 - and Nik, re your #259. "And who among the working people protesting make molotofs in their houses?"Any idiot can make a Molotov cocktail, it's almost as easy as falling down the stairs and it takes less than a minute. Wed 05 May 2010 16:32:34 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=93#comment260 Nik, how can you write such nonsense about Molotov cocktails.As part of my military training I have been hit several times by Molotov cocktails and if you are standing near a wall and the cocktail hits the wall close to you, you are soaked in burning gasoline.If you are wearing ordinary clothes instead of combat gear and unless you have been trained to extinguish the fire or somebody is ready with a fire extinguisher you may well burn to death.Any psycopath may have thrown them, you don't need a conspiracy theory to explain the deaths. Wed 05 May 2010 16:26:09 GMT+1 Chris Camp http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=92#comment259 "you still have Russia's offer I vaguely think"...an offer which had been a piece of fanciful wishful thinking all along and a figment of the imagination in the first place. If China or Russia had come forward with an offer more advantageous for the Greek economy than the European solution, then the Greeks would have grabbed it with both hands. They did not, because dreams just aren't accepted as legal tender in most banks. The Europeans would have been happy if the Chinese or the Russians had bailed the Greek out with a 3 percent interest rate credit. But Russia cannot afford it and it is not in Russia's interest to bail Greece out. Putin may be a washed-up KGB goon but he has not gone completely insane yet. And China knows that even a hugely successful economy cannot afford throwing good money after bad. Wed 05 May 2010 15:24:55 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=92#comment258 WA, your comment of the "timely" accident in Louisiana moves more or less in the same direction as my messages in the corresponding thread, i.e. that it is way too timely to had been accidental. If anything, I might surprise those British friends here who consider me rather anti-British (while I am only anti-anglosaxonogeopolitics, thus not to do with the citizens of the country themselves), saying that I have a complete trust in the engineering prowess of British especially in the oil sector where they have long decades of experience, especially in this kind of drilling via cord.To me, at first sight it is sabotage and BP are called to pay the price on top. Afterall it is easy in US to throw the responsibility to bad British: their Cambridgeoxfordian accent makes them ideal bad guys on tv!So - and since I do not rule out the small possibility of this being an accident - I wait impatiently to what explanation they will give this time....*... note that I am an engineer and while not worked directly in strictly technical issues of the oil & gaz sector, I have worked in the sector in engineering-managerial issues and have a general maybe but quite sound understanding of these extraction systems.PS: for a start I would advice BP to visit nearby US navy submarine stations and check out for any old rusty sub with impact marks on its metal body... Ok, ok I am joking... don't take this literally... take it as a joke (just like the timely coincidence thingie... hehe!)But in case of Greece what can I say. 3 people dead? For what? For having been to work (their democratic right to work and not go on strike). Really weird. What kind of protest was that? A planned one? Cos if it was a planned, why the bank was open since it is known that extremists (=agents) always enter the ranks of the protesters. And who among the working people protesting make molotofs in their houses? Well none. It is the extra-left anarchofascist groups, groups as much controlled by services as the extra-right ones. The attack on the bank was premeditated and well planned. There had to be several 10s of molotofs to create such a fire to kill people before they could get to the fire exit. It is all done to 1) accuse all protesters of being guilty 2) terrorise protesters not to come down for more protests.You will see... most probably there will be no arrests despite being quite easy to do so. Killers are the "system" itself, its army. Wed 05 May 2010 15:13:09 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=92#comment257 Anyway back to our issue:We have now the first 3 dead people due to the protests, 3 bank employees who did not manage escape the smoke of the fire lit by molotof bottles thrown by "protesters" on them.Now go back to what I had said in my past messages. We WILL have dead people but then even me did not expect them so soon.A molotof bomb can light up a small fire which most often is not enough to do any more damage than light up a small fire on a policeman's leg. For arriving in this killings, there had to be throwin at aleast 25-30 molotofs inside the bank. OR, these molotofs thrown had to be of super-size (i.e. carried on a wheelchair, thrown with a catapult!). Normally since the first molotof thrown the employees and clients should had run to the fire exit (from the back side of the building). They were not a crowd, there should not be a songestion problem. Thus it seems they were surprised and overwhelmed (as pictures also see). Protesters are not so well organised to do such an attack to trap people inside and kill them. And protesters do not hold molotof bombs of course, apart extreme left wing groups. But extreme left wing groups simply are political organisatoin with shadow hierarchy that links up to secret services (like in so many other countries). If they do an act like that, it means they have pre-planned it. Now who would profit from such a move? There are various cases but the strongest is the government (and I imply not necessarily on order from Jeffrey or something but "circles" behind): this is not a murder of a protester from police but a murder of 3 people (and attempted murder on many more) by protesters. Hence, it is a very effective way to de-legitimise the protests and to discourage people taking to the street protesting.I do not rule out random anarchists throwing molotofs but the probabilities of this are low. Far-lef (like far-right) groups are known to be well organised, acting on plan and knowing very well what they do. These people empties an arsenal of molotofs to kill. A random protesters cannot do that. Wed 05 May 2010 14:35:26 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=91#comment256 (a curious development in Polish-Russian relations, news from the other universe - is that Poles started touristic tours to the place of Kachinsky airplane crash. Eager to find out what it is - as there is still info vacuum, neither investigation committee haven't said any thing to the public yet.So the Polish joined the amateur Sherlock Holmes club, 2 buses and a train so far arrived to Smolensk. A trip is 300 dollars, plus Belorussian and Russian visas! The travel agency who started it has ALL packages sold till July 27th - in one week. Old military Russian aerodrome is decorated with various Poles with candles sitting matter-of-factly on the runway or wandering around (not much of a problem yet, as it is 2 planes a week on average), the first two tourist groups have already excavated from the crash site a lot of evidence and complain high and low that the crash site is not guarded by anybody.They found a shoe sole, some boots, a LOT airlines plastic bag - lots of purses - and 100-zloty banknotes in the ground (33 US dollars each! after all) - and continue digging around.A complaint was lodged type "let's guard the place forever!" to diplomatic corps.To which Russian side is replying , type "if we will guard all catastrophical sites in Russia for ever, as you demand :o))))))))) In other words - Poles continue and continue coming to Smolesnk with persistence, I'd say, worthy another application. Smolensk city put beton slabs, like a road, for them to walk around and btw aerodrome Far Beacon and Low Bacon - so that they won't drown in spring mud.Military aerodrome is getting nervous because all want some memorabilia.In other words the story continues we'll see. Wed 05 May 2010 14:17:48 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=91#comment255 Hello all, and MaudDib, David, Generalissimo - of course.(sorry being away at the Polish Kachinsky airplane blog)Niks, are they still discussing you? :o) You mean, you haven't spent those billions - yet?! :o)))))))))))I was away for a whole week, and I thought ... :o))))))))))Sorry, joking. Mean your Papa? andrew ?, etc. Let's look at it try to find something positive. Well. Well. So, a lot of money has been imposed on you, for a long term,comes together in a package, accompanied with guaranteed friendship, warm feelings bordering adoration - from many a EU neighbour ordinary folk, whose countries participate in the resque pack.:o)))))))))As St.John wrote above, instead of bailing out own banks to the same amount, to short cut the problem, these countries decided to bail out you.Niks, all love you way too very much and won't let go. I know you miss Russian in-put but what can we do, you are the apple of the EU eye currently, and, like, how can we stand in between two parties in love.Un-godly.It'll be a total classic love triangle.I still think cheer up; if this love affair won't produce the expected result (I wish I knew what it is) - you still have Russia's offer I vaguely think, as a bac up for a rainy day.Because the rainy day is not now but when you have the EU elsewhere pack spent. It only seems to you it is rainy now (it is summer; check the meteo page).:o)))))))))Provided we still have the dough by that time :o)))), of course :o))))But actualyy now it is more or less alright; oil that old monster prices are up - temporarily. THANK YOU, THANK YOU - dear British Petroleum. Where the world is going to - once in a century Britain comes benefitial for Russia. (This must be this century time).Some green groups cheered up, about US planned exploitation of own sea-shores for oil. Or gas? Something. They have opened them recently, after keeping in store for a long time, as a reserve. But now BP very timely had a hole somewhere or something, and the matter will be discussed again. I am sure it will still be discussed to the end of - "let's do it".But then the analysists calculated it a little bit around, and remembered the first 4-5 years of work is total expenses over revenue, or something, during which time the price will go up, and after the US example it usually goes up in the world elsewhere.So Nik what I mean spend the billions quick, if you still be interested to get some coins from Russian direction - it better be within nearest 4 to 5 years :o))))))))))))(Sorry have been away at the Polish airplane blog) Wed 05 May 2010 14:02:41 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=91#comment254 And is it accidental that every time we come with more and more points (see my messages above) poeple like meercat will instantly refuse to commment and change discussion to issues that have nothing to do with finance, attacking the Greek nation its culture in the most racist manner? What kind of sick minds are these? These are weird times Tasos. Even a - what it seems mundane - financial issue has become a point to attack racially. See how much poison "some" are ready to spill over what? Loans to bankers? Only sick minds can do that. Wed 05 May 2010 13:58:23 GMT+1 Tasos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=90#comment253 @ 238, powermeerkat wrote:Re FYROMIANs...There's no such nationality.... However there are MACEDONIANS, from a country of Macedonia....[Some people south of Macedonia are clearly sick in their heads.>> Dear meeeerkat, THANK YOU for Exposing yourself on your Origins and Beliefs!! Apparently you have NO CONNECTION to History!!KEEP it up, KEEP getting Exposed!! (and btw try to break down etymologically the Meaning of MA-KE-DO-NIA .. .you'd have to speak pretty good dam GREEK :).We live unfortunately in an era where Anyone can claim Anything WITHOUT ANY PROOF or even worse ... PUNISHMENT - but in this particular case it is the 'Courtesy' of the TRAITOR 'Greek' politicians of the last ~35years+ that have Allowed this ILL-EDUCATED bunch of people (have a look at their wanna-be bank notes and maps shown at their ''schools'') to claim GREEK HISTORY with RIDICULOUS arguments that are Against Common Sense and Intelligence. But that 'name Dispute' is Only the front, the reality of SKOPJE/VARDASKA (as their REAL/PROPER ORIGIN IS, NOT Even 'Fyrom') and its political backing by USA of course Derives from the ... BIGGEST Military Base of the USA in the EU region which is Situated in ... you guessed it, SKOPJE!!SKOPJE/VARDASKA should feel free to ADD US-stars in their anyway-fake flag!! By doing so at least they will have some True Symbol of WHO they represent!!! Wed 05 May 2010 12:34:47 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=90#comment252 Re328. At 09:19am on 05 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:239. At 09:26am on 05 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:Ouaou! Perhaps the most racist comments ever made here! You really have a vendetta with Greeks. You also use "Syria" in a derogatory manner as if being close to Syria makes you less European. Calling Greeks racist by nature (the comments about Pavlov), calling Cyprus itsi-bitsi... whatever. Go elsewhere to spill out your slur.And above all, do not try once again to change issue. We have already done that repeatedly, we have answered your slur and there was no answer back cos a slur is a slur. So take it elsewhere. Here you come back only if you have something to say. Wed 05 May 2010 12:24:23 GMT+1 generalissimo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=89#comment251 @241 DavidThe blog certainly is very interesting given the scope of the discussed topics and the large number of individuals posting here who come from many countries and whose cultures are very different.Alice is unique of course. She's Russian by birth and soul, a very poetic, sensible, intelligent and educated creature. She successfully promoted herself here even among people who had prejudices for her native Russia, a fact I assess as a success both for Alice and Russia.The remaining part of the bloggers is with secular education and that circumstance helps them to be well introduced and welcome here. There are of course people of extremist ideas, but I think they constitute a minority. /The bans for publishing their posts do not happen every day.../Have a good time David...and thanks again for your attention. Wed 05 May 2010 10:52:18 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=89#comment250 acorn brain;"MarcusAurelliusToday is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country."There have been so many atrocities in this world acorn brain that If I wanted to, I could be celebrating another one of them every day of the year. Frankly I don't have the time or inclination. I'm too busy watching the news keeping track of the latest new ones. Wed 05 May 2010 10:44:42 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=89#comment249 The next chapter is beginning. The Greeks have gone out on strike and have shut the country down. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8661385.stmSomewhere I read that economists expect Greece's economy to contract by 3% this year. They could be wrong. If this keeps up or is repeated periodically it could contract by a lot more. The problem with forclosing on a debt when the debtor is bankrupt is that you can't squeeze blood out of a rock. They can't give you what they don't have. The bailout created a new dilemma. If the "austerity measures" are implimented, there will be social upheaval and chaos in Greece. And if they aren't, there could be social upheaval and chaos in Germany or at least political upheaval for knowingly having made what is cleary a very bad loan going into it with German taxpayer money to rescue French and German banks. So which of it is it to be. We'll see how these European geniuses sort it all out in the next chapter called, "which shell is the pea under?" or "who draws the short straw?" I put my money on a new scheme which will ease but not eliminate the restrictions, give some emergency "gifts" to Greece, and change the terms of payback. This will be expected to buy more time by which Greece will be prosperous again. And the sun will rise in the west that day. Yes, as I said, when hell freezes over, that's when the lenders see their money back. Wed 05 May 2010 10:42:36 GMT+1 vassilis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=88#comment248 @St_JohnGood points. Wed 05 May 2010 10:41:31 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=88#comment247 99. ptsa wrote:" ... Do you think all of a sudden people need to be ashamed of being Greek because of the constant mis-management of our country?"Why should you be either proud or ashamed of being born a Greek? - not your choice, really.You might discuss with your friends and neighbours what to do about the mismanagement and get a grassroot movement going.In parts of Northern Europe the road from a situation not much different from yours (huge deficit, huge and growing public debt, high inflation) was protest parties running for parliament and scaring the established politicians to improve performance, because their friends were ousted at elections.I have no idea whether a similar approach will work in Greece, but you might think it over. Wed 05 May 2010 10:12:35 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=88#comment246 #97. george wrote:"all this talk about Greece being in the financial situation its in and no mention of the biggest culprit in this whole situation, the EU! since the euro was implemented as the currency of all members of the EU ..."It wasn't.Only 16 of 27 EU countries are in the Eurozone.george: "So before the author and people blame the Greek people who do have a role to play in the crisis affecting them a bigger question should be asked, why did the EU who must have some of the best accountants in the world not notice the discrepancies that are so obvious now? and that is what we should be focusing on not Germany bailing out Greece because Germany has a part to play in what happened to Greece."Certainly, Germany forced Greece to spend more than it earned. The Greeks just couldn't help it.It was known at least as early as 2001 that Greek economy wasn't was it ought to be, but the Greeks pledged to clean up and show responsibility.Being stupid, the rest of the union treated Greece as an adult, not an irresponsible child.If you read the comment from your countrymen, you'll notice that many of them have a realistic approach to who caused the problems. Wed 05 May 2010 09:57:10 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=87#comment245 #95. Joseph wrote:"Surely, anyone can see this whole bailout deal is about protecting German/French/etc. banks and bondholders that are exposed to goodness knows how many billions of Greek debt.If they didn't do it and Greece defaulted, the banking systems of Germany and France (and others) would be wiped out overnight."In the long run and considering the risk involved it would probably be cheaper to bail the banks out afterwards, at least for Germany.Greece owes to:France: 55.4 billions (1000 millions) of EurosGermany: 33.3 billions (1000 millions) of EurosContributions to the Greek bail-out:France: 16.8 billions (1000 millions) of EurosGermany: 22.4 billions (1000 millions) of Euros - two thirds of the Greek debt to Germany as a whole, banks, industries, ... Wed 05 May 2010 09:40:44 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=87#comment244 243. At 10:00am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:"St. JohnIs that GDP per capita or wages? In Euros or dollars?..Must be Euros. "Average Wages per capita calculated as PPP in Euros.I read the other day that the Danish average wage in figures as of March 2010 is around DKK 220,000 or Euro 29,500.Not exactly keeping wages down. Wed 05 May 2010 09:35:16 GMT+1 Jakob Bertel http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=87#comment243 Well, I'd say at least the EU works - and fixes the crisis in some way! Whether this is better than the past IMF rescue campaigns for countreis in trouble, e.g. in South America, will be proven by time only. At least, the Euro zone will have cheaper exports... securing jobs. Not bad either!In my personal opinion as a taxpayer in the EU, I really hope that they'll make better security deals this time (remember how Iceland showed the middle finger to all creditors?). I personally wouldn't mind to get a share in a nice appartment on Santorini in case the Greeks should not pay back their bonds in 20 years....JK Wed 05 May 2010 09:22:38 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=86#comment242 St. JohnIs that GDP per capita or wages? In Euros or dollars?..Must be Euros. And what are the PPP ratings? That is necessary for perspective.Debt/annual income ratios per person would be interesting too. Wed 05 May 2010 09:00:01 GMT+1 generalissimo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=86#comment241 @ 238"With hatred. Just as they are vis-avis-Turks (Pavlovian reaction?)]"Now I am sure.You come from the former USSR. Cheers Yankee, and thank the BBC stuff for having given you the opportunity to boast of your new nationality... Wed 05 May 2010 08:51:42 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=86#comment240 GeneralissimoMy life lately is stressful-health--mundane but often repeating situations--Ive largely engineered a low stress decent wage life) to read others ideas and perceptions takes the focus off my banal life. Sometimes, I sense anger and denial but strangely there are no biographies.. just "voices" and a sense of the intellectual and some shared interests.Some vent anonymously but others are putting themselves out there ..like WA. She is like a journal of life, while others posts are revisited chapters of history.A nice getaway, this is. Rubbish? Not to me. Wed 05 May 2010 08:44:50 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=85#comment239 #17. just_another_observer wrote:"Northern European members of the EU are keeping wages down"Can we see some proof, please?The average 2008/2009 annual income in Euros was as follows (average of IMF, World Bank and CIA Factbook):Finland 23,240Germany 23,270Denmark 24,280Sweden 24,640Keeping wages down? Wed 05 May 2010 08:35:42 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=85#comment238 Re #237There were also countries opposed to the EU membership for half a speck of a itsy-bitsy island off Syria's coast [Cyprus].Bu nobody wanted to upset Greeks who were aggressively pushing for it.So now you have it :-) [Timeo Danaes..etc., etc.] Wed 05 May 2010 08:26:16 GMT+1 powermeerkat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=84#comment237 Re FYROMIANsThere's no such nationality.However there are MACEDONIANS, from a country of Macedonia.Which is doing finqncially much better than a certain sore excuse for a country I wouldn't even care to mention.[Some people south of Macedonia are clearly sick in their heads.With hatred. Just as they are vis-avis-Turks (Pavlovian reaction?)] Wed 05 May 2010 08:19:46 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=84#comment236 It seems as if *some* of the Greek posters have forgotten that throughout the 1990s Greece was doing all it could to join the coming Eurozone, because membership would give Greece low interest credit as one of the rich boys in the zone.The French president Mitterrand was very much against, as he thought - and clearly stated - that Greece wasn't ready yet, and public opinion in Germany was also strongly against an early Greek membership.In the end Greece reached its goal - they got the low interest credits and they wasted them. Wed 05 May 2010 08:13:26 GMT+1 St_John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=84#comment235 #9. Causantin wrote:"Oh, and by the way, the current deal (very very unfortunately) does not contain any measures against tax evasion, bribery and corruption. Not unsurprisingly, since foreign companies were major beneficiaries of all these, and not the average Greek on a salary. But the average working Greek is called to pay, and not the top 10% of tax cheats and bribers.As for cheats, the cheat was the previous government, and the victim was only the Greek people. The conservatives lied in order to get re-elected, and only that."This is what you - YOU, the Greeks - have to change if you want to improve the situation in the long run.According to several economists there were clear indications that Greece were forging its data at least as far back as 2001. The deficits looked cooked, far below the difference between income and spending.By 2004 the EU commenced its first investigation into Greece’s deficit because Eurostat could prove, that Greece had faked its figures.However, Karamanlis took over from the socialist government in 2004, not 2001.Do you claim that the conservative did it all in 2004?Or was it Somebody Else who did it? Wed 05 May 2010 07:54:19 GMT+1 Deadlylampshade http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=83#comment234 #227 smroet"Just type "Queen EU subsidy" in a web browser, and you'll find reports about Queen Elizabeth netting about half a million Euro in 2008. This is the CAP for you. Your Austrian politicians are doing pretty poorly compared to the British royalty."And whilst you are at it, do the same with Galina Dimitrova Peicheva-Miteva who apparently received Euro700k from the CAP. Or perhaps you could look up the Swedish Accordian club who got Euro 59585, or the Danish Billiards club Euro 31515 or the Dutch Ice skating club who got Euro 162444 or the Dutch Amateur Football club that got Euro 354567. I could go on but maybe just go to EuroObserver site and save a bit of time. All very noble "agricultural" causes I am sure. Wed 05 May 2010 07:43:36 GMT+1 generalissimo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=83#comment233 @ 231 DavidThanks for the comments. You are very responsive /as always/ to every post here that would touch some highly moral or highly amoral assessment which would fly among us, I mean in our virtual brotherhood here...Thanks again Wed 05 May 2010 07:28:12 GMT+1 Huaimek http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=83#comment232 Reading these posts I get the impression of a sigh of relief , that everything is sorted out and Greece will be saved no matter what .Reading other articles I am not so sure that anything is finalised to bail out Greece at all . The German Government , perhaps Lawcourts and the other Euro member states , have not as yet committed themselves , beyond retraction of the terms offered . As we see from the news , the people of Greece are not going to readily accept the austerity measures being thrust upon them . Hence the EU and IMF deal might not ever come to fruition .The EU and Eurozone have really no interest in saving a member state , Greece . the object of the operation is solely to save the credibility of the Euro and the EU .Do I see the End is nigh ? Wed 05 May 2010 07:12:04 GMT+1 generalissimo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=82#comment231 @171 EP“I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them what I think about fascist policing on the continent.I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them hat I think about the greater tendency to corruption on the continent.I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them how the "EU" reminds me of Catholic Europe before the Reformation.”Your stance is purely moral. I avow I am impressed by the right and honest approach you make use of when assessing the negative sides of the European democracies.But, speaking sincerely, can you give me another example of some still existing /not virtual!/ successful democracy on our globe?I have lived all my active life under an unjust and authoritarian regime, and I can tell you that compared to the present society here, it does look even more horrible, unjust and corrupt.Maybe you are not in a position to understand what I am posting here, maybe you have good personal reasons to believe that old Europe, or at least that part of it which is united under the banner of the UE is the most corrupt, the most unjust and the nastiest area of the world. However, I wonder where we could settle ourselves /being decent, intelligent, and responsible people/ outside of Europe? Well, we could settle in America or, say in Canada, like many of us already did. But the conditions and the standards of living there are very similar to the conditions/standards of Europe. I can not see another decent place, except for Europe and North America, where we could feel fine. Maybe I am wrong. I shall appreciate your comments.Sofia, May 5th 2010 Wed 05 May 2010 06:57:43 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=82#comment230 The riots of Chicago were bad too, Generalissimo. The Police went wild. I don't think Chicago ever recovered....Thanks for the concern about Kent State...innocents shot for demonstrating--the Republicans horribly exposed.Its too bad someone can't come up with a Marshal Plan for Greece--free money on condition of investment and change in some laws there. That is what is lacking a foreign aid plan. But with other countries worse off... Wed 05 May 2010 06:45:50 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=82#comment229 I would like to say...perhaps it IS time for more attention paid to the UK election. Poor Greece and poor Germany ..this is turning into a voyeuristic exercise...if we come back in 3 months time (news is not voyeurism is it?) Maybe we can see what has happened to Greece. Give it some breathing room. Wed 05 May 2010 06:41:52 GMT+1 generalissimo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=81#comment228 @ 191 quietoaktree"Today is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country."I thank you for having remembered me of that event that choked both America and the civilized world. A film was shot on that occasion....a good movie.I congratulate you also for having reminded MarcusAurelius of it, because you are just another American unlike all of us humble fellow bloggers of old Europe Marcus has been deliberately insulted and humiliated for all those years by posting only negative assessments for everything we did in the past, for everything that concerns our common history and culture... Wed 05 May 2010 06:30:54 GMT+1 RebelJim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=81#comment227 Helping Greece with that huge loans and debts is wrong, it will not work.Greece should have give the EURO, print own currency, buy back its debts, balance its budget, regulate its money supply and reform the banking system and tell the IMF to go to hell. Wed 05 May 2010 06:24:43 GMT+1 smroet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=81#comment226 @EUpris #224Just type "Queen EU subsidy" in a web browser, and you'll find reports about Queen Elizabeth netting about half a million Euro in 2008. This is the CAP for you. Your Austrian politicians are doing pretty poorly compared to the British royalty. Wed 05 May 2010 04:26:55 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=80#comment225 This post has been Removed Wed 05 May 2010 04:20:42 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=80#comment224 MaudDibI took finance in college and am glad I never tried it as a major...accting was boring, but finances was counter intuitive. I was so confused, but (because of teacher) got an A. But, economics is charts and reading them and making charts .....cant remember much... heheI think tho the person who said buy less than you make and save is right .....supposedly before you pay bills youre supposed to pay yourself by saving....that IS hard. Esp for an American.I hate stocks and bonds (learning it or the subject) but economics is interesting...but depressing if ur poor...I bet (poor being abject poverty as I am only hand to mouth--after savings but it took me yrs to get ...Here)But, I do know that getting toooo much in debt is not good. And they tell people here that you are supposed to be a house worth 3 times your yearly income...its all smoke and mirrors. The future always is inflation and this has confused us greatly. Oh ohhhhhh Wed 05 May 2010 02:58:24 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=79#comment223 Viennese newspaper, Wiener Kurier reports Austrian politicians in Kaernten receiving "EU"-subsidies. (Tuesday 04 May 2010)Brothers Kurt and Uwe Scheuch reportedly together received 82,716 Euros in agricultural subsidies in 2009. Uwe Scheuch is a member of the regional government of Kaernten.President of the regional parliament, Josef Lobnig got 11,940 Euros from the "EU". OeVP regional parliamentarians: Ferdinand Huetter got 26,970 Euros. Stephan Tauschitz got 11,961 Euros.EUpris: Do politicians elsewhere in the "EU" get "subsidies" from the "EU". What about judges?Why? Wed 05 May 2010 02:48:06 GMT+1 VictorAngryMan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=79#comment222 Time for the Greeks to get real.No good protesting on the streets and jumping up and down stamping their feet - the country is bust and their generous state-funded public sector final salary pensions at age 50 are totally unaffordable so have to stop.Sounds familiar???The same needs to happen in the UK and hopefully will as soon after May 6th as possible if the Conservatives get in.If not, well, we'll just lumber on sleepwalking our way into total bankruptcy under Nu Labour. Wed 05 May 2010 01:27:17 GMT+1 DurstigerMann http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=79#comment221 You can answer your first question pretty easily:By earning more than you spend. The GDP does not represent the annual budget of a country and actually it doesn`t take into account a lot of important factors for this issue as well.[There are also different ways of calculating it]So, while GDP is an indicator, it doesn`t necessarily give you an exact figure of how good or bad off that country is. I am not too sure what you mean with "shrinking the economy" since government spendings != economy. The austerity measures mostly hit government employees.Whether we will see the economy dontract due to increased income tax and VAT, I don`t know. Personally, I don`t think that it will have as big an impact as others believe.As for the Greek debt, do you mean bonds?They mostly got more expensive, because the financial markets losttrust in Greece to actually pay back. Wed 05 May 2010 01:21:02 GMT+1 MaudDib http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=78#comment220 I wouldn't pretend to be an economist. When I hear micro and macro I think of pasta. Will someone tell me how a country can pay off a large dept as compared to it's GDP by shrinking its economy. The effects of the financial package will certainly cause Greece, if not others, to go into recession. No way around it. Don't you think the financial markets know this. That's why the cost of Greek debt keeps going the wrong way. What is the answer? Like I said. I ain't no economist. Wed 05 May 2010 00:48:23 GMT+1 Joeblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=78#comment219 Told ya so.The Greek bailout was a head fake for the markets so the big boys could exit.Reality set in and now the markets are reacting as they should.Greece hasn't even been given the money and the speculation is what they gonna do next WHEN GREECE FAILS.Here is a good one:Who is gonna be in charge of keeping track of all the billions of Euros being loaned to Greece?Hint: the Greeks Tue 04 May 2010 23:48:28 GMT+1 Max http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=78#comment218 HiAs a german, reading one blog about blame it on the germans i just thought to myself ' sure just for a change!'.I am really surprised about all those greek comments about how its all germany's fault, how corrupt and bad we are. While extensive claim have been made against certain German companies,it should be noted that Germany is not the only country doing these sort of things. That people have the nerve the lecture us germans about how we are going to contributed to greece rescue is just unbelievable. I find it sad that the greek people are busy strking all day, blaming others while there country is going down. I don't really understand all those history arguments about WW2 and how much we have to thank greece for stealing their gold. while this might be true, i can not see the relevance of that to the current disscussion. Tue 04 May 2010 23:40:03 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=77#comment217 #216 Nik`what had been until 1990 one of the most homogenous and stable societies in EuropeI suggest you read our previous discussions. I do object.As I have said, my first visit to Greece was almost 40 years ago. Probably (?) before you were born.So please do not use you dreams of Greece as a basis for discussion even if you are older. Tue 04 May 2010 22:42:52 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=77#comment216 #215 NikThe horse is DEAD !And we both accept that ANY statistics coming out of Greece should be taken with a rather large pinch of salt.For that reason, your mental gymnastics using any statistics from Greek statistic gatherers (public employees ?), do not impress.For all we know (and suspect) no statistic collection ever took place and having you as the only source is equally unacceptable. Tue 04 May 2010 22:20:11 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=77#comment215 ... indeed it feels like flogging a dead horse. But I still do believe it is good to present the picture in details. The more people know the better and that is not so much for Greeks for which is really too late (it was already late 20 years back...) but for other people who have not yet come to that.Quietoaktree you have to note though that Greeks are not so much afraid of the financial misery. They live in a small mountainous, islandic country which due to its particular society and the family links they can absorb and survive such financial drawbacks and sometimes even bounce back quite quickly. There are other things that make Greeks worry on top of their dire financial situation (and that is why you see so often the discussion here moving to the political/international/geopolitical). I am telling you this, and I put my signature on that, we will see much more grave evolutions in Greece, what had been till 1990 one of the most homogeneous and stable societies in Europe. The attack on Europe and euro via Greece is indeed financial. However, the attack on Greece is geopolitical. If finance was the problem, we should have this crisis 20 years back (1989-90 period of the all-parties nominal government following the disastrous 1981-89 PASOK government) and if not then certainly 10 years back prior to the Olympics, or if nobody wanted to hit Greece then, certainly in 2005, right after the Olympics (and many expected the hit then). However, the hit came only after the ND government (an equally corrupted one, by the way) decided to sign a project or two with the Russians and Chinese. Note that this crisis started 3 days after the election of Jeffrey-led PASOK in unprogrammed elections which means that it was all pre-calculated since provoking the crisis with an ND government would not cause the damage wanted since there was the risk the ND asking Russian loans and solving the issue there. In reality investors do not want their money back. They expect "other" concessions, in this case of Greece. We have to keep our eyes open. Tue 04 May 2010 22:05:25 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=76#comment214 Re:211. At 9:47pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:NikYou forgot to mention GREEKS delivered the statistics, ALL OF THEM !!!!!----------------------------------Indeed!!!!There is this one thing I recognise to you quietoaktree, you have some sense of humour!!! EheheheheheheheOnly that these statistics are NOT given by the average Greek citizens but by the Greek state which has any interest not to show that Greeks work so much and give these % of their salaries to EU when they are up to slashing salaries and imposing further taxes. Afterall ruling Greek parties know that Greek citizens have started becoming inquisitive and they tend to search these figures.Look, these are the facts. This is not any approach to play the victim as some have accused here - one day they call us lazy and money-takers, then we show the facts, they they call us self-acclaimed victims. If you have known the country, you know that its development has been quite a weird one and an exception rather than the average. When I see the numbers there is nothing in there that seems strange to me. I have my own ones who live in Greece and I know what they do. One is working full 8 hours per day in a private sector job, 2 to 3 hours per day in a public sector job and on top he recently started an irrelevant small business of his hoping to complete his income. Yet if you meet him you will understand nothing of all that as it is a habbit of Greeks not to show so much their difficulties to others, what you will see is a well-maintained man who ssemingly has a nice life. Behind, this man is working 8+2+anything from 2 to 4 hours...i.e. on average 12 hours per day, let alone the weekends (most of them he is occupied with his business). All that for what? He wishes to increase his 1300 euros (the first 2 jobs!), to nearly 2000 euros net*, if he is lucky enough and if he calculated well his business (he is university graduate, unrelated to business, it does not matter...). A salary that a non It goes withoutsaying that the average 800 euros per month won't be declared as revenue because they come from a ... 3rd job, so they will be choppped really badly by the tax system, only the 2 other jobs are taxed. For the same reason, the man that rented him space for his machines will probably not declare this type of rent.It is difficult to tell him that he is a criminal tax-evader and responsible for Greece's downfall. This man should had been able to work 8 hours and get a 1800-2000 euros net salary and live happily with it. But no, it seems that he cannot do so. Thus he is forced to do take up a second and even now a third job. Incredible.That is what the OECD boards reflect quietoaktree. It is this reality.And as DemocracyThreat said, the measures we have heard so far by Jeffrey are aiming such guys. Not the ones that robbed and keep robbing the state, thus all these people. Did you see in any of these measures any measure regarding the judiciary system? The tax control? No, nothing like that. In fact 20 years back we had more efforts in that directions like a measure called "From where you have it" = fiscal control initiated in the case of people presenting to have more than what their earnings justify... which failed in practice since the government had not given the control means for it to work properly! No surprise as it was a publicuty stand: the "system" will never control the "system" itself, talking about the wolf guarding the sheep case. So yes, right now we have even less of such tax control measures - almost all of them are about taxes and salary slashes => to be honest even myself was amazed, really I would expect Jeffrey at least to keep the appearences and declare 1-2 valid measures against tax-evasion, fraudulent behaviour, bribes etc. But no, nothing like that. Most funny is that if the Greek state could hunt down the fraudulent activity at a rate of 30-40% (i.e. even letting a 60% untouched), that would be enough to make the economy jump up visibly... but now, it is not even a priority for Jeffrey.I will say it again and again: corruption exists in various forms in various countries. In Greece however, corruption has been technically cultivated by the ruling political class as a means of control and as such it will never be attacked directly. A notable exception is during Papadopoulos dictatorship that lasted 6 years, when corruption arguably was at an ever low level - and this is not in defense of Papadopoulos (there are particular reasons in relation to his government for this low-level corruption) which of course proves that Greeks are not genetically-wired or something towards coruption but are acting accordingly to what they find. Just like any other people.It is like the 130km/hr limit on most European highways. Who of you really respect it when you know there is no automatic radar nearby and the possibility of a police road control is really small (and you can of course afford to pay with no remorse)? I do not, but then I guess... I am Greek ins't it? Hehe! Tue 04 May 2010 21:52:32 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=76#comment213 #212 Chris ArtaYour comment reminds me of a financial caricature where those at the stern of their private yacht are yelling ´We´re rising, the stock market is rising, hurrah! hurrah ´ as the yacht sinks bow first, into the deep. Tue 04 May 2010 21:42:13 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=75#comment212 Nik.Stop flogging a dead horse!No European or American likes this situation and you can bet the little guy in America watching his pension fund take another nose-dive today , his unemployment insurance at an end and his house gone may already be in a worse situation than most Greeks will ever be.I think Latvia would be an example of what is to come for Greece. If I am not mistaken their finances are also controlled by the IMF.The average American, European, Brit and Greek do not have a bright future, Capitalism has failed to regulate itself and its fanatical believers will either plead innocence or insanity as Rome or the Parthenon burn.Just see yourself as another episode in Greek history and rest in peace. Tue 04 May 2010 21:29:10 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=75#comment211 ...and now are we all ready to watch Portugal play poker with Merkel?If the Euroyone idiots don't sort out the Euro processes and make it into a real union - i.e. one for and all for one -, the Euro will colapse and I'll see my dream of the UK join the Euro come true!! Tue 04 May 2010 21:05:24 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=75#comment210 NikYou forgot to mention GREEKS delivered the statistics, ALL OF THEM !!!!! Tue 04 May 2010 20:47:34 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=74#comment209 Re207:"""..... Personally my hope is that the Greek People rise up and smash the whole rotten ediface"""You have no idea how manipulated is the society in Greece. People will rise only if they are told too by the system itself!!! Forget about rebel-Greek attitudes. They lied to you. We had dictatorship for 6 years and not even a single stone was thrown against a state car, then people (the left wing) took it to the streets when the Americans decided to change dictator. in 16,17,18 of November, they rioted, the ex-US-chosen dictator fell, being arrested by the new US-chosen dictator and then for the following 8 months there was not a single riot - why, had dictatorship fallen? No, because people will take it to the streets only if they are told to. Greeks are like that. They are manipulated. For Greeks to take it to the streets their physical integrity has to be attacked, i.e. they will react not simply 1 hour before catastrophe but actually 1 hour after catastrohe.Note that the system has already taken its measures. They know things are now stuck. They know that PASOK and ND have came to a point of no-return and that people cannot anymore vote for them. We will see evolutions. The system prepares its renewal. We might have even new parties. BUT only after Jeffrey Papandreou has finished what he does right now (i.e. selling the coutry's future but also the country physically). Tue 04 May 2010 20:47:07 GMT+1 Chris Camp http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=74#comment208 Neither China nor Russia will ever be interested in giving Greece any loans. A "meeting point"? What is that? Every country in Europe does business wth America, India China and Russia. The alignment with the US does not impair that in any way. Tue 04 May 2010 20:43:01 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=74#comment207 Re203: Excellent post DemocracyThreatRe:206. At 8:18pm on 04 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:"""I'm really sick of all this and don't care what the Greeks do or don't do as long as they don't take any British taxpayer-funded 'loans' or handouts."""For the 1000th time: none asked your money."""(And Nik: enough with the reams of 'history'. Nobody in their right mind is reading your overlong posts anymore)."""Yes, I know history. In fact it is you and others that brings the discussion there each time you have no point to discuss. Please show to me the last message I spoke of history? It is some 100 messages back and it is reply to yet another vicious vendetta-comment by irrelevant people often non-EU, non-european. We ignore it but general knowledge means that if you ignore, you implicitly accept and thus it is only legitimate to corner these vicious statements and reply. One can only see that Going back to you specifically I cannot miss the fact that for the last comments I commented singlehandedly on point, responding to other Greeks, explaining why Greece should default, and showing the situation of Greece inside the EU, having its people working the longest to give the biggest % of their salary only to receive aid packages that do not offer real development but on the opposite are a way of containing it.I never asked you and I would not expect you to say a thank you to Greeks for having funded out of their long hours of work and huge % of contribution out of their tragically small salaries, to the EU budget. But I cannot let you say whatever on top. Now if you really want to add some real comments, I propose you to go back to my over-long posts:no125: the brief storyline of the evolution of Greece in EUno202: the hard fact for Greece as EU memberNote that I am not politically against EU. But since the early 90s it has really taken a wrong turn becoming simply a means of reshuffling the wealth for the benefit of international (and not even the European ones!!!), bankoinvesting institutions instead of becoming a loose union of countries sharing some common commercial interests especially in terms of energy provision as well as having their own defense strategy replacing their membership in NATO, thus reducing thei budgets to a minimum while increasing their security level. You have to note that Greeks, initially wary of their entry in the EU, they enterred for the latter, i.e. geopolitical protection.What I am arguing is that since Greece's geopolitical position deteriorated, it worths not continuing playing the game for EU suffering on top a bad economy. It can reduce ties, default, get loans from elsewhere (Russia, China) and become a neutral meeting point of pretty much everybody Americans, Europeans, Russians, Chinese and Indians, a meeting point that Europe lacks desperately (as almost all coutnries are EU-US aligned). It could be a losing recipe but would it mean losing more than what we lose now? Note that Greece's financial issue right now is actually not even the most grave problem of the country! Greece is not Argentina! It is its sovereignty and the physical security of its people what is at stake. Tue 04 May 2010 20:33:38 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=73#comment206 DemocThreatRe #203Now why would the rich consider giving a Euro/Drachma of their money to assist Greece out of its difficulties when it is the same story in every one of the EU27?As You remarked earlier: One of the few things MAII ever wrote that made any sense is that across the UK & EUrope NOBODY among those whose greed-driven, contemptible and contemptuous Financial actions brought so much misery to so many hundreds of millions has even been detained for questioning never mind actually tried & punished for their criminal avariciousness.Personally my hope is that the Greek People rise up and smash the whole rotten ediface: Perhaps with that extreme example other EU Nations will follow and 'big-Business/big-Government' will finally be obliged to render unto Citizens what is owed them. I.e. a swingeing 75% Tax on every b###ard earning 1+ millions who cannot produce proper, legal Tax returns for the entire last decade.Yes, I know... Fat-cat chance! Tue 04 May 2010 19:39:24 GMT+1 MaxSceptic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=73#comment205 I'm really sick of all this and don't care what the Greeks do or don't do as long as they don't take any British taxpayer-funded 'loans' or handouts.(And Nik: enough with the reams of 'history'. Nobody in their right mind is reading your overlong posts anymore). Tue 04 May 2010 19:18:51 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=73#comment204 @Jukka,Yes please I'd like to know what other countries think about it also not just Germany!! Tue 04 May 2010 19:01:42 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=72#comment203 This post has been Removed Tue 04 May 2010 18:34:14 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=72#comment202 Well, the message out of greece is pretty clear. The ordinary do not want to be the ones who pay for the mistakes of the elite.And they have a good point, which has been sadly missed by our intrepid reporter, Mr Hewitt.If you have a look at the "austerity measures" put forward by the same political parties who engineered the debt and cooked the books, it is curious how many of them hit the poorest greeks right where it hurts, and how few of them affect wealthy greeks or people on high incomes.For example, pensioners and lowly teachers are being hit extremely hard. People on 500 a month are being smashed. Not just with direct cuts, but with rising taxes on things they buy. VAT is going up, as are taxes on alcohol and tobacco.But we do not see a new tax on financial professionals. Why not?Why don;t we see a flat 25% tax on capital assets for everyone who made a profit from government contracts in Greece over the past twenty years?Think about that. All it does is take back some of the money that was borrowed when it ought not have been.A straight out capital asset tax of 25% on every company which received contracts from the greek state over the past twenty five years. Make it cumulative, so 1% for each year a company received contracts.That would not hurt the poor and the needy, and it would hit the people who profited from the debt frenzy. It would effectively be taking back precisely the same money which ought not have been borrowed.And if the corporate sector has a problem with that, well they are the ones who sponsored the politicians who cooked the books and made ridiculous loans the country couldn't afford.But a tax on capital assets for those who profited from the debt will never happen. Never in a million years. Why?Because you'd be taxing every law firm and every brokering house at 25% of their capital wealth. Why? Because big law firms and big investment banks broker government debt, and every year they make millions and millions of euros in profits from government contracts.And every year, they sponsor all the politicians from all the major parties, and every year they get their pet representatives to pass bills that give them even greater profits from public spending and public debt.This blog is not much to read because so many small minds are quick to talk about Mr Germany and Ms Greece and Mrs France, and Hewitt doesn't help by putting forward a high school level commentary about the personalities involved in the big theatrical experience of government.But even so, there is enough here for anyone who is honest and not entirely dim to start asking why these debts must be repaid the way they are being repaid. Or indeed, at all.It is abundantly clear that the measures being proscribed will cripple the greek economy for the foreseeable future and create great hardship for the poorest people in greece. It is also clear that the elite and mega wealthy who sponsor politicians and who engineered the debt in the first place are going to get off with no losses. Indeed, the mega wealthy will be paid their profits, their PRIVATE PROFITS, in full, despite breaking the fundamental rule of money lending in the market: due diligence on the lender.A few people on this blog have suggested that "loans must be repaid", which is nothing more than a euphemism for "the business of the state is to use force and the power of the law to ensure that the wealthy get their hands on taxation revenue".Loans do not have to be repaid. Loans are not sacred. In a free market in a civilized society, the role of the law is to ensure that bad loans are written off after bankruptcy proceedings have been finalized.Only in a draconian, feudal, caste based society is the role of the law to squeeze every drop of money from the poorest citizens so that the mega wealthy elite can profit from stupidity.Nobody has made the case, and nobody can, that these loans were sensible or properly researched by those who lent the money.Yet we have quite a few people who think that poor greeks must suffer so that these idiotic loans can be repaid with full interest.What is that?What is that worldview, at the end of the day?I put it to all of you that anyone who thinks these loans ought to be repaid believes that the elite of europe deserve to be enriched with the tax revenue of the states, regardless of how stupid their decisions in the market have been.In short, such people believe in feudalism, and the ownership of the state by the aristocracy. Tue 04 May 2010 18:28:58 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=72#comment201 Since it is high-time we refer to some hard facts let us see:OECD site:http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspxOECD 2008------------------------------------Let us see the list of European (EU-eurozone, EU-non eurozone & non-Eu countries)Greece 2120Czech Republic 1992Hungary 1988Poland 1969Iceland 1807Italy 1802Slovak Republic 1769Portugal 1745Finland 1728United Kingdom 1653Switzerland 1643Austria 1631Spain 1627Sweden 1625Denmark 1610Ireland 1601Belgium 1568Luxembourg 1555France 1542Germany 1432Norway 1422Netherlands 1389------------------------------------And some non-European countries:Korea 2316Turkey 1918Mexico 1893United States 1792Japan 1772New Zealand 1753Australia 1721Canada 1727------------------------------------------------------------------------Now what can I say? "Corrupted people" seems to work much more cos it is fun. I mean they can buy their Mercedes for free from the Germans but because they are bored, they seem to like to spend most of their time at work. What can I say?Greece internationally in this list is surpassed only by Korea one of the most industrialised countries in the world!!!Greece, hardest working country in Europe at 2120 hours annually, is followed by a... panting second Czeck Republic 128 hours behind (i.e. the equivalent of Czecks working 40 minutes less than Greeks per working day!!!).Now the first eurozone country is, who else?, Italy: at 1802... 318 hours difference!!! Then Portugal!!!! Ohhhh...!!!! PIGS working harder and Greece by far the hardest of all? Surprise surprise.And where is Germany? 1432?Eee... does any of you knows good maths? Cos I might be Greek, good at maths, but lost all count here!!! 2120-1432 = 688 hours annual difference!!! I.e. on average for every working day Greeks work more than 3,5 hours more than Germans!!!!It takes more than nerves to fall on the Greeks and tell them to work harder and to have their salaries cut.----------------------------------------------------But Let us move to see other stuff:Let us see some Euro-statistics presented in the following BBC link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8036097.stm#startLets to EU spending:------------------------------------------------------------------------Greece indeed figures out high in list of1) Agriculture2) Regional AidObservation:But Agricultural Aid is not aid. It is just money given in exchange of tearing down all import taxes that naturally any country would have in absence of EU.Regional Aid is largely a smart way of manipulating "development" of Greece (like other coutries) in directions that benefit the large EU countries like Germany or France.-------------------------------------------------------------------------On other 4 categories Greece seems to get roughly about the size of the country/population/economy:3)Administration4)Research & Innovation5)EducationObservation:So much said for EU citizens paying Greek bureaucracy, all debunked right here.-------------------------------------------------------------------------And in the following 2 critical categories, Greece seems to get much less than what it should:1) Crime & Border control2) Foreign AidObservation:Fantastically these two aids are supposed to be given to countries having external borders. Greece was the ONLY country that bordered with 4 out of 4 and since 2002 with 3 out of 4 neighbours being non-EU, yet it received and receives nothing of that. Border control? Even Denmark gets more than Greece and I wonder what for? Trying to defend itself by the infiltration of German Talibans? Or trying to cope with the Swedish hungry illegal immigrants? Or perhaps Norwegian F-16 enter its airspace everyday? Greece is technically refused any serious aid there where it has most of the need being in the most hot area of the EU, and being the only EU country that is threatened with war by 1 country as is politically attacked by another 2. This is just a reflection of how EU sees Greece.-------------------------------------------------------------------------1) Net contribution by population (i.e. net contribution devided by population):Impressive. Greek citizens seem to have double benefited than say Portuguese. So what does that tell us. Nothing much more other than the fact that Greece receives a lot for agriculture in a country which has by far the least productive land to cultivate and a population that is still to a large % linked to agriculture (even if people do often a second job). Regional aid can possibly be a real aid but most often ends up as described above it is spent in projects that involve a lot foreign companies from countries that run the EU (namely, Germany and France) and thus the money are recycled back leaving little more than often unnecessary projects that cannot be exploited as well as lots of state loans to pay back.2) Net contribition:Repeat as in 1.3) Total payments:Little Greece is 8th country. Just look all the other countries above it and all the others below it. It seems that Greece pays what it has to pay and it pays it in relation to its population and not its economy (unlike other countries like Poland for example - of course Poland is a recent entry so it will certainly rise in future).But things become 100% clear in this:4) Total payments vs % of income:Here what can we say? Suddenly you see for the first time the contribution of rich countries falling down and that of poorer countries rising up with Greece proudly on the top.which means that:GREEKS ARE CURRENTLY TAXED BY EU MORE THAN ANY OTHER EU COUNTRY:Greek citizens pay almost double the tax of UK citizensGreek citizens pay 50% more than German citizens------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------RESULT:Greece enterred the German-run EU so that its citizens work 40% more than Germans, pay 50% more than Germans out of their salaries, tear down the import taxes killing most of internal production with no hope of finding anything to sell to others all that for what?1) Agricultural aid: a means of sutaining agriulture in the absence of import taxes but also a means of controlling agriculture too (as countries are not able to cultivate what they want)2) Regional Aid: aid given for development projects only that the projects are chosen by EU centrally (i?e. larger countries) in a way that gives more importance to the needs of larger German and French corporations having increased command lists rather than the real development needs in Greece (or other countries). Not to mention that the countries like Greece are forced to embark on dubious projects at a 50-50% funding rate on initial budget so that we end up paying on real final budget more than 150% of what was initially thought, thus getting more indebted and all that to find ourselfs with projects that are not exploitable, i.e. losing on all accounts.-----------------------------------------------------------------------Default, here now.Out of EU here now.The only reason Greece was in the EU was for geopolitical protection. EU clearly never provided such. It is time to see elsewhere. Tue 04 May 2010 18:02:05 GMT+1 MaxSceptic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=71#comment200 cool_brush_work @186,Glad to have been of help.On a topical note [sic], fans of Joe Jackson may recall his Acropolis Now instrumental track from the album Blaze of Glory.A good one for smashing the crockery. Tue 04 May 2010 17:53:02 GMT+1 DurstigerMann http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=71#comment199 @194 vassilis"Obviously if you help others you will lose some of your money. If you help no-one and you just accumulate wealth on your own you will become very rich. This is almost a tautology. Actually, I have found that poorer people are also more generous (perhaps that's why they are poorer in the first place). If I had a choice I would have prefered to be poor and generous than rich and stingy. It is more human and I prefer to be human than rich."That wasn`t my point. The point was that people or nations who throw money out of the window without a plan are bound to fail financially.It`s not about being generous or not, but about wasting money.If you are indepted yourself, and rest assured no country within the EU isn`t, and give money to someone else for free, you might be considered generous. But you are still stupid.At the same time you are not more human, but acting irresponsibly towards those who actually lend YOU THEIR money. Tue 04 May 2010 17:39:29 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=70#comment198 191. At 5:03pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:"MarcusAurelliusToday is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country."EUpris: Every country gets it wrong some times. Many get it a lot more wrong than the USA or the UK. There are other countries in which if you posted such a comment about that country, you would never see another sunrise. Tue 04 May 2010 17:37:04 GMT+1 Chris Camp http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=70#comment197 All this talk about a Chinese or Russian credit at minus 64 percent or whatever really amuses me. If those were real offers worth considering, then the Greeks would have long since taken the Russians and Chinese up on them. Tue 04 May 2010 17:36:14 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=70#comment196 This post has been Removed Tue 04 May 2010 17:12:59 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=69#comment195 I have to ask, how much of this all really was arguing between Germany and Greece after all?I ask this because our own finance minister, Jyrki Katainen, today told the Finnish press that all along during this crisis, he and the Finnish government had maintained that assistance to Greece should be done only via and according to the IMF. He commented that in process he had taken lots of heat from most of other member states. Only at the end, other member states too started to take the same position as they saw it as the best option.Now I'm not saying that the solution for the Greek finance crisis was hanging because of Mr. Katainen and the Finnish government, I'm just pointing out that there other views and opinions early on. This wasn't just Germany and Greece arguing on what to do, there were 14 other member states too which had to be taken into consideration.That said, I would argue that questions should be asked on medias role on this whole crisis. For media, for journalists and editors, telling the story of thrifty Greeks and prudent Germans having a conflict is lot easier than telling the whole story of multiple conflicts and multiple participants.For example here in Finland questions are asked on why are we assisting central European countries to bail out their banks out of the Greek crisis? ...Of course it is the benefit of everybody that Greece doesn't default, that they restructure their economy and the functioning of the state, but still... Anyway, point being, while media may have made this Germany vs. Greece, it should be remembered that this only what the media paints, not necessarily what it really was. Tue 04 May 2010 16:57:20 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=69#comment194 #165 Marcus AurelliusDo you mean´Our leaders are the greatest men,And we elect them again and again´?(Pete Seeger)Logically I must aree with #190 Durstigermann Tue 04 May 2010 16:54:18 GMT+1 vassilis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=69#comment193 187. At 4:17pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:'Why did countries like France rush to the help?Well, let me tell you there is a reason why the German economy is far better off than France`s.'Obviously if you help others you will lose some of your money. If you help no-one and you just accumulate wealth on your own you will become very rich. This is almost a tautology. Actually, I have found that poorer people are also more generous (perhaps that's why they are poorer in the first place). If I had a choice I would have prefered to be poor and generous than rich and stingy. It is more human and I prefer to be human than rich. Tue 04 May 2010 16:48:37 GMT+1 Nik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=68#comment192 145. At 02:38am on 04 May 2010, vassilis in his excellent post wrote:1) Logically, there are three options: loans, bailing out and default.*2) ….who told you that Greeks want to be bailed out? they don't, they would have actually prefered to default (and abandon Euro, whatever).3) From public discussions in the Greek TV of members of governement, it has become apparent that we have been forbidden to default (does not surprise me).4) There is only the option of loans. It took Merkel quite some time to figure this out and in the meantime it made the total cost of rescue/loans (but not bail out) higher.5) So, if you think about it Germans behaved irresponsibly to delay and protract and make more expensive the only solution that *they* find acceptable.Vassilis man, told you the summary. So end all that about bailing out, giving Greece money and other such naïf suggestions that are there only to portray Greeks as villains of Europe. Greeks have been villains only to themselves living in a virtual reality in which they were eating from their own flesh while allowing other bigger vultures to eat too. In relation to Germans, Greeks have been actually one of the best clients. In relation to all other EU citizens, Greeks have been the most hard working;There is nothing much that other EU citizens can tell Greeks but it is Greeks themselves that they have to think it seriously about which road to follow from there on.*3 options yes but there are other directions out there which have been kept hidden both inside Greece as well as in Europe. 1) Russian offer = extremely attracive, 2) Chinese offer = quite attractice too.Ideally Greece should default on loans found to had been taken illegally - in practice chose the western banks Greece wants to keep friends and the ones it does not care and repay only the former, thus reducing in half the debt, then get Russian loans at 3% rate to repay the other banks thus maintaining some balance between west and east (i.e. telling the west that it won't be out but from there on Greece will speak with the east too), then it should start doing business with Russians, go on with the gas pipeline and bring in the country cheap and stable-provisioned energy, lease Russians some ports and rebuilt (or better built new onew) with Russian loans the shipyards of Greece and do strategic accords with Ukrainians for byuing steel there. With energy prices down and steel prices kept at minimum, shipyard production should be of affordable price enough to attract enough Greek owners who curently buy their ships in China, attracted by the possibility of having constructed ships that exactly match their needs (one that has worked in a shipyard might know how ships are made). Greek ship owners internationally own more than the 15% of ships globally. Half of that commerce if re-enters Greece you understand what impact it can do. Greeks can take up again the agricultural commerce between Ukraine (the field of Europe) and western Europe, they can become the middle men between Russian energy exports and the Mediterranean and so on. That is how Greece historically made money. Greece does not have ressourcesx of its own (or so they tell us) apart the oil in the Aegean (lots of it) which if it extracts US threatens with total war for their own reasons. In fact, if the US really wants the oil for themselves (which I doubt honestly, they do not care for the oil quantities themsleves but about other games), they are welcomed to drill it and share it with us at 50%-50% no problem we are here to play with all players that want to play on equal-profit basis.Vassilis. I will tell you one thing and if you understand it you understand it: what Greece has to do really is to provide Russians too one military base. And not in Thasos as they asked (for a ""commercial""" one) since then Americans might try to devide our country but on the very same island of Crete. Americans in Souda in the west, Russians in Sitia. Like that. Next to each other. And whoever pays more gets the biggest lollypop. Tue 04 May 2010 16:43:10 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=68#comment191 @188. At 4:20pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree,It is an admission that the current banking szstem is rubbish and it needs to change.Only one or two Eurozone countries meet the Eurozone criteria. The banking system is rubbish, it allows the banks to create money out of thin air and then lend it to countries at a profit! In theory any bank can borrow money from the ECB at 1% and lend it to Greece, Portugal, Germany, etc. at 6%, 5%, 3% where is the logic in that?The system needs to change to one that countries create the money and banks lend only money they have in their vaults not money they create out of thin air.A simple change to the banking rules as mentioned above will solve all of our problem and will ensure that money is lend only when there is a chance that you get it back. Tue 04 May 2010 16:10:24 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=68#comment190 MarcusAurelliusToday is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country. Tue 04 May 2010 16:03:58 GMT+1 DurstigerMann http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=67#comment189 @165 MAII"No peabrain, what I said was that Europe doesn't learn from mistakes, other people's or its own."That`s an innate ability of about 99% politicians worldwide though.And, obviously, getting reelected is the main goal. Tue 04 May 2010 15:31:20 GMT+1 Carlos Collaco http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=67#comment188 Well done Gavin.As far as I am concerned this is another of your thoughtful insights to the Greek financial crisis in the larger setting of Eurozone and the European Union.For the time being - following every step of the path footed down to get to this point - it would seem that the can has been successfully kicked forward.Greece - the government and society at large - has been given three years of financial predictability.No small gain for a country that willfully wreaked so much havoc over many years thinking it might get away with it endlessly.Deceiving itself and deceiving others as well.My criticism is directly proportional to the notion of what an organised State should be, whose roots lie firmly in that land.Greece also gave the Old Continent its name millennia ago and is the proud birthplace of Western civilization.I am still unsure whether or not this may have been an argument traded at closed-door negotiations to favour the country's entry to Eurozone...May be not.Greece was so unprepared back then that the sudden turnaround left me nagging to this day.Well, hardly 9 years on - in the aftermath of a major financial meltdown started in the US and deep recession - everything came to the fore.No matter what backstage deals made as the 2000's dawned, it is crystal-clear Greece should not have been taken on board.Irrelevant point now but one that should be carefully looked into by the ECB, the European Commission and Council and political leaderships across Europe.There are still 11 EU countries outside Eurozone.Joining is not enticing at the moment but the future will take care of itself.The EU could use some broad-minded teaching from current woes.I wish Greece a great future in the knowledge that an adjustment within its society and its governance is long overdue.There was never a time so ripe for such changes to occur.Politicians call them reforms.Greece's massive budget overrun - shared by many other countries to different levels no doubt - is a consequence and a symptom of many unresolved problems built up over years of loose ways.Its growth prospects are now shattered - so are those of many other countries across the EU - but there was always a Greek twist to things that made it so special.The IMF - the single biggest contributor to the bail-out - and the remaining 15 Eurozone States - from Germany to Malta - have every right to expect Greece to rise up to its obligations.The challenge is financial as much as it is cultural. Tue 04 May 2010 15:29:41 GMT+1 quietoaktree http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=67#comment187 The latest suggestions from Germany is that Euro countries should be allowed (?) to default in an orderly manner. It appears that Germany is listening to its public before State elections.It is also an admission that no one can help Greece with its debt over the long time and a warning to other irresponsible ´Big Time Spenders´ Tue 04 May 2010 15:20:19 GMT+1 DurstigerMann http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=66#comment186 @145 vassilis"There is only the option of loans. It took Merkel quite some time to figure this out and in the meantime it made the total cost of rescue/loans (but not bail out) higher. I do recognise that Greek governemnets behaved irresponsibly and Greece deserves to be thrown out of Euro but everybody says is impossible. So, if you think about it Germans behaved irresponsibly to delay and protract and make more expensive the only solution that *they* find acceptable. "I won`t deny the fact that the EU flat out ignored the storm building up in Greece. They let this corrupt country into the ECC and waste money in the most irresponsible way - everything overshadowed by the main European players struggling themselves to keep the SGP of Maastricht.Where you are wrong is that Germany behaved irresponsibly. The opposite is true and it is sad that so many people don`t seem to realize this. Actually I think that Germany wasn`t strict enough.Sadly, too many politicians in Europe still think that you can just take a bunch of money and solve problems. No changes needed.But if you give money to someone wo failed and don`t strictly force him to change something you are going to set sail for fail again.The short term costs don`t even matter if you count them against the long term costs of a bailout without any changes imposed.Why did countries like France rush to the help?Well, let me tell you there is a reason why the German economy is far better off than France`s. Tue 04 May 2010 15:17:36 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=66#comment185 MaxScepticRe #158Ball and Chain - - Janis Joplin - - 8.01 minutes of the deepest devilment the Human voice & spirit can evoke about the plight of life!The full-blown 'live' version from Woodstock just sends a buzz to the soul!Ah, where did it all go? If You are anything like me, mostly around the waist-line & off the hair-line!Triple Cheers for giving me that memory. Tue 04 May 2010 14:42:50 GMT+1 cool_brush_work http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=65#comment184 EUprisRe #275While aware that stereotyping is never of benefit I can relate a little of my experience during my recent volcanic-ash enforced 10 day sojourn in Brussels.During that short time the newspapers, tv news daily mentioned & the talk among my relations was of an ongoing spate of armed robberies of Jewellery, Tobacconist & exclusive shops & armed resistance to Belge Police: Each time the robberies, stabbings & shootings were attributed to 'arab'/'turkish' gangs - - apparently no such 'foreign' gangs (must explain this was French-Flemish terminology, not mine) could be recalled until the 'Open Borders' came about - - there seemed to be growing scepticism about how this policy was being 'governed' and alongside it an anti-foreigner (as well as their own dual-Belge persona) stance among the indigenous 'white' Belge and I believe the recent Belgian Parliament legislation banning the Bhurka can partly be seen in this context.To redress to some extent the above passage of racial profiling: It was also my experience in those 10 days that my 'arab/turkish/morrocan' neighbours in houses on my street were as friendly as ever; those working in shops, cafes, restaurants, internet cafe etc. were as industrious as always and in buses, trams & public parks people of all races, creed etc. were exceedingly pleasant. Tue 04 May 2010 14:35:28 GMT+1 Thumper3181 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=65#comment183 163. At 10:31am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:"It appears the main difference between America and Europe, is that Europe attempts to put the lives of its citizens together after catastrophes." So that is why the EU is "lending" Greece money on terms that will devastate their standard of living for years to come.180. At 12:58pm on 04 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:"What's so terrible about that? America profits, the Mexicans get a shot at the great American Dream and the Americas see vast cultural exchange the kind of which we in Europe can only dream of."Only to a point. A country that cannot control its borders is not a sovereign nation. A country that cannot control its borders opens itself up to unchecked immigration resulting in not only admitting the law abiding but the lawless as well. The US did very well in the 20th century with controlled immigration. We got all of Europe's desirables. We get Latin America's desirable now but we also get some people who we would rather not have here as well. Tue 04 May 2010 13:45:34 GMT+1 Pawel M http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=65#comment182 Dear Mr Hewitt,I really like your blog and try to read every post, but the topic is really getting a little old. How many more articles do you reckon you'll be able to produce repeating the same things over and over? The euro is flawed, Greece cooked the books, Germany is a scapegoat, austerity can halt recovery - every post repeats the same phrases. I think we all get it by now - the Greek crisis is important. It doesn't mean its the only thing going on in Europe. How about an article on Hungary or Poland? Just to liven things up a bit. If nothing else, you could write about the coming Eurovision Song Contest. Anything, please. Just no more Greece!Paul Tue 04 May 2010 13:31:47 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=64#comment181 @177. At 12:26pm on 04 May 2010, John_from_Hendon,Very valid point!----Alternative plan to Euro-crisis:I just realised that Greece the US & us (UK) don't need too much industry we just need a few good printers to print and issue government bonds!! Then other people buy the bonds and we buy their goods!The US has got down to a fine art, now Greece with its rescue is getting the act! I suggest we also try to get a slice of this income earning opportunity. The Germans, Finns, etc. go right ahead and make as many useless gadgets as possible we will keep buying them as long as they buy our government bonds. Every one is happy!!! I need to find my local Euro MP and propose that plan to him/her! Tue 04 May 2010 12:24:15 GMT+1 Tasos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=64#comment180 @ 173, konstantina wrote:and tassos there is a diference between loving your country and being a nationalist ... >> DEFINE 'nationalist' and RELATE it with what I've said ... CAN YOU??we have problems with corruption. you cannot simply say 'those were politicians and we didnt do anything'. u elected those politicians.>> VERY TRUE, and this is why Greeks (especially older generations) will Wake Up in the near future ... I expect there will be much much less 'getting away with murder = Treason in this case' in the next Greek elections, especially after having Lived for a couple of years under the new measures/taxes etc (or at least I hope so!!!!) - BUT do not forget that once one party has been elected the people do NOT have much power any more for the next 4 years or so, they are just 'watchers' (unless a 'revolution' of some sort takes place)and tassos, no need to bring up usual but irrelevant suspects like genocides...many greeks i meet in my small world(not a majority but still many) are too much nationalist. they believe they are superior for some reason... am just curious as to why a land that has been so brilliant in the past is stuck in these old fashioned views today?>> I know of NO ONE Greek who believes we are 'superior' in the manner you are referring!! BUT Whether You or our western 'Civilized' nevertheless unfortunately 'pathetically Stereotypical although having traveled extensively' EU 'friends' such as germans and british (mainly/not only) Like it or NOT, we Greeks DO have a great past/history/culture to present and we DO like to protect it at any cost ... IF you call that 'nationalist' then YES I am SO Very much THAT!!Finally, regarding 'old fashioned views today', please DO tell me WHO SETS THE TRENDS/'FASHION' about ideas? The Germans? The EU? The USA? Turkey? WHO??? Because FREEDOM of Thinking does not know of ANY Forced Trends or Ideas!!! Tue 04 May 2010 12:01:40 GMT+1 Chris Camp http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/05/greece_and_the_story_of_george.html?page=64#comment179 Try opening your border with Mexico and see how you like what happens!That border is effectively open. There is and will be massive influx from Mexico. And? What's so terrible about that? America profits, the Mexicans get a shot at the great American Dream and the Americas see vast cultural exchange the kind of which we in Europe can only dream of. Tue 04 May 2010 11:58:29 GMT+1