October 21, 2012
George Papandreou is a Greek politician served as Prime Minister of Greece from October 2009 until November 2011. To someone naif or just irrelevant with Greek politics -and especially with the Greek debt crisis- George Papandreou might be seemed as a political figure who bravely endeavored to clean up the mess of Greece’s ballooning public debt, put order in the monster of bureaucracy and reach an agreement with the IMF, the ECB and the EU in order to soar up the public funds and avoid Greece’s bankrupcy. But are finally his deeds during and after his statemanship really convincing and merely driven by his duty or are there some “weird” coincidences that shape a completely different image?
Indeed, George Papandreou achieved to gain 2009 elections based on his campaign most-cited argument that “Greece has money” (i.e. meaning that there is no fear of bankrupcy or resorting to any supportive mechanism). With this repeatedly reproduced moto he gained against the incumbent Kostas Karamanlis of New Democracy. After his first week as PM, George Papandreou suddenly realized that Greek public funds are empty and that the country overruns the danger of declaring bankrupcy if no external help were to come. This “help” was the pre-electoral -as afterwards being unveiled- gentlemens’ agreement between himself and Dominique Stauss-Kahn (DSK), the then head of IMF, and a figure being just afterwards accused for raping. DSK is for the moment an outcast of politics and an individual that was seen three weeks ago in Athens attending folklore dance halls.
After a semester of deep concerns and retractions regarding what Greece should do to avoid this sudden “conclusion” about being one step before bakrupcy, George Papandreou made a symbolic and emotional appearance on Kastelorizo on the 23rd of April 2010 stating to the press that he instructed the Finance Minister G. Papakonstantinou -a politician that is now allegedly accused of intentionally hide the list with the Greek millionaires being most immensingly tax-evading- to officially ask the EU partners to activate the support mechanism, a European mechanism to which the IMF is associated with financing. And here we go: on May 2010 the Memorandum I was signed between troika and Greece and started functioning so that loans can be transmitted to Greek public funds in order Greece to avoid bankrupcy.
During the two years that followed, Greece plunged deeper to recession, with austerity measures being repeatedly implemented -including the Memorandum II singed meanwhile- and the Greek society to become completely dehumaliated, a kind of people crowding at least once a week the streets and combatting against their constant and harsh impoverishment. Meanwhile, George Papandreou was travelling around the world and heading the conferences of the Socialist International, in which he serves as President since 2006.
The crisis in Greece and Eurozone has a further impact on the currency race between euro and dollar, with the latter being consistently empowered against the first. Eurocrisis spreads out in Eurozone, Eurogroup summits face serious impediments in reaching a mutual agreement on how to strike crisis, and new austerity measures are implemented in Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. But in the meantime, George Papandreou has resigned, after mounting public rage against him, giving his position to the national unity government of Lucas Papademos, a banker having served as Governor of the Greek Central Bank,Vice President to the ECB, and basically having been one of the principal actors during the negotiations between the Greek government and the EU during 1998-200 and dealing with Greece’s Eurozone and EMU membership.
It has been one month now that George Papandreou, being temporarily outside mainstream politics, is giving lectures to Harvard, one of the most renowned universities in the US, on topics dealing with Crisis Management. In other words, Harvard gave him the opportunity and the great chance to analyze and summarize his political deeds as those being implemented in the case of the Greek crisis. But let us see in brief what are the deeds that George Papandreou achieved to bring into practice between 2009-11 in order to answer to the question “why Harvard is inviting him as visiting lecturer”:
1. Growth rates slumped down to below-zero levels
2. Absence of growth was not -paradoxically- followed by deflation, but instead by standardized inflation and many times with inflation rise
3. Unemployment from 11% exceeded 23% -especially in youth it reached 51%
4. GDP debt percentage increased by 40% since 2009, mounting from 130 to 170%
5. Poverty as indicated in the total population increased by 10%, reaching 20%
And these are only stats. If someone goes deep down and follow personal confessions of people being hopeless now while in 2009 they had their job and run their living, is even more appaling. And it is even more provocative for the Greeks to realize that this politician, who is principally responsible for bringing Greece into this devastating and humiliating situation, is now “lecturing” at Harvad*, being completely shameless of his deeds, while running the Socialist International, the official forum of the “socialist” world.
After all, I am really wondering: Is this a conspiracy theory or just accidental coincidences?
*George Papandreou is half American from his mother side (I simply mention it for further pondering, truly no discrimination intended)Dimitris Rapidis