(The text is also available in Greek)
Right Honourable Members of the British Parliament, dear all!
I thank you for the invitation and for granting me the opportunity to analyze the causes that have driven my country, a country which in the past inspired poets and philosophers, to inspire today only cartoonists and presenters of satirical shows.
Greece is a country in deep crisis, a crisis that is not only financial. I would dare to say that the financial issue is the least of its problems. For the past 35 years, Greece has been living through a continuous decline in ethics, institutions, public life, education and the level of its leaders.
There is no precedent in World History where a government adopted as its official state policy the blackmailing of its partners. This is precisely what SYRIZA did during its seven-month “negotiation” with the European Union – negotiation in quotation marks. And, let us not forget that the EU partners had already given to a basically bankrupt state, an enormous debt “haircut” and two bailout loan agreements with extremely favourable terms, mostly at the expense of the European taxpayers.
It is clear that the SYRIZA government went to Brussels with the following shocking message, a message which was its central platform during the pre-election campaign period: “You lend us money, we spend it. And, we intend to keep on spending in the exact same way that led us into bankruptcy; on huge pensions for fifty-year olds and on salaries for hundreds of thousands of redundant civil servants, many of whom with a ghost job description. And, not only shall we not fire any persons holding sinecure offices, but we shall hire even more civil servants and create more early pensioners. We are not undertaking any commitments for the new loans that we want you to give to us, and we demand that you write off the old ones.” Unbelievable!
According to the SYRIZA propaganda in Greece, there was not even one in a million probability that the European Union would turn down the demands of SYRIZA, because the alternative of not lending to this Neo-Bolshevik Greek government would be the collapse of the European Union, a much greater catastrophe that the leaders of the European Union would certainly want to avoid!
I am ashamed for my country’s government. I am ashamed for its politicians. I am ashamed of the image of Greece in the modern world. I admire the composure and patience of the European governments that continued to negotiate for 7 months with these blackmailers! However, surprisingly, the SYRIZA won the national elections for a second time in a row. What has happened? Have the Greeks gone mad?
No. Even for the most irrational of behaviors there is always a rational explanation. But one has to look at the entire picture. Please, allow me a brief historical overview. It is essential in order to comprehend the Greek Drama.
The rule of law was never really applied in Greece, a country that did not go through the renaissance and the enlightenment. The Ottoman occupation was succeeded by an Ottoman model of governance, “Greek style”. The Greek State has always been a mixture of guilds and interest groups, in conflict with each other. The core of this model has always been state sponsored patronage. In Greece we call it “clientelism”. The Greek citizens have been giving their vote to those from whom they expected the greatest benefit.