Tsipras Tells Stournaras: “You’re Not a Colonel”

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras (L) and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras (L) and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras clashed in the Parliament over ERT

Using fiery rhetoric to draw an analogy to the military rule of the 1967-74 junta, major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras blamed Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras for being behind the decision to shut down the national broadcaster ERT and told him to his face in Parliament: . “You will go down in history for the black screens in our television. You are accountable to the people, to the Republic. You are an economist, not a Colonel.”

The clash stepped up the tension as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative party leader, girded for a showdown on June 17 with his coalition partners, PASOK Socialist chief Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) head Fotis Kouvelis who objected to the closure of ERT and said they would withhold their votes when it comes to the Parliament for ratification within 90 days.

Samaras has offered a compromise to bring back a small portion of the staff at ERT, all 2,656 of whom were fired on June 11 pending a reorganization of a new broadcaster. He said that would allow some informational programs to go back on the air almost immediately but Venizelos and Kouvelis have rejected that as well, demanding a full return until the station can be restructured.

Samaras said ERT is full of wasteful patronage hires put there by his party and PASOK for decades in return for votes and needed to be cleaned out but he didn’t promise the new entity, to be called NERIT, would operate any differently. He said about 1000-1200 of the staff would be rehired but one worker said not a single person had been hired on merit.

Tsipras said the government wants to blame the workers at ERT that it had hired and said party loyalists there were given extra pay to back the administration. Journalists critical of Samaras were suspended last year.

Tsipras also attacked the government’s spokesman and point man on ERT – Simos Kedikoglou, who had worked there but never spoke out about mismanagement until now – urging him to answer how he was appointed to ERT and how many favors has he asked recently. He accused Stournaras of distributing lists of who will be hired in the new ERT and added “the ordinances, humiliate the President of the Republic and our institutions.”

Tsipras called the ERT shutdown a fiasco that will jeopardize the economy and added that the state television “offers to the public budget and does not burden it.”

Stournaras accused Tsipras of scaremongering without ever proposing any solution and referred to what the Greek government has managed in the economy. He reported that ERT took 210 million euros ($280.2 million) from an increase in utility bills which are used to fund the operation and and 9 million euros ($12 million) from advertising revenues.

Stournaras said it was necessary to take ERT apart in order to save it. “We are not closing down ERT, we are reconstructing it to regenerate it,” Stournaras said, and added “the new body will work very soon with the most valued staff of ERT.” Lastly, he admitted “the decision to shut down the public service broadcasting even for a little while, is not pleasant to anyone.”


  1. When the ship is sinking, you have to scrap the least necessary cargo to keep it afloat–else all souls are lost. Move forward gentlemen. Carry on with this necessary restructuring. For once the message is sent out to culprits of cronyism, nepotism and waste: The past ways must change! A leaner, more productive state of Greece will emerge. Our children deserve this painful housecleaning, if they are ever to aspire to work as professionals in an economically sustainable country. While the once sleepy and non-existent “journalist” are all now out in force to protect their own arses at ERT, we the informed public, see through the shell game they have foisted on the Greek people for too long. Get rid of the dead wood and limousine communists! Stop letting the unionists perpetuate a doomed system of economics. Socialism is wonderful as long as someone else is paying for it. The hand-outs are drying up my friends–and we are paying through the nose for them in interest. Wake up and smell the coffee, layabouts–you’re history.

  2. Tsipras is absolutely right that the corrupt Coalition Gov’t is acting like the new Junta and the 3 Partly leaders are acting like the Colonels… But what I don’t understand is why no one has asked about the 250 million Euros in bogus loans that both PASOK and New Democracy got free from their Banker cronies, without ever paying a penny back.
    Why is the Greek Press or Greek Justice or the TROIKA not asking where this 250 million in free loans to these corrupt 2 Parties went???
    Why is nobody in Parliament asking PASOK and ND to account for this blatant theft of out tax payer’s money that obviously went into these corrupt Politicans pockets???

  3. Well hey–someone had to pay for all that American and UK tuition/rent to send our ministers’ kids abroad. And every time someone in their family needs a surgery someone has to pay for the transport and medical bills. Come on, ease up on the guys. Oh, and lets not forget the properties and business these 300 losers had to purchase in order to have a little something to leave to their children and cousins’ children so that they can maintain a life better than you.

    Its not enough that it costs the Greek tax payer 22,000 a month to keep one of these useless crooks in power–but they the public let them keep their hands in the party bowl (both Green and Blue) to the tune of 250 million lost euros. Ever wonder why Greece has more yachts and swimming pools than any other country per capita? Why the cost for even a cup of coffee will always be the highest in the union?–Because we have allowed a class of people to steal enough to keep that lifestyle and insulate themselves legally. In your face, Greek public. I got mine, and thanks for playing!

  4. Tsipras supports corruption and political favors, ERT is a corrupt organization that needs 300m euros annually to function. Tsipras offers nothing, just opposes whatever those who are in power do, he’s a washed up clown with no ideas, just oppose oppose and criticize. They’re getting rid of the corruption that built ERT, or in reality devoured it, but this isn’t good for the fairy clown Tsipras. Of course to a stupid dimwit communist like Tsipras, ERT brings in cash, even though it needs 300m in public funding, 40e out of each greeks pocket to even function.

  5. Wait….did a Hugo Chavez, Castro, Stalin, Mao idolizing commie Tsipras call someone else a “colonel”? LOL!

    Wait…did Tsipras say that closing a 210 million Euro money sucking hole will JEOPARDIZE the economy?

    Well then, it’s settled. Tsipras should be prime minister…..of Bizarro World. Complete with his millions of fanning illegal migrants, drug addicts, commies, marxists and assorted clowns.

  6. So who is this Limousine Socialist from Ekali, anyway? What was his job before he rode into town on as horse named Demagoguery? The old question is, ‘does the man make history or does history make the man?’ This left-wing monied ungrateful brat was just opportunistic enough to appear at a time when Greeks were sick and tired of blue and green–nothing more, nothing less. Shouting out incendiary slogans, insulting ministers, and trying to mobilize a country that is s suffering political fatigue and paralysis is certainly no credit to Mr. Tsipras’ questionable popularity. Opportunists and demagogues will always have their day in the heat of the moment and then drift away like the sands of time. Give him another decade or two to mature and the man could have an impact on history–but now he is simply a gadfly.

  7. Tsipras is an absolute moron, and a reflection on why Greece’s economy is one of the worst performing in the world right now. You think you can blackmail Europe. The ECB will do whatever it takes… to protect German and French banks. Frankly, Europe doesn’t want to pay for this profligacy any longer. And you watch what happens when all those imports you love suddenly skyrocket in price and you become poorer than even Bulgaria. Embrace socialism folks. Make your bed and sleep in it– isn’t that what you people say?

  8. My apologies to the hard-working Greeks genuinely interested in reform. The above is reserved solely for the parasites who have turned such a beautiful and proud heritage into a modern joke.

  9. Tripras is right here is such a Junta dictatorship mentality now in the phoney Coalition Government that it makes other countries pale in comparison. They see Master criminal Venizelos still in power after hiding the Legarde List in his home and him laying all the blame on ex-finance minister Papaconstantinou. They see all these Gov’t crooks and rich elites on the List and where the Gov’t has still not gone after any of the 2,096 tax cheats and only cracking down on the poor citizens. They see all the lies and hypocracy at in its highest form continuing on and on, even after all the bailouts which only went to thieveing bankers and more in pockets of greedy Politicians, now running a bankrupt country, both in their lack morals and financially.
    The whole EU is a FRAUD on citizens, who must RISE UP and fight to stop them!

  10. Unfortunately, you’re right. Given your posted “name” I’m assuming your not Greek. I can assure you as a dirt-poor-and-worked-my-ass-off-to–do-well Greek who was born in a 2 room mud brick house my father built, not all of us are lazy, tax cheating, entitled, victimhood spewing Gimme Greeks. I can also assure you that we despise the Gimme Greeks and Tsipras, the babbling chimp as much as you.

  11. …the only exception is Golden Dawn.
    ONLY Golden Dawn demanded that MP’s salaries be made public.
    ONLY Golden Dawn demanded that MP’s salaries be massively slashed.
    ALL Golden Dawn MP’s, & ONLY Golden Dawn MP’s (since entering parliament for the first time in June 2012) give most of their salaries to charity.
    p.s. ERT supported the corrupt political establishment.
    ERT never once invited Golden Dawn MP’s for an interview even though Golden Dawn voters are contributers via their taxes to ERT. ERT relentlessly attacked Golden Dawn on the instructions of the corrupt governing coalition, which has now sold these useless “journalists” down the river. Good riddance. NOT ONE of these “journalists” should be hired by the state. They were all employed (and were thus accomplices) in a bankrupt corrupt leftwing Marxist media outlet.

  12. Tsipras should look to the transformation of Ireland. We were poor as dirt. Neoliberalism gave us lower poverty, better wages, but we took it too far with reckless banks. Still… for a Depression, we’re not doing nearly as bad as club Mediterranean. I mean, in bloody Greece of all places, all you have to do is look North! What happened to Yugoslavia? the Russians? Your warnings are right next door. Good on you.