News in English 2-9-13
The Ministry of Foreign affairs clarified, that «No participation in military operations or any use of military facilities has been asked from Greece», on the occasion of today’s announcements of political parties on the situation in Syria and the intentions of Greece.
The fate of defense industry and the troika’s demands is taking centre stage in a meeting between the prime minister A. Samaras and VP, E. Venizelos.
University rectors will go to court to prevent redundancies of administrative staff at their institutions. This decision was reached at their conference yesterday in Corfu. They also described the attempted changes in secondary education as aligned to the same dead-end logic of the past.
Early morning today, police forces intervened in the squat «Orphanage» in Lambraki street, in Salonica. The police evacuated the building and arrested 7 people, that were transferred to the General police headquarters of the city. The squatted building, of the former orphanage «Megas Alexandros» belongs to the ministry of Health, and was abandoned for many years. According to information, until now, police forces are outside the building, while, the arrested are fingerprinted. According to the same sources, the lawyers of the arrested have not yet been allowed to enter the police building, and any communication with their arrested clients is still not allowed. A protest gathering was held by a group in solidarity with the arrested at 1pm in Agia Varvara, Kato Touba.
The Panhellenic Federation of employees in Public Hospitals is holding protest gatherings and symbolic occupations in hospitals, that are affected by the change of use the government applied to hospitals such us, “Agia Varvara” and “Polykliniki” in Athens, and “Panagia” in Salonica. The Federation, has announced a four hour work stoppage on Wednesday from 11am to 3 pm in all hospitals, social and welfare services, the first aid services and Health centers.
Under siege since this morning, is the General secretariat of commerce, in Kaniggos Square. Employees have blocked the entrance of the building, protesting against the work mobility, which as they emphasize, equals to layoffs.
Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her Social Democratic challenger, Peer Steinbrueck, clashed over Greece in the only televised debate of the campaign for Sept. 22 federal elections. “Nobody knows precisely how things will develop in Greece,” Merkel said. “My job as chancellor is to ensure that the reform pressure on Greece doesn’t let up.” She said “it’s possible that there will be a new aid package for Greece. Nobody knows how big.” Steinbrueck asked “whether, with the announcement of a third Greek package, we shouldn’t admit to ourselves that the crisis strategy to date — largely put forward by this government — has failed.” He argued that “what is lacking is a rebuilding program, is a growth impulse, is the fight against youth unemployment.”
Outgoing International Labour Organization Director, Pascal Lamy commented that «Germany [also] bears responsibility for Greece’s misfortune». He also mentioned that Berlin failed to conduct a detailed audit during Greece’s entry into the Euro zone, and later eased the Stability and Growth Pact.
The European Stability Mechanism is pursuing the expansion of privatizations beyond what has already been agreed, according to one of its reports that has seen the light of publicity. Aside from information regarding the Mechanism’s proposal for the establishment of a new privatization body under foreign management based in Luxembourg to replace the Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund, news reports claim privatizations are to expand to include rail company buildings, hospital buildings that are being closed, buildings owned by the Ministry of Culture and courts belonging to the Ministry of Justice. The same sources allege that the Mechanism is also demanding the privatization of properties that serve special functions, such as churches and prisons.
Wage earners and the self-employed have experienced a 41-billion-euro decline in pay during the last three years. This is one of the dramatic findings and forecasts concerning the labour market included in the annual report on the economy issued by the Labour Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Workers. The report was presented at a press conference at the Salonica Labour Centre in the presence of delegations from all labour centres in Northern Greece. The Confederation’s Institute predicts it will take at least 20 years to create one million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate below 10 %. The report stresses that any investments made in the medium term will create the so-called «jobless growth» since they relate to activities of high technology or of those that do not require high employment. As also mentioned in the report, employees have lost about one quarter of their income’s purchasing power from 2009 to the present, and if wage pressures persist due to high unemployment they will have lost 50% of their purchasing power by 2014. The decline in domestic demand is being described as dramatic since it is estimated to have returned to 1999 levels. During the 2011-2013 period, the country’s fixed asset reserves have shrunk for the first time since the end of the civil war.
The former Rector of the National Technical University of Athens, Konstantinos Moutzouris, and the Secretary of the Greek Revolutionary Workers Party, Savas Michael, are indicted tomorrow morning after a lawsuit by fascist Golden Dawn party members in May 2009 for «defamation», «inciting citizens to violence and mutual discord» and «disturbing the peace». A rally will be held tomorrow at the Evelpidon Courts. Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben and Etienne Balibar are among the hundreds of intellectuals, trade unionists and people who have risen up against the indictment.
The boards of journalists unions, technicians of press and media, and administrative employees of the newspapers «Nea» «Vima of Sunday» and their websites «nea.gr», «vima.gr», and «in.gr» have decided to proceed, on a 24 hour strike until Tuesday morning 9am in reaction to the dismissal of 30 employees from the Press Corporation, DOL. The union boards, demand the immediate reinstatement of all dismissed, the restoration of the labour peace, as well as respect of the dignity of their colleagues and their professional status. An assembly is underway, at the premises of ESIEA (trade union of Athens journalists’) by the employees of DOL.
The deputy minister, Pantelis Kapsis, referring to the employees of ERT on a radio interview, said that the intervention of the prosecutor might be deemed necessary at some point, in order to empty ERT’ s premises. He also stated that the situation is on the verge of «provocation» accusing POSPERT (trade union of ERT’S employees) and SYRIZA once more.
Finally he announced the broadcast of a newscast, from the so called “Public Television”, DT, within next week.
The cultural events of support to ERT’s employees, continue in the premises of Agia Paraskevi. The popular group of dance music, «OTHERVIEW», will be with us tonight.