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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Greece should be asked to leave the EU

A week ago I wrote that the Eurozone should kick Greece out. This week I read on the BBC web page that the EU Commission is bringing Greece to the European Court of Justice on a complaint that they have provided tax breaks that were in violation of EU competition rules.

The Achilles Heel of the EU project has always been enforcement. It is difficult to force a member state to comply to edicts if they refuse to do so. The ultimate punishment (besides invasion) that European community could possibly deal out is expulsion. Greece is in violation of theEurozone budgetary limit and the competition rules of the single market. The former is incredibly annoying to the EU, the latter strikes at the heart of the whole mission of the European Union.

Combine this with the natural Greek hostility to Turkey, and Greece has proven nothing but a liability for the EU. Perhaps it is time to simply ask them to leave.

(as a side note you probably shouldn't accuse the people you are begging money from of stealing)

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on February 25, 2010 | Permalink

Comments

Practically all EU countries are in violation of the 3% deficit rule (due to the finacial crisis), so this is not restricted to Greece. The problem is more serious for Greece since it has an uncompetitive economy that needs lot's of painfull adjustments.

Since you are not a member of EU (I assume you are a Canadian) your opinion of what EU should or should not do does not matter too much. If for example I was asked I would think that most of Canada should go back to its rightful owners (the american Indians), the civilised part (Montreal) should become independent and the rest should become another state of USA (if they want more of Alaska) but since nobody asks I wont say anything.

Posted by: Yannis | 2010-02-25 9:30:45 AM


Greece is such a small country, I'm sure most Europeans are willing to forgive some transgressions. Also, I'm sure quite a few of them dream of a retirement on a Greek island.

Posted by: Altavistagoogle | 2010-02-25 10:38:19 AM


I'll not respond to the hot buttons that Yannis has pushed but he does have a point as to why Hugh would single out Greece. The EU, while masquerading as a free trade zone is, in effect an uber-welfare / nanny state of a collection of welfare / nanny states. Why does Greece deserve the discrimination. The whole sorry lot are going down the same toilet bowl vortex of unsustainable entitlements. As Friedman predicted, it's unlikely that the Euro will survive as the old tribalism is too endearing. Watch for the US dollar to soar, not from any signs of domestic intelligence but purely due to risk flight from the Euro.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-02-25 10:47:18 AM


I'm assuming you mean soaring against the Euro John ... ;)

Posted by: Charles | 2010-02-25 11:52:34 AM


"If for example I was asked I would think that most of Canada should go back to its rightful owners (the american Indians), the civilised part (Montreal) should become independent and the rest should become another state of USA (if they want more of Alaska) but since nobody asks I wont say anything."

If you did say that, I'd accuse you of stealing from me! But I digress, this is a good idea.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-02-25 12:51:28 PM


Everybody (I am not certain about Hugh) is very polite here, so I apologise if I have offended anyone from the great nation of Canada. Congrats for the great Olympics

Posted by: Yannis | 2010-02-25 1:23:17 PM


Yannis, Likely, Hugh's comments were more about ideas and concepts and trying to stimulate discussion and possibly even influence the thinking of his readers. Not to influence EU politics.

If that is the case, his opinion matters as much as yours.

Either way, however much his opinion matters, if you are an EU member, yours matter only very very slightly more. You can thank democracy for that.

Posted by: TM | 2010-02-25 8:31:48 PM


If for example I was asked I would think that most of Canada should go back to its rightful owners (the american Indians), (...)

Posted by: Yannis | 2010-02-25 9:30:45 AM

Why just Canada?

Posted by: Nothing New Under the Sun | 2010-02-25 8:48:29 PM


back to its rightful owners (the american Indians

Posted by: Yannis | 2010-02-25 9:30:45 AM

The only "american" Indians in Canada are the Northern Shoshoni that decided North Dakota was not the best place to hang around after the battle of the little big horn. The rest of the indians never knew a border. If you want to give the land back to its original owners you might as well give it to the Siberians and chinese that came across the Bering Strait at the retreat of the last ice age. The original settlers.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-02-25 9:37:08 PM


As a Hellene living in the diaspora, I fervently hope that Greece, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, leaves the EU. It would be a terribly difficult exercise for Greece to pull itself up from the boot straps, however, it may be the necessary medicine to bring back a historically realized essence to Greece that has been long gone -- perhaps since the days of Papandreou I. Hellenes have always been at our best when unified against a common cause. A return to historic Hellenism, a reality that will not take place under the thumb of the EU, may even be the building blocks of one day reclaiming Greek lands still under Turkish/Islamic occupation?

Posted by: Loukas | 2010-02-26 1:36:29 AM


TM, I am not trying to censor Hugh. He mentions 3 reasons why he thinks EU should expel Greece

1) Violation of budgetary limits, as I said earlier this is true for all but 3 of the 27 EU countries.
2) Some insignificant (200m) tax breaks that EU considers illegal. Cases like this happen all the time for many countries/companies and for a lot more serious amounts.
3) 'natural' animosity towards Turkey. What is this supposed to mean? If he considers that Greece is wrong in the differences with Turkey let him state so.
I also see that this dude writes every week about Greece using vocabulary like 'kick out' 'begging' etc. When somebody exposes himself writing in a public forum he should at least know the facts and should keep a balanced view hiding (as much as he can) his personal prejuidises, animosities and obsessions

Posted by: Yannis | 2010-02-26 4:25:34 AM


Greece was created already indebtet in 19th century!
Western powers financed the mercenary paramilitary forces at the time with the first and the second(2,400,000 sterling) Greek loan.
This are the basis on which the Greek state was formed in first place, and this is the tradition which perpetuated for the folowing century, until today.

The problem apeared many times during the short Greek history, when the creditors asked their money and interest back, and was always solved in worest manner - with wars, or military coup.

Now it's 21th century and this retarded ways of managing the debt doesn't pass any more.
So, maybe the time has come for foreign creditors to close this practice.

Posted by: Basil | 2010-02-26 7:31:08 AM


Greece has differences with Turkey? Good, I do also. Hopefully the EU will not allow the increasingly islamist Turkey into the EU.

Posted by: Markalta | 2010-02-26 1:54:54 PM


I watched MEP Hannan being interviewed yesterday and he said that the only real difference between Greece and the UK is that the UK still has its own currency and is free to devalue it which is an option the Greeks gave up on when they went for the Euro.

It seems that Greece's fiscal mess is everyone's future so it warrants watching.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-02-27 1:10:16 PM



Greece will survive whatever happens. What the EU prefers to leave out of the open cards is that in the last 2 centuries Greece has been stabbed in the back more times from its allies than its enemies...

The wounds are still open in Greece and our history is still written in blood. Personally, I'm sick and tired with what they label Greece and furthermore Greeks the past few weeks. Greece's crisis is just one more hot story to write.... just as it was USA's crisis Haiti's earthquake etc.

And finally a note the the article's author.. if you don't like modern greek culture anymore, please just quite using All the greek-orgin words from your vocabulary (and science terms) and try to find equivalent in your barbarian background.

Posted by: KAE | 2010-03-01 2:58:46 PM


and try to find equivalent in your barbarian background.

Posted by: KAE | 2010-03-01 2:58:46 PM

Another proud Canadian of convenience?

Posted by: peterj | 2010-03-01 6:51:16 PM


KAE, you own the words and terms no more than anyone. Every word and culture comes in part from some other word or culture so how far do you want to go back to find the originators?

I love Greek food and culture, but they largely come from the people, not the state. It is the behaviour of the state I despise. And I suspect that is what Hugh is referring to.

Posted by: TM | 2010-03-01 7:05:23 PM


KAE,

At no point did I attack modern Greek culture. Nor do I have any personal issues with Greeks (indeed with any group of people). TM is right that my criticism of Greece is directed towards the state (for which no one Greek can take total responsibility).

As for ancient cultural influence of Greek language, I concur with what TM said.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2010-03-02 4:54:40 AM


Hugh, you're extremely prejudiced and have very little knowledge about the topic you are voicing your opinions on. The EU is so complicated that the EU itself doesn't know what's going on!

And because you haven't been informed you should know that this whole charade is a smokescreen for an excuse for a rise in the US greenback. If it was anything else then all and I mean all of The western world should have become 'greecified'. Proof you say? Name one OECD nation that is not on an entitlements road to hell. All of them owe way more than what the official figures say and the secret won't be revealed mainstream because then everything would be shot to hell wouldn't it?

So do some research into lets say Canada's true debt and if you have the stomach for it take a gander at the USA and UK. Scary stuff man, eh?

Once you've done that would you recommend kicking out the smaller poorer Canadian provinces because they are too economically 'Greek'.

After all, if you think about it, Canada's just one big EU, don't you think?

Posted by: sokin | 2010-03-17 10:06:45 AM


"Hellenes have always been at our best when unified against a common cause. A return to historic Hellenism, a reality that will not take place under the thumb of the EU, may even be the building blocks of one day reclaiming Greek lands still under Turkish/Islamic occupation?"

What Hellenes? You are a mix of brainwashed Albanian Arvanites, Slavs, Orthodox Turks and Kurds. You were called and called yourself Romioi ('Romans') and the hellenism nonsense was exported to you by the Germans in 1820's.

Posted by: Karamanlides | 2010-04-25 2:17:26 PM


@ Karamanlides - It is laughable that these people run around calling themselves "Hellenes". Just what's so "Hellenes" about them? Is it their religion? Do they still believe in the Gods and perform animal sacrifices? Is it their language, Koine Greek, a church language resurrected from the dead? Perhaps it was their "Hellenic" King, King Otto of Bavaria, who gave them their flag in Bavarian Blue. These Greek myths have gone unchallenged for too long. It's time for the Greeks to be set straight about their true history.

Posted by: Danny K. | 2010-04-27 8:23:00 PM



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