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The News Line: News Greece under Franco- German occupation!
Greek workers battle with riot police
THE European Commission has formed an enlarged Task Force of over 100 German and French technocrats to oversee the implementation of the conditions attached to the Greek 130bn euros bailout.

They are to be stationed in Athens and are headed by top EU bureaucrat Horst Reichenbach who has been monitoring events in Athens with a small Task Force for the last six months.

Last week Reichenbach spoke to a meeting in Brussels of all Task Force personnel and said that there are 167bn euros available to Greece, adding 37bn euros of EC funds to the 130bn Euros bailout.

He said that the target is for Greece to ‘return to the markets’ by 2015.

The Task Force’s German technocrats will be in control of central government while the French will be in control of regional and local government. Task Force technocrats will be stationed in every Ministry enforcing the terms of the EC bailout agreement.

The immediate plan of the Task Force is to restructure the whole state apparatus starting with the sacking of 50,000 civil servants by the end of this year.

The other priorities are to raise some 20bn euros through privatisations and selling off public land and state buildings, and to cut wages by over 22 per cent, pensions by over 15 per cent and unemployment benefits by over 25 per cent.

Young workers will be hit by a 30 per cent wage cut. Last week the Greek Statistics Authority ELSTAT said that unemployment in the 15-24 years old category had reached a record 51 per cent.

The Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who was set to become the new leader of the PASOK social democrats last weekend, arrogantly dismissed as insignificant the amount of some 5bn euros that Greece will have to pay to those private creditors who did not agree to the ‘voluntary haircut’ of the Greek state bonds.

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) decided that Greece’s decision to activate the ‘collective action clauses’ of the state bonds had constituted a ‘technical default’, a bankruptcy. The financial agencies Moody’s and Fitch also accepted the Greek debt restructuring as ‘default’.

Through the bonds’ ‘haircut’ Greece’s debt has been cut, in theory, by about 110bn euros, from 370bn to 260bn euros, hardly a ‘viable’ debt.

According to ELSTAT Greece’s Gross Domestic Product shrank by a record 6.9 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010 following a disastrous GDP dive of 7.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2011.

Other figures released by ELSTAT showed Greece’s bankruptcy; consumer spending down by 8 per cent, exports down by 6 per cent, imports down by 14 per cent, while the industrial output index fell by 11.3 per cent.

Greek construction dived by a record 26.6 per cent in 2011. The GSEE (Greek TUC) says that some 1.2 million workers in Greece are now unemployed, with only a fraction of them receiving the greatly reduced unemployment benefit of about 380 euros per month.
 
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