Milios: SYRIZA will take measures worth EUR 11.5 billion to address the humanitarian crisis

Milios: SYRIZA will take measures worth EUR 11.5 billion to address the humanitarian crisis

Athens, January 20, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The first measures of a SYRIZA government will be to address the humanitarian crisis, says political economy professor and head of the economic program of SYRIZA, Giannis Milios, in an interview with the belgian newspaper “L ‘Echo”.

In particular, Milios notes that “the first measures we will take will be to address the humanitarian crisis the country is facing: we will ensure food for those who are unable to feed properly, provide housing for the homeless or those at risk of losing their home, and free electricity for those who cannot pay”.

Overall, these measures relate to approximately 300,000 households accounting for 10% of the population, he says and stresses that the second series of measures concern the “reheating” of the economy.

According to Milios, the main line of action will be the private debt to banks and tax authorities. “We want to link the repayment of these debts with monthly income, so that no one will need more than 30% of their actual monthly income to repay their debt. The rest will freeze for some years”, he says.

Mr. Milios also notes the need to restore the minimum wage in the private sector at 750 euros gross, the 13th salary for pensions below 700 euros gross, as well as collective negotiations and other rights lost by employees due to the measures taken in the past five years.

As regards the cost of the program, Milios stresses that including a series of measures (such as free transportation for the financial weak, reduction of tax on heating oil, creation of a Development Bank, etc.), the total cost is estimated at EUR 11.5 billion, while the cost of humanitarian assistance amounts to 2.5 billion and is included in the total cost.

As for the Greek debt, Mr. Milios underlines that “the debt crisis is not a Greek phenomenon”, adding: “Italy has a debt of over EUR 2,000 billion. Spain and France also have problems with their debt. There must be a setting the problem for all relevant European countries”.

Milios supports that any debt that is unsustainable, and is strangling the economy of a country, should be restructured – moreover, this is also the view of the IMF and there is a precedent. In 1953, the International Treaty of London (CR .: “On German external debt”), the largest part of the German debt was written off and the repayment of the balance associated with the rate of growth; therein lies the root of the famous German miracle, he says.

“Greece had agreed then, along with many other countries, with this deletion. We ask the same thing. A european conference is needed for all countries concerned. All this can be done without European taxpayers having to pay the bill. We have studies to prove it”, he adds.

To the question what would happen if Greece’s partners refuse this solution, Milios stresses: “For as long as they refuse, negotiations will not be completed. Each negotiation begins with a denial of the position of the other. The negotiations, however, will continue until a deal is struck; because the eurozone is in rut and the implementation of austerity policies have not succeeded anywhere. If threats are launched from both sides, this is also within the logic of things. The war benefits no one and therefore will not be done”.