Greek PM returns home to political vortex

The Slog understands that today (Wed 29th) Greek PM Antonis Samaras returned to meet with his Coalition partners – PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis – but was unable to get their agreement (or anything near it) to the full €13 billion in cuts for 2013-2014 that the Troika insists must be forthcoming before further bailout aid is handed over.

A point of order here: the ‘aid’ will be placed into an escrow account from which approved bondholder creditors can make withdrawals. Almost none of it will go to propping up the social role of the Greek State.

Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras admitted that only the “basic scenario” had been scoped out. He tried to fudge the fundamental problem as “of minor significance”, but the reality is that more wage cuts in senior civil service categories such as the senior admin officers, the military, the judiciary, and orthodox priests are needed; and these are emphatically opposed by New Democracy’s junior Coalition partners.

As The Slog has posted before, the reasons for this refusal are obvious: Evangelos Venizelos, for example,  doubled income and property taxes (and taxed the poor for the first time) as Finance Minister in a previous New Democracy-PASOK government. He doesn’t care a fig for social justice: what both junior partners fear is disgruntled civil servants blowing the gaff on where some of their previous misdemeanours are buried.

As for the Troika, it wouldn’t lose a second’s sleep about how corrupt elites have swindled the ordinary Greek citizen: all it wants is the bulging tax pouch with which to slake the bondholders’ thirst.

Meanwhile, we have yet to hear even one mention of pursuing wealthy tax evaders who owe
the Greek government €63 billion…a bill growing at the rate of around €11 billion a year.

Related: The naked truth about Greek debt in context