Athens, June 4, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Michalos: The memorandum is haven compared to the hell of the drachma
With the President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Konstantinos Michalos started at 10 am yestersay the work of the Commission of Inquiry that investigates the conditions under which the country was subjected to the memoranda.
Characteristic was the statement of the President of ACCI in his introduction of his positioning for the need of the country to stay in the euro. “If in the six years of memorandum we lost 25% of our national income, with the drachma in one day we would lose 40% of our financial strength and then due to the new exchange rates, the loss would reach 60% to 70%. The memorandum compared to the hell of the drachma seems like a paradise”.
Michalos argued that in the first half of 2009 the measures were in the right direction, however, he said that after October the new government of Giorgos Papandreou that took over did not have a concrete plan and did not even take one measure as an attempt to tackle the crisis.
At the same time, he characterized as damaging the country’s accession to the IMF, stating that “if the then government had decided to take structural measures in January 2010, there would be no need to resort to the IMF”.
“The responsibilities of Papandreou are immense”
“The responsibilities of the Prime Minister at the time, George Papandreou, were enormous. What the country didn’t need was a place to place it in the bed of Procrustes and chop off pieces”, Michalos said.
The President of ACCI argued that the degrees of freedom after the signing of the first memorandum were very limited, while to the question on whether the country could avoid it, he replied:
“We could, if in 2008, when the global crisis erupted, our political and business world worked by consensus and if immediately after the early elections in 2009 the new government took measures to reduce the deficits and debt. Unfortunately, we signed a devastating memorandum. Memorandum yes, but designed by Greeks for the needs of the Greeks”.
Asked whether and to who he lays the blame for the present situation which the country has been led after the announcement of the last election, the President of ACCI spoke of collective responsibilities.
Michalos noted the need to immediately find an acceptable solution within the next 3-4 days, and stressed that in the last five months there is great asphyxiation in the greek entrepreneurship, which inflates alarmingly the list of deletions from the Industry.
Kasimatis: Unconstitutional the first memorandum
Unconstitutional described the first memorandum, the emeritus professor of the Law School of the University of Athens Giorgos Kasimatis, arguing that there was a violation of the democratic principle of the Constitution.
Testifying to the Commission of Inquiry investigating the eligibility conditions of Greece in the memoranda, Kasimatis emphasized the legitimacy of the memoranda and loan contracts, calling both the first and the second memorandum invalid, since they were not validated by the Parliament with an increased majority of 2/3 of the House as is provided for international conventions.
Answering to questions from MPs as to whether the imminent agreement should pass in the same way from the House, Kasimatis stressed:
“In order to be valid and lawful it should be signed and in accordance with Articles 28 and 36 of the Constitution, and if it provides for control functions by the lenders it must be ratified by 2/3 of the parliamentary majority, more than 180 of the parliamentarians” .
“Once a memorandum is signed, it is an international agreement. The contracts are void if not approved by the relevant bodies, namely the Parliament. And what’s more since the previous agreements ceded sovereignty rights, they should have been ratified by 2/3 of the House”, Kasimatis added.
He insisted that “in the Memorandum there is an expressed renunciation of sovereignty rights”, while he stressed that something like this had never been signed before, and added that this happened for the first time in the history of mankind.
Kasimatis’ arguments that there was fraudulent intent and that “one doesn’t sign such an agreement even with a gun to ones temple”, brought the strong reaction of PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos,.
“You are the first to speak of treason. Does Mr. Tsipras also commits the offense of high treason for requesting money?”, Loverdos commented.
Kasimatis replied that he does not know the agreement and will first wait to examine it and added that “an illegal signature has nothing to do with money, but with the concession of sovereignty of a state”.
Loverdos accused him of being biased and for judging with double standards.