It’s official. The troika has left Athens. No more bailouts. No more headlines about the Greek crisis.
European politicians are overjoyed.
The Eurogroup chairman Mario Senteno said “today is a special day for Greece.”
“You did it! Congratulations to Greece and its people,” European Council President Donald Tusk Tweeted, adding that “European solidarity” helped seize the day.
You did it! Congratulations to Greece and its people on ending the programme of financial assistance. With huge efforts and European solidarity you seized the day.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) August 20, 2018
The European Stability mechanism (ESM), which is the EU’s crisis resolution mechanism that handled the Greek bailouts changed its Twitter cover photo to celebrate the day and its chairman, Klaus Regling, was joyous in his remarks about Greece’s new day.
— ESM (@ESM_Press) August 20, 2018
But the realities on the ground are very different and much of the international media— not to mention the people living the results of “Europe’s solidarity” aren’t buying the spin of the Eurocrats.
As Liz Alderman reports in The New York Times, that even though the bailout programs are ending, the pain in Greece is far from over.
Austerity and social welfare cuts imposed by the Europeans as conditions to receive bailout money has left over a third of the population— more than 3 million citizens— near poverty, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“Household incomes fell by over 30 percent, and more than a fifth of people are unable to pay basic expenses like rent, electricity and bank loans. A third of families have at least one unemployed member. And among those who do have a job, in-work poverty has climbed to one of the highest levels in Europe,” according to The New York Times report, which is complete with statistics and evidence of their findings.
The phenomenon called “brain drain” has also devastated the country with hundreds of thousands of people– mostly educated young people– having fled the country to places like Dubai, Germany and other European capitals in order to find work.
The year 2011 marked “the beginning of significant, abrupt and sustained increases in total suicides,” according to a study that showed an increase in people taking their own lives by almost 40%.
Homelessness in Greece… way up.
Child poverty… One in four children in poverty, according to the EU’s own stats.
Personal bankruptcies… through the roof.
Corporate bankruptcies… record numbers.
Value added (VAT), personal income and corporate tax… the highest ever.
Far right violence and fear-mongering… a regular occurrence.
Add to all of this, Europe’s mishandling of the refugee crisis that has left more than 75,000 desperate people stranded throughout the mainland and islands in limbo with much of the burden on average Greeks who see it their duty to help these people as much as they can.
Greeks and Greece have been decimated by bad European leadership and policies that were more concerned about safeguarding German and French banks, than the people of Greece.
No Mr. Tusk and all of the other fantasy cheerleaders in Europe… The day hasn’t been seized and congratulations are not in order either for Greece, or for your fellow Europeans. Your Tweets and self-congratulatory back-slapping are an offense to the dignified people who have been resilient throughout years of your misguided policies that you’ve imposed.
Enough with the spin.
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