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Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Mr. Stournaras’s credentials

In News on July 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Yesterday, Greece’s new Finance Minister  Prof. Yannis Stournaras made his first policy speech since taking office. He said that Greece must implement the measures it has agreed upon its international lenders and he announced that he would speed up privatisations. Some key points of his speech include (here, in full, in Greek):

  • speeding up the privatisation programme and including new assets in the existing one
  • concluding the privatisation of the Public Power Corporation (DEI)
  • developing the land from Faliro to Sounion in Attica through privatisations
  • 90% of the privatisation programme will include selling or renting land and infrastructure
  • creating a modern social state through combatting tax evasion and tax avoidance
  • reducing uncertainty in the economy and improving the economic climate
  • greater transparency in the tax system
  • battling corruption
  • creating a social consensus to accept that staying in the eurozone is the only road available

Like any critical reader and thinking citizen, one should always check the sources of his information. Prof. Yannis Stournaras full cv can be found here. The highlights include a strong academic record (Master’s and Ph.D. from Oxford) and a long list of publications.

In addition, he has worked in many respected positions in the Greek public administration. In particular, Stournaras worked as a

  • 1986-1989 Special Advisor to the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Public Enterprises and Incomes Policy issues
  • 1989-1994 Special Advisor to the Bank of Greece on Monetary Policy issues. During that period he represented the Bank of Greece as an alternate member in the Meetings of the Governors of European Union’Αs Central Banks.
  • 1994 – July 2000 Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors at the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He participated in the design of macroeconomic and structural policies (especially in the design and implementation of the Convergence Programmes) and represented the Ministry of Economy and Finance at the Monetary Committee (now Economic and Financial Committee) of the European Union. In this capacity, he participated in the negotiations for the entry of Greece in the Economic and Monetary Union. He was responsible for the consultations with international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  • 1994 – 1997 Vice Chairman of the Public Gas Corporation
  • 1998 – July 2000 Member of the Board of Directors of the Public Debt Management Office
  • 2000 – 2004 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Emporiki Bank and Vice-Chairman of the Association of Greek Banks

Which side do you think he will be on? The people’s?

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Catastroika made in Greece

In News on July 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

According to Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, the Greek government will pursue an aggressive plan of privatisation, in an effort to satisfy international lenders, the European Commission- ECB – IMF troika. Privatisations have always been part of any IMF lending agreement in the world, as have trade liberalisation, reducing the budget deficit and the public sector and generally following a neo-liberal economic agenda (see here).

The rationale behind the IMF’s SAP (Structural Adjustment Programs) have been toe reduce the state in order to “unleash” the private sector to create growth, but in reality to allow – primarily the US and Western – multinationals to enter the developing countries’ markets on a privileged basis.

For Greece, Stournaras’ list of companies to be privatised the former Airport at Hellenikon, the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), the National Gas Transmission System, the Greek Petroleum (ELPA), the General Mining & Metallurgical Company (LARKO), the Greek Organization of Football Prognostics (OPAP), airports, ports, marines and the Greek National Railway (OSE) and many other assets.

It is a no-brainer that since Greece is essentially a bankrupt country in all but paper, the Greek assets will be sold at bargain prices. But even so, for anyone who still doubts how privatisation harms citizens, both as consumers and as taxpayers, there is the Catastroika documentary to watch.

http://www.catastroika.com/indexen.php