Did EU leaders exacerbate the Greek problem ? (from Financial Advice)
As the issue regarding the Greek economy, and in particular the Greek budget deficit, continues to grab the headlines around the world there are growing concerns that EU leaders may well have exacerbated the situation due to their vague promises of assistance. At the time it appeared that the EU was in a position to offer significant financial assistance to the Greek authorities but over the last few days this apparent across the board support has begun to waver.
The first cracks in the promise of assistance came when the German authorities went "off the party line", suggesting that financial assistance for the Greek economy may not be forthcoming in the short term. This would appear to be at odds with the overall EU understanding of the situation although surprisingly EU leaders have also failed to back up their initial promises with cold hard cash.
This weekend we saw the Greek Prime Minister complaining about the vague promises from the EU and the time in which it has taken to clarify the situation. It will be interesting to see whether a formal rescue plan is published in the next few days because this problem is not going to go away and needs to be addressed before it begins to impact upon other economies in the Eurozone. (See a more complete analysis from Reuters and a report from the Financial Times )
US bonds slide on Greece deficit (from Gulf News)
US corporate bond issuance fell 76.9 per cent to the least in six weeks as credit markets were roiled by uncertainty stemming from Greece's budget deficit. Borrowers sold $7.78 billion (Dh28.5 billion) of debt last week, down from $33.6 billion the previous period when companies tapped the market to fund mergers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
"Anytime you have uncertainty in the marketplace, in this case driven by Greece, you have investors as well as institutions step to the sidelines," said James Barnes, portfolio manager at Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based National Penn Investors Trust Co.Barnes, who helps oversee about $1 billion of fixed-income assets. "I think a lot of institutions took care of their funding in 2009, so we're expecting to have a drop off in issuance."
The European Union summit accord stopped short of offering concrete measures to help Greece handle a debt load that exceeds its annual economic output. "It is certainly possible that those problems will widen and ultimately lead to a slowdown or even a reversal of the US economic recovery," Martin Fridson, chief executive officer of money-management firm Fridson Investment Advisors in New York, wrote in an email.
New Zealand dollar falls amid uncertainty over Greece bailout plan (see Business Wire / Scoop)
Wall Street to blame for Europe's mess (see Economic Times / India Times)
Euro Area Headed for Break-Up, SocGen’s Edwards Says (from Alexis Ydias, Bloomberg)
Southern European countries are trapped in an overvalued currency and suffocated by low competitiveness, a situation that will lead to the break-up of the euro bloc, according to Société Generale SA’s top-ranked strategist Albert Edwards.
The problem for countries including Portugal, Spain and Greece "is that years of inappropriately low interest rates resulted in overheating and rapid inflation," London-based Edwards wrote in a report on Friday. Even if governments "could slash their fiscal deficits, the lack of competitiveness within the euro zone needs years of relative (and probably given the outlook elsewhere, absolute) deflation. Any help given to Greece merely delays the inevitable break-up of the euro zone."
Farmers maintaining blockades at the Greek-Bulgarian border (from Novinite, Bulgaria)
As protesting farmers scaled back highway blockades inside the country in opposition to the government's austerity measures, the majority of those protesting at the Greek-Bulgarian border refused to comply with their colleagues decision and vowed to maintain their tractor blockade under their demands are met, disrupting the transport of goods to and from Bulgaria. On February 14 the Greek farmers terminated briefly the blockade at all four border check points on the Bulgaria-Greece border.
Saturday News Update (from Indymedia Germany)
* Attack with gas-flasks early in the mourning against the Hellenic Food Control Authority of Development Ministry and Greek Governmental Radio of Irakleio, Creta. The fire was put down by fire department.
* Antifascistic gathering and concert at Ampelokipi district in Athens, close to the spot where before two weeks "autonomous nationalists" have beaten up antifascist citizens. The call was from antirascistic & antifascistic local teams, out-parliamentary communists and members of the arabic assembly.
* The autonomous and antiauthoritarian assemblies of pupils in Athens and Thessaloniki keep on their weekly meetings.
First Announcement of Athens Pupils' Antiauthoritarian Movement, 23rd January 2010:
"From the freedom for education to Education of freedom. We are pupils from several regions of Attica who face the hard daytime of school life. We experienced December 2008 when our consciences got awaken and revealed the need for creation of a pupils' assembly which will function:
1. With anti-hierarchical structures. 2. Under direct-democratic and not representative-democratic ways. 3. With libertarian and social character.
1. The enlargement of open pupils' assemblies. 2. The abolishment of any coercions (examinations, grades, absences, crime sheet, praying, visits to churches, parades etc) 3. The abolishment of the segregation and the competitiveness which are produced by school (good-bad pupil, christian-different religion beliefs, Greek-foreigner) 4. The creation of a school which will promote the free expression and creativity. 5. The expansion of Asylum-law also in schools beside Universities. 6. The free access to all levels of education, without examination barriers.
*Today despite sustained bourgeois media efforts to hide the failure of the talks in Brussels and Germany's veto on any direct economic help towards the greek state, the PM vented his anger against EU power-holders who "have transformed greece into a guinea-pig". Despite continuing pleas for "national unity", today middle-education teachers followed their primary-education colleagues in calling a strike for the 24th of February. More worrying for the capitalists, customs officers have announced a 3-day long strike for next week which will see a complete freeze on all exports and imports. At the same time a 4-day strike for next week has been announced by employees of the Ministry of Economics, and of the Central Chemistry Lab of the State, the State's Accounting Service, the State Loans Office, the National Statistic Service and the State Legal Council. The strike is expected to paralise all state-economic functions. (from Libcom)
* Since last night, Thursday 11th February 2010, is squatted the artistic sector of Fine Arts University in Rethymno, district of Evligia. Because the place is not improved enough by the University authorities it was decided to squat it in purpose to make it an area for artistic actions in any possible form. The squatters make an open call to all political teams and to people who have artistic interests to participate in the daily assembly so they can shape together their ways of action. (from Indymedia)
Translation from the squatters' blog:
EVLIGIAS' ARTISTIC STATION SQUAT
Article 1 The Artistic Stations which belong to the Higher School of Fine Arts are Organic education Annexes of it, which aim is to provide artistic work and to outspread of the University's activities in the educational and cultural sector by organising seminars, exhibitions, lectures, projections and other cultural events. Based on the article above and because none of any artistic event takes place in the certain building so it can have a cultural opening to the society of Rethymno and because there are appropriate conditions that wait to be given the opportunity to them so they can be expressed out we decided to take advantage of an essentially unused space and give life to it.
Ability to stay in the Artistic Stations which belong to the Higher School of Fine Arts have: b. Students of the Higher School of Fine Arts in Athens so they can exercise or prepare their final diplomat work. d. Greek Artists of Visual Arts, for art work performance. e. Students or members of educational staff in respective Arts Schools of Greece, in teams or even individuals, to perform artistic work. h. Personalities the field of Visual Arts or the site of the Spirit and Arts in general, Greeks or foreigners who will possibly offer teaching. If the Article 2 extends the opportunity to stay for students of Fine Arts Schools and other relevant schools also to artists, Greeks or foreigners, by placing artistic work or teach, we believe that we have the right to participate in this space, without waiting for the rector's approval, so inside the space can be expressed the interests of many people who feel the lack of such a place in Rethymno for activities related with music, dance, sculpturing, graphic designs and what else will come up later.
7. The percentage of persons who are not students, scholarships or members of the Fine Art University, can rise up to 25% of the total positions' number, for each Artistic Station, after there not enough students, scholarships or members of the School who use the station. This article provides the use of the station also from people who do not have any artistic status and as we see not a lot of people use the station and so there is no reason to excuse that the space keeps empty and we decide that we want to stay inside there to form a community that will create, participate in common decisions and fall in love. On this basis above and our conviction that we must interfer strongly to fight for what we believe that accounts for us, like the free speech and the use of public spaces, without getting under political expediencies' umbrellas, we seek for the creation of a libertarian space where we can house our creations and concerns without the commercialization of them which will proposal a different way of life far away from the established social norms that are imposed by others for us.
* Three vindictive redundancies of syndicalist workers from METKA factory in Volos town during the afternoon. Alexis Pavlidis was candidate in the leftish ballot for the elections of the factory labor association that took place last September. Kostas Vogiatzis & Vassilis Kalatzas were "exposed" because of supporting the leftish ballot. The agents from Volos' Labor Center did not find Mr. Oikonomou, the executive director of the factory, who just disappeared. The factory's labor association decided for a 2hours stoppage of work on Tuesday, so a General Assembly of the workers can take place. Today a press conference about the situation took place in the Workers' Center of the town. Initiative for Workers & Unemployed Solidarity called also for a gathering in front of the factory's entrence at 21:00, so the workers who changed timetables on this time were also informed about the situation, calling for blockading the redundancies with a strike.
* Αdoui Αboudou Wassiou, from Togo of Africa, is kept in the detention centers of Achaian police headquarters since last Sunday and he is in danger of deportation back to the tyrannic status quo of his country. Adoui, who speaks french, was arrested while walking alone and has a passport but he is accused for keeping a fake visa card. He was brought in a trial with the accusation of possession of fake document and despite that the judge sentenced him innocent, they still keep him imprisoned in purpose to deport him. If Adoui will be deported his life will come to a question because of the difficult political situation in Togo. According to last day's information, he will be transfered to Athens before next Thursday and then deported to Togo. Meanwhile, more than 150 arrests of political and economical prisoners have took place in Patras (port from where migrants try to pass to Italy) during the last days. Because of lack in detention centers Achaian police headquarters, the majority of the arrested persons have been transfered to Agrinio and Pyrgos local detention centers and most of them come from Sudan and Somalia. Yesterday (10th Feb) an agency from Movement of Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy visited the Director (head pig) of Patras' Security, with whom they discussed about the event and took also permition to discuss, under cop presence, with the prisoners so it could be possible to have a picture about their needs and may offer help. Among the prisoners there are lots of citizens from Albania, Afghanistan, Palestine and possibly Algeria. Further info: firstname.lastname@example.org *
*Around 400 people demonstrated today in solidarity with Fabrica Yfanet Squat in Thessaloniki after the last days' fascistic attack.
Fotos from the demo: https://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1131947
Thursday News Update (from Libcom)
*The national union of teachers has announced its participation in the strike of the 24th of February, making the latter look like it is approaching the volume of a general strike. Also kiosks and corner shops have warned of rolling 24h strikes that would create great daily problems for consumers, demanding a reversal on extra tax imposed on tobacco as part of the austerity measures. At the same time, only hours after the bail-out, the greek government has been embarrassed by a long banner unfolded in front of the parliament by senior left-wing figures. The banner wrote: "No to the Stability Pact, European Workers Unite in Solidarity and Subversion"; the group was led by the highly influential ex-President of the Coalition of Radical Left, Mr Alavanos, who called Greece "the shit-hole of the Stability Pact".
Solidarity action for Alfredo Bonanno & Christos Stratigopoulos in London on Wednesday (see Indymedia Athens)
Foto: See "News Update Thursday"(above)