Under the big top

Soon after being propelled to international fame for publishing the Lagarde list and facing prosecution for it, journalist Costas Vaxevanis wrote in an opinion piece that “democracy is like a bicycle.” As Greek MPs debated the merits of which politician to probe in connection with the handling of the depositors list for 14 hours on Thursday, democracy began to look more like a unicycle, ridden by a giant clown.

There have been many jaw-dropping moments in Parliament since this crisis began. For instance, who can forget becoming part of a parallel universe as the world waited for George Papandreou to receive a vote of confidence in late 2011 just so he could resign a few days later? Votes on midterm fiscal plans, bailout packages and new austerity measures – Greece has seen it all over the past few years. But none of those moments could match the sheer futile hysteria of Thursday’s debate.

In the buildup, the coalition proposed that just former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou be investigated over claims he doctored the Lagarde list to remove the names of three of his relatives. SYRIZA wanted Papaconstantinou’s successor, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, investigated as well. Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn added ex-prime ministers George Papandreou and Lucas Papademos to the list.

Thursday’s discussion began with an argument about what MPs would actually vote on. The government gave in to SYRIZA’s demands for just one vote with four ballot boxes representing each of the four politicians being considered for investigation. New Democracy and PASOK had wanted lawmakers to vote on each of the three proposals made by the parties but realized that this might look like an attempt to stifle MPs and protect Venizelos.

Valuable time was spent on deciding how many votes should take place and how many ballot boxes should be used, when it could have all been sorted out behind closed doors. Instead of a touch of decorum, we were treated to endless delirium as viewers tuned in to hear pointless arguments about procedure and the merits of each party’s position.

After grudgingly declaring that he would back down in favor of one vote being held, Venizelos proceeded to use the debate as an opportunity to throw everything in his vast arsenal of rhetoric at SYRIZA, which has been pursuing him incessantly since the last elections in June.

The leftists see Venizelos as the weakest link in PASOK’s buckling chain and clearly think that if they break him, they will have a clear run at being the next government. In its pursuit of the former finance minister, SYRIZA is also exposing its immaturity. By insisting that there be a vote on whether Venizelos should face an inquiry over charges of dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the Lagarde list, the leftists virtually guaranteed that the PASOK leader will now never face such a committee.

For a minister or ex-minister to be referred to an investigative committee, a judicial investigation needs to provide enough evidence to suggest that the politician in question has committed a criminal offense. So far, financial prosecutors have not found evidence to incriminate Venizelos, unlike Papaconstantinou. Therefore, there were no grounds for the coalition to risk destabilizing itself by voting for the PASOK leader to face an inquiry. Having survived Thursday’s vote, Venizelos cannot face the same charges again in a parliamentary ballot.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras did his utmost to play lion tamer to Venizelos’s ringmaster during Thursday’s session but both came out of the debate with little credit. Their slanging match became an esoteric battle of egos that engaged few outside Parliament, where most people’s interest in the Lagarde list relates to whether their government will finally establish if there are any tax revenues to collect from those named on it.

Venizelos and Tsipras even reached the point of discussing details of their respective meetings with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble as part of a childish “mine is bigger than yours” argument. Vaxevanis, meanwhile, maintained his stake in the Lagarde affair by giving new impetus to his longstanding tirade against Venizelos via Twitter. Even on social media, there was no escape from the day’s frivolity.

The bigger picture, of course, is that with unemployment hurtling toward 30 percent and the latest round of austerity measures about to start biting, the ins and outs of the Lagarde list controversy mean very little to most Greeks. Its most important effect is to erode voters’ confidence, not just in the government but in the political system as a whole. It’s doubtful there are any Greeks whose faith in their parliamentary representatives has been restored as a result of the decision to refer Papaconstantinou to a parliamentary inquiry while choosing not to take any further action against Venizelos, Papandreou and Papademos. In fact, they probably feel less secure about the ability or appetite of the current generation of politicians to be agents for change.

Greeks’ skepticism about state institutions would have been strengthened by the realization that one of those institutions, Parliament, does not even trust itself. Having been treated to the unedifying sight of Venizelos and Tsipras in their bare-knuckled fight, the moment of the vote was delayed by about three hours as the parties argued over the content and wording of the ballot papers.

During that moment, when it became clear that this Parliament could not carry out its basic functions – holding a to-the-point debate followed by a straightforward vote – a painful reality is likely to have hit many households across the country. As Thursday rolled into Friday, the incompetence and incapacity of this set of decision makers to tackle the serious challenges facing Greece were exposed for all to see.

Perhaps sensing the disaster that would unfold on Thursday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis were absent from the debate. It may turn out to be a good call, but not sullying themselves in the gutter fight that took place will not be enough to ensure people’s unswerving support. It still falls upon them to oversee the reform effort that has to ensure the country’s institutions function properly, that the fiasco of the Lagarde list, where ministers and tax authorities proved unable to process a basic document, does not happen again. Achieving this in the wake of Thursday’s confidence-sapping events has become a tougher challenge. The high-wire balancing act is being called upon to save the circus’s reputation.

Nick Malkoutzis

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39 responses to “Under the big top

  1. “As Thursday rolled into Friday, the incompetence and incapacity of this set of decision makers to tackle the serious challenges facing Greece were exposed for all to see.”

    These words by Nikos need to be etched into stone at the entrance of the Greek Parliament building for all to see.

    And if you insist you might as well omit the “As Thursday rolled into Friday” part as further evidence of the casino style politics of insignificance Greece is engaged at the present time.

  2. Pingback: Ανάλυση « Δεμάτι

  3. POOR GREECE IT DESERVES BETTER

    • I’ve just read the first paragraphs of this link and it is a lot of codswallop to begin with, so I decline to waste time reading further..
      Dean, you know very well what destroyed the Greek economy.

      • A few observations about commentary here:

        1. Ekathemerini blogs are just a joke. ekathimerini compared to this blog is like comparing pre-Kindergarten to 1st year University studies.

        2. Regarding the Lagarde list fiasco. Don’t you think that by now they could have found one(one freaking/effing) name actually guilty of something? Just to make the feeble connection that there is potential tax revenue collection here? Where is the beef?

        3. All 3 of the Papakostantinou relatives have proven legal source for their deposits.

        4. Instead of focusing at the Grexit terror which induced 86 billion euros of Greek deposits to flee the country so that archi-bozo Samaras gets installed in power as the “only alternative”, you are instead focusing on a tax collection potential circus of a debatable few million here and there? what for? of the 86 Billion euros which fled the country due to the Samaras and Merkel Talibans, only 10% (8.6 Bill euros) has returned as deposits. How are you going to collect taxes when the fabricated game of terror, so that Merkel installs a franchisee government in Greece, has made all savings flee Greece and it’s rather difficult to come back? Imposing taxes and fines on zero capital results in zero tax revenue. What is with the Lagarde list theater? And because other countries collected, how could you possibly assume that Greece could collect too? Did other countries have all of their banking deposits flee overseas because of Brixit? of Fraxit? or Gerxit? or any other fabricated nonsense a la Merkel?

  4. “Greeks’ skepticism about state institutions would have been strengthened by the realization that one of those institutions, Parliament, does not even trust itself”

    I have memories (but can no longer find a link to it in english) that PapaConstantinou, during his first testimony to parliament (in november, I think) explained that the reason he hadn’t handed over the list to SDOE was that he was worried it would cause widespread extortion of small fines and larger backhanders of those on the list, in order to drop the allegations.

    If that memory is accurate, then yes. State institutions trust each other no more than the public trusts them.

    Depressing, but that’s the situation we’re all in. (The rest of the eurozone only indirectly, of course).

  5. I didn’t know that Papakonstantinou had suggested extortion, but If you’ve been following blogs on Ekathimerini (the same article and in a previous one) you will see that I have concluded that extortion is a distinct possibility in the hands of whomsoever receives the list.

    We understand that other lists sent to other countries, used with discretion and, I think, the cooperation of the bank involved, have resulted in the collection of considerable unpaid taxation from these account-holders.

    Make your own interpretation of these facts.

  6. oh yes, germany has taken in billion of extra taxes, due to buying stolen bank data. It’s still tiny compared to the amount that is lost, of course, but it’s very profitable. Basically as soon as the name of the offshore bank leaks, from which data has been “acquired”, the customers of that bank in germany with non-declared money start to regularise their affairs with the tax office, in droves.

    • With the delay of two years and lost evidence, the Greek account holders, bribed or not, have had plenty of time to move their money elsewhere.

  7. UK is over 5 billion collected from Lagarade list because tax officers in Northern Europe work in a responsible manner for the country. With citizens being arrested for owing millions in taxes one doesn’t have to look very far as to where the fault lies. I didn’t read that Papakonstantinou made these remarks, but I would have done.

    • Ann:

      Let me try making it simpler for you to understand the Lagarde list affair.

      1. There is nothing to it in terms of additional tax revenue. Before making this “Northern Europe” vs. Greece tax comparison, you need to understand that Grexit has forced all those with means to deposit abroad. This does not mean that such deposits are illegal or ill-gotten. It means that they fled the country because they took seriously the German Taliban “Grexit” terror.

      2. To make the list plausible of any tax revenue potential, Samaras needs to prove at least one name form such list as a tax dodger. Since the great majority of the list names are ND voters and supporters, such Samaras “discovery” is unlikely. The only way for Samaras to discover something is for his political opponents to do it for him.

      3. Following the last tranch, originally expected for October but actually in December, a theme started appearing on Greek press as early as last September that following the tranch release there will be a government re-shuffle. The reasoning was that Venizelos who was suffering the biggest loses in the polls for supporting the coalition government, wanted a higher cabinet within this government.

      4. The whole Lagarde episode, was a Samaras inspired nonsense to deny Venizelos that very move. 1# it showed Venizelos that he has baggage,therefore elevating him in government post would be next to impossible 2# it showed that Venizelos was unable to efficiently collect tax, which is what Samaras is now asked to do and therefore it was Samaras’ way of saying to Venizelos that he did not have the prerequisite for a government promotion in a field of endeavor which currently the government is tasked to complete.

      5. Instead of Samaras calling Venizelos privately and giving him religion of the this very subject #i.e. baggage + lack of qualification#, a scheme was hatched to leak some of hese USB memory sticks to the press #i.e. Vaxevanis# in a manner that showed that the leak came from Syriza. Syriza took the bait of engaging in conversation because it thought than a attack on Venizelos would make the coalition collapse leading to elections.

      6. Instead what happened, Venizelos was rescued by the skin of his nails, put in his place and in some sense relieved to have escaped with a much larger damage.

      7. Therefore the Lagarde list theater was a mission accomplished for Samaras. He kept his opponent in check #within the coalition government context#, was provided with amble reason to give more power to Venizelos and he had a show of public humiliation between PASOK and Syriza in public. This is what we call “two birds, with one stone”.

      8. Therefore the Lagarde list is an empty paper. Those who bite that there is something to it in terms of future revenue, are providing cover in this raw political game of who is top dog within the coalition government.

      Hope this provides the proper framing for your deeper understanding of this issue.

      • Ann:

        Let me try making it simpler for you to understand the Lagarde list affair.

        1. There is nothing to it in terms of additional tax revenue. Before making this “Northern Europe” vs. Greece tax comparison, you need to understand that Grexit has forced all those with means to deposit abroad. This does not mean that such deposits are illegal or ill-gotten. It means that they fled the country because they took seriously the German Taliban “Grexit” terror.

        2. To make the list plausible from any tax revenue potential POV, Samaras needs to prove at least one name form such list as a tax dodger. Since the great majority of the list names are ND voters and supporters, such Samaras “discovery” is unlikely. The only way for Samaras to discover something is for his political opponents to do it for him.

        3. Following the last tranch, originally expected for October but actually occuring in December, a theme started appearing on Greek press as early as last September 2012 that following the tranch release there will be a government re-shuffle. The reasoning was that Venizelos who was suffering the biggest loses in the polls for supporting the coalition government, wanted a higher cabinet within this government (to compensate for the terrible losses in support of ND policies).

        4. The whole Lagarde episode, was a Samaras inspired nonsense to deny Venizelos that very move. 1) it showed Venizelos had baggage, therefore elevating him in government post would be next to impossible 2) it showed that Venizelos was unable to efficiently collect tax as Minister of Finance, which is what Samaras was now asked to do and therefore it was Samaras’ way of saying to Venizelos that he did not have the prerequisites for a government promotion in a field of endeavor which currently the government is tasked to complete.

        5. Instead of Samaras calling Venizelos privately and giving him religion of this subject (i.e. baggage + lack of qualification), a scheme was hatched to leak some of these USB memory sticks to the press (i.e. Vaxevanis) in a manner that showed that the leak came from Syriza. Syriza took the bait of engaging in conversation because it thought that an attack on Venizelos would make the coalition collapse leading to early elections.

        6. Instead what happened, Venizelos was rescued by the skin of his nails, put in his place and in some sense relieved to have escaped with a much greater damage. The theory here is that he should be happy to be alive politically and therefore abandon any dreams of greater power within the coalition.

        7. Therefore the Lagarde list theater was a mission accomplished for Samaras. He kept his opponent in check (within the coalition government context), was provided with amble reason not to give more power to Venizelos and he had a show of public humiliation between PASOK and Syriza in full display. This is what we call “two birds, with one stone”.

        8. Therefore the Lagarde list is an empty paper. Those who bite that there is something to it in terms of future revenue, are providing cover in this raw political game of who is top dog within the coalition government.

        Hope this provides the proper framing for your deeper understanding of this issue.

  8. Some of Dean’s blogs lack the means to “Reply”, including today’s, left at
    4.34 pm.
    I’m wondering what purpose “INSIDE GREECE” is serving?

    • Dedro:

      It’s the system. If you want reply to my comment, which is reply to yours, you need to reply to yourself associated with such comment.

      Comments then list chronologically. Since you comment would be a later reply it would then list underneath my comment.

      Inside Greece is not serving anyone, I think. It’s as free of censorship as one could get from commentary in Greek news media.

      Give it a try. Try replying to your own comment where you think Inside Greece is censoring. You’ll be suprised.

  9. i have been wondering the same thing as apart from Dean’s anti German observations, i can’t see they have any sensible alternative to the coalition. There are more sensible remarks on Kathimerini and I didn’t see dendrolivanos first blog an hour ago, so it looks as if blogs here are also scrutinised before publishing. All this about Samaras and the Germans is a waste of time. Read my Husband’s experience today in a central Athens court, he was there simply to prove tax paid for over a year. They still haven’t completed the new tax system. The courts are a circus,thirty six cases, 6 heard, three results all the rest deferred until the end of the year. Everybodies time wasted including the tax inspectors. 5 Judges that left the court 5 or 6 times during the proceedings, coffee, cigarette, pee, additional lipstick, complete chaos. Just think that every time some poor soul goes to court their solicitor charges Euro 600, we knew we didn’t have one otherwise if my Husband had paid he would have cleared the court today, he was very very angry. All these public workers are the root of our problems, if they don’t want to work, then let’s get shot of them, same applies to train and bus drivers and now we have the agriculture workers with their air-conditioned tractors, purchased with EU funding for the 500 olive trees they don’t have. The Germans want Greece you must be joking, they have more sense.

    • Well said Ann. I read you account in EK. And from my experience over the years, of agricultural practice in Laconia ….you mention non-existent olive trees…I remember 5 trees burnt and compensation offered from the EU assessor for 12! My South African aunt refused..
      And I have similar experience in a Greek court, in 1989, as your Husband today.
      Germany is not to blame for these attitudes.

    • I am sorry Ann. But I think you are mixing micro-economic issues with macro-economic ones.

      The functioning of the Greek state is a micro-issue. Unless you change all the employees, retrain them and re-supply them with state of the art technology plus the knowledge of how to use it, you will experience frustrations. These matters take time to reform and are not done at a flip of a switch.

      Germany’s involvement into the broad daylight theft of Greek assets is a macro issue and happened at a flip of a switch. When Germany caused the Greek banking sector to absorb losses greater than the entire Greek GDP this had an immediate effect.

      You would be working for years, decades and even centuries to recapture the losses of the German action which was both capricious and uncalled for.

      You seem to be fascinated with nuts and bolts. I am not a details kind of guy. I like big picture stuff.

      My suggestion is that if you have a problem with the state there is a service in Greece called “Citizen’s Advocate”. You can use them to pay your bills. In fact my understanding is that all bills effective immediately should be paid using credit cards only.

    • Ann:

      Whatever is broken with the Greek system, please feel free to fix. We shouldn’t be talking about obvious things.

      As to the Greek banks they had almost no real estate loans. These were French and other foreign banks trying to get a foothold on the Greek market. One way to get penetration in a given market is to provide cheap credit on something that your competitors don’t provide.

      As far as your court case I don’t know the particulars. There is electronic correspondence available with many ministries so the best way is to build your case is by creating an electronic record of the exact information to be presented to the court. There are companies that for a small fee could provide resolution in such matters. But whatever issue you have with the Greek state first create an electronic record of correspondence outlining your case and attaching scanned documents as your evidence. That way the judge could even look up on his/her own. Without the need for personal and time consuming contact.

  10. I don’t think you understand what I am saying. The law in Greece doesn’t work, this is why we have corruption, this is why everyone does exactly what they like. Leave Germany out of this equation, unless we make radical changes to our constitution and legal system nothing will change. It’s done, and Greek banks only have themselves to blame if they wanted to support private businesses they could, instead they gave out billions in mortgages without even checking peoples earnings. You are the one not looking at the big picture. The public serviuces are there to serve not to hold us to ransom, strike and get paid etc etc. We wouldn’t have needed EU haircut or IMF funding if the public services worked. If taxes had been collected, the public structure all on line, law courts upholding the law ,we wouldn’t be bankrupt. You don’t go to the citizen’s advice Bureau when you are summoned to court. This is a formality because Intracom produced the tax system which everyone knew didn’t work. You pay your taxes, get a receipt but there is no on line record it’s a joke.

    • (Sorry I answered in the wrong thread).

      Ann:

      Whatever is broken with the Greek system, please feel free to fix. We shouldn’t be talking about obvious things.

      As to the Greek banks they had almost no real estate loans. These were French and other foreign banks trying to get a foothold on the Greek market. One way to get penetration in a given market is to provide cheap credit on something that your competitors don’t provide.

      As far as your court case I don’t know the particulars. There is electronic correspondence available with many ministries so the best way is to build your case by creating an electronic record of the exact information to be presented to the court. There are companies that for a small fee could provide resolution in such matters. But whatever issue you have with the Greek state first create an electronic record of correspondence outlining your case and attaching scanned documents as your evidence. That way the judge could even look up on his/her own. Without the need for personal and time consuming contact.

    • BTW, have you ever tried the Department of Justice website? There is a feature called Digital Justice. Could you key in your case number and go from there?

      http://www.ministryofjustice.gr/site/el/%CE%91%CE%A1%CE%A7%CE%99%CE%9A%CE%97.aspx

  11. I have just browsed all the comments and would like to make a clarification on this most ridiculous notion that Germany might have spread Grexit fears so that the Greek banking system would lose almost 90 BEUR in deposits.

    Every Eurocent of funding which Greek banks lost due to deposit flight had to be replaced with alternative funding and that alternative funding came primarily through the Target2 mechanism. The Bundesbank is, almost by light years, the largest contributor to Target2. Greece, by the way, is the third largest beneficiary after Italy and Spain.

    So, when the Greek banking sector lost, between December 2009 – June 2012, almost 90 BEUR in deposits, most of that had to replaced through Target2 funding, most of which came from the Bundesbank whose claims against Greece stand presently way over 100 BEUR. Incidentally, the deposit flight began almost immediately after Mr. Papandreou admitted to understated deficit figures and it accelerated quickly. THAT was the cause of deposit flight, i. e. a sudden confidence crisis which caused a run against Greece by foreign creditors and by domestic depositors.

    Is there a thinking reader of this blog who can imagine that Germany has an interest in doing something which forces the Bundesbank to send tax payers’ money to Greece for every money wealthy Greeks take out of Greek banks??? To expose tax payers’ money to Grexit risk so that Greeks can get out of the Grexit risk???

    Target2 is a complex cash management system. I have written a lot about it. The post below is probably the easiest reading to understand a complex issue.

    http://klauskastner.blogspot.co.at/2012/03/and-here-is-more-on-target-2.html

    • Klaus:

      Unfortunately Germany did just that. It’s in plain letters here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Central_Bank

      Read the part that says “Response to the Crisis”:

      “Reluctance in Germany to take on the burden of financing or guaranteeing the debts of weaker countries has led to public reports that some elites in Germany would prefer to see Greece, Portugal, and even Italy leave the Euro zone “temporarily.” (Hello!!!! this is called Grexit)…….. The German government’s current position is, to keep Greece within the euro zone, but not at any cost. If the worst comes to the worst, priority will be given to the euro’s stability.” (so even know a veiled threat of Grexit still persists 100% Made in Germany).

      I was there, I remember. Germany was spewing Grexit scenarios all day long and had a whole group of international journalists amplifying the Grexit noise. World markets moved up and down on such Grexit fears.

      • Sorry: I meant to say:

        ..so even now a veiled threat of Grexit still persists 100% Made in Germany.

      • Dean, your occasional mental stubbornness can drive one to exasperation. Target2 has nothing to do with the official ‘financing and/or guaranteeing of weaker countries’. Target2 is a cash management system among Central Banks of EZ-countries. It works like an unlimited credit card. There is no Troika, no memorandum, no loan agreement, no Eurogroup approval — nothing! Just an automatic overdraft!

        The Target2 claims of the Bundesbank against deficit countries had gone from near-zero before the crisis to a peak of 750 BEUR last August. That is: seven-hundred-fifty-billion-Euro! That is more than twice the German budget. By year-end, the had declined to 655 BEUR and Greece accounted for 108 BEUR of that. Should the EZ fall apart, those claims turn into smoke.

        http://www.bundesbank.de/Navigation/EN/Statistics/Time_series_databases/Macro_economic_time_series/its_details_value_node.html?tsId=BBK01.EU8148B

        When the Greek banking sector lost liquidity due to the current account deficit and due to the deposit flight, Target2 automatically replenished that. So to an important extent, Target2 required the Bundesbank to transfer Euros to Greeece, among others, so that Greek depositors could transfer their money to Switzerland & Co. And you are suggesting that Germany intentionally caused a Grexit scare so that Greeks would take more money out of banks so that the Bundesbank could transfer more money to Greece? Get with it! Look at the BoG statistics to bring yourself up to date as to when the deposit flight started!

        Go to my blog and put target2 in the search box. You will get tons of articles.

      • Klaus:

        You can either do it yourself or I can do it for you.

        Go to Der Spiegel under the heading of “Euro Krise” and you could find at least 20 articles(going backwards in time) of precise German description about Grexit pointing straight to Germany.

        Your argument about Target 2 is hollow is the following sense. You are assuming that German politicos are sophisticated in matters of finance. For all I know they are a disgusting mess of ignorance mixed with other parts of German virtues resulting in the worst sort of self-serving hypocrites.

        Go to them to preach Target 2 logic. Why do you think after 3 years of constant Grexit terror the official mantra is now “let’s keep Greece”?

        BTW, if a real crisis were to erupt rendering fiat currency regimes into chaos, do you really think that it would matter who owes whom according to Target 2 accounting?

      • Dean, I herewith throw the towel!

      • Klaus:

        Does this mean you lost the argument?

      • Dean, how can I possibly win an argument against you? Has anyone ever?

    • Klaus; I appreciate your authoritative reply to Dean’s regularly expressed ideas about German financial plotting
      I often see that Dean gets information from Wikipedia, a source in which, for example, Oxford University warns students against putting too much trust. It is useful as a broad source, but must be cross-checked..

  12. Sorry Dean perhaps I didn’t make my point clear, we go back end of september, no big deal. My complaint is with the whole Judicial system. Why instead of his fault, her fault, we don’t look at the main points, what bought us to this situation. This was our fault, the buck rests here. Why, my main concern is that the law doesn’t work. It works for overpaid, tax evading lawyers and solicitors, and criminals that walk free. Time and again our police complain because the perperators arraigned, charged and then set free to walk the streets to appear at a later date. Read my blog what happened today, happens every day of the week. Why have homicides and forgery cases mixed in with simple confirmations of tax paid, these should be seperate courts, you don’t need five judges sitting on a bench when all they will do is call your name and the tax inspector shouts out tax paid, then you go home. I cannot understand why the press is so laid back. Leave politics aside just for once, and the Germans and the IMF, and tell me how can Judges agree to work short hours when the country is in this turmoil. How can these people possibly consider that 100,000 court cases waiting for trial is acceptable. Case files are in manilla folders stored in supermarket trolleys. IKA is the same, thousands of manilla files with a card index system, no wonder they didn’t know who was dead and who wasn’t.

    • Ann:

      I am not supporting either the judges or the inefficient judicial system in Greece. This is crearly a protective class that needs to be reformed. I can’t do it.

      Samaras who is in charge should do it.

      • dendrolivanos

        Dean, I’ve read your suggestion as to how Ann could get all the evidence digitized online at the Justice Department’s website. It was not available when I tried and it does not work YET. Give it time, perhaps another 5 or 10 years.
        Comparing the way the courts here in Greece function in contrast to my experience in Britain 15 years ago…well it does not bear consideration. Greece must be a quarter of a century, at least, behind the rest of Europe.

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