Greeks disapprove of Merkel's visit, more austerity

20/10/2012

Concerned that additional austerity will deepen the economic crisis, bloggers disapprove of them in a unique manner.

By Andy Dabilis for Southeast European Times in Athens -- 20/10/12

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Nearly 30,000 people protested German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Athens on October 9th. [Reuters]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed solidarity with Greece during her recent visit to Athens, but her discussions with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras over additional budget reductions is being met with sarcastic disapproval in the blogosphere.

"[T]hese are necessary measures that have to be taken, I think it was not easy for anyone to impose those measures on them, but they, I think, have been made on the basis of great experience," Merkel told the media.

"Merkel apparently had some new thoughts about Greece ... about stopping these punishment games," Marios Evriveavis, professor of international relations at Athens' Panteion University, told SETimes.

"Things are changing fast and Greece is not far from the Middle East and has assumed a more important role in European structures," Evriveavis added.

Concerned that after years of pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions, Greece is stuck in the crushing economic crisis with a resultant rise in extremist politics, bloggers labeled Merkel "the enemy", but attacked domestic politicians whom they blame for having gone along the austerity policy.

Iakovos Pothitos argued the opposition took a wrong approach ahead of Merkel's visit which led to a massive protest and a general strike, when it had merely called for a demonstration.

"The political parties and politicians who are against the measures and the Troika should call the people to fight, resist, subvert the most anti-democratic regime that has been oppressing the people for years now and is selling Greece off," Pothitos said.

"The masks are off. The parties' real face will be revealed ... and nobody can hide from truth," he added.

Maria Leonida Vourgana and Liam argued the government is pre-occupied with Merkel's visit and issues like keeping out illegal immigrants while Greece loses critically-needed revenue due to smuggling of fuel, alcoholic beverages, gold, clothing, carpets and even cement through its borders.

"It is telling that a number of measures to control and reduce smuggling fuels such as GPS-tanker, the application of input-output systems in every link of the chain, from refineries to gas stations, the probes which passed with the law last April [are] still in the drawer," they wrote.

Taxalia argued that Samaras and his predecessor George Papandreou are to blame for the dire situation the country continues to find itself in.

"Papandreou took care of traffic problems in Greece. He succeeded by doubling the price of gas and petrol, so with the dramatic decrease in income of every Greek, the traffic problem of our country has been solved and the dangerous pollutants have dramatically decreased," Taxalia said.

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Samaras will change Greeks' diet, Taxalia added.

"The products we will increasingly consume [since salaries and pensions continue to be cut] are what else other than ones whose expiration date is past. Not a single Greek will have a constipation problem."

The Brilliant Plan added that Samaras is boosting tourism by bringing in Merkel and other foreign leaders to meet him.

"Tourists like adventure besides history and monuments in the package ... the prime minister does well to advertise Greece through images broadcasted by the international media. In the final analysis, he is not a 'tourist'. He brings tourists."

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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