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A lot has been said and written about Greece and the situation here these past few months… This is just my own, personal view (however limited that may be).
This is not like my usual developer-related posts, but it’s just some things that have been bugging me for quite some time now.

Democracy

The fact that Greece gave birth to democracy is a complete irony… especially considering the fact that we no longer have one.
In a democracy, the people vote and the leaders represent the people. What we’re witnessing now is the complete opposite: The leader of this country called for a referendum not long ago. The people voted “No”, and then a week later he did the exact opposite, effectively proving that he is not representing the people. Ergo.. no democracy. What we have here is nothing less than treason. And not treason against the Greek government (that would be ridiculous), but treason against the Greek people. People naive enough to believe that this administration would do something besides bowing its head. Well, some tried… but we all know what happened to them. The Greek minister of economics for example was forced to resign because he was “annoying”. I find the following video quite amusing… and the song is not that bad either!

A bit of history on the EU

Greece joined the EU the year I was born. Back then it was called the EEC (or ΕΟΚ in Greek) and while growing up I had the opportunity to witness -as a citizen- both the good and the bad. It was a slow process and didn’t happen at once… here are just a few of my observations.

One of the most positive effects of the EEC was purely psychological: Greek citizens were able to visit other countries without a passport - using just their ID. In our hearts that meant that we mean something. That our country was part of something larger, part of a union. Basically part of a super-country (yes, that was a naive misconception).

Greek farmers were getting funds in order to grow some crops - and that made them feel they were getting the support they needed. After all, farming is one of the main pillars of our society.

However, after a few years another pattern seemed to emerge. It was subtle at first, but as the years went by it was getting clearer by the day. Prior to Greece joining the EU, Greece had an automotive industry, we were growing tobacco, sugar, cotton and a bunch of other things. After Greece joined the EU, farmers started growing the eu-sponsored crops and slowly abandoned the crops they were growing for years. After a few more years, some crops were limited by law. For example there are strict limits on how much sugar or tobacco Greek farmers are allowed to grow. That’s of course limited by law.
Why are crop productions limited by law? Well, the EU enforces a fine in case farmers produce more than the limits set by the EU.

Sugar

Sugar in the EU is grown mostly in Germany and France. Greece went from a sugar-exporting country to a sugar-importing country.
And you know what’s tragic about that? Sugar is one of the pillars of human diet. It always has been… That’s why supermarkets get tons of it on a monthly basis and if you’ve ever worked retail you know what I mean. Even more tragically, sugar beets grown in Greece produce 3 times more sugar than sugar beets grown in Germany due to Greece’s unique climate and soil.

Milk

Greece needs about 1.4 tons of milk and is only allowed to produce 700 tons. The rest is imported. Prior to joining the EU, Greece was exporting milk instead of importing it.

Tobacco industry

Pretty much the same as with milk and sugar. Very few farmers now grow tobacco… one of Greece’s most lucrative crops for decades. I remember travelling as a child and seeing vast fields with tobacco crops in Thessalia. All that is gone now.

Others

I won’t even go in more detail about more crops… but it’s not just the crops. Other things also “magically” dissappeared… The Greek automotive industry, shipping industry and many many more.

Conclussion

I don’t doubt that the EU has given Greek banks and politicians a lot of money. But how much of that money actually did something good for our country is debatable. Actually no, it’s not debatable. It’s a fact that most of those funds got “lost in the way”. But can you really doubt there’s something more going on here? Add to the above the fact that WWII Compensations were never paid and that’s still a fraction of what goes on.

I’ll leave the conclussion to you.

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Aristeides Stathopoulos


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Aristeides Stathopoulos

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