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Gloomy forecasts for Greece in 2016

22 December 2015 / 22:12:26  GRReporter
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No, I do not think so. Such a possibility would have existed if his opponents had been Apostolos Tzitzikostas or Adonis Georgiadis. He himself knew that the majority of New Democracy could not support his nomination. He just wanted to show his position about what was happening. In the case of Apostolos Tzitzikostas, however, there was a real probability of him running in the second round of elections and fighting for leadership. If things had developed in this direction, the party would have been at risk of splitting. But this danger does not exist with Meimarakis in the lead.

Would it be possible for Kyriakos Mitsotakis to separate from New Democracy and establish a new party if he lost the elections?

He would do so only if expelled from New Democracy. But Meimarakis is not such a person. He is an experienced politician, a man of balance and there is no reason to remove him. Under these conditions, Kyriakos Mitsotakis would hardly resort to such an action. His last name is too "heavy" for such a thing. In addition, he is aware that on the basis of age, he is the next potential leader of New Democracy. He anyway is number two in the party at present.

What is the political subtext of the sale of Finansbank to Qatar National Bank by the National Bank of Greece? How do you expect the Greek economy to develop in 2016?

This action was necessary. As for the buyer, apparently Qatar had submitted a better offer. Anyway, the emirate has investments in Greece. The National Bank of Greece will receive a considerable amount of money. Especially considering the fact that Finansbank has brought revenues to the National Bank of Greece from 2012 until the present day. Buying it had become the object of attacks by PASOK and the party threatened with a criminal persecution and trial Governor of the Bank at the time Thassos Arapoglou. Actually today this bank saved the National Bank of Greece.

I believe that the sale is in the right direction, because the situation in the Turkish economy is not clear. I.e. Finansbank has a specific price today but we do not know what it will be after a few months, in view of the constantly deteriorating relations between Turkey and Russia.

Therefore, selling it was a successful action that filled the coffers of the National Bank of Greece in an extremely difficult economic environment in Greece. Privatizations are carried out very slowly and I am very reserved about the implementation of the already signed agreement for the privatization of regional airports. I think that various bureaucratic "traps" will be placed in order to slow down this process. The reason is that no SYRIZA member wants the agreement and the local authorities are unhappy because they will lose their power in this way. I think that the battle will be serious, especially for airports. As Minister of Employment, Dimitris Repas also signed the decisions on the liberalization of various professions but did not issue the relevant ministerial decisions afterwards, thus simply not applying them. Greece has a world patent for such things and creditors already know it.

Is this not a contradictory position of creditors - to demand support for Tsipras, although his government obviously does not want to implement the arrangements?

They are pressing the opposition to support him and on the other hand, they are pressing him to implement them. I guess this behaviour is distracting them, namely to sign commitments and then to return to Greece, saying that he has been blackmailed and a coup against Greece has been carried out. It is beyond their rational logic. In fact, they are aware that they have against themselves not only SYRIZA but also an entire system that is totally irrational.

Under these conditions, how will the Greek economy develop?

The problem in Greece is not economic but political. If the intervention in the economy ceases and it is left to freely develop, exports and tourism will start functioning and revenues from maritime transport, which suffered from capital controls, will be restored. Thus the economy will gradually develop.

But the main issue is to complete privatizations. Not for the revenues to the state funds, but above all for the investments that buyers will make. For example, the railways must be sold not for one but for half a euro so that they be modernized and operated as modern commercial rail transportation. But the government is not interested in this. It wants the railways to continue to be a state-owned company where trade unionists are in command, arranging appointments of the clients of the political system. This applies to all state sites and companies. Indicative is the example of the former Athens airport in Elliniko, which from "the best site in the Mediterranean" is becoming a migrant camp. There are prospects but there is no desire. That is why I am saying that the Greek economy has dynamics but the problem is political.

Do you think that what has been happening in recent weeks is a good reason to assume that the EU and Greece have found the right solution to the refugee crisis?

This problem has a wide scope and I would say that there are no right and wrong ways to resolve it. Solving it is certainly very difficult because we are talking about thousands, millions of people and most of them are in poor condition. And in this situation, those who really are refugees and those who are just migrants must be ‘filtered out’ as well as who of them are terrorists and how many they are. Because we see that even 10 people are enough to cause major problems.

Tags: PoliticsEconomicsGreeceReformsPrivatizationRefugee crisisForecast for 2016Sakis Moumtzis
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