Financial Times: Corruption is chocking Greece

Financial Times: Corruption is chocking Greece


By Spiros Sideris – Nicosia

Corruption in Greece and the maintaining of customer relationships is strongly criticised in an article published in the Financial Times.

“The crisis has shocked the clientelism system of corruption and unjust enrichment, which was reborn in Greece in the early 1980. But it is useless to say that corruption and the clientelism network in the public sector have disappeared”, emphasise the FT. Meanwhile, in the private sector, wealthy Greeks do not make sacrifices to help their country in this hour of need, ensuring that the crisis will hit mainly the middle and lower classes.

The famous newspaper also refers to the political situation in Greece, stating characteristically that either SYRIZA comes to power or not, it is a “dog that barks but does not bite”. “The latest polls show that in an early election scenario, the winner will be SYRIZA, the opposition party of the extreme left that eyes with hostility to the austerity measures and economic reforms introduced by the Samaras government. It is not yet certain whether the bite of SYRIZA will be as strong as its barking, after they come to power. It is unlikely that early elections to give him them an absolute majority.

Undoubtedly, pressure from government partners and markets will push Mr. Alexis Tsipras towards an arrangement with the creditors of Greece. If things happen like this, then even with a SYRIZA government Greece will not experience neither a financial profligacy nor an endless austerity, but a policy that will be guided to some extent by a sense of financial responsibility.

Mr. Tsipras always stated that he wants to keep Greece in the eurozone – A position that automatically sets restrictions on a purely left program”.

For the columnist of Financial Times Tony Barber, what’s important to Greece is not who is at the helm, but rather if in these five years of hard austerity and “subordination”, the troika has actually managed to modernise the political culture of Greece and the behaviour of its citizens.

The crisis that hit Greece was a disaster for the middle class and the poor, but not for the plutocracy that maintained its client-type relationships, argues the article, while it comments the government’s attempt to exit the Memorandum.

“Based on the political calculations, if Greece is freed from the control of the IMF and the EU, the government win the parliamentary vote in February and will elect a new President. This will allow the government to complete its four-year term and to fight from a position of strength for the next elections in June 2016. The problem is that the coalition controls only 154 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. Under the Constitution, 180 seats are needed to elect a president. If the government does not succeed, then early elections will be proclaimed. Not what Mr. Samaras wants, but he believes that the conservative New Democracy party can have a good performance if voters know that it has achieved the early exit of Greece from the Memorandum. For Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his colleagues, however, this is not primarily an economic issue. It concerns national dignity, and includes political calculations -as should be expected in a democracy”.