Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 11 July 2015
4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 11 JULY 2015 GREECE IN CRISIS Cheers and jeers at Sydney conclave Hellenes share their views on where Greece went wrong ANTHONY STAVRINOS University professor Vrasidas Karalis is convinced former PASOK PM George Papandreou is responsible for Greece's current predicament, and wants everyone to know. Last weekend, on the eve of the referendum vote, more than 100 members of Sydney's Hellenic community gathered at the Greek Bilingual Bookshop at inner western Dulwich Hill for a discussion featuring Karalis and hosted by former SBS news anchor Mary Kostakidis. Karalis believes problems within Europe should be solved within Europe, and the fatal mistake of Greece was to reach outside the EU for assistance. "From the beginning, there have been many tactical errors and the process of negotiation has lasted far too long. This should have been resolved a few months ago," he told the meeting. "The European Union depends on solidarity, mutual aid and most importantly, in these cases of default, intervention of the European Central Bank to solve the problem. "The problem in this case is that Mr George Papandreou had brought in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is the serious problem in this case." Karalis said that if Greece had appealed to the European Central Bank only - and excluded the IMF - then liquidity and recapitalisation of the banks would have been secured. The Q&A covered topics ranging from whether preconditions had been met for military intervention, to why Greece was balking at the troika's latest proposal in the face of chaos, and also whether the IMF had a duty to wear Greece's debt in lieu of proper due diligence. Despite a range of views among the audience, there seemed to be unanimity that Germany was the common enemy and questioners were generally greeted with jeers if they appeared supportive of the austerity stance, and cheers if supportive of the alternative. "The answer for the Greeks Professor Vrasidas Karalis and Mary Kostakidis take the stage at the Greek Bilingual Bookshop event. is in the word ‘dialogue’ - we do parallel monologue," Karalis said. "The Greeks fight about the things they agree on, not about the things they disagree on, because when two Greeks disagree they don't talk to each other. "What happens is that they all agree, but start fighting over different levels of emphasis." Perhaps the most humorous moment came when the meeting was interrupted with news a BMW was blocking a neighbour's driveway. A "German vehicle probably being driven by a Greek with debts?" was the cry. "Varoufakis!" was Karalis' reflex response. Mary Kostakidis described the mood in the room as "heated, complex and concerned". "There was an understanding that regardless of the referendum result, it will take decades for the Greek people to come out of the crisis and to evolve and develop the systems that need to be in place for the country to function properly," she told Neos Kosmos. Victoria plans for Greek influx Migrant liaison post to work from Melbourne’s Greek Centre PANOS APOSTOLOU The Australian Greek Welfare Society (AGWS) announced this week that a new post is to be created within the organisation to focus on assisting new Greek migrants to Victoria. The move follows a pledge by the Victorian government of $360,000 over the next four years to help AGWS cope with increasing numbers of Greek nationals wishing to call Australia home. CEO Voula Messimeri said that "our main concern will be to inform and answer the Left to right: AGWS CEO Voula Messimeri and director Nicholas Katris with Victoria’s Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Robin Scott and AGWS vice president Eugenia Grammatikakis. questions of the newly-arrived Greeks, questions related to Australian and Victorian governmental agencies such as Medicare and Centrelink. The post will be based in the Greek Centre of Contemporary Culture in central Melbourne. In recent years Victoria has seen thousands of arrivals from Greece seeking the help of family and friends in the state to find employment. Between 2012 and 2014, according to AGWS, Melbourne saw close to 6,000 Greeks arriving in Victoria, 60 per cent of which are Australian-born. The remaining 40 per cent are Greek-born nationals who chose Australia to make a new life away from the continuing crises at home. "We need to contribute to a smoother integration of these people into our society," Ms Messimeri said. Victoria's Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Robin Scott confirmed Labor's pre-election promise to fund AGWS at a press conference at the organisation's Brunswick headquarters on Monday. The first $90,000 is included in the 2015-16 State Budget. "Over the past three years we've been under extreme pressure to keep up with the extra demand from the newest arrivals looking for work, food and shelter," said Ms Messimeri, who added that with 135,000 Australians currently living in Greece, demand is expected to grow. PHOTO: ANTHONY STAVRINOS. Cyprus backs Tsipras on debt deal Omirou applauds referendum result President of the Cypriot parliament Yiannakis Omirou has declared his support for the Greek people in their overwhelming rejection of the EU’s austerity policies. "These are the policies that have led to recession, unemployment, social suffering and a gap between the rich north and the poor south," he stated. Omirou noted that the EU should heed the message of the Greek people and change direction through investment policies, development, job creation and social cohesion, speaking during an event titled 'Cyprus at the crossroads of national, political, economic and institutional challenges'. "As regards Greece we expect that a mutually beneficial agreement will be reached and that the institutions will demonstrate the necessary understanding and solidarity which is a fundamental principle of the EU." "The agreement must address fiscal adjustment, respecting at the same time the social cohesion, and the sustainability of the public debt and should include a comprehensive reform package and provisions to finance development," the president of the parliament said. Moving on to the Cyprus issue, Omirou said that it is necessary to hold a parallel discussion on various issues regarding the occupation. He stressed that there needs to be a constitution modification regarding the withdrawal of troops and settlers, the territory issue, the return of refugees starting with the abolition of the anachronistic guarantees of 1960. Greece a stabiliser in southeastern Med Kotzias: ‘Greece without Europe is a joke’ Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said relations between Greece, Cyprus and Israel are vital for constituting a line of stability in the region of southeastern Mediterranean. After his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Kotzias referred to "a deep and bilateral dialogue" that exists between the two countries on regional security. He pointed out that the countries are in a triangle of destabilisation, between Ukraine, Libya, Iraq and Syria. Greece has always been a key country securing a frame- work of stability within that triangle. Kotzias added that all countries must create a network of mutual support and collaboration before his meeting with deputy prime minister, interior minister and chief negotiator for the Palestinian issue, Silvan Shalom. The Greek minister also discussed with Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotevely. He stressed that Greece and Israel have developed their bilateral relations in all areas, such as security, energy, tourism and economy. Kotzias believes there is a mutual decision for a dynamic development of the strategic partnership between the "people of Greece and Israel [that] are linked with friendship ties". DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands. PHOTO AAP- EPA/KOBI GIDEON.
4 July 2015
18 July 2015