Greece’s 50 First Days Under the New Government Through the Numbers and Figures

It has been 50 days since the second SYRIZA-ANEL coalition Greek government was sworn into power on September 23, 2015. Less than a month and a half into the new administration, Greece has already been through adversity on the political, economic and social fronts.

Amid daily developments that could prove crucial to the country’s future, the following figures and events that took place or were revealed during these 50 days are likely to play an important role in the government’s policy and by extension the country’s future.

Bailout:

0: The amount of bailout funds the Greek government has received since taking over in September. Negotiations with international creditors, the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission, European Stability Mechanism (ESM), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have yet to lead to an agreement on the reforms Greece must implement to secure the next bailout installment.

The Greek government is in negotiations with international creditors to secure the provision of the next two billion euro bailout installment. Another 10 billion euros have been reserved specifically for the recapitalization of Greece’s systemic banks. The government is looking to land an agreement with creditors by Saturday, so as to secure the green light for the disbursement of the two billion euros by Monday.

An ECB comprehensive assessment test found that Greece’s four systemic banks, Alpha Bank, Eurobank, National Bank of Greece, and Piraeus Bank, need 4.4 billion euros in the baseline scenario and 14.4 billion euros in the worst case scenario, to cover their capital shortfalls. Each bank will have to cover at least its individual share of the baseline scenario to avoid nationalization. Following these results, the Greek parliament legislated a new bill that prescribes changes to Greece’s banking sector, thus paving the way for the recapitalization.

The Greek parliament has legislated two sets of bailout prior actions. This has not proven enough to garner creditors’ approval for additional bailout funds. The conditions for foreclosures on first homes, the adjustment of debt repayment installments, and the VAT rate on private education are the outstanding issues currently separating the two sides.

Greek Education Minister Nikos Filis announced the government’s plan for a scaled VAT system on private education. However, the plan was rescinded as creditors called on the government to either impose the country’s central 23% VAT rate or to scrap the plan altogether and seek alternative sources of income.

The Greek government withdrew article 52, which prescribed increased taxation on Greek microbreweries, from the second set of prior actions that it tabled to the Greek parliament. ANEL had openly criticized the finance ministry sponsored piece of legislation, marking the first open disagreement within the coalition that was among the most stable components of the Greek political landscape between January and August.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble alleged that 15 Eurozone finance ministers supported his plan for a temporary Grexit in early July, prior to the bailout agreement. The Cypriot, French, Greek, and Italian Finance Ministers opposed the plan.

At the present moment there are 73 billion euros the Greek government can collect until August 2018 provided it implements the bailout agreements. Should everything go as expected, in terms of banking recapitalization and bailout fund disbursement, this figure is likely to have fallen to 60 billion euros.

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Refugee Crisis:

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced that over 210,000 migrants and refugees arrived at the Greek islands in October alone. Since the beginning of 2015, more than 647,000 have stepped on Greek territory through the sea, the UN estimates.

The European Union expects that up to three million refugees could arrive in Europe until the end of 2016, including the ones that have arrived this year.

The United Nations Refugee Agency announced it expects 5,000 refugee and migrants to arrive in Europe between November 2015 and February 2016.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to accommodate 50,000 asylum seekers in Greece, during a European summit on the refugee crisis.

The first thirty migrants and refugees were relocated from Greece to Luxembourg on November 4th.

291 Frontex agents were assigned to Greece and Italy to assist with the refugee crisis.

Greek Parliament

Politics:

One Greek Minister resigned just over 12 hours after being sworn in. Dimitris Kammenos had to step down from his Infrastructure, Transportation and Network Ministerial post following revelations of racist, homophobic, and antisemitic tweets he had allegedly made in the past.

It had been seven years since the last time a French President addressed the Greek parliament. Francois Hollande visited Greece in October and spoke to the parliament on the close social and economic ties between France and Greece.

Three European Union officials have visited Greece since the new Greek government took over. European Commission Vice- President Valdis Dombrovski visited in late October, followed by European Commissioner for Financial and Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici and European Parliament President Martin Schulz in early November.

One former minister has stirred controversy over his claims that a SYRIZA party member and adviser to the Justice Minister, holds close ties with convicted terrorists. Former Citizen Protection Minister Yiannis Panousis, who served during the first SYRIZA-ANEL coalition, made these allegations earlier in the week and also submitted evidence of death threats to the Greek prosecutor that he received while serving his post.

Four candidates are contesting for the presidency of New Democracy, the main opposition party. Interim President Evangelos Meimarakis will square off against, former Labor Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, former Health and Shipping Adonis Georgiadis and Governor of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas, in the November 22 elections.

Three former Greek National Defense Ministry Officials got sentenced to prison, on October 19, for their involvement in the ministry’s widespread corruption that took place between 1996 and 2001. Breach of faith earned Giannis Sbokos a life sentence and Nikos Leontaridis a 20 year sentence. Antonis Kantas will serve 25 years for breach of faith and money laundering. Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who served as National Defense Minister from 1996 to 2001, is currently serving a 20 year sentence for money laundering.

Greek Education Minister Nikos Filis set off a chain of events when he denied the Pontic Genocide. Compounded by revelations that 12th graders are no longer being taught about the genocide, the Pontic Community organized a protest in Athens square. New Democracy MP Giorgos Koumoutsakos was attacked by individuals who are reportedly Golden Dawn affiliates while during a second anti-government Pontic protest a few days later Golden Dawn MP Artemios Matthaiopoulos was also attacked.

Katerina Savvaidou was fired from her post as general Secretary of Public Revenue, for deciding to review a 78 million euro fine on a Greek company, that had already been decided by a tax arbitration committee. Savvaidou had turned down the government’s request for her resignation, claiming that her decision to review the fine was not meant to harm the state. She was dismissed soon after. She currently faces a felony charge for breach of duty.

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Economy:

The Greek preliminary draft budget predicted a 2.3% GDP contraction in 2015 and a 1.3% GDP contraction in 2016. The IMF’s predictions for these two years are in line with the Greek government’s projections, while the fund also predicts a 2.7% growth rate in 2017.

The Greek Finance Ministry reported that 87.55% of Greek farmers made less than 5,000 euros in 2014. The new bailout includes increased taxation on farmers, who have not let this slide by, resorting to strikes which will reportedly continue.

The Greeks state owes 5.1 billion euros to private individuals, security funds, suppliers and service providers.

The Greek General Inspector of Public Administration Leandros Rakintzis claimed corruption costs the Greek state 33 billion euros each year.

The latest Eurobarometer survey found that 65% of Greeks want the country to remain in the Eurozone.

Over five million Greeks earned less than 12,000 euros in 2014, according to their tax reports.

The European Commission announced that men in Greece earn 45% more than women do.

Eurostat announced that Greece had a 25% unemployment rate in July and thus maintains the highest unemployment rate in the EU. Youth unemployment was estimated to be at 48.1%.

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem noted in early October that Eurozone countries had informally agreed to a maximum Greek debt servicing of 15% of the Greek GDP. The Greek government expects to open discussions on debt relief following the completion of the first review of the bailout, which will come once the delayed agreement with creditors is in place.

Source: Greek Reporter

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