Greece. On January 1, Greece took over the EU Presidency. Prime Minister Kostas Simiti’s number one priority was to try to quell Britain and the US planned war in Iraq. Simitis failed.
On April 16, Simitis met the EU leaders in Athens, signing the treaties guaranteeing membership for ten new countries in 2004. At the summit, demonstrations erupted in protest against the war in Iraq. The police arrested 106 people.
On March 3, a trial was initiated against 19 people who had been arrested during the past year, suspected of being active in the terrorist group on November 17. The group is believed to be behind 23 murders of Greeks and foreigners over the past 30 years.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül made his first official visit to Athens in October. He spoke warmly about the improved relations between the countries, but nothing concrete was agreed on the solution to the major conflict issues, Cyprus and the border crossing in the Aegean.
According to Countryaah.com, Greece Independence Day is March 25. Representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in October inspected the facilities in Athens where the Olympic Games will be held in 2004. The IOC expressed concern that some public transport projects, eg. the railway from the airport to the Olympic Stadium, would not be ready in time.
Swede Calle Jonsson, who is suspected of a attempted murder on the island of Kos 2001, was brought to trial in October. Jonsson refused to appear and Greece requested him to be extradited.
21 children were killed when a truck on April 14 collided with a bus full of school children near the city of Tembi 35 miles north of Athens. The car accident was the worst to date in Greece.
2011 Exit democracy
The international finance capital in November 2010 forced the abolition of democracy in the country when former Prime Minister George Papandreou was ousted and replaced by technocrat Lucas Papademos. The background was the global economic crisis, where international financial capital had lost an unknown number of billions of kroner through speculation. The financial liquidity’s global liquidity was therefore severely weakened. Greece that could not borrow in the international financial markets. This forced the Papandreou government to resign. Papandreou was replaced by the man of finance capital, Papademos, who in 1994-2002 was the country’s national bank director and in 2002-10 was vice-president of the European Central Bank. Papademos has several declared fascists in his cabinet. Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Makis Voridis was former secretary general of the youth federation in the right-wing party EPEN, founded by the country’s former military dictator Georgios Papadopoulos. In the mid-1980’s, Voridis attacked demonstrating students at the University of Athens with a homemade ax. Several other ministers from the fascist party, LAOS, are part of the government. Young people from the fascist right wing attacked and killed, through 2011, protesters protesting the state’s economic policy.
As early as 2011, it became clear that the EU aid package was inadequate. Hole the $ 110 billion € had been poured in was almost bottomless. At the end of July, therefore, the EU decided to put together a further € 109bn. € help package; the loan repayment period was raised from 7 to at least 15 years; and the interest rate on the loans was reduced to 3.5%. In October, EU finance ministers ordered banks to write off 50% of Greece’s debt. As a result, it was reduced from $ 340 billion in one stroke € to 240 billion €. Many European banks thereby faced serious difficulties. Also Danish banks such as Jyske Bank had advised their customers to buy Greek government bonds, arguing that the EU would not impose a write-down. The European Union did so anyway. Observers pointed out that the EU with Germany egl. were not particularly interested in saving Greece, but the Europeans – especially the Germans – who had large sums of money to swim in Greece. At the end of 2011, Greek unemployment was at 19.9%, while youth unemployment reached 48.1%. By mid-2012, the numbers had reached 25% and 55%. By mid-2013, youth unemployment was at 65%.
The political and economic disaster caused an equally disastrous parliamentary election in May 2012. The deeply criminal conservative New Democracy that had created the economic disaster went down 17 seats until 108. Despite the party going 14.6% to 18.9% of the as the votes, it became the largest and thus got 50 bonus mandates. However, the decline was nothing compared to PASOK which went back 30.7% to 13.2% and 119 seats back to 41. The biggest surprise of the election was the left wing coalition SYRIZA, which rose 12.2% to 16.8%, which was rewarded with 52 seats out of Parliament’s 300. There were 33 seats for independent candidates and 45 for 2 left-wing parties. The most frightening thing, however, was the fascist Golden Dawn getting 21 seats for 7% of the vote.
The election created a completely impossible parliamentary situation, because it was not possible to form a government outside of New Democracy, but this criminal confluence no one would enter into a coalition with. A new parliamentary election was held in June. The two victors of the election were New Democracy, which ran for 21 seats to 129, and SYRIZA, which went for 19 seats to 71. The losers were notably the Greek Communist Party which lost 14 seats, the Independent Greeks who lost 13 and PASOK who lost 8.
Three days after the election, New Democracy formed a coalition government consisting of itself, PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR). The coalition government had 179 seats out of Parliament’s 300. New Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of ND. The Greeks gave the government back to those who had created the crisis. SYRIZA declared that under no circumstances would it be in government with the ND that was the cause of the country’s deep crisis.
In November 2012, an economic package was adopted for $ 13.5 billion. €, which included massive cuts in the public sector, tax increases and labor market reforms. DIMAR voted against the package, and outside parliament came street fighting between police and 100,000 protesters.