GREEK CRISIS: Support for Pasok slumps from 44% to 8%.

Oops…Venizelos’s rump


The largest Greek Party in the last General Election – Pasok – has seen its support slump in a new poll, by Public Issue for the Kathimerini newspaper, from 44% to 8%.

That’s the sort of drop to make the LibDems look like a roaring success. And it sort of shows just how popular the Merkozy strategy is.

But other opinion polls also show that the majority of Greeks w ant to stay in the eurozone. This is what we financial experts call wanting your cake, and eating it with a double helping of jam and clotted cream on the side: “Sure, we owe a lot of money – but we like it here, except when you tell us to pay it back”.

At times, one can see what pisses Berlin off about the Greeks. Another way of saying this, mind you, is to suggest that the two sides thoroughly deserve each other.

Meanwhile, in the here and now…

The Cabinet meeting scheduled for 10.00am in Athens (9.00am GMT) has been put back to 12.30. Sources suggest that the one-to-one between Papademos and Dallara didn’t go to plan. Imagine that. The latest excuse for delay is “we lost some paperwork”. Never in the field of Sovereign debt restructuring did so many work so hard to achieve nothing of value.

Allegedly, however, late last night Mario Draghi intervened – nobody knows in what way exactly as yet – but it seems he is offering a deal whereby the ECB will take the hit on some debt. This is precisely the sort of disguised debt-forgiveness The Slog recommended in the ‘let’s not make Portugal like Greece’ post yesterday, so it’s good to see that SuperMario is still a keen Slogger. No doubt he’ll have something to say in the comment threads later.

20 thoughts on “GREEK CRISIS: Support for Pasok slumps from 44% to 8%.

  1. And over the pond, the most epic line ever written according to Zerohedge: “The extremists may refuse to pay taxes, defy government environmental regulations and believe the United States went bankrupt by going off the gold standard.”


  2. “Another way of saying this, mind you, is to suggest that the two sides thoroughly deserve each other.”
    Spot on analysis.
    Meanwhile…they will do a deal and Greece will not default.


  3. It isn’t just Berlin that is fed up with the Greeks. These are statistics from Eurostat agency:

    Outpacing Germany

    Increases in employment costs of all euro nations outpaced Germany’s in the decade through 2010. German hourly labor costs rose an average 1.7 percent per year, while they jumped 2.9 percent in Portugal, 3.2 percent in Italy, 3.4 percent in Greece and 4.1 percent in Spain, the labor union-affiliated IMK institute in Dusseldorf said Dec. 12. The figures were based on calculations from Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

    Emphasis added. Source:

    As far as I am concerned, the Greeks and others can have their pay increases. With one proviso: that they earn those increases through hard work. That is only fair.



  5. With respect Gemz, what work is it you would have the Greeks do? Greece doesn’t actually produce anything that others want to buy-except sunshine and with the euro, thats too expensive-Turkey does it cheaper.

    Don’t misunderstand, I’m not getting at the Greeks just for the sake of it-I struggle to work out what the UK makes that others want. Our major product is regulation-and WE don’t want that, never mind others.Of course, we have the City, but I have always believed that to be a money making machine for those in the City, not for the UK on which it is it feeds. Hell, the City isn’t even clever-or we wouldn’t be where we are!

    Anyway, after that minor rant, the question remains-what do you expect the greeks to do to make money?


  6. Some interesting comments from Gonzalo Lira on Max Keiser. His analysis is that Merkozy, Troika etc will let Greece Portugal & Ireland go to the dogs with increasing austerity etc, but the the big boys, Spain, Italy & France will be bailed out with the use of Long term financing operations, whatever they are. It seems that the IMF especially are worried about the possiblity of unrest & populism in these big states, whereas nobody much cared that in South American & Asia states fell apart after IMF intervention & the 3 piigs mentioned are too small to be of much concern. France & Marie Le Penn, too close to home in one of the countries that are becoming ” Too big to fail “?

    Might explain why there has been some backtracking by the Troika, that Thompson guy for instance.


  7. “Support for Pasok slumps from 44% to 8%.” and “…other opinion polls also show that the majority of Greeks w ant to stay in the eurozone.”

    So, the Greeks want a Govt that’s more Lefty than Pasok, so Greece can borrow & spend way beyond its means and ‘someone else’ must pay for it. Perhaps they’d be happier with Red Ed and his Labour Party. Perhaps Gordon Brown could be exported there…

    And I note that there is no movement within Greece to demand controls on State borrowing/spending. I assume they wish it to carry on…..


  8. @Mick C
    you bring up a very important point. What do the Greeks make?

    Remember that under EU law, fruit produced in Greece is always Greek fruit whatever happens to it afterwards.

    Enter Germany’s megalith canning industry. Ahem! The Greeks import tinned goods marked “produce of Greece” in German tins.

    How is it that it is cheaper for the Greeks to export the fruit, transport it to Germany, tin it, take it back and still be able to sell it more cheaply than the Greeks can themselves. Whilst laughable, there is a real problem of industrial competitiveness here.

    Answer that little conundrum and you will unravel a lot of the problems that Greece has: it is inefficient and ineffective. Nothing succeeds like success, they say – and it is true. But the downside is that once you start failing, there is nothing that makes you fail more than failure itself.

    There is a very real problem here: for any country that is losing competitiveness. It is that you have to both catch up with those who are competitive, and invest money to do this that you don’t have. QE in the UK should have been a good start – but three years down the line and you have some fat bankers and little in the way of industry to speak of. (I speak in general terms: Britain’s exports are still at around 1/5 those of Germany’s and even with a huge slump in German exports, it will take decades for the Brits to even get close).

    What has the bailing out of Greece achieved but to stem an outright default? Very little in effective economic terms. That is the root of the problem. The other side is who is going to invest large amounts of money in a country already showing itself a failure? Would you rather invest in German technology – or British banks?

    There are no easy answers, and the Greeks need to address your question with diligence. In the mean time, like Stevie Finn’s stepdaughter, who has taken a serious wage cut and pays her taxes, those who have work in Greece must do the same and not protest to keep their wages that are already higher than most Germans would expect.


  9. @Gemz
    ….How is it that it is cheaper for the Greeks to export the fruit, transport it to Germany, tin it, take it back and……

    It’s probably due to an EU subsidy of some sort ~ remember the UK / France lamb case where though I don’t recall all the details it involved going round the roundabout in Dover and back onto a ferry ~ or something like that


  10. @Richard

    you are probably right. That should not have been an excuse for the local Greek industries to give up though. They could have imported stuff from (?) Bulgaria or Cyprus or Italy … and played the same game. It is the sort of thing that led to the “dizzy pigs” phenomenon. Stevie F. will tell you something about that, but it was where a farmer would rent his pigs for a day to a lorry driver who would then export them from Fermanagh to Monaghan and back as much as ten times a day and pick up the import/export subsidies as they passed the borders.


  11. “Never in the field of Sovereign debt restructuring did so many work so hard to achieve nothing of value.”
    Superb line.


  12. …’ the majority of Greeks want to stay in the eurozone. This is what we financial experts call wanting your cake, and eating it with a double helping of jam and clotted cream on the side’…..
    If the majority of greeks recognise that the country is entirely bankrupt and that their pols are profligate morons, I can understand why they want to remain in the eurozone! I read yesterday that the olive harvest is going to be poor because half the olives have already been stolen…..that is AWFUL. Can you imagine if we were raiding corn fields or apple orchards etc just to get by. It’s like some awful sci fi film.
    I feel so helpless and angry all at the same time. How can modern society have come to this, and yet we watch on with some perverse sense of righteousness…….
    Blame does not feed bellies or buy medicines, but I don’t see that anything else will either.


  13. I think you may very well be right – they need 14B which is chicken feed in this new age of trillions so my view is that they will promise a load of hot air and get bankrolled. The ECB may or may not write off some debt – I mean this wouldn’t at all be ultra vires for the ECB to fund a nation would it – and some of the losses pushed back onto its shareholders – ie other nations??? Can kicked a little further.

    Of course the Greek economy will go [is going] to hell in a handcart and there will be riots and blood etc. But the project will be on track for a few more months – until Greece runs out of money again – about May I would think.

    I don’t feel too sorry for the Greeks – whereas they ahve been let down by their political masters they have a corrupt and inefficient economy and do not appear to be willing to accept reform anytime soon. even if they did it will take them a generation or two to catch up – and probably even that is pie in the sky thinking. They need to default leave the Euro and take their medicine IMHO. But they probably won’t.


  14. @Me and Mrs*
    a very interesting article. I thought the situation was more like it is here in NL where there is a minimum wage and minimum standards of employment (which includes temping: you get your benefits from the agency not the company who hires you).

    Many of those questioned in the article were from places in Germany that have had a pretty dire economic record, Stralsund is in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and is one of the blackspots. I dread to think what they make of the Greeks retiring at 50 when they can’t get jobs at 30 … and Germans have to pay Greeks to get them out of their mess!! (Albeit that Wessies are subsidizing Ossies to a large degree – income support and so on).

    As to shareholders, many of the small-medium sized companies are Kommanditgesellschaft (KG) which is essentially privately owned. If they are making large profits, the Government takes a handsome slice of it. The same goes for he GmbH (PLC). Of course when you get to corporations like Siemens, then they sort themselves out a banking licence which means all sorts of nooks and crannies where loose change can be stuffed unseen.

    *tell me more …


  15. @Joanna

    have you read Klaus Kastner’s blog ( His wife is Greek, and he spends quite some time there. That the high-ups do not listen to his sage advice leaves me a little more than worried, but it is also evident from what he says that the average Greek has a living standard well in excess of the average German or Austrian.

    What you say in your comment should be a sharp warning to all in Europe about living beyond your means. We ought to be a little more careful about the fragility of the society we have built for ourselves. There are few amongst us who can take a handful of cabbage seeds and be able to have cabbages in ten year’s time – I speak of not just harvesting but knowing which plants to eat and which to leave for seed. Knowing also when those seed are ripe and how to deal with them.

    The same can be said for grain: most of us buy bread from a baker or a supermarket. How many of us know how to deal with the grain to make bread? Where to get leavening, salt, clean water – an oven! Most bread is made in a factory.


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