Capital.gr | There is now a matter of democracy

Athens, 1 July 2015

Evangelos Venizelos
Article in capital.gr 

There is now a matter of democracy

We have unfortunately arrived to the situation we fought - with pains, suffering and mainly with sacrifices by the Greek people - to avoid the five previous years. When I said, before the January elections, that five years of sacrifices can be lost within five days, I hoped my warning would act as a deterrent.

I was really worried by the ease with which the SYRIZA/ANEL government squandered, for nearly four months, precious national time telling obvious lies in the same cyclical rate every week.

The last twenty days, however, and especially after the publication of the government proposals on the list of financial measures, the belief was embedded that we are heading towards an agreement, one that fits perfectly in the logic and the legal framework of the Memorandum 2 and constitutes the proem of the Memorandum 3, of course.

But all of this came up against the internal political associations of the SYRIZA/ANEL construct. Party expediency prevailed over the obligation to protect the national interest.

A fleeting moment of parliamentary euphoria with the SYRIZA and ANEL MPs clapping excitedly –accompanied by the smiling tolerance of the members of the Golden Dawn- for the energetic Prime Minister who suggested a referendum, asking the people to say a loud and proud “no”, has led Greek citizens almost immediately to humiliating situations.

Closed banks, restrictions on capital movements, inability to pay pensions normally, insecurity, undermining of the tourism industry, cessation of payments to and from the public sector, a market freeze.

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TA NEA | The grand delusion

Athens, 29 June 2015

Evangelos Venizelos
Article in "TA NEA" newspaper

The grand delusion

In January, a large part of the Greek people believed that, without causing a problem to the European acquis of the country and without calling into question the improvement in the fiscal condition that was achieved owing to the sacrifices of the 2010-2014 period, they could make a choice of a government with radical characteristics.

A portion of the electoral base of SYRIZA believed the generous election promises of the Thessaloniki programme. Some had given importance to the ideas of unilateral actions concerning the debt and to an international conference on its haircut.

Others had more specific incentives concerning e.g. repealing the ENFIA tax, restoring public sector wages or restoring the 13th pension.

Almost all were convinced that it a new, unconventional government could accomplish a more aggressive and more effective negotiation with the EU and the IMF. It could remedy injustices, avoid new fiscal austerity measures, guarantee the current level of wages and pensions. Always within Europe and the eurozone, though.

All remarks on the lack of a plan B, on the risk of the cancellation of everything that was achieved during the previous five difficult years, on how easy it is for the country's European course to be questioned, its position within the eurozone, on the stability of the Greek banking system, on the average standard of living in the Greek society despite all the inequalities and injustices that exist, were ignored.

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TO VIMA | The moment of truth

Athens, 21 June 2015

Evangelos Venizelos
Article in "TO VIMA" newspaper

The moment of truth

After five months, the moment of truth is approaching for everyone.

The situation is of considerable interest to analysts, to the international media and especially to the institutional actors of the EU, the IMF and the global economy, as the strength of the eurozone and the relations of the markets with the states and the monetary areas are being put to the test. First and foremost, though, the historical course of our country is being decided.

After all, it is not at all common for a developed country, a member of EU and the eurozone, to be placed voluntarily under conditions of total uncertainty for its institutional and monetary identity.

Only we do not belong to either the spectators or the analysts. We are the topic itself; we, as a people and as a nation. Not Mr. Tsipras and his government, which has limited incumbency and limited mandate, as with all the elected governments in all democracies.

Therefore, I refuse to speculate on what will happen. I refuse to try to get into the mind of Mr. Tsipras. But I wish and hope that he has all the implications in mind. I wish and hope that he is aware of the size of his responsibility.

If so, then on Monday night the European Council will come to a unanimous decision, i.e. an agreement accepted by the Greek prime minister, who will guarantee to his counterparts its approval by the Greek parliament and its implementation.

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The peril of historical regression of Europe and the responsibility of European Socialists and Democrats

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The peril of historical regression of Europe and the responsibility of European Socialists and Democrats

by Evangelos Venizelos

Europe is experiencing the threat of a great historical regression. The European acquis in the second half of the twentieth century is under intense questioning and the irony is that this has resulted from the combination of the most ambitious step in the process of European integration, the euro, as well as the financial and fiscal crises that feed into one another and are addressed symptomatically in a piecemeal way, but not structurally.

What is now being questioned is not just the European welfare state in its different versions, but also, as we see happening already in many countries, the level of employment and income, the sense of security and quality of life, the model of growth, the competitiveness data and the redistribution mechanisms. We see arising now a problem of social cohesion and solidarity, a problem of intolerance, lack of pluralism, a problem of European historical memory and consciousness. Therefore, we see now a problem for democracy and the rule of law, through the rise of different versions of an extreme right that is overtly violent and pro-Nazi. This is mainly occurring in countries that are at the heart of the crisis and are applying pro-cyclical fiscal adjustment programs that exacerbate recession and unemployment. However, the entire European economic and social environment is recessionary, pessimistic and insecure.

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A German talks about Greece in time of crisis and the prospect of the Eurozone

An article by Evangelos Venizelos on Professor Peter Bofinger’s book
“Back to D-Mark: Germany needs the euro”

The publishing event of 2012 in crisis-stricken Greece was probably the publication of Professor Peter Bofinger’s book “Back to D-Mark: Germany needs the euro” ( in Greek : Polis Editions, translation  by Elise Papadakis).

Professor Bofinger, a member of the German Council of Economic Experts since 2004, becomes perhaps the best advocate of the Greek case to the German and European public. On the one hand, he is completely reversing all negative stereotypes that had been cultured for months against Greece, and on the other he presents with clarity the difficult reality of European correlations and the deeply rooted economic nationalisms that still exist in the heart of Europe.

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