Exclusive Video: President Clinton Comments on Greece from Athens



Bill Clinton in Greece

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke exclusively to Greek Reporter emphasizing the need for Greece to move away from austerity and invest in the younger generation.

The former president’s visit to Greece was a statement to those that suggest that Greece might not be safe at this time of crisis.

Watch the video below:

[youtube]kw8ir1KQApg[/youtube]

“It’s always great to be in Greece and I believe that the country is a very welcoming destination for everybody,” he commented to Greek Reporter.

Speaking about the Greek crisis, he said that Greece needs to move away from austerity and believe in its young generation again.

The former president visited the Greek capital as a guest of The Hellenic Initiative, an organization formed by prominent Greeks of the diaspora with the aim of helping the crisis-hit country by providing funds to charity and attract investment.

Meeting with Greek Prime Minister

Meeting with visiting former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who came to Greece with a group of influential Greek-American leaders to discuss programs to help Greek charities and spur the country’s economy, new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told him that the country, reeling in a five-year-long economic downturn, is really in a “Great Depression,” similar to the dustbowl years of the 1930’s in the United States. Clinton told him that austerity measures demanded by the country’s international lenders were failing.

Samaras’ comments came just two days before inspectors from international lenders were due to meet with him to discuss delays in imposing more austerity measures and another $15 billion in cuts to keep rescue fund lifelines open.

The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) is loaning Greece $152 billion in a first bailout but withholding the second, worth $173 billion, until Samaras’ coalition government makes more reforms. The IMF is reportedly ready to pull the plug on its participation, which could make Greece default its loans as early as September, a scenario that could plunge the country, already suffering 22.5 percent unemployment, with an economy shrinking by 6.7 percent and 1,000 businesses a week closing, into complete chaos.

The Troika insisted on deep pay cuts, big tax hikes and slashed pensions despite evidence that the austerity measures have cut consumer spending so much that tax revenues are declining, not increasing, and causing many Greeks, especially the young who have an unemployment rate of more than 50 percent, to flee the country.

Clinton criticized Greece’s lenders for focusing excessively on austerity, saying Athens will be more likely to repay its debt if its manages economic recovery first. “(It) is self-defeating… if every day people are saying this may or may not work to give us back a 100 cents on the dollar, so give us more austerity today,” he told Samaras. “People need something to look forward to when they get up in the morning — young Greeks need something to believe in so they can stake their future out here,” Clinton said.

Samaras has waffled on whether he wants to renegotiate the terms, although he said during the run-up to the June 17 campaign that he did, but then said he didn’t, and then changed his mind again, under pressure from his coalition partners and otherwise rivals, the PASOK Socialists and tiny Democratic Left.

“You had the Great Depression in the United States,” Samaras told Clinton. “This is exactly what we’re going through in Greece – it’s our version of the Great Depression.” It’s likely to get worse as the German magazine Der Spiegel said Greece needs a third bailout of between 10-50 billion euros, or $12.15-$60.7 billion, and there isn’t even enough money to meet an August loan payment of $3.8 billion.

 


6 COMMENTS

  1. Now convince me that all of this wasn’t pre-planed,i.e.,to destroy the country…Try and convince me

  2. We must understand what caused the economic disaster that Greece is in if we are to fight it

    1) Outrageous Taxes
    2) Making it impossible for business to operate
    3) Making it very difficult for investors to start new businesses
    4) Outrageious burecracy
    5) Continuous strikes that scare away investors
    6) Handme demands by certain groups whose purpose was and is to deliberatly ruin Greece

    7) Incompetent goverment.

    While the above have been goin on for years, unfortunately the policies of the Papandreou government  have caused the mushrooming of this disaster

    – He raised taxes enormously
    – He sold companies at the lowest price to foreigners whose sole purpose was to shutdown those industries and get rid of competition (shipbuilding, energy, airlines, etc ). This increased unemployment enormously (nearly doubling it)
    – He destroyed the energy programs setup by the previous administration, raising the energy costs enormously
    – His policies caused such discord that the peoples uprising essentially paralized the nation and did enormous damage to the economy, social fabric, and security of the nation

  3. Dear Guest,
    I quite agree and I do think that you have framed the picture quite accurately. But: the overview above ignores or fails to divulge: 1. the role of the professional and mostly  the non-professional clientelle  system of the civil service sector: it is pretty much a hereditary infra-system which paralyses every economic activity apart from  having supported senseless  expenditure and lifestyle .  I mention it here as it ties up as one of the main causes of the Bureaucracy you quote above. This is not the product of PASOK but also of New Democracy and up to a small degree also of  the left parties in the government -being allowed a small clientelle percentage since the 90’s as well).
    2.  I am quoting” the people’s uprising essentially paralysed the nation and did enormous damage to the economy, social fabric,  and security of the nation” : I am in full -out disagreement, the people’s arising was the Effect not the Cause of the damage to the economy, the chasms in the social fabric and the security.  In the first place you cannot put all these three different repercussions of the  social crisis into one category. The excessive and extensive pay-cuts especially in the notorious irresponsible and non-worker friendly Greek private sector environment and the  lay- offs on a massive scale, seconded by the unemployment and disqualification of the most active and enterprising part of the working force has broke up family ties and connections and caused people to take it upon themselves to defend their existence. To defend it from the fewer remaining business-ghouls feasting on the effects of the crisis who have manipulated it so that  it would  bring down salaries to  a incomprehensibly deplorable case hurting Greek society as a whole.
    The Economy has been damaged not because people went out of their usual way of indifference and had to protest, but because Greeks did not , would not, could not and were not allowed to PRODUCE anything worth buying outside their small and very distorted  moribund economy. Greece will not survive if it is forced to become a thematic park by virtue of its natural beauties alone. People who promote the idea that the only heavy industry and hope  of the country is the tourism will soon get their comeuppance as the incoming economic crisis which is expected very soon will reduce interest of middle class tourists worldwide.
    The Safety issue has never been a concern in this country  with more than its fair share in Juntas, uprisings, wars, economic recessions etc. The uprisings has been the only political way for a Greek  to express the need to exist.  Apart from the  professional class paid by PASOK -PAID  who did target murders and target destruction of historical buildings My explanation of lack of security thereof comes down to two elements absent from your analysis: 1. massive illegal immigration of the scum of the world in an overcrowded capital- criminals of the Balkans, Georgian, Bulgarian Russian, Roumanian mafia- organised crime, prostitution of Somalis and Nigerians, Drugs and Pakistani mafia all having a party non stop at the historical centre of Athens. “2. Poverty and degradation of human life among the ranks of the dregs of Greek society have multiplied their numbers and their despair.
    In the lack of any effective organised system of policing THIS type of  “society” I quite agree with you that all this has been pre-planned and carefully deliberate.

    There is a need for all to be  in contact with the grass-roots of Greek society. Something is cooking and it will be too late when the simmering process is over. Guess who will have to pay the bill….
    regards,

  4. Thank you for your comments.  I am  taking the liberty to reply to both comments posted by Guest and Ionpsomiadis below.

  5. Points well taken.  Agreed that the recent mass demonstartions   were the outcry of the peopl against the Troika imposed  “Austerity” measures  ( bleeding of Greece to make certain banks profitable as any cost in my view).  The sad thing is that in many of these demonstrations, we see hidden wolves whose sole purpose is to cause damage so Greece’s image is damaged.  

  6.  I totally agree.Ofcourse nyou are right and we know all of this here in Hellas,but i believe that most of the people outside of the country don’t get it.Sure local Efialtes have collaborated[offcourse for a price] with the foreign banker-vultures to destroy the country.This is targeting the eurozone.Greece is only the snack[ordeurve].What about Ireland,Iceland,spain and especially Italy?Were they so corrupt and useless?Wait and see what they are going to do to Germany!..A new midevil era is coming.Globalization has plans[for the whole world].Fight it now because its coming to your door.