Article written by: Arthur Kokontis from sitnokglobal.com | OCTOBER 2016
- Introduction: Introduction and objectives of article
- Part One: Terms and Definitions | European Union Overview | Political system and judicial structure of the European Union
- Part Two: Looking at the EU Problem | [ECB]Professor Otmar Issing and [EU] Jacques Delors’
- Part Three: Hellenic Republic of Greece | Monarchy and Constantine II – Last King of Greece | Privatization: Hellenic Republic Development Fund
- Conclusion: Authors conclusion | What needs to be done to protect Greece’s sovereignty
“One day, the house of cards will collapse,” -Professor Otmar Issing, the ECB’s first chief economist and a central figure in the construction of the single currency.
My reasoning for this article is quite simple, after the Brexit vote prevailed on the 23rd of June 2016 in the United Kingdom – as a financial markets professional – this created an investment problem and a significant geopolitical shift which immediately changed the way we must analyse and look at the future of the European Union and its member states.
Yes – as a person with Greek migrant parents and a strong Greek heritage it was necessary for me to understand the political structure of my parents homeland the Hellenic Republic of Greece – as I am constantly looked upon to be able to answer all Greeks who ask the common questions of what is going on politically, economically and socially in the motherland and what does this all mean for the future of Greece – hence this article is now produced.
My recent visit to Greece this year in August of 2016, allowed me to observe the real economy, talk to the people about their recent experience and come to some conclusion in terms of economics, social and public impact the so called Greek Crisis has inflicted on the Greek people, predominately the fiscal austerity measures which include income tax increases, goods and services and transactional taxes such as a 24% VAT tax on food, property and wealth taxes, social welfare cuts, capital controls imposed and now privatisation of significant state assets such as Port of Piraeus Authority and 14 major regional aiports sold to German airports operator Fraport SA, the state lotteries tickets which include the Popular Ticket, National Ticket and the Special Purpose (New Year’s) Ticket. Hellenic Petroleum and a long list of land, real estate ( Hellinikon) all now placed in the private ownership SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund.
In order to deduce the reasons for recent developments in Greece’s economic situation and political, social welfare issues and challenges, I determined an investigative insight was required on key political figures and architects of the European Union project such as Professor Otmar Issing, the ECB’s first chief economist and a central figure in the construction of the single currency, and Jacques Delors, the euro’s “political” founding father who was President of the Economic Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1981 and President of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995. He had previously been Minister of Finance and Economy in France.
Before the this article commences reviewing critical information (such as imminent threats to the EU bloc’s success), in order to appeal to a mass audience I found it important I precede this article with a review on the European Union political structure and the interpretations of some key political terms to help readers understand this article from a political sense which is key to forming an informed view. For those more politically inclined you can skip topics according to your preference and the index above.
It is important for readers to review and understand the political and judicial structure their motherland the Hellenic Republic of Greece is a part of as the first step to progressing to more complex economic and political topics.
After reasoning with the economic facts for the EU bloc and further investigation and understanding of the political structure, one will likely derive that Greece’s sovereignty is certainly compromised under the initial guise of the European Union economic union, promoted by the architects of the European Union, and now part of a so called political union under a 28 state member federated intergovernmental system, and as deemed by the EU a supranational government.
In researching information for this article I certainly make every effort to disprove sinister motivation by political entities and political actors concerned with the EU project, but unfortunately in the EU bloc’s case one can start to form a view that some form of world governance objective is taking place and attempted through the consolidation of European sovereign states under the guise of an economic union as evident through excessive privatisation of state assets, bloc trade agreements and now the European Union which is being deemed a political union of member states with the surfacing objective of imposing on member states a controlling centralised government.
At all stages I seek the truths and search for the possible positive outcomes for such intergovernmental unions, I consider the benefits of the purchasing power of a strong common Eurodollar currency and its attached competitiveness if any for developing nations, and the pros and cons in the freedom of movement of member states people within the EU bloc, under agreements such as the EU’s Schengen Agreement for open borders.
My conclusion will be stated at the end of this article which considers the political architecture of the EU and what impact it has had on state sovereignty, economic progress especially for Greece, immigration implication for peoples free movement within member states, a now obvious attack on nationalism and ancestory, religion and faith becoming a political agenda and I consider the implications for the removal of the monarchy from Greece. I would like you to keep in mind the above key topical comments as you read this article as they will represent the significant considerations and issues when forming your personal opinion.
Terms and Definitions
- A nation 2. State 3. Nation State 4. Sovereign State 5. Political Union 6. Federation. 7. Federalism 8. Supranational State 9. Government 10. Global Governance 11. World Government 12. Republic 13. Constitutional Monarch 14. Unitary State
Term: A nation (from Latin: natio, “people, tribe, kin, genus, class, flock”) is a large group or collective of people with common characteristics attributed to them – including language, traditions, mores (customs), habitus (habits), and ethnicity. By comparison, a nation is more impersonal, abstract, and overtly political than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests.
Term: State is a type of polity that is an organized political community living under a single system of government. States may or may not be sovereign. For instance, federated states are members of a federal union, and may have only partial sovereignty, but are, nonetheless, states. Some states are subject to external sovereignty or hegemony, in which ultimate sovereignty lies in another state. States that are sovereign are known as sovereign states.
The term “state” can also refer to the secular branches of government within a state, often as a manner of contrasting them with churches and civilian institutions.
Term: A nation state is a type of state that joins the political entity of a state to the cultural entity of a nation, from which it aims to derive its political legitimacy to rule and potentially its status as a sovereign state if one accepts the declarative theory of statehood as opposed to the constitutive theory. A state is specifically a political and geopolitical entity, whilst a nation is a cultural and ethnic one. The term “nation state” implies that the two coincide, in that a state has chosen to adopt and endorse a specific cultural group as associated with it. “Nation state” formation can take place at different times in different parts of the world.
The concept of a nation state can be compared and contrasted with that of the multinational state, city state, empire, confederation, and other state formations with which it may overlap. The key distinction is the identification of a people with a polity in the “nation state.”
Term: A sovereign state is, in international law, a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralised government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.
The existence or disappearance of a state is a question of fact. While according to the declarative theory of statehood, a sovereign state can exist without being recognised by other sovereign states, unrecognised states will often find it hard to exercise full treaty-making powers and engage in diplomatic relations with other sovereign states.
Term: A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. The process is called unification. Unifications of states that used to be together and are reuniting is referred to as reunification. Unlike a personal union or real union, the individual states share a central government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity. A political union may also be called a legislative union or state union.
A union may be effected in a number of forms, broadly categorized as:
- Incorporating union
- Incorporating annexation
- Federal (or confederal) union
- Federative annexation
- Mixed unions.
Term: A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, are typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body. Alternatively, federation is a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided between a central authority and a number of constituent regions so that each region retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.
The governmental or constitutional structure found in a federation is known as federalism. It can be considered the opposite of another system, the unitary state. Germany.
Term: Federalism refers to the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) with regional governments (provincial, state, Land, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism of the United States of America under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.
Term: A supranational union is a type of multinational political union where negotiated power is delegated to an authority by governments of member states. The concept of supranational union is sometimes used to describe the European Union (EU), as a new type of political entity. The EU is the only entity which provides for international popular elections,[dubious ] going beyond the level of political integration normally afforded by international treaty. The term “supranational” is sometimes used in a loose, undefined sense in other contexts, sometimes as a substitute for international, transnational or global. Another method of decision-making in international organisations is intergovernmentalism, in which state governments play a more prominent role.
Term: A government is the system by which a state or community is controlled. In the case of this broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators.[dubious ]Government is the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state.[dubious ] Forms of government, or forms of state governance, refers to the set of political systems and institutions that make up the organisation of a specific government
Term: Global governance or world governance is a movement towards political integration of transnational actors aimed at negotiating responses to problems that affect more than one state or region. It tends to involve institutionalization. These institutions of global governance—the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the World Bank, etc.—tend to have limited or demarcated power to enforce compliance. The modern question of world governance exists in the context of globalization and globalizing regimes of power: politically, economically and culturally. In response to the acceleration of interdependence on a worldwide scale, both between human societies and between humankind and the biosphere, the term “global governance” may also be used to name the process of designating laws, rules, or regulations intended for a global scale.
Global governance is not a singular system. There is no “world government” but the many different regimes of global governance do have commonalities:
Term: World government is the notion of a common political authority for all of humanity, yielding a global government and a single state that exercises authority over the entire Earth. Such a government could come into existence either through violent and compulsory world domination, or through peaceful and voluntary supranational union.
There has never been nor is there currently a worldwide executive, legislature, judiciary, military, or constitution with global jurisdiction. The United Nations is limited to a mostly advisory role, and its stated purpose is to foster cooperation between existing national governments rather than exert authority over them.
Term: A republic (from Latin: res publica) is a sovereign state or country which is organized with a form of government in which power resides in elected individuals representing the citizen body and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. In modern times, the definition of a republic is commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch. Currently, 147 of the world’s 206 sovereign states use the word “republic” as part of their official names; not all of these are republics in the sense of having elected governments, nor do all nations with elected governments use the word “republic” in their names.
Term: A constitutional monarchy (also known as a limited or parliamentary monarchy) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch executes their authorities in accordance with a set constitution, which can include political and constitutional conventions. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy, in which a monarch holds absolute power.
A constitutional monarchy may refer to a system in which the monarch acts as a non-party political head of state under the constitution, whether written or unwritten. While most monarchs may hold formal reserve powers and the government may officially operate in the monarch’s name, in the crowned republic form typical in Europe, the monarch no longer personally sets public policy or chooses political leaders. Political scientistVernon Bogdanor, paraphrasing Thomas Macaulay, has defined a constitutional monarch as “a sovereign who reigns but does not rule”. In addition to acting as a visible symbol of national unity, a constitutional monarch may hold formal powers such as dissolving parliament or giving royal assent to legislation. However, the exercise of such powers is largely a formality rather than an opportunity for the sovereign to enact personal political preference. In The English Constitution, British political theorist Walter Bagehot identified three main political rights which a constitutional monarch may freely exercise: the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn. Some constitutional monarchs, however, still retain significant power or influence and play an important political role.
The United Kingdom and fifteen of its former colonies are constitutional monarchies with a Westminster system of government. Three states – Malaysia, Cambodia and the Holy See – are elective monarchies, wherein the ruler is periodically selected by a small electoral college.
Term: A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only powers that the central government chooses to delegate. The majority of states in the world have a unitary system of government. Of the 193 UN member states, 165 of them are governed as unitary states.Unitary states are contrasted with federal states (federations).
In a unitary state, sub-national units are created and abolished, and their powers may be broadened and narrowed, by the central government. Although political power may be delegated through devolution to local governments by statute, the central government remains supreme; it may abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an example of a unitary state. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have a degree of autonomous devolved power, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution (England does not have any devolved power). Many unitary states have no areas possessing a degree of autonomy. In such countries, sub-national regions cannot decide their own laws. Examples are the Republic of Ireland and Norway In federal states, the sub-national governments share powers with the central government as equal actors through a written constitution, to which the consent of both is required to make amendments. This means that the sub-national units have a right of existence and powers that cannot be unilaterally changed by the central government.
The United States of America is an example of a federal state. Under the US Constitution, powers are shared between the federal government and the states. Its Article V states that the approval of three-quarters of the states, in either their legislatures or state ratifying conventions, must be attained for an amendment to take effect, giving the states a strong degree of protection from domination by the centre.
European Union Overview
The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent.
The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict.
The result was the European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958, and initially increasing economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since then, a huge single market has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential.
What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organization spanning policy areas, from climate, environment and health to external relations and security, justice and migration. A name change from the European Economic Community (EEC) to the European Union (EU) in 1993 reflected this.
At the core of the EU are the Member States — the 28 states that belong to the Union — and their citizens. The unique feature of the EU is that, although these are all sovereign, independent states, they have pooled some of their ‘sovereignty’ in order to gain strength and the benefits of size. Pooling sovereignty means, in practice, that the Member States delegate some of their decision-making powers to the shared institutions they have created, so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level.
The EU thus sits between the fully federal system found in the United States and the loose, intergovernmental cooperation system seen in the United Nations. The EU has achieved much since it was created in 1950. It has built a single market for goods and services that spans 28 Member States with over 500 million citizens free to move and settle where they wish. It created the single currency — the euro — which is now a major world currency and which makes the single market more efficient.
It is also the largest supplier of development and humanitarian aid programmes in the world. These are just a few of the achievements so far. Looking ahead, the EU is working to get Europe out of the economic crisis. It is at the forefront of the fight against climate change and its consequences; it helps neighbouring countries and continues ongoing negotiations on enlargements; and it is building a common foreign policy which will do much to extend European values around the world. The success of these ambitions depends on the ability to take effective and timely decisions and to implement them well.
Thanks to the abolition of border controls between EU countries, people can travel freely throughout most of the continent. And it has become much easier to live, work and travel abroad in Europe.
The single or ‘internal’ market is the EU’s main economic engine, enabling most goods, services, money and people to move freely. Another key objective is to develop this huge resource also in other areas like energy, knowledge and capital markets to ensure that Europeans can draw the maximum benefit from it.
The EU treaties
The European Union is based on the rule of law. This means that every action taken by the EU is founded on treaties that have been approved voluntarily and democratically by all EU countries. The treaties are negotiated and agreed by all the EU Member States and then ratified by their parliaments or by referendum.
The treaties lay down the objectives of the European Union, the rules for EU institutions, how decisions are made and the relationship between the EU and its Member States. They have been amended each time new Member States have joined. From time to time, they have also been amended to reform the European Union’s institutions and to give it new areas of responsibility.From economic to political union
What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organization spanning policy areas, from climate, environment and health to external relations and security, justice and migration. A name change from the European Economic Community (EEC) to the European Union (EU) in 1993 reflected this.
The EU is also governed by the principle of representative democracy, with citizens directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament and Member States represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU.
Political System and Judicial Structure of the European Union
The European Parliament (EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU. The Parliament is composed of 751 (previously 766) members, who represent the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (375 million eligible voters in 2009).
It has been directly elected every five years by universal suffrage since 1979. However, voter turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date, and has been under 50% since 1999. Voter turnout in 2014 stood at 42.54% of all European voters.
Although the European Parliament has legislative power that the Council and Commission do not possess, it does not formally possess legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of European Union member states do. The Parliament is the “first institution” of the EU (mentioned first in the treaties, having ceremonial precedence over all authority at European level), and shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council (except in a few areas where the special legislative procedures apply). It likewise has equal control over the EU budget. Finally, the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, and approves (or rejects) the appointment of the Commission as a whole. It can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure.
The President of the European Parliament (Parliament’s speaker) is Martin Schulz (S&D), elected in January 2012. He presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). The last union-wide elections were the 2014 elections.
The European Parliament has three places of work – Brussels (Belgium), the city of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Strasbourg (France). Luxembourg is home to the administrative offices (the ‘General Secretariat’). Meetings of the whole Parliament (‘plenary sessions’) take place in Strasbourg and in Brussels. Committee meetings are held in Brussels.
The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.
Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ), officially just the Court of Justice (French: Cour de Justice), is the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law. As a part of the Court of Justice of the European Union it is tasked with interpreting EU law and ensuring its equal application across all EU member states. The Court was established in 1952 and is based in Luxembourg. It is composed of one judge per member state – currently 28 – although it normally hears cases in panels of three, five or 15 judges. The court has been led by president Koen Lenaerts since 2015.
The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as “commissioners”). There is one member per member state, but members are bound by their oath of office to represent the general interest of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) proposed by the European Council and elected by theEuropean Parliament. The Council of the European Union then nominates the other 27 members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, and the 28 members as a single body are then subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The current Commission is the Juncker Commission, which took office in late 2014.
The term Commission is used either in the narrow sense of the 28-member College of Commissioners (or College) or to also include the administrative body of about 23,000 European civil servants who are split into departments called directorates-general and services. The procedural languages of the Commission are English, French and German. The Members of the Commission and their “cabinets” (immediate teams) are based in the Berlaymont building in Brussels.
Who takes the decisions?
Decision-making at EU level involves various European institutions, in particular:
- the European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them;
- the European Council, which consists of the Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States;
- the Council, which represents the governments of the EU Member States;
- the European Commission, which represents the interests of the EU as a whole.
The European Council defines the general political direction and priorities of the EU but it does not exercise legislative functions. Generally, it is the European Commission that proposes new laws and it is the European Parliament and Council that adopt them. The Member States and the Commission then implement them. What types of legislation are there? There are several types of legal acts which are applied in different ways.
- A regulation is a law that is applicable and binding in all Member States directly. It does not need to be passed into national law by the Member States although national laws may need to be changed to avoid conflicting with the regulation.
What types of legislation are there?
There are several types of legal acts which are applied in different ways.
- A regulation is a law that is applicable and binding in all Member States directly. It does not need to be passed into national law by the Member States although national laws may need to be changed to avoid conflicting with the regulation.
- A directive is a law that binds the Member States, or a group of Member States, to achieve a particular objective. Usually, directives must be transposed into national law to become effective. Significantly, a directive specifies the result to be achieved: it is up to the Member States individually to decide how this is done.
- A decision can be addressed to Member States, groups of people, or even individuals. It is binding in its entirety. Decisions are used, for example, to rule on proposed mergers between companies.
- Recommendations and opinions have no binding force.
How is legislation passed?
Every European law is based on a specific treaty article, referred to as the ‘legal basis’ of the legislation. This determines which legislative procedure must be followed. The treaty sets out the decision-making process, including Commission proposals, successive readings by the Council and Parliament, and the opinions of the advisory bodies. It also lays down when unanimity is required, and when a qualified majority is sufficient for the Council to adopt legislation. The great majority of EU legislation is adopted using the ordinary legislative procedure. In this procedure, the Parliament and the Council share legislative power.
The procedure begins with the Commission. When considering launching a proposal for action, the Commission often invites views on the topic from governments, business, civil society organisations and individuals. The opinions collected feed into a Commission proposal that is presented to the Council and the Parliament. The proposal may have been made at the invitation of the Council, the European Council, the Parliament or European citizens, or it may have been made on the Commission’s own initiative.
The Council and the Parliament each read and discuss the proposal. If no agreement is reached at the second reading, the proposal is put before a ‘conciliation committee’ comprising equal numbers of Council and Parliament representatives. Commission representatives also attend the committee meetings and contribute to the discussions. Once the committee has reached an agreement, the agreed text is then sent to the
Parliament and the Council for a third reading, so that it can finally be adopted as law. In most cases, the Parliament votes on proposals by simple majority and the Council by qualified majority voting, whereby at least half of the total number of EU Member States, representing about two thirds of the population, must vote in favour. In some cases, unanimous voting is required in the Council.
Special legislative procedures are available depending on the subject of the proposal. In the consultation procedure, the Council is required to consult the Parliament on a proposal from the Commission, but is not required to accept the Parliament’s advice. This procedure is only applicable in a few areas, such as internal market exemptions and competition law. In the consent procedure, the Parliament may accept or reject a proposal, but may not propose amendments. This procedure can be used when the proposal concerns the approval of an international treaty that has been negotiated. In addition, there are limited cases where the Council and the Commission, or the Commission alone, can pass legislation.
Who is consulted, who can object?
In addition to the Commission–Council–Parliament triangle, there are a number of advisory bodies that must be consulted when proposed legislation involves their area of interest. Even if their advice is not taken, this contributes to the democratic oversight of EU legislation by ensuring that it is subject to the widest scrutiny.
These bodies are:
- the European Economic and Social Committee, which represents civil society groups such as employers, trades unions and social interest groups;
- the Committee of the Regions, which ensures that the voice of local and regional government is heard.
In addition, other institutions and bodies may be consulted when a proposal falls within their area of interest or expertise. For example, the European Central Bank would expect to be consulted on proposals concerning economic or financial matters.
Looking at the EU Problem
Professor Otmar Issing (born 27 March 1936 in Würzburg) is a German economist. As the former Chief Economist and Member of the Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) Issing developed the ‘two pillar’ approach to monetary policy decision-making that the ECB has adopted.
Professor Issing said the euro has been betrayed by politics, criticising that the experiment went wrong from the beginning and has since degenerated into a fiscal free-for-all that once again masks the festering pathologies.
“Realistically, it will be a case of muddling through, struggling from one crisis to the next. It is difficult to forecast how long this will continue for, but it cannot go on endlessly,” he told the journal Central Banking in a remarkable deconstruction of the project.
Prof Issing has criticized the European Commission and his comments are a reminder that the Eurozone has not overcome its structural incoherence. A combination of cheap oil, a sliding Eurodollar, excessive European Central Bank quantitative easing and less fiscal austerity have disguised this, but the short-term effects are already fading.
The regime is almost certain to be tested again in the foreseable global economic downturn as the Federal Reserve of the United States has commenced and is expected with 70% probability to further its interest rate hikes later in December of 2016, in a time where property valuations are inflated, household and corporate debt levels at a 50 year record high and to add insult to injury higher interest rates create increased unemployment.
Professor Issing deems the European Commission as a creature of political forces that has given up trying to enforce the rules in any meaningful way. “The moral hazard is overwhelming,” he said.
The ECB is now buying corporate bonds that are close to junk, and the haircuts can barely deal with a one-notch credit downgrade.
The European Central Bank is on a “slippery slope” and has in his view fatally compromised the system by bailing out bankrupt states in palpable violation of the treaties.
“The Stability and Growth Pact has more or less failed. Market discipline is done away with by ECB interventions. So there is no fiscal control mechanism from markets or politics. This has all the elements to bring disaster for monetary union.
“The no bailout clause is violated every day,” he said, dismissing the European Court’s approval for bailout measures as simple-minded and ideological.
The ECB has “crossed the Rubicon” and is now in an untenable position, trying to reconcile conflicting roles as banking regulator, Troika enforcer in rescue missions and agent of monetary policy. Its own financial integrity is increasingly in jeopardy.
Prof Issing slammed the first Greek rescue in 2010
The central bank already holds over €1 trillion of bonds bought at “artificially low” or negative yields, implying huge paper losses once interest rates rise again. “An exit from the QE policy is more and more difficult, as the consequences potentially could be disastrous,” he said.
“The decline in the quality of eligible collateral is a grave problem. The ECB is now buying corporate bonds that are close to junk, and the haircuts can barely deal with a one-notch credit downgrade. The reputational risk of such actions by a central bank would have been unthinkable in the past,” he said.
Cloaking it all is obfuscation, political mendacity and endemic denial. Leaders of the heavily indebted states have misled their voters with soothing bromides, falsely suggesting that some form of fiscal union or debt mutualisation is just around the corner.
Yet there is no chance of political union or the creation of an EU treasury in the forseeable future, which would in any case require a sweeping change to the German constitution – an impossible proposition in the current political climate. The European project must therefore function as a union of sovereign states, or fail.
GREECE – What should have happened according to Prof Otmar Issing
“The Greeks should have been offered generous support, but only after it had restored exchange rate viability by returning to the drachma”
Prof Issing slammed the first Greek rescue in 2010 as little more than a bailout for German and French banks, insisting that it would have been far better to eject Greece from the euro as a salutary lesson for all. The Greeks should have been offered generous support, but only after it had restored exchange rate viability by returning to the drachma.
His critique will exasperate those at the ECB and the International Monetary Fund who inherited the crisis, and had to deal with a fast-moving and terrifying situation.
The fear was a chain-reaction reaching Spain and Italy, detonating an uncontrollable financial collapse. This nearly happened on two occasions, and remained a risk until Berlin switched tack and agreed to let the ECB shore up the Spanish and Italian debt markets in 2012.
Many would say the crisis mushroomed precisely because the ECB was unable to act as a lender-of-last resort. Prof Issing and others from the Bundesbank were chiefly responsible for this design flaw.
Jacques Delors’ foundation calls for a supranational economic government
Jacques Delors, the euro’s “political” founding father. He was President of the Economic Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1981 and President of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995. He had previously been Minister of Finance and Economy in France. In October 1996, Jacques Delors founded the think tank Notre Europe, today Jacques Delors Institute.
Jacques Delors started his career at the Banque de France in 1945 before being appointed General Secretary for Permanent Training and Social Promotion (1969-1973). He was a member of Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas’s cabinet (1969-1972). He was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 1979 and chaired the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee until May 1981. From May 1981 to July 1984, he was the French Minister of Economics and Finance. He was elected Mayor of Clichy (1983-1984). From 1992 to 1996, he chaired UNESCO’s International Commission on Education for the 21st century. In May 2000 he was appointed president of the CERC (Conseil de l’emploi, des revenus et de la cohésion sociale) until July 2009.
Jacques issued his own candid post-mortem last month on the failings of EMU but disagrees starkly with Prof Issing about the nature of the problem.
His foundation calls for a supranational economic government with debt pooling and an EU treasury, as well as expansionary policies to break out of the “vicious circle” and prevent a second Lost Decade.
“It is essential and urgent: at some point in the future, Europe will be hit by a new economic crisis. We do not know whether this will be in six weeks, six months or six years.
But in its current set-up the euro is unlikely to survive that coming crisis,” said the Delors report.
Prof Issing is not a German nationalist. He is open to the idea of a genuine United States of Europe built on proper foundations, but has warned repeatedly against trying to force the pace of integration, or to achieve federalism “by the back door”.
Such a system would erode the budgetary sovereignty of the member states and violate the principle of no taxation without representation.
He decries the latest EU plan for a “fiscal entity” in the Five Presidents’ Report, fearing that such move would lead to a rogue plenipotentiary with unbridled powers over sensitive issues of national life, beyond democratic accountability.
Such a system would erode the budgetary sovereignty of the member states and violate the principle of no taxation without representation, forgetting the lessons of the English Civil War and the American Revolution.
Prof Issing said the venture began to go off the rails immediately, though the structural damage was disguised by the financial boom. “There was no speed-up of convergence after 1999 – rather, the opposite. From day one, quite a number of countries started working in the wrong direction.”
A string of states let rip with wage rises, brushing aside warnings that this would prove fatal in an irrevocable currency union. “During the first eight years, unit labour costs in Portugal rose by 30pc versus Germany. In the past, the escudo would have devalued by 30pc, and things more or less would be back to where they were.”
“Quite a few countries – including Ireland, Italy and Greece – behaved as though they could still devalue their currencies,” he said.
The elemental problem is that once a high-debt state has lost 30pc in competitiveness within a fixed exchange system, it is almost impossible to claw back the ground in the sort of deflationary world we face today.
It has become a trap. The whole eurozone structure has acquired a contractionary bias. The deflation is now self-fulling. Prof Issing’s purist German ideology has no compelling answer to this.
The Hellenic Republic of Greece
Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic. The nominal head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term. The current Constitution was drawn up and adopted by the Fifth Revisionary Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975 after the fall of the military junta of 1967–1974. It has been revised three times since, in 1986, 2001 and 2008. The Constitution, which consists of 120 articles, provides for a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and grants extensive specific guarantees (further reinforced in 2001) of civil liberties and social rights.Women’s suffrage (the right to vote in political elections) was guaranteed with an amendment to the 1952 Constitution.
As stated in the definition above – a Unitary State is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only powers that the central government chooses to delegate. The majority of states in the world have a unitary system of government. Of the 193 UN member states, 165 of them are governed as unitary states.Unitary states are contrasted with federal states (federations).
According to the Hellenic Republic Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. From the Constitutional amendment of 1986 the President’s duties were curtailed to a significant extent, and they are now largely ceremonial; most political power thus lies in the hands of the Prime Minister. The position of Prime Minister, Greece’s head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet.
Legislative powers are exercised by a 300-member elective unicameral Parliament. Statutes passed by the Parliament are promulgated (put a law or decree into effect by official proclamation) by the President of the Republic. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, but the President of the Republic is obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier on the proposal of the Cabinet, in view of dealing with a national issue of exceptional importance.The President is also obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier, if the opposition manages to pass a motion of no confidence.
Georgios Papadopoulos (Greek: Γεώργιος Παπαδόπουλος [ʝeˈorʝios papaˈðopulos]; 5 May 1919 – 27 June 1999) was the head of the military coup d’état that took place in Greece on 21 April 1967, and leader of the junta that ruled the country from 1967 to 1974. He held his dictatorial power until 1973, when he was himself overthrown by his co-conspirator Dimitrios Ioannidis.
Papadopoulos was a Colonel of Infantry. During World War II, he initially resisted the Italian 1940 invasion but later became an active Axis collaborator in the Security Battalions which “hunted down” Greek resistance fighters.
He underwent military and intelligence training in the United States during the 1950s. It has been claimed that he became a CIA agent during this time, which would make him the first known CIA agent in history to govern a European country. Either way, he was known to have extensive connections with the CIA following his training.[note 1]
Monarchy and Constantine II of Greece – The last King of Greece
Constantine II (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Β΄, Konstantínos II, pronounced [ˌkonstanˈdinos]; born 2 June 1940) was the last king of Greece, reigning from 1964 until the abolition of the Greek monarchy in 1973.
He succeeded as king following the death of his father King Paul in March 1964. Later that year he married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark with whom he eventually had five children. Although the accession of the young monarch was initially regarded auspiciously, his reign soon became controversial: Constantine’s involvement in the Apostasia of July 1965 created unrest among sections of the population and aggravated the ongoing political instability that culminated in the Colonels’ Coup of 21 April 1967.
The coup was successful, leaving Constantine, as head of state, little room to manoeuvre as he had no loyal military forces to rely on. As a result, he reluctantly agreed to inaugurate the putschist government on the condition that it be made up largely of civilian ministers. On 13 December 1967, he was forced to flee the country, following an abortive counter-coup against the junta. He remained the head of state in exile until 1 June 1973, when the junta abolished the monarchy.
This abolition was confirmed after the fall of the junta by a plebiscite on 8 December 1974, which established the Third Hellenic Republic. Constantine, who was not allowed to return to Greece to campaign, accepted the results of the plebiscite.
Privatision: Hellenic Republic Development Fund
The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) was established on 1st July 2011 (L. 3986/2011), under the medium-term fiscal strategy. The new law aimed to restrict governmental intervention in the privatisation process, and its further development within a fully professional context. Subsequently, the old privatisation process under the Law 3049/2002 was abandoned.
The Fund is a “societe anonyme” (a public limited liability company structure), of which Hellenic Republic is the sole shareholder with a share capital of €30 million. The Fund is not a public entity and is governed by private law. The assets transferred to it by the State do not form part of its share capital.
The Board of Directors is comprised of five members and is appointed by the General Assembly for a three year term. Prior to this appointment the Committee of article 49A of the Parliament’s Regulation formulates an opinion on the suitability of the proposed persons for the positions of Chairman and CEO of the Fund.
Two observers have also been appointed to the Board; one from the Eurozone and one from the European Commission. The Board has the absolute authority on privatisation decisions. The CEO is fully responsible for the operation of the Fund and introduces the privatisations to the Board of Directors for decision making.
Most of the assets contained in the medium-term plan have been transferred to the Fund, while other assets which the Hellenic Republic has decided to develop or sell will also be transferred. Any asset transferred to the Fund is to be sold, developed or liquidated. The return of any asset back to the State is not allowed.
The assets transferred to the Fund can be grouped in three categories:
- real estate
- company shares
Specifically, the following have been transferred to the Fund by Inter-ministerial Committee Decision:
- 35 Real State buildings
- Shares of Athens International Airport S.A.
- Shares of Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE)
- Shares of ODIE (Hellenic Horse Racing)
- Shares of Ellinikon
- Shares of LARCO
- Shares of the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP)
- Shares of Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYATH)
- Shares of OLP
- Shares of OLTH
- The economic rights of Hellenic Motorways
- Shares of the Hellenic Football Prognostics Organisation (OPAP)
- Shares of ALPHA Bank
- Shares of National Bank
- Shares of Piraeus Bank
- Rights of natural gas storage in South Kavala
- Rights of State Lottery Tickets
- Gaming Rights to Hellenic Football Prognostics Organisation (OPAP)
- Rights of 39 Regional Airports
- Rights of “Mobile Spectrum”
- Rights of “Mobile Telephony Frequencies” Shares of
- Voting Rights of Hellenic Post (ELTA)
- Voting Rights of 10 Ports ( including Piraeus Port Authority)
Significant Completed Asset sales:
Port of Piraeus
On 5/3/2014 HRADF issued an international tender process for the sale 67% of the shares of OLP, the company which has the right to operate the Port of Piraeus until 2052.
Following the successful completion of the tender process, on 8/4/2016 a Share Purchase Agreement was signed with Cosco (Hong Kong) Group Limited for the transfer of 67% of the shares in two stages.
In the first stage, on 10/8/2016 51% of the shares were transferred against payment of €280.5 mn. and the remaining 16% of the shares and their corresponding consideration of €88 mn. were placed on escrow.
The second stage which relates to the transfer of the remaining 16% of the shares will be concluded five years later following the completion of the mandatory capital expenditure program of €300 mn.
Following the transfer of the remaining percentage, HRADF will hold 7% of the shares.Financial Advisorsι: Morgan Stanley and Piraeus Bank
14 Regional airports in Greece
HRADF concluded successfully an international tender process that resulted in the granting of the right of concession for the development and operation of 14 regional airports in Greece. In particular, two 40-year concessions to upgrade, maintain, manage and operate two clusters of seven regional airports (per each) have been conferred to a consortium of companies consisting of Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide and Slentel Limited of Copelouzos Group.
Cluster A comprises of the airports of Thessaloniki, Kerkira, Kefalonia, Aktio, Zakinthos, Kavala and Chania and Cluster B comprises of the airports of Rhodos, Samos, Skiathos, Mytilene, Mykonos, Santorini and Kos.
Fraport AG is among the leading groups of companies in the international airport business. With Frankfurt Airport, the company operates one of the world’s most important air transportation hubs. Frankfurt Airport has become Germany’s largest employment complex at a single location, with more than 500 companies and organizations providing jobs for more than 80,000 people (including staff employed at The Squaire and the Gateway Gardens).
Fraport S.A Shareholder Structure*
|State of Hesse ( Federal Republic of Germany)||31.32 %|
|Stadtwerke Frankfurt am Main Holding GmbH||20.00 %|
|Deutsche Lufthansa AG||8.44 %|
|Lazard Asset Management LLC||3.01 %|
Throughout the concession period, the Hellenic Republic shall enjoy a number of benefits, which, besides the significant payments consisting of the upfront, the annual and the variable concession fee, include the improvement of the quality of airports services by means of significant investments. HCAA’s role as regulator and supervisor of airport services will be enhanced, while it shall continue to retain the provision of air navigation services.
HRADF, in coordination with the Greek State and HCAA, is currently working towards the fulfillment of the conditions precedent for the closing of the transaction and the concession commencement date, envisaged to take place in the next months. The concession agreements have been ratified by the Greek Parliament by Law 4389/2016 (A 94) and are publicly available on the Parliament’s and the Official Gazette’s website.
The Hellenic Republic has appointed Citigroup and Eurobank Group as financial advisors and Your Legal Partners, Drakopoulous & Vasalakis Law firm and Norton Rose as legal advisors, to assist with the privatization of the 14 regional airports.
For a full list of completed sales and assets included in the HRADF portfolio visit: http://www.hradf.com/en/portfolio
Forming an opinion after drawing conclusions from facts in commerce and politics can lead to some alarming facts that people do not want to discuss. We live in a material world of hope, but unfortunately that hope has now been comprimised in Greece the day they considered Greece insolvent and non compliant to the Troika’s requirements and subsequently in June 2015 imposed capital controls in addition to austerity measures which would see the flight of approximately four hundred thousand citizens of Greece, closure of approximately sixty eight thousand small to medium size business, the bankruptcy of the 2nd largest grocery chain Marinopoulos and petroleum distributor and retailer Jet Oil to name some significant commercial events, further privatisation of approximately 61% of Piraeus Port Authority SA. To add further pressure to a struggling economy Greece is now forced to fund a migration problem not seen since World War II.
Government and Political Issues:
The Hellenic Republic of Greece sovereignty is at risk, there seems to be attempts from European and American political actors to gain full control of Europe in a supranational political system with a centralized government and central treasury function that deems control over a member state, this is in fact the United States of America model. So is Greece the Florida of the United States of America or in this case a new United States of Europe? Who agreed to this? Who requested foreign political actors to determine the fate of Greece’s sovereignty and negotiate the management of the nations resources.
The behavior of German political leaders and IMF negotiators in recent bailout disputes and negotiations has uncovered the political and social risks of introducing foreign government influence over a sovereign nations political, treasury and financial system.
Globalization is the instrument of economic union of nations – through trade agreements, open borders and the free movement of people, but certainly is not the end game – the end game is now starting to surface in the form of a type of political union and world governance with some planned central government who will oversee collectively all member [sovereign] states economic, political and financial affairs.
Recall that the unique feature of the EU is that, although these are all sovereign, independent states, they have pooled some of their ‘sovereignty’ in order to gain strength and the benefits of size. Pooling sovereignty means, in practice, that the Member States delegate some of their decision-making powers to the shared institutions they have created, so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level. This is certainly now laughable as you can see the tribulations and fate of Greece’s economy and social welfare.
We can further confirm this is somewhat an political power agenda by the EU’s description which states: The EU thus sits between the fully federal system found in the United States and the loose, intergovernmental cooperation system seen in the United Nations. This dear readers is in effect the creation of a non sovereign centralized government – which all state members transfer governance and authority to. This sounds like an indirect invasion of another sovereign nation, harsh but unfortunately now obviously true. How is it possible that foreigners who are not citizens of a nation have control over the social and political affairs of another nation – who also started on an economic union footing and now impose austerity, monetary planning, social welfare austerity and privatization.
Sovereignty should not be compromised in any economic or political union, the relationship of the Orthodox Church and the state should be reinforced, as it seems it is being attacked to obviously break down cultural and ethnic barriers that identify a nation. This is evident in an article published on 14th October 2016 in the Financial Times, titled “Syriza at odds with the Orthodox clergy over religious teaching plans. Read article: https://www.ft.com/content/79d56ad8-8fe1-11e6-8df8-d3778b55a923
Bear also in mind Mr Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, is an avowed atheist who refused to take a religious oath of office when he was sworn in, even though he has since cultivated a friendly relationship with Archbishop Ieronymos, the moderate head of the Greek Orthodox church.
So my conclusion finds that the strategic game of these European and American political actors and power motivated political commercial entities is to control Europe commerce, trade, production and resources. This is more obviously now being achieved by using the EU economic and political union model to break down a sovereign nations faith by removing the relationship between state and church, this can be achieved by diluting a religion, removal of the monarch and adopting a Republic government, break down the nations ethnicity [via open borders and free movement of people between regions]. Removal of the monarch – (the last monarch was removed in 1973 King Constantine II) and making Greece a Republic being the first strategic attack on the sovereignty of a nation. If I am incorrect, then ask why does the United Kingdom continue as a constitution monarchy, is this a safeguard to protecting a nations sovereignty, I think yes.
Monetary and Treasury issues:
Greece to date has been locked out of the Money Markets finance system, surviving via the European Stability Mechanise [ESM]. The IMF continues to refuse debt relief, Germany and its EUP representatives continue to request hardlined privatisation of Greece state assets – effectively the sale of the resources, production and wealth of the nation – this is a very serious matter and not one to be taken lightly.
Recent Foreign Policy Developments:
An intuitive question to ask your self is why there was a successful ‘Brexit’ movement in Britain. Nigel Farage’s experience and argument was, the European Parliament has unelected officials, they are not transparent, they make decisions behind close doors, nor do they publish the minutes of their meetings. Open borders have seen jobs for British citizens evaporated and imposed hardship on citizens, they have extreme inflation as the wealthy exploit the safety harbor of property assets Britain has to offer.
The only advocates to ‘Remain’ in the EU are the corporations and their stakeholders, and the EUP’s foreign powers more specifically German officials, have communicated nothing but threats of a hard exit. Is this a democracy, when a foreign nation makes continuous threats to union member states, they use harsh language as “Hard Brexit”, “Austerity”. They impose privatisation. I am certain the benefits of free movement of people do not outweigh the dangers of such foreign powers rhetoric, threats, intimidation and strategic political manouvering for control of another sovereign states, resources, production, internal and foreign affairs. There you have it, the negatives outweigh positives of European Union membership.
What needs to be done to preserve Greece’s sovereignty and national identity:
Protect and reinforce the relationship between the Greek Orthodox Church and State, with the Church taking an more active role in public policy.
Greece’s government and political system should adopt a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy – where Greece has its monarch reinstated, being the most recent one Constantine II.
Federal government (as explained in the terms and definitions) is a system of government and political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, are typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body.
Reinstate a Constitutional monarchy: A constitutional monarchy (also known as a limited or parliamentary monarchy) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch executes their authorities in accordance with a set constitution, which can include political and constitutional conventions. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy, in which a monarch holds absolute power.
Preserve state owned assets – as this is a nations wealth soley for the support and benefit of its citizens. They are vital productive and financial resources for furthering the development of a nations infrastructure, water, food and energy supply. These resources determine a nations ability to industrialize, secure and protect its borders, further advance their skills and knowledge of their citizens, and preservation of a sovereign nations assets is to protect the nation from corporate raiders and foreigners control of the wealth of a nation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. It may be alot of information to consume – but it is the beginning of ones awareness and understanding of what is important to a sovereign nations viability, what are the risks to a sovereign nations identity, culture, ethnicity, social welfare, religion and most of all its prosperity and wealth.
εἷς οἰωνὸς ἄριστος, ἀμύνεσθαι περὶ πάτρης
“There is only one omen, to fight for one’s country”
(If you would like to contact the writer of this article Arthur Kokontis you can email him: firstname.lastname@example.org)
European Union website: https://europa.eu/european-union/index_en
Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund website: http://www.hradf.com/en
Jacques Delors Institute website: http://www.delorsinstitute.eu
Wikipedia website: en.wikipedia.org
Publication: The European Union Explained (European Union)
Publication: 20 Years of Europe – Activity Report (Jacues Delors Institute)
Publication: Repare and Prepare – Growth and the Euo after Brexit (Jacues Delors Institute)
Article – Financial Times ( OCTOBER 14, 2016 by Kerin Hope in Athens): Syriza at odds with Orthodox clergy over religious teaching plans https://www.ft.com/content/79d56ad8-8fe1-11e6-8df8-d3778b55a923