As Alexis Tsipras resigns , Syriza splits, a new Popular Unity Party is formed by ex-Syriza MPs and a general election is called for September 20th, the ravages of the most extreme austerity measures in Europe imposed on the people of Greece remain.
Little of the 23 billion Euros, the first tranche of the 3rd bail out, paid to Greece on 20th August will be available to the Greek government to spend. 3.4 billion was immediately paid to creditor European Central Bank, 7.6billion will pay back the EU bridging loan made to Greece in July (which in turn was used to pay off loan repayments to the ECB and IMF) and 10 billion will be put in a fund to recapitalise the Greek banks.
90% of the earlier loans made to Greece went straight back to Northern European banks – see the excellent overview by Jubilee Debt Campaign and the excellent documentary ‘The Trail of the Troika’. The country is weighed down with debts that can never be paid, as even the IMF admits.
Yanis Varofakis, former Finance Minister, has published a comment piece in the New York Times ‘ How Europe crushed Greece’ 9.9.2015 and he and other economists published a letter in the Guardian 8.9.2015 asking Britain and the EU to sign up to a nine-point UN code putting democratic rights – and not the market – at the heart of international governance.
For the people of Greece the ravages of austerity continue:
- 25% unemployment, 60% of young people unemployed, 73% of the unemployed are long term unemployed with all the associated health and mental health problems.
- Although more than one million people are registered as unemployed, fewer than 180,000 qualify for benefits, as they have not paid sufficient social security contributions.
- 30% of the people in Greece live below the poverty line, with 17% unable to meet their daily food needs.
- 3.1 million people have no health cover
- 45% of pensioners receive monthly payments below the poverty line of 665Euros
- Greece faces a major shortage of doctors as a result of budget cuts and the fact that 7,500 doctors have left Greece to work abroad since 2010.
- The current brain drain of young graduates leaving the country is estimated between 170,000 to 200,000.
- And there is a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions.
- The network of self-organised Social Solidarity Clinics, foodbanks, collective kitchens and without middlemen markets continues and needs our solidarity.
European-wide Solidarity with the people of Greece. Campaign to Drop the Debt.
Order tickets for the GSC Dinner for Medical Aid for Greece Friday Sept 18th
Resisting Austerity Measures across Europe. Organisations across Europe are mobilising to protest at the next EU Council Meeting in Brussels October 15th – 17th. In the UK there will be a week of protest against austerity in October at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. In Spain it is likely that the anti-austerity movement will have strong support in the December General Elections.