A translation from my friend Petros of a piece from Dimitris A.F. Kazis, Senior Researcher at the Centre of Planning and Economic Research, Athens.
European Solidarity to Greece revisited
We Greeks are indeed primarily responsible for what is happening to us, but let’s have a look now at exactly what the Eurozone mean when they speak about “Solidarity”.
Question: How is it possible that a country with a GDP only 2% that of the EU and 0.4% of the world’s threatens the euro and other strong currencies?
The collapse of an economy is linked with the bankruptcy of its banking system. When the American giant Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, the European banks suffered heavy losses and the ECB and national governments had to step in to prop them up: the banks were far too exposed to speculative investments, instigated primarily by American financial circles. Yet, the anger of those who suffered losses wasn’t directed against the US because, among other things, the USA is a superpower and therefore they didn’t dare demand anything.
Not long after however, the significant exposure of mainly Western-European banks to risky state bonds of small countries such as Greece triggered the accumulated anger of those who invested in them, and they turned their fire against our weak country. Why did they do that? First, because we ourselves laid the ground. Second, because it was necessary to give time to the German and French banks to get rid of their toxic Greek debt, primarily through the ECB. Third, because they needed a scapegoat to put all the blame on, even for bad choices and moves made by themselves, some related to our country and some not, something which is both unfair and dishonest. There have been voices according to which, the strict Protestant ethics of those in power today in Germany demand the exemplary punishment and the public tarring and feathering of sinful Greece and the use of the country as the “example to be avoided”. Others argue that the northern European mass media launched a name and shame attack on Greece in order to divert public attention away from the mistakes of their own banks and governments. It could be so.”