Campaign: #TheGreekFiles

Mr Draghi, what are you afraid of?

Release #TheGreekFiles!

Join the campaign to demand that the ECB publish the legal opinion it commissioned on whether its closure of Greece’s banks in 2015 was… legal

What is this campaign?

Deep in a vault in the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) lie #TheGreekFiles, a legal opinion about the ECB’s actions towards Greece in 2015 that could send shockwaves across Europe.

As a European taxpayer, you paid for these documents. But the ECB’s boss, ex-Goldman Sachs head Mario Draghi, says you can’t see them.

So former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and MEP Fabio de Masi, together with a broad alliance of politicians and academics (below), have announced they will file a mass freedom of information request to the ECB to uncover #TheGreekFiles once and for all.

If Mario says no, they’ll take the campaign to the next level, and consider all options – including legal action – to make this vital information public.

 

Source: Campaign: #TheGreekFiles

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On “Religious Diplomacy” visit in #Greece, #Putin as a faithful asks for privacy moments on Mount Athos

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Russian President asked for privacy during the last hours of his trip to Mount Athos in Greece, and for personal pilgrimage time at the Garden of Virgin Mary, and especially during his visit to the Russian Monastery

 “I am glad to have the opportunity to visit again in Athos, which is rightly called the Garden of the Virgin Mary,” Russian President said  at the Mount Athos’ administrative center of Karyes, and stressed that “every man who walks on this earth of prayer, brings particular feelings.”

“The Holy Mountain is a unique defender of Orthodoxy,” Vladimir Putin said, praising the Mount Athos’ role in the strengthening of Christianity.

We look forward to the establishment of relations with the Holy Mountain” concluded expressing his pleasure for  that ” each year more and more visiting pilgrims from Russia.”

The Russian head of state  head privately to the St. Panteleimon monastery, after the official welcome ceremony  at Karyes, where he was welcomed by the Religious leaders and the Greek President , and lighted a candle and kissed the holy icon at Protaton church .

At St Panteleimon monastery, which is inhabited by Russian monks,  President Putin was met by the 102-year-old abbot Jeremiah and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

Abbot Jeremiah is the older among all monks in the Athos society. Those who have met him say that he might become a Saint due to his special spiritual value. Greek media reported that he is the “spiritual father” (pnevmatikos) of President Putin

Putin has arrived at the monastic center of Holy Mount Athos on his second and last day of his visit to Greece on Saturday afternoon. He visited Mount Athos’ administrative center of Karyes, and the Protaton church which is under the ownership of the Holy Kinot, Athos’ high governing council.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos welcomed Vladimir Putin alongside local religious dignitaries, followed by a short service at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Putin  then addressed  members of the Holy Kinot stressing the importance of strengthening relations between Russia and Mount Athos , for the religious strength that this would provide to the Russian people

Russia and Greece celebrate 2016 as a cross-cultural year, marking the millennial anniversary since the first Russian settlement on the Holy Mount Athos.

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Mount Athos is a peninsula in northeastern Greece with 20 monasteries – 17 Greek, one Russian named after St. Panteleimon, one Bulgarian and one Serbian. The 20 monasteries rule Athos through their representatives that make up the Holy Kinot.

Vladimir Putin arrived in Greece for his two-day visit on Friday. During  his meeting with  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras,

the Greek leader  said that strengthening ties between Moscow and Athens is the “strategic choice” of the Greek nation.

The Russian leader, during his speeches in Athens on Friday, but also on Mount Athos on Saturday,

repeatedly  underscored that Russia and Greece have common civilization values and Orthodox culture.

Russian Orthodox Church leader Kirill  had already arrived since Friday on Mount Athos to join Vladimir Putin during his visit today.

It is not the first time Putin is visiting Athos. Actually,during his visit to Greece in September 2005, he was the first Russian leader to visit the holy place.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens on Friday.

Jointly with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, Vladimir Putin visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens and attended the opening of the exhibition of the Ascension icon painted by Andrei Rublev in 1408, which is part of the State Tretyakov Gallery’s collection.

The Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens, where the icon is exhibited, houses one of the most famous collections of Byzantine art. Its exposition counts more than 25,000 icons and divine service items, jewellery pieces, sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, ceramic items and manuscripts covering the period from the 3rd to the 20th century.

 

The first collection of the museum, which was officially opened in 1914, was put together by the councillor to Queen Olga of the Hellenes (before marriage Grand Duchess Olga Romanova), founder of the Christian Archaeological Society George Lambakis.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to attend the opening of this unique exhibition of the Ascension icon, a masterpiece from the collection of Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. This is a work by a great icon-painter, monk Andrei Rublev.

Andrei Rublev took his inspiration from the cultural and religious heritage of Byzantium, whose spiritual successor Greece is. Having mastered various elements and techniques of Byzantine artists, Rublev was able to add to and enrich them. Mr Prime Minister highlighted the Russian style of this icon.

For a long time, the name of Andrei Rublev was known only to specialists. It was only in the 20th century that his art gained broader recognition. Only five of his works, five icons, have survived. The Ascension is one of them. It exudes a sense of harmony and a balance of form that are inherent to the artist. The icon was painted in the early 15th century during the restoration of the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir.

I would also like to highlight that the exhibition is held as part of the cross-cultural years of Russia and Greece, whose launches the President of Greece and I declared in Moscow in January. I am sure that many more memorable events will be held in the course of this extensive project.

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Religious Diplomacy, notes Le Monde

By using “religious diplomacy” Moscow wants to break Europe’s unity against Russia because Greece has long opposed Western anti-Russian sanctions, an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro said.

“Vladimir Putin is the president of a country where the constitution proclaims the separation of church and state. At the same time, he is a religious person, taking into account his planned visit to Mount Athos, one of the most important orthodox holy places,” the article read.

Vladimir Putin’s cooperation with Tsipras may break the anti-Russian unanimity within the European Union. Greek Prime Mnister Alexis Tsipras, since he assumed his post  has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions against Russia.

The Russian president and Patriarch Kirill have a common mission during their visit to Greece, the article noted.

Ahead of the visit, Vladimir Putin wrote an article that was published  by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini , where the Russian leader underlined that

throughout different epochs religion and patriotism have helped the Russian and Greek peoples preserve their identity .

He added that Russia is indispensable for Europe.

“An alliance between state and church is becoming more and more visible in Russia,” the article read.

Recently, the Russian Orthodox Church proposed to establish a new monetary organization controlled by all countries.

According to Le Figaro, thus the Church criticized global dollar and euro dominance.

Visit our updated on #PutininGreece Gree2m Special HomePage

 

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“This is why I call you to judge me #Greeks…” @atsipras Party splits hours after he resigned for #Grelections

“This is why I call you to judge me #Greeks…”, @PrimeministerGR said, resigning for #Grelections

Lafazanis, Konstantopoulou, Varoufakis, Stratoulis, all of them anti-MoU among Tsipras’ Party, but not among the 25 Split SYRIZA signatures the two (popular at most, both) in the center

25 lawmakers announced their move in a letter to Parliament on Friday morning in Athens, hours after Alexis Tsipras resigned and called an early election to deal with a rebellion in Syriza over his signing Greece’s third bailout deal and accepting austerity measures demanded by creditors. Among the 25 former Greek MPs are not Zoe  Konstantopoulou, the President of the Greek Parliament, who has strongly opposed the Memorandum agreement of the Prime Minister nor is the Popular Yianis Varoufakis

The new group, which will be called Popular Unity and will be led by former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, becomes the third largest group in the Greek Parliament.

That means it could potentially receive the mandate to try to form a new government, although, it is not a party that has gone through national elections’ round yet, which might not allow them to get the mandate at all, professors of Constitutional Law said to the Greek media today

Having been catapulted to power after years of oppositions to Greece’s bailouts — which come paired with austerity and structural reform packages — the remaining members of Syriza now find themselves tasked with implementing one, the businessinsider commented.

But, still, It still looks quite likely that Tsipras will be Prime Minister in two months,BI’s article assessed.

Syriza remains popular in comparison to the alternatives. After getting 27.8% of the vote in the January election, the centre-right New Democracy party now regularly polls below 20%.

It’s possible that Tsipras will have to form a new and different coalition, the BI article assumes, but seems that there will be no alternative bloc in parliament to build a majority around. It’s not clear for the moment, how much support Popular Unity might sap from Syriza.

HSBC, Metron Analysis

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Go to our story ,

“This is why I call you to judge me #Greeks…”, @PrimeministerGR said, resigning for #Grelections.

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Realistic is only the Greek Proposal, said @atsipras after meeting with Juncker, in good climate discussion, though

It lies on European Leader's hands the decision for a Non Divided Europe

It lies on European Leader’s hands the decision for a Non Divided Europe

Alexis Tsipras by Jean Claude Juncker walking out their meeting on 11.30 Brussels time at Commision Building on Greece's

Alexis Tsipras by Jean Claude Juncker walking out their meeting on 11.30 Brussels time at Commision Building on Greece’s “Thriller night ..”

Realistic is only the Greek Proposal, said @atsipras after meeting with Juncker, in good climate discussion, though.

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Exclusive: A Deal, Yes, yes, A deal! #Greece possibly HAS an agreement

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 Negotiations turned unexpectedly positive, by Angela Merkel’s helping hand

Exclusive information obtained late Friday 29/05/2015, by Greek to me!, whispers that Greece’s agreement with its Eurolenders is a reality. Greeks do hold their breath for official announcement still, moment-to-moment…..

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Negotiations for Greek agreement have taken ‘sudden, positive turn’

There has been a sudden, positive change in the Brussels Group, during the final stretch in efforts to achieve an agreement between the Greek government and its partners, a source in Brussels reported on Friday.

According to the source, there were only “very few elements left” on which a substantive solution had yet to be found, so that an agreement can be reached.
These had to do with taxation on property and the size of VAT rates, the source added.
Based on information given to the Spanish newspaper “El Mundo,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel intervened on Friday so that progress would be made and the sides arrive at an agreement.
Earlier on Friday European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici’s spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt had said that discussions at the Brussels Group had been continuing and that “there is not ultimatum about when…

View original post 467 more words

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Good Moooooorning Europa, still climbing uphill…..

A giant lion roars before a frayed Greek flag on a graffiti by BANE on a wall of a primary school in the Athens suburb of Nikaia on this picture taken at the end of April.Jun 15, 2014, afp

Younger generations face the burden of national crisis, still, images of misery mobilize them politically a national univerisity research showed

“We are like Sissiphus…”

“We are like Prometheus…”

Good Moooooorning Europa, still climbing uphill…...

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Greek representative to IMF resigned, with no comment

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Thanos Catsambas, the Greek representative to International Monetary Fund and one of the Fund’s alternate executive directors, resigned, unxpecedly on Wednesday. Greek media speculate whether Catsambas’ resignation is related by any means with the visit of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to IMF last Sunday.

Effectively Thanos Catsambas will step down from his position on 1. June 2015. No official statement, press release or announcement has been made for the reasons for his departure yet.

Mr Catsambas was a former IMF official from 1979-2010, and was appointed as Greece’s IMF representative in January 2012 when Lukas Papadimos was Prime Minister.

Sources from the Greek Finance Ministry commented on Catsambas’ resignation that “it was his own personal decision” implying that he was not asked to do so.

source: keeptalkingreece

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#Greece, to bridge with ‘mama’ #Russia

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As a member of the EU, Greece, could act “as a link and a bridge” between Russia and the West. This is Alexis Tsipras’ and the Coalition government’s positioning on Greece’s relationships with “mama” Russia, as said by the Prime Minister, a few days before his visit to Kremlin, invited officialy by President Putin .

A “road to nowhere”

“We disagree with sanctions,” the Greek Prime Minister said, on April 1, underlining that “these penalties, enforced by Europe to Russia over the Ukraine crisis, have costed much to Greece’s vulnerable economy”.

Alexis Tsipras, indeed, didn’t neglect to emphasize, talking from the Greek Parliament hall one week before his Moscow visit, that “the new European security architecture must include Russia,” reiterating that Greek support for EU trade restrictions could not be assumed.

The Prime Minister described the western sanctions against Russia as a “road to nowhere”, saying his new government would seek to strengthen ties with the country.

“This is a possibility for … giving a new impetus to the Russian-Greek relations which have very deep roots in history,” he told the Russian state news agency Tass.

“We should see how our nations and countries can really cooperate in many spheres – the economy, energy, trade, agriculture – and find out where we can help each other.”

Tourism to Greece, is also, apropos, another issue as the government’s spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis stated on Sunday, primarily underlining, though, that

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A major blow that our country accepted, has to do with the embargo of our agricultural products’s exports to Russia. There are such issues that can and should be discussed, can be resolved,  and do also promise to swift some ‘breaths’ to the Greek economy, even during this Prime Minister’s triphe said. 
The Prime Minister’s spokesman defined, also that “there is no symbolism on the date of Alexis Tsipras trip to Moscow”, which, coincidentally concures at the date of April 9, when the Euro-working group will be asked to decide about Greece’s reform list. “It was a pre-set date, and an official, by Russian’s side invitation since long” Sakellaridis said.
Greece and Russia have old historical ties,indeed.

In the early 19th century tsar Alexander I helped Greece gain independence from the Ottoman empire. Orthodox Christianity brings a sense of belonging to the same culture. Religious affiliation may not be the most important thing for Tsipras, whose Syriza far-left movement is rooted in stark atheism. But it certainly appeals to his coalition partner, Independent Greeks party, which is comfortable with Putin’s ideology of traditionalist nationalism and social conservatism, has recently noted a Guardian article

For more on Greece’s New Day on Realtionships with Russia go to our previous articles

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That’s how the Index of Despair was created in Greece. Such a lack of interest for tax transparency, by Samaras’ government, said Switzerland

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German newspaper Die Welt recently accused Greece, -but mainly the ex Greek government this time-, of not acting on opportunities to recover billions in lost tax, “The Greek government has done nothing for a year to recover supposedly untaxed assets of Greek citizens in Switzerland. There is an invitation extending from 2014 by the Swiss Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) to track the money and transfer it to Athens,”

 The Swiss authorities expressed their wonder, Greek government sources have said, for the lack of interest of the previous government for the revised double taxation agreement between Switzerland and Greece that has been in place since 2012,
as only fifteen requests had been received for the transfer of tax-related data.
Greece’s new government has committed to fighting tax evasion and corruption in a bid to raise funds for the state and to spread the burden of the crisis, which is currently falling disproportionately on the poor as wages and pensions have been cut, and taxes on lower incomes raised much more than those on higher incomes .

Between 2008 and 2012, taxation in Greece, which made a 72.4 percent contribution to fiscal adjustments, was increased by 337.7% for lower income households, compared to just 9% for higher income groups, according to the publication of  a recent study GREECE: SOLIDARITY AND ADJUSTMENT IN TIMES OF CRISIS, supported by the Macroeconomic Policy of Institute of the Hans-Boeckler-Foundation

The study, that created an “Index of despair” claims that a “deficient crisis management approach and ideological inflexibility coupled to established political interests” made “the exit from the crisis more complicated and painful.”
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On 19 March, the EU and Switzerland concluded a new tax agreement which aims to increase tax transparency by guaranteeing an automatic annual exchange of data between Switzerland, and all of the EU member states. It will come into force on 1 January 2017. Leading up to this date, Switzerland is keen to work with Greece to prevent capital outflows to other uncooperative financial centres.
On 26 March Swiss State Secretary Jacques de Watteville met with Greek Minister of State Nikos Pappas to resume discussions between the two countries with a view to increasing cooperation to combat tax crime. It was agreed that transmission mechanisms needed to be strengthened, whilst the main theme of discussion was the preparation of the planned automatic exchange of information from 2017/2018 in the framework of a new EU agreement with Switzerland agreed just last week.

How could you translate Greek Humans in Need ? You created a monster, Europe, that ate the “86% of the flesh of the poor”. Here are the numbers

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How do you capture the humanitarian crisis in numbers?

Add, may be together the suicides (more than 4,000 since beginning of the crisis),count the many soup kitchens and charity clinics, pharmacies and municipality grocery shops for the poor, determine the number of homeless and the number of households without electricity due to outstanding debts to the power company? Or may be take into account the families living on borrowed money and the ones sought shelter in family’s and relatives homes because they cannot afford to pay rent?

Should all debtors in despair come out and raise hands, wrote Keep talking Greece in February, while Alexis Tsipras government was desperately trying to presuade Eurozone Leaders, that such a Crisis does exist (!) as the most tragic Emergency on Humanitarian meanings of today’s western world.

But the most shocking part of all, is the non-humanitarian , ugly capitalistic result of this crisis, where, according to German official research, is the burden to the poor, the low-incomers, the low-pensioners and even the jobless appears proved to be  over-proportional when compared to the  economically better society classes.

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This is the result of  the German Institute for Macroeconomic Research (IMK)- affiliated with the Hans Böckler Foundation-, that has analyzed 260.000 tax and income data from the years 2008 – 2012.
According to the study
  • . The poorest households in the debt-ridden country lost nearly 86% of their income, while the richest lost only 17-20%.
  •  The tax burden on the poor increased by 337% while the burden on upper-income classes increased by only 9%
The study that has analyzed 260.000 tax and income data from the years 2008 – 2012, and still has left out of the study the poisonous years of Mr. Samaras governance, where life was made impossible for more and moremiddle class and low incomers, who often have decided ,due to despair , to give their life an end.
– The nominal gross income of Greek households decreased by almost a quarter in only four years.
– The wages cuts caused nearly half of the decline.
– The net income fell further by almost 9 percent, because the tax burden was significantly increased
–  While all social classes suffered income losses due to cuts, tax increases and the economic crisis, particularly strongly affected were households of low- and middle-income. This was due to sharp increase in unemployment and tax increases, that were partially regressive.
– The total number of employees in the private sector suffered significantly greater loss of income, and they were more likely to be unemployed than those employed in the public sector.
-From 2009 to 2013 wages and salaries in the private sector declined in several stages at around 19 percent. Among other things, because the minimum wage was lowered and collective bargaining structures were weakened. Employees in the public sector lost around a quarter of their income.
-The extent of the wages cuts were grossly overstated at least ten percentage points, the study researchers estimate.
Unemployment & Early Retirement

Unemployment surged from 7.3% in the Q2 2008 to 26.6% in the Q2 2014. among youth aged 15-24, unemployment had an average of 44%.

Early retirement in the Private Sector increased by 14%.

Early retirement in the Public Sector* increased by 48%

The researchers see here a clear link to the austerity policy, that’s is the Greek government managed to fulfill the Troika requirements for smaller public sector. However, this trend caused a burden to the social security funds.

Taxes
Taxes were greatly increased, but they had a regressive effect.

Since beginning of the austerity, direct taxes increased by nearly 53%,  while indirect taxes increased by 22 percent.
The taxation policy has indeed contributed  significantly to the consolidation of the public budget, but by doing so the social imbalance was magnified.
Little has been done against tax avoidance and tax evasion, however, the tax base was actually extended “downwards” with the effect that households with low-income and assets were strongly burdened.

Particularly poorer households paid disproportionately more in taxes and the tax burden to lower-income rose by 337%. In comparison, the tax burden to upper-income households rose by only 9%.
The Poor suffered more
The losses were significantly different to each income class with the poorest households to have suffered the biggest losses.
Almost one in three Greek household had to make it through 2012 with an annual income below €7,000.
Income losses 2008-2012
1. Class: i.e. 10% of Greek total: households that have lowest income: loss 86%
2. and 3. class: loss between 51% and 31%
4. – 7. class: households with higher income: loss between 25% and 18%
8. Class: 30% of Greek total: households with the highest income: loss between 20% and 17%.
On average, the annual income of Greek households before taxes fell from €23,100 euros in 2008 to just below €17,900 euros in 2012. This represents a loss of nearly 23 percent.
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