Syriza’s Communist Faction call for rupture

The Communist Faction of SYRIZA has initiated a signature-collecting campaign among the many members of the party. In a text to be submitted in the Central Committee of the party on the upcoming weekend (23-24 May) – in the form of a referendum – the Communist Faction is asking from the SYRIZA-led government to “stop paying the lenders-blackmailers” and to “implement the true popular mandate” on which SYRIZA campaigned, and eventually got elected.

Below, you can find a translated version of the text, that has been already signed by 150 members of SYRIZA. The members who have already signed the text hail from different parts of Greece (some are even stationed abroad), and will be asking for the support of all factions within SYRIZA during the weekend.

An important thing to be noted here is the fact that there is no prominent MP or  MEP signing the document, at the moment. It is a small part of SYRIZA’s membership asking for a more radical stance from the government towards the finale of the negotiations.  Nevertheless, coupled with the “call for rupture” by many prominent members of the Political Secretariat and the Central Committee of SYRIZA that was made just yesterday, this only puts added pressure on many MPs and cabinet members that are already contemplating of breaking with the more moderate line that the government seems to be following. (And I say *seems* here, because, given the way the negotiations have played out until today, and considering the recent comments made by Varoufakis and two spokesmen of SYRIZA, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Greek government is taking its haphazard bluff until the very end.)

In any case, here is the Greek version of the Communist Faction’s document, which includes a link to the signatures collected thus far. Right below, you can find the translated version of the text (minus the 150 names). It is a fascinating call for rupture (once again).

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Call for “rupture now” by the Political Secretariat & Central Committee of Syriza

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Prominent members of the Central Committee and the Political Secretariat of Syriza are preparing an event for tomorrow, Tuesday 19 of May. Speakers and participants in the event include: Antonis Davellos (SYRIZA Political Secretariat), John Millios (SYRIZA Central Committee), Sofi Papadogianni (SYRIZA Political Secretariat), Panos Lambrou (SYRIZA Political Secretariat), George Sapounas (SYRIZA Central Committee).

Quoting from the event description, as well as the title of the invitation-pamphlet, the message of the event seems quite clear: “the only way out [of the impasse] is the choice of rupture with the lenders.”  

Read the announcement for the event below.

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The speech of Alexis Tsipras at the Economist Conference

Tsiprandreou

The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, delivered a very interesting speech at the Annual Conference event of the Economist in Athens. You can find the original speech, in Greek, here. You can find the translated version from the Office of the Prime Minister, here. Or you can read my own translation right below.

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The warlike statement of Syriza’s Political Secretariat

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Statement by the Political Secretariat of Syriza [14 May 2015]

From the first moment that this government was established, it became clear – both domestically, and abroad – that the mandate given by the Greek people is binding and comprises of a compass in the negotiations.

The red lines of the government are red lines of the Greek people, expressing the interests of the workers, self-employed, pensioners, farmers, and the youth. They expressed the need for the country to enter a new path of growth, with social justice and redistribution of wealth at its core. 

The insistence of the lenders in implementing the MoU program of the Samaras’s government, creating an asphyxiating stranglehold of political pressures and financial asphyxiation in the country, comes in direct contrast to the notion of democracy and popular sovereignty in Europe. It expresses the obsessive fixation to austerity that deconstructs the welfare state, the oligarchic direction of European affairs in closed rooms that are unaffected by the will of the people, [and] which pave the way to the rise of the extreme right in Europe.

These requirements cannot be accepted. They cannot be accepted by the Greek people who fought all these past years in order to put an end to the criminal policies of the Memoranda. They cannot be accepted by the people of Europe and by the progressive societies and political powers, who fight for a Europe of solidarity and Democracy. 

The citizens of Greece and Europe are not passive consumers of 8 o’clock news, on the contrary, we believe that they can be co-stars in a negotiation that concerns the common fate of all of us, in the scale of Europe and the world.

SYRIZA will take any possible initiative to inform the Greek people, but also the European people. In every city, in every neighborhood and workplace, but also in all countries of Europe, the MPs, MEPs, and members of SYRIZA will come together with [other] members of SYRIZA and forces of solidarity [towards the party] in a wide mobilization call for the win of democracy and of dignity.

Now is the time for the people themselves to enter the battle. 

We will win.

Original text (in Greek) can be found here.

Photo: Sofokleousin

What Varoufakis said in The Economist conference

Earlier today, Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister, gave the Keynote address to the “19th Economist Roundtable with the Government of Greece”. The topic of the two-day conference is: “Europe: The Comeback? Greece: How Resilient?”

While I could not find a video-taped version of the entire speech by the Minister of Finance, I landed on a video uploaded by Enikos.gr, which contains the better chunk of his speech. It seems that Varoufakis’s comments caused quite a stir earlier today, which led to an angry, official announcement by the Ministry of Finance. (See the end of this post)

As per usual, and given the fuzz created by his comments, I decided to transcribe the video of Varoufakis’s speech. Of course, it is incomplete (I begin at 3:05 of the video above, when V begins to talk about the really interesting stuff, and stop at the end of the video – and not at the end of Varoufakis’s speech). If I find the full video, I’ll make sure to provide a complete translation later on.

Segment of Varoufakis’s Speech at the 19th Roundtable with the Government of Greece [Starting at 3:05 of the video above]

… They often ask me – and I reply in the following way – why we have not finished the negotiation yet: it is because – and I speak personally – as a Minister of Finance, I will refuse to put my signature in such a package [deal] that, from a macro-dynamic perspective, is not dynamically consistent. These numbers do not tie with each other. Because, if I place my signature [in such an agreement], I will be yet another Minister of Finance that signs a medium-term program of fiscal adjustment, which he knows cannot work. And it can be proven mathematically that it does not work!

Unfortunately, on the other side, there is an understanding of this. But at the same time, there are political limitations in accepting it. When they tell you in the corridors and with closed doors that “you are right! But how can I pass this from my parliament?” you understand that we have a problem of consistency of those things that need to be done in order to have the comeback [of Greece, or Europe], and those things that can pass from the parliaments. And here, I will agree with Mr. Letta, that it is an issue of governing Europe. We know it very well that Europe does not have the structure of governance that is required in order to solve such disputes.

But since I want to focus and give more time, as I said earlier, for the discussion – I also have to go to the parliament, and answer four relevant questions today at 11:00 – I will tell you very quickly what I think must be the basis of a solution. Of an agreement-solution, so that the comeback can happen.

The first [thing that is needed], I explained: a dynamically consistent fiscal framework, a medium-term program of fiscal adjustment that has coherence, logic, [and] consistency – domestic and through time.

The second – and let us be clear here – even with divine inspiration and intervention, with someone pressing a button and making our debt vanish, the problem of growth would not have been solved. It would have been helped, but not solved. You know that better than I do.

Why? Our government is determined not to have again primary deficits. But an economy that is on a ‘Great Depression’ – it is not the same as what we call ‘great depression’ in Greek – with such low economic activity, with labour markets that are weathered, and without banking trust, and [even] with primary surpluses from the government, the question is: where will the growth-momentum come from?

It is clear that state assets must be utilized. And here comes the question of what does it mean to utilize state assets. Obviously, I do not mean a fire-sale. I do not mean selling them off in minimum prices – money that you take and throw it in the bottomless barrel of a non-sustainable debt. For us, the utilization of state assets must contain a reasonable mix. On the one hand, of privatizations; in parallel, the state must maintain an equity stake, which will be used as an asset that – together with other assets, primarily of real estate – after the reform on proprietary rights over those assets occurs, they can be integrated in a new development bank that can use them as guarantees, and in coordination with the European Investment Bank (EIB), to leverage them with the goal of creating a flow of investments in the private sector.

And you know, this leveraging via such an investment package that will use the EIB could also be connected with Mr. Draghi’s Quantitative Easing (QE), given that it has already been decided by Mr. Draghi that the ECB will purchase in the secondary market bonds by the EIB.

With the stocks of this development bank to have been conveyed to the insurance funds, as compensatory benefits, as compensation, for the large decrease in their capitalization with the PSI in 2012. And whatever profits this development bank has – or at least, its dividends – could go to the insurance funds. With a parallel reduction – a drastic reduction – of the early retirements and a restructuring of the management of the insurance funds.

At the same time, the banking system must be uncooped from red loans. There is no country in the world where the banking system – and particularly, a banking system which has been re-capitalized by the little the Greek people had, through an enormous loan from our partners…

Nevertheless, the banking system has huge percentage of non-performing loans (NPLs). If we do not find a way to manage those, there is no chance that the banking system will perform the job that it has to do. This is why a company to manage those NPLs must be created – a bank stressed asset management agency, if you will – in coordination with the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF). Why does this pillow of the HFSF exist? It exists in order to help the capitalization of the banks.

The capitalization of the banks – to which the Greek people contributed from what little it had – right now loses [and] withers because of the red loans. Obviously, we must do something about that. I have discussed it with my counterparts in France, Spain, Germany, and in Finland with NAMA; and it is clear that there are things that can happen, must happen, but they also need to be part of the negotiation.

In the beginning, I talked about the dynamically consistent fiscal framework that must not begin from 2020 and, moving backwards, decide today what the primary surplus is going to be now. But this means that if we do it properly, and have a coherent fiscal framework, in 2020 the debt is going to be much higher than what the target was. The reason is that it is not sustainable, ladies and gentlemen. Truth to be told, it is time for all of us to say publicly what we say in private. To put it simply, and with a euphemism: the Greek debt must be re-designed.

To give you an example. I am not talking about a haircut! ‘Haircut’ is a bad word, and we have forgotten about it. Even in 2012, we did not call it a ‘haircut’ but a ‘private sector involvement’ or ‘initiative’, something like that. In Europe we are great at producing euphemisms. A few more investments would be more useful [however].

Let me give you an example. In July or August, the Ministry of Finance is going to be called to borrow 6 to 7 more billion euros from our partners, in some way, in order to repay the bonds from the SMP program that was created by Mr. Trichet back in 2010-2011, which are withheld by the European Central Bank (ECB). The remaining amount of those bonds is 27 billion euros, which will have to be repaid in the next months and years, very soon. These bonds – and this is very simple – should be send to the distant future. This is crystal clear. And I think it is also crystal clear to the people of the ECB. Of course, the ECB right now has the great agony of how to continue with the QE against a Bundesbank that is quite negative and hostile. That’s why any discussion about haircutting these bonds of 27bn euros comprises, if you will, [is] a red …

 

Unfortunately, the video is cut right at the best part. I will update the post once I find a full version. After creating considerable confusion in the international community by his comments [or at least, the way his comments were communicated via journalistic channels], Varoufakis issued the following statement through the Greek Ministry of Finance. (via Manos Giakoumis)

MinFin Announcement1

 

The nonpaper of the Greek government regarding the state of negotiations

Non paper of the Greek government on the current state of the negotiations.

May 5, 2015

  1. The serious disagreements and contradictions between the IMF and the EU are creating obstacles in the negotiations, as well as high risks. While until recently the main argument of the institutions was that the Greek side did not submit complete proposals, now it is clear that proposals have indeed been submitted and that there have been substantial concessions towards the direction of an “honorable compromise.”
  1. The difference of strategy, however, between the institutions is creating obstacles.
    • The IMF puts its red lines on the reforms, especially on pension and labour reforms, while it has loose lines on the topic of the primary surplus. On the back of the mind of the IMF lies the thought of debt write off, so that this can be rendered sustainable.
    • On the contrary, the European Commission has red lines on the topic of the primary surplus, and consequently, on the issue of not cutting the debt, and loose lines on tough reforms, such as those regarding pensions and labour relations.
  1. As a result, the totality of the institutions has red lines everywhere: pension reforms, labour reforms (IMF), and primary surplus (EC). Under these circumstances there can be no compromise. The responsibility belongs exclusively to the institutions and their weakness of communicating with each other.
  1. The Greek government, having realized the glaring contradiction, decided to take the initiative:
    • not to bring [for a vote] in the Parliament the multi-bill before there is potential for an agreement.
    • to put on the table of discussion the ‘next day,’ that is, the exit plan [of the country] towards the markets and the financing of growth in the post-June era.
  1. Today’s FT [Financial Times] fully reveal the contradictory strategies utilized between the Eurozone and the IMF (see the article of Peter Spiegel). The FT reveal that the head of the European department of the IMF, Paul Thomsen, has warned the Finance Ministers of the Eurozone that “perhaps the IMF will not provide its share of the tranche of 7.2bn euros” if “they do not write-off a significant part of Greece’s debt.” At the same time, P. Spiegel notes that “the Eurozone, which owns the biggest part of the Greek debt, is firmly opposed to the [idea of] debt relief.”
  1. At the same time, the European Commissioner for Economic & Financial Affairs, Taxation & Customs, Pierre Moscovisi, confirmed the contradiction between the EC and the IMF, saying that the issue of the debt “can be discussed only after an agreement on a reform program.” A strategic disagreement, which has Greece at its epicenter, between the EC and the IMF, and works to the detriment of the country.

Addendum: You can find a version of the nonpaper in Greek, here.

The pro-rupture article of uncompromising Minister Lafazanis

lafazaneiro

So, it’s been a long time since I have run any update on the blog. I return with the pro-rupture, uncompromising OP-ED article published today in Greek CRASH magazine by Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Greek Minister of Reconstruction of Production, Environment & Energy. Bear in mind that Lafazanis is one of the most hardcore members of Syriza’s Leftist platform. He is also one of the most influential. Once again, I translated the whole thing, leaving all judgment to you. The Greek version can be found in the website of the Ministry, here. In what follows, you can read my English translation.

 

WE SHOULD ISOLATE THE “FIFTH COLUMN”

Article of the Minister of Reconstruction of Production, Environment & Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis, published in today’s Crash magazine

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The scorching letter of Greek Min Panousis about the ‘state of the Left’ in Greece

The scorching article of Deputy Minister of Public Order Giannis Panousis, about the state of the Left in Greece. You can find the original here (in Greek). Below, you can find my translation. [FYI: Whatever you read within brackets is my own addition, for the sake of clarity.]

 

Can there be a Left of Nothingness? [or, Does the Left of Nothingness mean anything?]

We ought to discuss with each other, and put aside all certificates of ‘Leftwing-ness,’ which are usually issued by “people without a face.”

Left, and especially Governing Left, means equaliberty, rights, social policy, public scrutiny, justice. Whoever believes that in the modern international and European level, Leftist Governance means a defenseless country and city (without personal, social, and national security, without an army, and without policing, perhaps even without judges or prisons), whoever believes that the lessons of our History are unnecessary (since all people are “brothered” – sic!) and that Education allows us every unlawful action (sic!), then not only does this have nothing to do with the Left, but neither does it have to do anything with Democracy. This place and our people do not need this Left of Nothingness. The time of the Left in Greece is not the time of inexpensive ideologies and meaningless buzzwords, but it is the time of consolidation of institutions, of political legitimacy, and of social consensus.

P.S.1: It is scientifically interesting that some “pureblooded Leftists” (who has appointed them, really?) consider everything that they do not like as “fascist” and insult it as vulgar. Behold the ethos of the “genuine” [ones]…

P.S.2: I would like to know how do those “pureblooded” mean “Leftist Police.” Policemen being burned by masked [protesters]? And if so, who are those representing Democracy and Society, and who controls them?

The interview of Syriza’s Lafazanis, hardcore Left-platform Minister

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You can read the original interview in the website of the Ministry of Reconstruction of Production, Environment & Energy, here. The interview was given to newspaper “ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ,” and specifically to journalist Niki Zormpas. Below, you can find my translation of the interview in English.

 

Interview of the Minister of Reconstruction of Production, Environment & Energy, Panagiotis Lafazanis, to the newspaper “ΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΟ” and journalist Niki Zormpas [Athens, 28 March 2015]

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The first interview of The Greek Analyst (to German network n-tv)

So, yesterday, I gave an interview to Hubertus Volmer, of the German n-tv network, on the current situation in Greece. You can read the whole thing in German, here. Or, you can read an English translation of the interview right below.

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Hubertus Volmer: Let’s start with a simple question: Whose fault is it that Greece is in the state it’s in?

I wouldn’t call that a very simple question! Allow me to address this issue at length, since I find it an extremely important determinant of many skewed narratives about Greece – both domestically and abroad.

For most people – citizens, journalists, analysts, and politicians alike – it is very easy to attribute blame on some factor they deem unequivocally responsible for the state Greece is in today. Unfortunately, such hasty judgments are heavily guided by lack of information, economic interests, personal benefits, or ideological presuppositions.

For many Germans, blame lies in the decades-long fiscal imprudence of the Greek state, and the stereotypical image of the Greek citizen as a lazy, selfish, and corrupt individual who refrains from paying his or her taxes. For most Greeks, on the other hand, the prevailing narrative wants Germany to have exemplified a cruel hegemonic stance since the beginning of the crisis, luring Greece in a series of bailout packages with excruciating terms, wrecking both the country’s sovereignty and its future economic prospects. Interestingly enough, you will also find many people assigning blame to one of the two big parties of the former status quo – the conservative New Democracy or the socialist PASOK – depending on their ideological inclinations, or how much they had benefitted under the former clientelistic system.

Then again, there are the so-called “experts”. Many of those tend to have an absolute and unbending belief about what went wrong. Some will blame austerity, some will talk about the flawed design of the Memorandum of Understanding, others will talk about the imbalance between countries within the entire European structure, while others will focus on Greece-specific issues, such as the overwhelming public bureaucracy, the lack of efficiency and fairness in the functioning of the Greek state, mock compliance of the past three Greek governments towards our lenders, or the lack of competitiveness of Greek products.

All of those views share some elements of truth in them – of course not to the same degree. But foolhardy blame-attribution does not help. What we need to do each time we are faced with this question is to refrain from giving a monolithic and Manichean response. Rather, what we should try to be doing is pointing out the synthesis of reasons, and the iterative steps, that led us where we are.

HB: The January elections seem to have made things worse.

This is absolutely true. The 25th January elections were the last thing we needed in Greece this year. Although I am no fan of the previous government, or the former status-quo for that matter, I cannot but admit that since around Q2 of 2014 we started seeing small – but definitely detectable! – signs of recovery in the Greek economy, both in the real economy and in the numbers made available by analysts and state authorities. Of course, this does not mean to say that things were ‘good.’ But they had finally stopped getting ‘worse.

I believe that things would have turned much better had we waited until next year for elections to be held normally, even with Syriza coming out on the steering wheel of the country. Not only did we throw a year of relative economic stability and growth out of the window, but we also returned right back to 2010. This time, however, the prospects for recovery seem much gloomier, and the EZ seems much readier (and more willing!) to handle a potential exit of Greece from the euro.

HB: Varoufakis said on Wednesday that Schäuble had told him, he had lost the confidence of the German government. Varoufakis answered, he never had it. Would you say that is true: Did the German government never give him any chance?

True enough, many German officials were aware of Varoufakis’s character and ideas well before he was elected to the Hellenic Parliament. Add to that the media storm that built on his quirky persona once he became appointed as the Minister of Finance, and I am sure that the German government did not have the most positive image in their minds. In that sense, I do agree with Varoufakis that he never had the full confidence of his German counterparts.

Nevertheless, Varoufakis never tried to win Germany’s confidence either. Despite grand claims about how much he respects the German Finance Minister, or his vision of creating a better and more united Europe, he did not use pragmatic actions in order to honestly persuade, not only Germany, but every other country member of the Eurozone, of why his government needs to be trusted. He turned the negotiations into a big show for domestic consumption, caring more about being viewed as a true warrior by Greek citizens, rather than putting meaningful and much-needed, yet highly delayed reforms on the table. How could he expect to win over the trust of his counterparts at the Eurogroup meetings by lecturing them as if they were his students?

HB: Should Germany and the rest of the Eurozone have given Tsipras and his government a warmer welcome in their midst? After all, Syriza could have been a fresh start for Greece.

I think that the response of Germany to the newly elected government in Greece is perfectly rational. Do I like it? As a Greek myself, not really. Do I understand it, though? Definitely. The German government is not a fool, and it definitely does not want to be seen as one. The government of Tsipras, despite its proclamations of fighting everything that is wrong with Greece, is not exempt from negative elements either. True enough, the former status-quo of the ND-PASOK alternate rule in power was highly corrupt and responsible for constructing a huge web of clientelism all across the public sector. Yet, the fact that Syriza is ‘fresh’ does not necessarily mean that it is also ‘better.’ One would hope that it would be better, especially since it is the first time that a Leftist government rises to power in Greece and since it enjoys wide support by the people, but a cold-hearted yet pragmatic look at the matter shows how false such hopes are.

Syriza depends heavily upon its clientelistic linkages with the unions and syndicates that voted for it, it has been continuously opposing any meaningful reforms since the beginning of the crisis (on the matter of anti-corruption, especially, which it espouses as its primary goal while in power, it either abstained or voted against most policies), and it has already established close ties with the oligarchy it so much wants to fight. Tsipras and many of the higher-ups in Syriza have championed an extreme nationalist-populist discourse, and have promised the stars to the people of Greece. Not only are many of their pre-electoral proclamations unfeasible, but even if there were no economic constraints, they would also be leading Greece to regression rather than progress. This can be seen now more than ever, with the non-fiscal changes that the government wants to pass in areas such as education and healthcare.

HB: Do you think it’s a plausible scenario that the Greek government actually wants to leave the Euro?

I really do not want to think of that.

On the one hand, the attitude of the Greek government towards its partners – and Germany especially – has become exceedingly confrontational. One simply has to look at the statements made by Minister of Defense, Panos Kammenos, earlier this week, who threatened to send waves of economic immigrants and jihadists to Western Europe. Or the attempt of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, since the beginning of his tenure, to make Athens cozy up with Moscow. Or even the comments from two days ago, made by the Minister of Justice, Nikos Paraskevopoulos, who said that he is ready to implement a ruling by the High Court of Greece that would lead to the confiscation of German state-owned property within the country. So it definitely seems as if there is an intentional and directed attempt to infuriate Germany and our other partners, perhaps using a potential harsh retaliation as a ‘scapegoat’ for whatever plan they might have.

On the other hand, exiting the common currency involves an extremely difficult, complex, and arduous procedure. From the moment that capital controls are imposed, until the moment that the old (or new) currency is actually printed and distributed to the people, weeks or even months will go by. This will be devastating for the Greek economy, perhaps beyond repair in the future. Black markets will arise almost instantly, the poor – who have already lost so much from the crisis – will finally get their final blow, and the vested interests and super-rich oligarchs that Syriza proclaims to want to fight will benefit the most, since they will have most of their wealth in foreign banks. Realistically, the government does not seem ready at all to carry the burden of a ‘Grexit’ in its shoulders. It also seems to have no plan whatsoever for the ‘day after.’

It seems to me that rather than actually taking any action honestly and valiantly itself, the government seems ready to pass the burden of the choice to the people. While Varoufakis has denied the possibility of a referendum on the euro, both him and Tsipras have left quite open the possibility of a referendum on other matters, such as the reform program. Given the intransigence of the Greek government to offer the deep-reaching structural reforms requested by our partners (and to continue the previous program), and the “not backing down” stance of our partners, such a prospect does not seem impossible.

HB: Could you reveal anything about yourself?

Unfortunately not. I can only say that I have lived and worked both within and out of Greece in areas relating to public policy, and that I am younger than 30 years old (although I cannot say whether by a day or by a decade, haha).

HB: Why do you work incognito? Is the overall mood in Greece so bad that you fear publicity?

I never expected my coverage of the Greek crisis to get such traction so fast. The Greek Analyst was created mostly as a fun pet-project. Working in incognito mode has two basic benefits: first and foremost, I do not really have to tone down much of my commentary. I say things the way I see them. I can also poke some fun out of the ongoing developments. Of course, always ensuring that I do not cross any lines or insult people. Secondly, it allows me to protect myself from vicious attacks within the Twitter-sphere. The Greek Twitter-sphere – much like the Greek public sphere today – is a particularly nasty place. Anyone who disagrees with even the slightest thing done by the current Greek government is immediately accused of as a neoliberal, or a fascist, or a traitor, or even a German quisling. I want to avoid that drama.

HB: You follow Greek politics on twitter and you translate Greek texts like Tsipras’ speech about German reparations to Greece or an interview that Varoufakis gave a Greek radio station. Why do you do that?

I have been following the developments in the Greek political economy very closely for a while now. At some point, I realized that there is a gap (both in terms of time and of substance) between the happenings within Greece and what international coverage from abroad reports on. I kinda slipped right into that gap. At this point, I have to make clear that there are no specific interests hiding behind me (such accusations are the negative part of anonymity). Some people might not believe that, given how randomly I just popped up in the Interwebs right before the Elections of 25th of January, but I sure hope that most of my followers can see that. At the moment, it is a one-man show, and I intend to keep it like this in the near future.

HB: What do you hope for regarding Greece’s future?

Given its wide support by the Greek people, Syriza has a unique opportunity to do what no other Greek government could do in the past: implement drastically needed, progressive structural reforms that can create a more open economy (appealing to the domestic population and foreign investors alike), an accountable political system, as well as a fair and respectful society. Tsipras must not yield to the extreme voices of the hardcore Left platform within the party, and put the good of the entire society above any personal political ambitions. It is his duty to the Greek people. Valuable time has been lost, but there’s still time to turn the tides around.