Posts Tagged ‘austerity measures’

Two people burn to death due to fires in their homes

December 6, 2013

The winter and the harsh austerity measures claimed three more victims in Greece of loan agreements and heating prices the majority cannot afford. A 85-year-old woman was burned to death when a fire broke out in the 25-sqm shanty home she was living in Aspropyrgos. Media report that most probably a spark from a make-shift fire-place set her mattress on fire. she was found burned on her bed. The woman was living  on a small pension of 300 euro.

In another incident in Piraeus, the owner of a hotel was burned to death. He was found in a small studio built on the roof of the hotel. The mans was probably used the studio as his home. the fire broke out while the  man was sleeping, he died upon his transfer to the hospital.

In Toumpa suburb of Thessaloniki, a woman, 50, was lucky to be absent when a fire broke in the apartment she was living. The fire most probably broke out from a lit candle, as she was living without electricity and on meals from charity soup kitchen.

If we, Greeks, won’t die because of the shortages in health care, the lack of insurance and the high cost of self-participation, we will most probably burned alive or get poisoned from our make-shift stoves and the candles we light to brighten up our nights without electricity.

Falling asleep in front of the fire-place, hulled with several  blankets in a icy-cold home, dazed by the lethal fumes of carbon monoxide...

Scared by the many fire incidents since the beginning of the winter 2013,  the government plans to stop power cuts to vulnerable groups of the society due to outstanding bills. And here I say, this is not the solution. Then the debts will keep dragging the people to bills they will never be able to pay back.

ΤΗΕ solution is to decrease the prices in electricity with the many extra fees that make power unaffordable, to lower taxes in heating oil, to equal prices of natural gas to those as in the rest in Europe.

PS So happy to be able to inhale again the smog coming from the fire places

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The tragedy behind… jobless family almost burned in home without electricity

December 5, 2013

A fire broke out in the home of a jobless family of four living without electricity for two years. The 5-year-old child of the family and the grandmother were taken to hospital due to respiratory problems, the parents have reportedly suffered minor burns. It is not clear whether the blaze was due to candles or a make-shift stove.

The fire broke out short after 4 o’clock on Thursday morning in Kordelio suburb of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. The smoke apparently woke up the family that managed to get out of home in time, escaping the worst. Fire brigades managed to extinguish the fire, while all four residents were taken to the hospital. The home was almost completely destroyed.

Electricity box without power consumption counter…

The fire reportedly broke out either from a make-shift stove or from candles, because the house had no electricity for at least two years, according to a statement by the major of Evosmos. Efstahios Lazaridis who stressed that some 700 families in his area have similar problems with power cut due to economic difficulties.

Greek media report, that the family was in dire economic situation living on meals from the Church and municipality soup kitchens. The family with origins in former Sowjetunion had no other income except for the child allowance of 40 euro per month, the grandmother told reporters.

“My children woke me up and we got out of the home,” the grandmother said. she added that neither her son nor his wife had a job.

“They had food Monday to Friday, but on weekends they had nothing to eat,” the landlord  told media. The family had not pay the rent of 150 euro per month for the last two years, neither the water bill. “I could not pay for their electricity too, so I went to Power Company and had the power cut,” the landlord said.

Neighbors claim that the parents were drug addicted.

In the heat of frustration and anger, the father armed with a knife tried to attack journalists covering the news outside the burned home. The father was detained and charges are to be brought against him for violating the “weapons law”.

The municipality Social Welfare will offer shelter to the boy and the grandmother.

Evosmos major, Efstathios Lazaridis stressed that some 700 families in his area have similar problems with power cut due to economic difficulties.

Speaking to private Skai TV residents stressed the tragic circumstances for many families in Kordelio-Evosmos municipality with 100,000 people. Almost 50% were without job and in Evosmos 800 families were without electricity. (nonewsnewsblogspotzougla.gr, newsit.gr, protothema.gr, ).

The tragedy in Kordelio occurred a week after 13-year-old Sara died of carbon monoxide poisoning after her mother had made fire in a make-shift stove so they could warm in a home without electricity.

According to Fire Brigades records, 65 people lost their life 2008-2013 (January) in Greece due to “alternative heating means” like fireplace, heating-oil, wood and gas stoves or make-shift stoves.

Theater play writer Vaggelis Leivadas, 90, was burned to death in November 2011 when an electric heater was turned over.

Annual heating cost for apartment 90-100 sqm in Athens:

natural gas 1,000 euro

heating oil 1,600 euro

Stand December 2013

source: zougla.gr

considering as minimum heating period December-February, it’s difficult for jobless households to find extra 300 euro to heat their homes.

With exorbitant prices for heating oil and natural gas – prices 30-40% higher than in the rest of Europe – many households cannot afford safe heating means and do whatever they can in order to sit at home without freezing feet and running nose.

 

 

 

 

Diaspora-Greeks: Ashamed of being Greek! ?

June 17, 2010

contributed by Blog-Fan: Thomas/USA 

I am a Greek-American of the “diaspora” who can legitimately claim that I know both cultures fairly well. 

In our US community, Greek-Americans are held at the highest regard. The level of respect and even admiration we enjoy in our community is more than obvious.  Before the “Greek crisis”, that is.  No, we did not lose, nor could, all this respect overnight. 

However, we can easily detect “that look”, a different look than the “pre-crisis” one from our community peers. 

We do receive some ironic, rightfully so, comments and even some anger that the rest of the world (true or false is irrelevant) has to bear the consequences of the Greek crisis.  

The problem is that we know they are justified in their criticisms.  

Mafia-style-run Governments

 The Greeks for 35 years have been knowingly and willfully voting for “mafia-style-run governments” so they can use “reciprocal” bribery and corruption to enjoy a life-style they could neither afford nor deserved without ever working for it (exceptions to the rule are non-withstanding, yet, they are just that. Exceptions!).  

Even today, Greeks do not dismantle the only European Soviet-type system that has yet to adopt “glasnost” and “perestroika”.  They keep on blaming their politicians, yet, they keep on voting for the same ones. In a democracy, by euphemism in this case, the ultimate responsibility lays with the voter/citizen.  The only soft spot of a democracy is that it requires a high level of responsibility, civic awareness, and education. Greeks have failed miserably in all of the above. Just look at the way they park their cars. They consider smart (“magia”) to park on the ramps built for handicaps and honk (let alone stop) for children on their way to the school bus.

 To add insult to injury, the overwhelming majority of the Greeks even today have not realized the gravity of their situation and what is to follow.  They are being overcome by a “delusion of grandeur”.

 “Delusion of Grandeur” 

 They advocate that the rest of the world (and more than any, The Germans) owe them big time!  Their reasoning:   ancient Greece was the cradle of western civilization 2,500 years ago!  As if it is the only country with glorious history.  They believe the whole world has conspired against them so they can enjoy the natural beauties of Greece cheaper. Yes, the whole world is set against 10 million people (a relapse of “delusion of grandeur”). 

 Ask 100 or a million Greeks why they are proud of their country and you will get the same answer every time.  “The natural beauty and the ancient Greeks”; both given either by their distant predecessors (although historically disputable) or by God. When asked what Modern Greek achievements they are proud of, none can come with a single one for the past 190 years (with the exception may be of the 1940 war era against the axis).

Diaspora Greeks ashamed!

For the first time they have made us “Greeks of the Diaspora” feel ashamed to be Greek.  

No, not because Greece is in a crisis. It is the mentality, the irrational and unfair/wrong sense of entitlement they possess. The arrogance, the lies, and the mentality of robbing other hard working nations of their tax money, so they can enjoy the good life, is considered “smart”, they call it “magia”. This is what makes us most ashamed.  

 Last weekend it was a 3-day long weekend in Greece.  All the motorways leading in and out of the major cities were jammed and all the “tavernas” (even the expensive at E 150.00+/person were packed). 

 Aside from the economic issue, there is the moral issue to be addressed as well.  The IMF and The EU should keep on adding austerity measures and only when the motorways, the “tavernas” and the bars (at E 8.00/drink) have gone empty should consider stopping.  Until that happens, I am afraid that the rest of Europe will be “suckers” and the Greeks “magies” (smart) as they proudly self-proclaim themselves.  Only then Europe and The IMF will get their money back and We our Dignity.   

 The danger that our community, where we Greek-Americans live and work, might equate us with their mentality disputing even for a minute the fact that we worked so hard with honesty and sacrificed so much keeps me up at nights. 

 We do not deserve this and we are angry.  We do distance ourselves with those Greeks.  We do side with these voices of discontent, anger and sense of justice and morality.  Let them go bankrupt….the whole world will be better off….including the Greeks in the long term.  Do not delay the inevitable and our agony.

 Thomas

Greeks Protest Prices at Super Market!

June 16, 2010

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Unprecedented scenes unfolded in a big Super Market downtown Katerini (Central Greece), when some 50 people, arriving simultaneous at payment counters asked for a 15% discount.

As expected the management of the Super Market refused to grant the requested discount. And what did the consumers do? They simply walked out leaving behind a mountain of filled shopping baskets.

This original idea of protesting high prices was initiated by the “Voluntary Action Group Pieria”, a group of active locals.

 According to website O TOPOS MOU  the angry and frustrated consumers protested the high prices of basic necessities and the sharp decrease of income.

 “Our family income fell by 20% only in the last 4-5 weeks, our purchasing power is shrinking day by day, while the profits of your company grow. Amid economic crisis, galloping inflation, companies like yours are making profits at double-digit numbers. Get the phone now, call the headquarters in Athens and tell them what we ask! ” said the angry consumers.

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While waiting for the answer from Athens people started to raise their voices demanding immediate reduction in prices.

Other consumers shopping at the store joined the protesters and patiently waited.

“Furious mothers with children, pensioners with a trembling voice, and even high school students stood firmly next to each other asked the obvious: to protect the citizens from the multinational companies and the big sharks, who undisturbed prey on  the Greek market. “ reported the website. At the end the protesters moved to a local super market that promised them 5% mass reduction.

Greeks pay 40% to 80% more than other Europeans

It is a common practice in Greece that the same consumer goods are sold 40%-80% higher than in other European countries like Germany, Great Britain or France, when salaries are average lower in average.

Some Greek Media have often blamed the price cartels, fixing prices among international producers selling in Greece. Other accused the corrupted system. While  others see high transportation costs as the reason why the Greek consumer has to pay more to buy a bag of detergent, a tube of tooth paste or a bottle of Coca Cola than his German or French counterpart.

Broken Milk Cartel

Two years ago the milk prices cartel was broken, when businessman Andreas Vgenopoulos reduced the price for 1 Liter fresh milk from EUR 2 down to EUR 1.

I personally, having moved to Greece from abroad, was astonished to buy one liter of Milk for whole 2 Euros!  Now Vgenopoulos’ fresh milk is sold at 1,01 EURO in Super Markets. At the same time the consumer can find milk of different brands sold for up to 1,80 EURO.

Where shall I get the money for the Price Increases from? Inflation rate!

Last month Development Minister Louka Katseli had meetings with businessmen asking them to reduce prices for consumer goods. The purpose was to reduce prices so consumers could buy products thus avoiding a total stagnation (stagflation) and an upcoming unemployment. The dialogue ended fruitless. Having failed to force price-reductions in order to catch up with Recession the Government raised the VAT.

According to EUROSTAT inflation in Eurozone in May was 1,6 %. In Greece 5,3%.

And we all know that when official inflation is  X-digit, it is XX or even XXX digits on the street.

The result I see every Saturday when I pay the bill at my neighborhood’s Super Market. Since a couple of weeks I pay 15-20 EURO more, that is 60 to 80 Euros more per month. My “shopping basket”  increase is some 30% to 32%.

Where shall I find this extra money I need???

Link for O TOPOS MOY

http://www.anasta.de/TOPOS/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=424&Itemid=1

Greece’s Bankruptcy, Exit the Eurozone: Where these scenarios come from?

June 7, 2010

All these Leaks about Greece’s bankruptcy, its Debt restructuring and return to Drahma…. where do they come from?

by  Petros Leotsakos – Journalist – bankingnews.gr

 

 

Shades of indications but not evidence have started to emerge about who leaks all these  “doomsday scenarios” about  Greece’s bankruptcy and return  of  Drahma.

First of all I want to say that the return of Drahma will be devastating for the country. It will be the pure economical destruction. It will constitute a historic blunder of enormous proportions.

But while everyone knows the massive adverse impact of such a  move, who are the ones then, who leak that the country will go bankrupt or that it will exit the Eurozone and will bring back the Drahma?

Based on indications but not on evidence one of the leakage sources can be identified as the consultants and  running around aides  of the Government, whose primary target is to create an “atmosphere”.

If, for example, the government wants to pass  new and tough measures, what is most effective than to spread news the orderly scare the average citizen and make him  yield to the harsh measures?

In this climate that is shaped inside Greece, there added the negative attitudes of some ‘centers’ outside Greece. Both accentuate and aggravate the problem, especially the psychology of  people.

There is  a further question to be raised here: the Economic Situation has not stabilized. On the contrary it is  beyond the threshold levels. Any error in handling the crisis  will certainly drive Greece into stalemate. And at the end, perhaps those targeted leakages will eventually turn into facts.

Greece is at threshold levels.

http://www.bankingnews.gr/Όλη-η-ενημέρωση/item/3615-οι-διαρροές-για-χρεοκοπία-της-χώρας-για-αναδιάρθρωση-για-την-επάνοδο-στην-δραχμή-από-ποια-κέντρα-προέρχονται

Greek Businessman: Bankruptcy is not the solution!

June 7, 2010

There is a lot of talk about Restructuring Greece’s Debt , which many Greeks define as ‘official bankruptcy’.

A friend of mine, a businessman, posts his opinion…

“Bankruptcy of  Greece  is not the solution.

In case the country goes bankrupt not only lenders will not touch anything Greek but we are doomed to go bankrupt again. It is a known practice in Greece that everything here is  ‘closed’ and ‘opens’ only with ‘oil’ – commissions under the hand -.

What we need are  radical and innovative moves.

 For example, this year 80% of  the businesses will have losses.  The consequence will be that tax offices will not collect anything; on the contrary they will probably owe more than before. 

So why not to make the simple.. Tiered tax on businesses, but yet better than our competition in our neighbor countries.

Example:

2,5 % tax for the  first  €100.000

5 % tax for € 100.000 to 1 million.

10% for more than € 1 million

12,5 % for  Companies assigned to Athens Stock Exchange.

Plus opening of the ‘closed’ to everyone professions and land use.

This model would give a huge breath and a new perspective to all businessmen

 Of course, in case a company committes tax evasion all movable and immovable assets should be confiscated.  At the same time the shareholders, the CEO, the president, the board should be accountable.

 This is a just idea of mine. Right or Wrong, that’s subjective.

The problem is it is not MY duty to bring ideas.

The Ministers and the rest of state officials realize slowly but gradually what Giorgos (Prime Minister) has signed for. They start to understand that with such austerity measures thy sign their political conviction.

 That’s why the clown Minister of Labor acts as if he were on stage, saying there are not 40 years of work, pensions are not 48% of salary, not everybody has to work until the 65th year of age.

We have signed the austerity measures and he (Labor Minister) has to tell us the news.  In Antique Tragedies here is the point where they kill the messenger.

Right now Greece is playing the future of its grandchildren at the roulette table.

Currently, Greece is where the future of her grandchildren, roulette. Greece is doing nothing to change the course of the situation. All the responsible keep telling lies,  find jobs for their own people, ignoring and not caring about the rest of us.

 
The problem of the Greeks, is neither frugality not austerity . I believe the problem of the average Greek is the injustice the common Greek experiences.  At some certain point of time those governing must understand that justice may be subjective but the law is objective and timeless.”
http://kourkoulos-kostos.blogspot.com/

Radical Pension cuts upset Greeks

June 2, 2010

Vacation? This was lllaaaast year….

The last vacation you ever had in your life ( photo: Lefkada 2009 )

Greeks experience a new shock, as the lenders – Troika (EE/ECB/IMF) demands a radical decrease in pensions.

Pension : only just 48% of the salary after 40 years of work!

While Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos proposes the pension to be 60% of the salary, the Troika puts the knife deep in the pockets of the insured.

Example:

A employee gets today € 1.200 salary.

His pension after 35 years of work is € 837

With Loverdos Proposal: € 802

With TROIKA-IMF/EU proposal  € 380 and this after 40 years of work!!!

These radical pension cuts are not combined with any changes in the insurance/pensions system. Charges lcould be  separation of doctor/pharmaceutical insurance from pensions, or volunteery pension contributions.

Billions of Euros  from the insurance/pension institutions have been lost after the money was used to invest in questionable bonds. No state official has been hold accountable so far or have been punished!

At the same time salaries for firstly employed have been cut from  € 745  down  € 550

In short we, common Greeks, are called to pay for the debts created by those who put their hands deep in the millions & billions of  public money. And did this for decades.

Will Greeks accept this injustice?

Pay Your Taxes Because They Know Where You Live!

May 25, 2010

Amazing TAX HUNTING VIDEO!!!

posted by LABONEWS – I gues, he/she added the Greek subtitles…?

Greece:Pension Reform Bill-Shocking Changes on the Way

May 25, 2010

Five new changes in Pension Reform Bill are required by the EU/ECB/IMF-troika, currently in Athens for consultation with the Minister of Labor.

 Speaking yesterday morning in ANT1 (the TV show “Good Morning Greece), Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos said that the troika, fearing a possible collapse of the Pensions/Insurance Institutions, calls for an immediate change of the system in the following five points :

1. Implementation of the New Pension Bill as of  as 2015 and not  2018 as proposed by Greece.

2. Full pension at 40 years of work (not at 37 as proposed by Greece) and a penalty of minus 6% per year to anyone entering early retirement.

3. Reducing pensions to divorced and unmarried – apparently it refers to unmarried or divorced daughters of army officials, who get the pension of their father.

4. Reducing pensions to widows. Widows under 50 yrs should not get any pension at all, while those under 65 should get pension according to their income.

Reuters wrote that the “Pension reform is a key performance benchmark for Greece under the three-year bailout programme, the biggest ever for an individual country. Any glitch over pensions could raise doubts about the Greek government’s resolve to carry out the programme.

The draft pension bill allows retirees to draw a full pension after 37 years of contributions, three years earlier than set out in the bailout deal agreed earlier this month.

The bill also fully implements reform in 2018, three years after an EU-IMF deadline”.

 

Link to

Reuters article http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20100525/tbs-uk-eurozone-greece-eu-4210405.html   English

TANEA http://www.tanea.gr/default.asp?pid=2&ct=1&artid=4576124  Greek 

Easy Ways to Cut the Pensions of Others

May 12, 2010

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Greek Minister for Employment & Social Security reads in the monring newspaper how to get along with 600 Euros per month. Andreas Loverdos is concerned…

With the new austerity measures in force, low earners and pensioners bleed, while deputies at the Greek Parliament enjoy double and threesome income.

A couple of days ago I was watching a late night TV talk show about the pensions system overhaul in Greece. Guest star was the Minister of Employment & Social Security, Andreas Loverdos, in charge of the radical changes hurled at the head of millions of Greeks.

He tried more or less to answer questions about the injustice in the new pension and retirement system. A clear answer was not there.

Andreas Loverdos is an attractive guy in his middle 50’s, lawyer and politician since 2000. When he is out of convincing arguments, he uses a well trained behavior pattern: He leans his head slightly to the left, he plunges his look innocentlyin the eyes of his interlocutor and keeps silent for a second or two. At this point, viewers know: Mr. Loverdos is concerned about what he hears and listens…

 Monday night, in TV Show “Anatropi” of  Y. Pretenteris,  Mr. Loverdos was silent again for a second or two. He had just listened to short interviews of two white-hair old ladies complaining they hardly come along with their pensions of 700 and 800 Euros per month; let alone with their  future pension cut approximately 35% yearly.

Here I should mention that one of the ladies had earned her 800-Euro-pension through early retirement. “Early retirement” means you get your pension after 25 or even 15 years of labor; of course, only if you belong to the social class of “Greek privileged civil servants”. And here was the point, when my father  got really upset.

My father, 82, a self-employed, who struggled for his hard earned money to feed his family had worked for 70 years in the streets with rain and cold, or sun and heat. The retirement money he receives from IKA (State Social Security for self-employed and private sector) is only 600 Euros. Monday night my father got really upset, raised his hands and voice and started to curse….

But Mr. Loverdos does not know my father. He doesn’t know as well neither your father or your mother, who struggle to come along with 600-700 Euros  per month.

So, Monday night, Mr. Loverdos kept silent for a second or two. He was concerned. He even spoke of ‘social injustice’. But finally he said that “there is nothing more we can do”. He also mumbled that if the budget deficit improves, he will be happy to give extra money or money back to the low pensioners.

When Mr. Loverdos retires, he will be proud receiver of pensions from two social funds. He will receive one pension for having worked as a lawyer and one for being a member of the Parliament. Members of the Greek Parliament fortify pension rights if they serve for two legislative periods.

Had Mr. Loverdos served 8 years as a Major  too, he would have received an additional third pension.

But Andreas Loverdos does not know my father. So he won’t proceed in cutting his own benefits and fix social injustice.


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