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Greek Update: elections?

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Andreas Koutras

Andreas Koutras

Elections? by Dr. Andreas Koutras

The truth is that Greece can ill afford an election right now and if one is caused chances are that there would be a second too. The political landscape is changing very rapidly in Greece and Europe should take note. Troika made a huge mistake thinking that the current political system can reform Greece. Sooner or later they would have to face up to this. The rise of extreme left and the fascists vote is a direct consequence of letting PASOK and ND handle the reforms.

Just as you thought that Greece is out of the picture and that everything is going smooth, a succession of events placed Athens back in sunlight. First a failed privatization and next the shutdown of the state TV fuelled speculation of an early election in Greece once more.
GazProm failed to bid for DEPA.

One of the basic building blocks of the Greek stabilization program is the sale/privatization of state enterprises to raise cash. The once very ambitious 50bln sale has been scaled down or rather, recalculated on reality and not on fiction. Part of the plan involved the state Gas enterprise DEPA and DESFA the national gas operator. The government hoped to get around 1.5bln from the sale of both of them. Mind you the money does not go towards the national budget but in a special escrow owned by the creditors of Greece.

When the sale sign was put up by the government however international investors failed to flock in. Only Gazprom the giant Russian company hinted that it would bid. This is where the plot darkens and thickens. Gazprom as everyone would tell you virtually own a monopoly in Europe and getting Europe to agree to such a sale was always difficult. But there are further twists in the plot and it involves the two proposed gas pipes, Nabucco and TAP (TransAdriaticPipeline). Nabucco is favored by USA and Europe and TAP was a compromise solution. TAP would reach Italy through Greece from Turkey and it would also supply Bulgaria and other south Eastern European countries.

In the end, Gazprom never showed up for the Greek sale. According to press reports they did not even bother to send an email saying that they are not interested. Part of the reason is surely the messy state of the Greek DEPA which is still owed hundreds of millions of unpaid bills. But most observers agree that the long hand of the European commission was at play here. It seems that the EU whistled to Russia that it would not at this stage approve such a change of ownership. Furthermore, there are added complications in Syria where the West wants to step up the arming of the anti-government forces against the will of Russia.

In other words Europe and the US applied the pressure in order to get a geostrategic message across to Putin.

So Greece was caught in a game of chess that was played far above their heads. The Greek PM Mr Samaras was humiliated as he had made the sale a personal project. Moreover, the sale failure destroyed the spin that the government was placing on a recovery scenario. Greece looked gloomy and the GGB reflected this by selling off.

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