The Greek society experiences the total failure of policies followed so far. The citizens are faced not only with measures without precedent, but also with the threat that the worse is yet to come. The dilemma “Memorandum or Bankruptcy” can hardly hide the fact that we now have both Memorandum and Bankruptcy.
Radical changes are inevitable: the question is whether to accept the violent changes already imposed on us or if there is a different way. On the basis of the responses that we shall give, it will be determined whether there will be a way out of the crisis or whether Greece will be driven towards tragic situations, like those in other countries with similar experiences.
As far as the environmental and the green movement are concerned, the financial crisis is only the tip of the iceberg, given that it is inextricably linked to:
- the crisis in the society – the unemployment dismantles the social fabric, social inequality and social exclusion worsen on a dramatic scale, the decline of collective goods intensifies, while the deficit of trust and cooperation among citizens makes it difficult to seek for alternatives.
- the crisis in the environment – the degradation of natural resources and collective goods ends up undermining the economy itself, particularly sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
The same factors that destroy the environment were a catalyst to the financial crisis: short-sightedness, subjugation of the collective to the individual interest, indifference for whatever cannot be sold or bought, political irresponsibility, widespread lawlessness and corruption, priority of and tolerance to all kinds of financial interests. It was precisely upon these factors that the current model of the Greek economy was based, on a model bound to fail, which currently falls apart with a crash.
The lack of democracy and of social control of politics, factors that led to a client state combined with unchecked powers of the ruling parties and vested interests, were also a catalyst. Democracy, however, is now faced with new threats, both due to the prevailing tendency for substantial delegation of policymaking to “technocrats” and due to the populism that easily leads to the quest for a “strong leader”.
Greece is now into the heart of a European and global systemic crisis, which can be dealt with at the supranational level as well, in our capacity as citizens of Europe. On the other hand, the crisis has also Greek-specific aspects, with all the afore-mentioned elements that make us the weakest link in the eurozone.
Thus, we exonerate none of the political choices or social attitudes that have brought us to the current hostage situation. Instead, we seek radical changes on matters such as institutions and transparency, individual responsibility, mutual trust, collective goods, consumer standards.
The main response of the Hellenic Green Party to the crisis is the Green Shift to the economy: to invest in the ways out of the crisis, while responding to economic, social and environmental challenges:
- by stimulating the economy through extensive investments in infrastructure, necessary to stop environmental degradation;
- by transforming sectors such as the construction industry in order to preserve jobs, through a massive creation of new jobs in “green” professions;
- by a more comprehensive redesign and reorientation of the economy in order to reconcile it with the environment, to which it will serve as a subsystem;
- by providing strong support to social cohesion and by condemning all forms of violence that undermine human rights: state repression, police barbarity, gang violence and crime, political violence, as well as the violence in our daily relations.
This is precisely what makes us radically opposed to the path followed today: the inherent logic of the Memorandum, the Medium-Term Plan, and the recent Loan Facility Agreement is to destroy a considerable part of the economy through recession, hoping that it will become attractive for foreign investment and export-oriented.
Such directions have been dictated in the past upon dozens of countries, provoking everywhere a deep social and environmental trauma even in the few cases that things seemed to “work” in strictly financial terms. However, the Greek “uniqueness” is that the domestic political system, with the tolerance of the Troika, tries to preserve as much as possible the clientelisic relations through practices such as the legalization of unauthorized buildings, the preservation of the right to build in white lands, even in protected areas, or the covering-up with regard to tax evasion and properties acquired through dubious means.
Two years of Memorandum have already had a catastrophic impact on the environment of our country, with severe consequences on the economic and social justice: a shrinking railway network, poor public transport in cities, bypass of the environmental legislation through fast track procedures, universal legalization of unauthorized buildings by writing-off fines amounting to several billion euros, diversion of resources of the Green Fund in favour of lenders, violent changes regarding land use to the detriment of the environment on public lands, destructive institutional measures such as the fully opaque “surface” which grants public land for up to 100 years, sale of natural resources like water, are just some of the most dangerous aspects.
The struggle for a definitive end to this pillage of collective goods and to the environmental degradation is one of our top priorities. If we tolerate the prospect of the environment becoming the first casualty, then we don’t take account of the following:
- In times of austerity, the decline of collective goods makes us twice as poor.
- The wounds on the environment would perpetuate the crisis, even if eventually the economy was to overcome the worst of the crisis, even if the balance of power between the social actors changed and was to be followed by policies of social justice.
- The destruction of valuable natural resources for the shake of the economy ultimately undermines the economy itself.
Even more dangerous, though, is what lenders and the current political establishment have presented as solutions for the economic recovery. Pivotal to their proposals are two extremely controversial areas:
- the mining of raw materials, usually at great environmental cost;
- self-sustained (“all inclusive “) tourist resorts of pharaonic proportions, and the predatory use of natural resources like water, fully dissociated from local economies;
- a new wave of feverish construction activities and a real estate bubble, like the 700,000 tourist residences, the limitless construction of free spaces, for instance in the case of the much-coveted coastal zone of the old airport (“Elliniko”) and the General Building Regulation which allows for an increase of building surface rates.
Such investments often destroy more jobs than they create, leaving aside options that have the potential to create even more. If these plans materialise, in 2020 and 2030 Greece will not only be a country with low wages, widespread social exclusion, degraded quality of life, limited democracy and profound inequalities of wealth and opportunities: it will also be a hopeless, almost colonial economy, marked by the predatory exploitation of natural resources, without prospects for sustainability. It will become much more similar to the Latin America of the 1970’s, when the IMF policies were implemented, rather than with Europe in the 21st century.
To prevent such a nightmarish prospect, it is not enough to oppose a “strong no”. It is vital to promote comprehensive alternative answers for all levels of the crisis, in order to stand, as a society, on our feet and to end the hostage by our creditors.
1. Fiscal consolidation is one thing, the attack on sustainability is another
Greek Ecologists Greens want sound public finances, because running large long-term deficits and public debt result in a transfer of the resulting costs of current prosperity to future generations. Still, fiscal consolidation must go hand-in-hand with social justice and environmental sustainability.
- In Greece, the large deficits of recent years and decades are mainly due to government revenue losses linked to corruption, tax evasion and tax privileges. To all the afore-mentioned we must add the recession as a result of cuts and austerity measures.
- Contrarily, total public expenditure has not exceeded the European average. But there were qualitative problems, while at the same time funds were channeled in unproductive areas such as military equipment, corruption and the clientelistic state. Annual government spending was 3 times more for the Church than for research and technology. As a result, we were lagging dramatically behind in terms of an efficient public service, a comprehensive welfare state and upgraded collective goods. We had an educational process which was “meaningless and visionless”; healthcare was inadequate and not well targeted.
Therefore, Greek Ecologists Greens are opposed to the logic of the Memorandum and the Loan Agreement, which dictate blind cuts of public spending and erratic taxation solely as a revenue-raising device.
We want rational and sufficient public expenditure, taking full advantage of every last euro and bearing substantial benefits to the society, the economy and the environment. We therefore deem it necessary to keep the total amount at least near the European average (around 45% of GDP). We are radically opposed to the requirement of the Loan Agreement stipulating a reduction of GDP from 48% in 2009 to 35% in 2020. We acknowledge the importance of maintaining public investment in times of recession.
A key aspect for the solution is the effective public revenue collection:
- Priority on the fight against tax evasion (where the relevant data show that it is perfectly realistic to ensure extra government revenue of 7-10 billion euros per year).
- With cross-checking of data like those regarding the source of income and the acquisition of property, data on the transfer of funds abroad, invested sums in football, checks to contractors based on the registration of the so-called “ymi-ipethrioi” (semi-open building spaces), the blocking of fortunes made by means of corruption and tax evasion.
- Radical redesign of taxation, with regard to which we put forward concrete proposals so that taxation can become a tool of justice, of a sustainable way out of the crisis, towards a Green Shift in the economy.
We consider acceptable a reduction in spending, if it is focused on the “costs of corruption”, on drastic cuts in military spending, changing expensive and quite ineffective policies, for instance with regard to drug policies, ending the privileges of the political system and of the Church, streamlining public administration and the wider public sector and closing the gap between lower and higher wages and pensions. We ask that all that can be saved in education and health to be reinvested in the same areas, so that they can meet the new requirements, given the inability of most people to resort to private services, as hitherto.
At the same time we demand from the European Commission a formal, explicit guarantee of the borders of our country as EU borders, so that we can reduce military spending to even lower levels.
2. Tax Reform: taxation of wealth, taxation as a tool of justice and of a Green Shift
Greece currently has the highest taxation rate on basic goods and the lowest with regard to large fortunes. In France property taxes in 2011 represented over 4% of GDP, the EU average was 2.5%, while in Greece it only amounted to 1.5%. The infamous heavy tax of the Minister of Finance over real estate, providing for “zero tax-free” and flat rate for both the poor and the rich, violates in every sense the fairness of burden sharing. Additional taxes over the last two years choke the economy and make honest taxpayers bear the cost of the tax evasion of the rest.
Greek Ecologists Greens want adequate tax revenue based on a fair distribution of fiscal burdens and on the full utilization of their potential as economic tools. Taxation needs to be radically redesigned in a new context, with:
- Strong political will for transparency, “katharsis” and zero tolerance regarding fraud.
- Institutional safeguards that leave no margin for flows of “black money”, thanks to measures such as the alignment of the “objective value” to the commercial real estate values, while reducing tax rates so as not to increase taxation.
- Tax rules that must be transparent, simple, understandable and enforceable to all.
- Common framework for tax policy at European level, fair taxation of wealth and of financial markets, abolition of tax havens and ending the current tax competition between member-states in favour of business.
Consequently, we put forward six key recommendations:
Emphasis on the taxation of wealth: Property Registry and Income source controls (justification of income and of source of fortune) applied to all, progressive rates above the European average taking into account the assets acquired by transfer of funds abroad, tax-free limit equivalent to the declared income of the last 10 years, so that tax evaders pay more. Possibility for additional tax free amounts for property that will be available for programs with the aim to revive the rural countryside or for participating in organized social programs holidays. The real estate tax can also be paid by granting rate of bare ownership, which can be repurchased. We are fundamentally opposed to the recent joint proposal by the socialist PASOK, the conservative New Democracy and the populist right-wing LAOS parties for separate taxation of 25% on the income from rents and dividends of companies, since it removes tax burdens from the “haves”, while further burdening citizens with less income.
Environmental taxes are income-neutral, of no revenue-raising nature, designed primarily as tools to encourage or discourage activities according to their impact on the environment, as is already the case with energy taxes in almost all European countries. Their revenue should be directed back to society: partly for financing Social Security, in order to exempt the first 100-200 euros of each monthly salary from all insurance contributions paid by employees, employers and self-employed, while increasing unemployment funds. The rest can be allocated entirely for promoting green alternatives in energy, transport and environmental protection.
Reductions in existing taxation, increasing tax exemption for income tax and reducing indirect taxes of a purely revenue-raising character. The reduction will rely on surpluses created by real estate taxes, the more efficient collection of public revenues and equal taxation of the Church (as well as of all other religious organizations).
Redesigning the criteria implemented for VAT and its reduction to more reasonable levels. Apart from the distinction between basic goods and luxuries, it should also be rated on the basis of marketing of products and services that are environmentally friendly (such as organic products, insulation for buildings, appliances of energy class A + +), products of high labour intensity, or with a relatively considerable Greek added value (for instance, all repair work). The same criteria should also apply to excise taxes.
Fair and sustainable rules on tax free amounts and deductible expenses: For basic living expenses and repairs, discount on costs up to a certain amount. Deduction of costs for installing renewable energy systems and home insulation, as well as for (conditional) covering losses in small business or limited companies. With regard to high income, keeping only the tax breaks that provide incentives for specific actions.
Protecting jobs and creating new ones with a tax-free allowance per individual job for the first 10-15 jobs for each company. Special, more favorable fiscal regime for non-profit social enterprises, with safeguards against the risk of business abuses with a solely virtual social character.
3. Structural changes: we do agree, still, in which way?
Greece had never developed an integrated welfare state and Greek society has done very little so far to push towards such a direction. In the case of many professional fields this gap was filled through favorable or privileged institutional settings, often incompatible with the wider public interest, which now come under attack.
Greek Ecologists Greens believe that the country needs serious structural changes. However, their basic direction should focus on public interest and social cohesion, rather than alignment with a controversial economic orthodoxy.
Spatial Planning Context – Simplification of Legislation
“Environmental tools” such as forest registry, land registry and spatial planning, are important for the economy. Their conclusion not only protects the environment, but also defines clear guidelines for investments and economic activity. Consequently, it simplifies the procedures for new businesses, since the whole framework with regard to the permitted uses of each area will now be steady and transparent.
Greek Ecologists Greens give priority to the integration of these tools, considering that they represent the opposite to the regulated arbitrariness of “fast track”. This is why they should be integrated in terms of transparency and effective protection of the environment and the collective goods, and not be diverted in the “laundering” of practices such as land infringement and declassification of forest land, as previously attempted on several occasions.
What we really need is neither “bigger” nor “smaller” state, but rather an administration that will reciprocate to society the costs incurred for it, and will satisfy citizens’ needs for services and support. The problem of the public sector in Greece is not the number of civil servants (which as a whole is at a similar level to that of other European states), but its structure, orientation and efficiency. So if the government was reoriented to efficient public services and directions which contribute to society and the economy, then it would take advantage of its full current potential. If however it retains its current pathologies, it will not be able to perform even its elementary functions, even if the number of civil servants was to be reduced considerably.
Greek Ecologists Greens support the administrative independence of the public sector, the promotion of efficient e-government, the effective contribution of the National School of Public Administration and Self-Government alumni, regular evaluation of the work of every public service unit, redesign of responsibilities and services with reallocation of human resources wherever it is necessary, strong control mechanisms for transparency and protection of citizens’ rights. We seek thorough controls of income source that will result in putting out of service corrupted civil servants at all levels. We are open to the transfer of expertise and technical support from other European countries, but not under circumstances reminding of a guardianship status. We support a single payroll system which will rectify injustices and will close the gap between high and low wages, having nothing to do with the mentality of horizontal cuts.
The “opening of closed professions” should be designed on the basis of the wider public interest and the reconciliation of the economy with the environment, not on the criterion of an economic “orthodoxy” of dubious validity and value and of abstract principles of competition.
Prior to any regulation regarding a specific professional sector, there is a need for an integrated policy for the respective sector: the regulations for the road transport of freight should serve the strengthening of the rail and combined transport, the institutional framework for the taxis should be compatible with the planning for an enhanced role for public transport and less car use, the rules for pharmacies with the support for citizens’ health and the interests of the insurance funds.
Competitiveness – wages -“internal devaluation”
Against the neo-liberal recipes, we support a green sustainable entrepreneurship, socially and environmentally responsible, focusing on small and medium enterprises and the social sector of the economy.
The lagging behind of most Greek enterprises should be healed primarily by improvements in work organization, with a more efficient use of natural and other productive resources, as well as by investments in innovation and technology. We also promote a more favorable economic environment, a more efficient public administration, reduced taxation on labour, tax incentives especially for job creation in small businesses, policies for cost reduction concerning the housing of businesses, VAT relief in labour-intensive industries or those with a large share in domestic production, in order to boost employment and domestic economy.
The balance of payments deficit should be reduced first of all through reducing oil dependence, a drastic cut in the imported military equipment that offers no security to our country any longer (imports in energy and weapons added together, represented the 80% of the deficit in 2009), the strengthening of the local dimension in the economy, the reorientation of tourism to activities covering the whole year and all seasons, the establishment of a favourable taxation policy regarding sectors with strong domestic participation and a public procurement policy that will take into account the distance of each products’ origin.
Greek Ecologists Greens stand for labour: we reject the devaluation of labor and the policies of wage compression, we consider inadmissible any “internal devaluation” that attempts to combine the salary level of Bulgaria to a Greek cost of living regarding basic goods that is higher than the one of Germany. We therefore oppose the requirement of the Loan Agreement for a “convergence of wages with competing countries”, proposing instead a reduction in labour taxation and an efficient welfare state that will reduce the cost of living. We emphasize the pressure on prices through greater market transparency, effective confrontation of cartels, but also policies that would press down land values and reduce the housing cost for homes and businesses. It is also important to change consumption patterns and develop consumer awareness alongside with a more effective consumer movement.
We consider the cut in the minimum wage, and even worse its further reduction for the young professionals, as an extreme attack of the political system against vulnerable social groups. As far as we are concerned, we are willing to support legal initiatives for its cancellation, as it comes in stark contrast both with the Greek Constitution and the European Treaties. We have also proposed a correlation between the minimum wage and the salaries of deputies and other senior officials, so that they will have incentives and pay much more attention to such matters.
Last but not least, we consider the defense of freedom of collective bargaining as non-negotiable. We would only accept an upper limit for the opening between the lower and the higher salary of each collective agreement.
Privatizations – Public Property
Considering issues with regard to the privatization of public property, we recognize that all cases are not the same. In this respect, there is a need to draw a clear line that would protect the true collective goods of the society, separating them from the rest. In the latter, as well, a prerequisite is to adequately safeguard the workers and their working conditions, which should be comparable to those of other European countries in the same fields.
The unrealistic estimation, however, setting a goal of 50 billion euros of government revenue from privatizations and the persistence to directly proceed with them, especially in the current circumstances that only favor the prospective buyers who seek lower prices, might prove a noose on the neck of our country. The connection of the proceeds from privatization to the binding fiscal targets that have been imposed on us is particularly dangerous.
Priority issues for the development of the necessary “red lines” are for us in particular the following:
- Every concession of public land that leads to construction in non-built sites in the cities with a deficit of green, or change of uses at the expense of the environment.
- The privatization of natural resources, especially of water.
- The transfer of control over public networks, such as telecoms or electricity, used by all competitors.
- The creation of situations where buyers of public enterprises will carve policies themselves for a respective sector, substituting public institutions or converting public monopolies into private.
- The non-transparent procedures and temporary or permanent disposal of public property at prices far lower than their recently estimated value.
4. Green Shift: change the orientation of the economy
In the real economy, the moto “keep on the same track” has failed completely. Faced with a political system which is no longer able to absorb the European funds of the National Strategic Reference Framework, we propose an overall program for investment in sustainability and “green” jobs based on priorities such as:
A regeneration of the rural areas with an ecological orientation, especially in islands, in mountainous and disadvantaged areas, which constitute 2/3 of our country and, currently, are almost entirely abandoned. Organic agriculture and livestock, combined with mild forms of tourism, renewable energy and small-scale manufacture could revive the villages and towns, allow for the organization of systems local economies and ensure self sufficiency in food supplies. Success stories of villages such as Anavra in the province of Magnesia, do show that such proposals are feasible in our country, too.
Energy shift away from oil and lignite. Our priority is both saving energy and its΄ rational use. With regard to renewable energy, we are influenced by the German and Danish model, which, equal to the importance accorded to companies, pays special attention to the connection of the production with the local society, with grassroots cooperatives, municipal enterprises and household initiatives.
Upgrading of the collective goods in order to reclaim some of our lost purchasing power. We need new welfare/prosperity standards, mainly based on the quality of life, as a right for all. It is vital to invest in public transport improvements, public healthcare, in upgraded public spaces, in re-establishing the close relation between nature and cities, invest in nearby clean beaches, the ability to walk in decent conditions and in the safe use of the bicycle in our daily routes.
An overall reorientation of the economy with a special emphasis on research and innovation in green and alternative solutions, on cultural goods, as well as on its connection with industry and universities. We support the linkage of green innovation with manufacture and education, as well as the creation of programs encouraging the young people to assume productive initiatives.
Based on these priorities, we seek to create in each of our 13 provinces a comprehensive regional plan with the widest possible participation of citizens and social groups. Our contribution is equally necessary, in order to stand, first and foremost, on our own feet, as a society. Green innovation should play a leading role.
In this effort we support -as an integral part of the solution- the promotion of forms of social and solidarity-centered economy, based on international experiences of countries that have gone through similar situations. It is essential to promote local networks of trade without the use of money, time banking, cooperatives between producers and consumers, parallel local “currencies”, urban vegetable gardens and farms, bazaars for gratuitous exchanges of goods, and many other forms and institutions, as an urgent social initiative for a safety net against the crisis.
Such a way demands that we stand on our own feet as a society, in order to believe in our new vision and to implement it with confidence. Apart from political will, our proposals need citizen participation, well-designed politics, activation of the human potential, efficient eco-use of unexploited natural resources such as abandoned land or agricultural residues as biomass for renewable energy. The necessary funding could derive from:
- The big financial package already discussed at the European Investment Bank level. It is essential to have a clear focus on the reorientation of the economy and to demand special measures with regard to national participation, due to the extraordinary conditions created by the financial crisis and our financial inability. Otherwise, we should consider the possibility to use as national participation Greek financial demands emanating from the compulsory loan concluded with the Germans during the Occupation.
- “Investment Eurobonds” for Green Shift programs, to be issued as part of a European policy for the way out of the financial crisis.
- A strong and focused EU regional cohesion policy, for which the post 2013 crucial guidelines are currently being finalized.
- Tools that guarantee the “diversion” of the funds of the recapitalized banks towards the real economy, with an emphasis on the reorientation of small and medium enterprises and green investments at household level.
- Re-establishment of the Public Investment Program, as far as possible, to the pre-crisis levels, with reversal of restrictions imposed by the Medium Term Plan.
- Tax reform, as a tool for encouraging or discouraging activities, according to the positive or negative impacts on the environment and the society, respectively.
- Sustainable uses of public property for urgent social needs
5. Faced with the euro zone, after the approval of the Loan Agreement
The need for an urgent change of course for our country and the need to free ourselves from this hostage-taking like situation caused by our creditors is consistent with the need to directly address the crisis of the eurozone at a European level. The common currency was built from scratch on shaky foundations, thus, the solution, is going to be either a European one, or none at all.
Greek Ecologists Greens seek to keep Greece in the eurozone. A potential exit from the eurozone today, apart from its political importance and the blow to the European orientation, would put additional pressure on the purchasing power of the vast majority of citizens and would give enormous power to the gray economic interests that sent abroad vital capital and deposits.
This is also why we decided to stand against this Loan Agreement, which imposes on our country unachievable financial goals that will serve as a roadmap for its exit from the eurozone. Clauses such as the absolute priority given to the servicing of the debt, the special account that will channel all of the debt financing to repay the lenders, the need for sustained and high primary surpluses of an economy seriously crippled, have been designed as a ringer that will gradually make prohibitive for Greece the cost of membership in the eurozone.
As a first step, Greek Ecologists Greens focus on the legality of two key points of the Loan Agreement which, according to all indications, violate the European treaties and the Greek Constitution:
- The priority that creditors have on the national public revenue, over the basic State obligations towards its citizens.
- The violent intervention on minimum wage and the collective negotiations that define it.
At the same time, with our insistence on a different fiscal consolidation plan, with due respect to social and environmental sustainability, we still demand the change of the terms:
- with regard to the PSI and the “haircut” and setting as main objectives the exception of social security funds’ bonds and the Greek and European savings up to 100,000 euros per person, the involvement of the European Central Bank, the “haircut” of interests for the loans of the European Support Mechanism and the complete deletion of the “odious” part of the debt after an appropriate Audit.
- with regard to the banks, the rescue of which can have an actual meaning for society only as a rescue of depositors, basically the small and medium ones, and as a way to ensure the possibility of financing the economy. If banks cannot secure sufficient funds neither from their shareholders nor from the appropriate European institutions and they borrow public funds, the part of share holders has to be calculated on the basis of the value of the bank without taking into consideration the public funds. The new preferential shares that will occur must have full voting rights also for the transition period and their control has to be public (for example under the authority of the Bank of Greece) and not governmental or partisan. We disagree with handing over the administration of banks to their previous owners.
- with regard to public lending, where we propose issuing Eurobonds and the direct lending from the European Central Bank. At European level we consider appropriate the proposal to cover, through the issuing of Eurobonds, the sovereign debt of each country at least up to 60% of the GDP, coupled with the extensive use of investment Eurobonds for financing “green shift” projects.
The country needs a new political project to overcome the hostage situation created by our lenders and make investments in the ways out of the crisis.
- Along with the necessary no, it is urgent to develop specific objectives, for renegotiating the Loan Agreement and claiming extensive European funding for green investments as a counterweight to the recession.
- At a European level it is vital to take full advantage of solidarity forces like the European Greens, and the recent European solidarity movement for Greece, in order to promote transnational political and social alliances. Such alliances can help to reverse the axis Merkel-Sarkozy in the French presidential elections of 2012 and the German parliamentary elections of 2013. The battle for our country’s image in the European public opinion is critical, a battle that needs to be given on new terms without the unreliability of the current political parties in Parliament.
6. A Sustainable Prosperity Pact for Europe
With regard to Europe, we, the Greek Ecologists Greens, feel as European citizens, and not as EU-supporters or opponents. Although we disagree with the policies of the Greek governments, at the same time we radically disagree with the current policies of the European Commission and other European governments, which undermine core European values.
Together with the green movement, we are at the forefront against populism, which tries to turn one European society against another. Europe will either become a federation with common economic policies, but also with democratic legitimacy and social justice, or it will be threatened by centrifugal tendencies or even by the prospect of dissolution.
Thus, we bring forward the solidarity of the other Greens to our country and we support the joint proposal for a Green Sustainable Prosperity Pact that combines a European economic prosperity for all, by adjusting the limits set by the capabilities of the planet. Regarding public finances in the euro area, key points of the Green proposal are:
- The Integrated Pact for Fiscal Convergence, with a European Financial Transaction Tax, a European climate / energy contribution, combined with the end of the current fiscal competition for business and the complete elimination of tax heavens.
- Substantial increase of the European budget in accordance with the necessary pan-European public intervention, combined with the issuance of investment Eurobonds for green infrastructure projects.
- Comprehensive supervision of financial results, which will fully integrate social and environmental aspects and will not focus only on budget deficit and debt.
- A European Monetary Fund under democratic control, with a permanent mechanism that will deal with financial crisis and will have the possibility to issue Eurobonds.
- Restructuring the public debt in countries where the debt is no longer viable. In the same time we have to reform and strictly regulate the banking sector, aiming to stop it from being a menace to the economy and to make it its servant again
7. In favor of a new social contract
We, Ecologists Greens, reject both what is happening today and the pre Memorandum nostalgia. It’s time:
- To enforce accountability and punishment of those responsible, so that we can finally turn the page and create social institutions that we can trust.
- To get back on our feet as a society, and ensure a new collective optimism and confidence.
- Invest in the simultaneous exit out of the economic, social and environmental crisis.
- To put the foundations for another model of Sustainable Prosperity for all.
We are at a point were there is no easy way out or without sacrifices. Still, it is vital to choose a fair share of sacrifices, to enhance democracy and the prospects for a way out, that will not permanently undermine our future.
Greek Ecologists Greens strive, therefore, for a NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT
- With more democracy, social solidarity and activist citizens.
- With a central role for collective goods.
- With a radical reorientation of the economy and its reconciliation with the environment.
- With welfare standards based on quality of life as a right for all, and less on the pursuit of purchasing power.
The involvement and mobilization of citizens towards such a direction, combined with a radical change in values, is the great challenge which the Greek society is faced with for the years to come.