The United People’s Front (EPAM) announces its decision to participate in the elections to the European Parliament. EPAM was founded on 16 July 2011, one year after Greece was put into custody by the troika (the EU, the IMF and the ECB), as a cross-political party, open to everybody regardless of political beliefs or social status. EPAM also participated in the 2012 national elections obtaining some 60.000 votes. Its chairman, the economist and analyst, Dimitris Kazakis, will be the head of the list, which will be announced end of March.
In view of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, and in order to facilitate their work, EPAM informed officially the EU countries’ and Russian Ambassadors of its positions as far as the Greek crisis is concerned as well as towards the EU.
The measures imposed upon Greece by the EU have failed and are in effect destroying the country. Greece, as a State, is in a much worse position today than when it was in 2010 when the austerity measures were adopted.
-The public debt as percentage of GDP, from 148,3 in 2010 increased to 156,9 in 2012 and 175,7 in 2013.
-Unemployment from 15,3% in 2011 soared to 27,3% in 2013,while over 60% of the youth are unemployed.
-Suicides increased by 45%!
The reasons for the massive failure of the measures are mainly the fact that the human factor was never taken into consideration. The Greek people were totally ignored and as a result Greece is facing a social catastrophe and the beginning of a humanitarian crisis. From the outset it was clear to many that the measures would not be effective but those in charge of planning and implementing them refused to listen to reason and even after acknowledging the mistakes they refused to correct them. The IMF accepted the mistake on the fiscal multiplier. Mistakes have also been admitted by the European Commission.
The measures imposed upon Greece and its people, constitute a blatant violation of the Treaty on European Union:
- Article 2 on human dignity, freedom, democracy and human rights as well as article 3 on peace and well-being has been violated. How can one speak of respect of human dignity when an ever-increasing amount of Greek citizens are foraging the garbage in search of food or are patiently waiting in food lines.
- Articles 145-150 on employment and 151-166 on Social policy have been violated. These are articles that refer to increasing employment and securing the rights of the workers. Quite the opposite is happening in Greece upon instructions of the EU.
- Also articles 165-166 on Education and Vocational Training which anticipate an implementation of a vocational training policy have been violated since vocational training has been seriously weakened in Greece by the closing of many schools.
- On the other hand Article 122 para.2 has been totally ignored : ”Where a Member State is in difficulties or is seriously threatened with severe difficulties caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may grant, under certain conditions, Union financial assistance to the Member State concerned. The President of the Council shall inform the European Parliament of the decision taken.“ Paragraph 2 was not applied because the European Commission and others presented the difficulty as a purely Greek problem, and not as recognized later on by the same European Commission, as a result of the global financial crisis for which Greece was not responsible.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, incorporated in the Treaty on European Union, has also been violated. The following violations are mentioned indicatively:
- Article 1 on human dignity
- Article 11 on Freedom of expression and information
- Article 12 on Freedom of assembly and association. The freedom of expression and information has been curtailed by harassments against journalists who oppose government policies by police and unknown agents, the issuing of instructions by the National Council of Radio and Television to journalists to avoid presenting or displaying the negative effects of the crisis and the closure of the National Television (ERT) last June are all acts violating article 11 while the circular issued on January 8,prohibiting demonstrations on the occasion of the opening ceremonies to celebrate the Greek Presidency of the EU is a violation of article 12.
- Article 14 on the right to education
- Article 15 on the freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work. This article mentions that everyone has the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation. The austerity measures have increased unemployment to almost 30% and consequently it is impossible to implement this article.
- Article 17 on the right to property. With the confiscation of properties that the Government has imposed, this article has been blatantly violated also because there is no compensation.
- Article 20 on equality before the law. This article is being violated by the fact that legislation is being passed exempting rich tax payers from paying enormous amounts of taxes owed to the state while the small taxpayers are having their property confiscated.
- Article 25 on the rights of the elderly. This article has been violated by the drastic cuts in pensions.
- Article 26 on the integrity of persons with disabilities. The austerity measures have affected this category of citizens whose allowances have been slashed, whose rehabilitation centers have been reduced and who face difficulties in obtaining pharmaceutical and medical care,thus violating also this article.
- Article 28 on the rights of collective bargaining and actions. Through legislation imposed by the EU, these rights have been essentially abolished. The right to strike has also been curtailed by government decisions mobilizing strikers.
- Article 30 on protection in the event of unjustified dismissal. This protection has also been rendered useless.
- Article 34 on Social Security and Social Assistance.
- Article 35 on Health care. Due to the collapse of the National Healthcare and Social Security systems because of the austerity measures, articles 34 and 35 cannot be implemented
- Article 41 para.1 and 2 on the right to good administration. Neither the EU nor the Greek Government implemented this article when taking the adverse measures against the Greek people who were never asked for their opinion. Thus this article was also violated.
The continuation of ineffective measures can result in the destruction of a Member-State, Greece, in social upheaval and the decimation of a large part of the population. Consequently they cannot be allowed to continue.
The damage done to Greece through these measures, according to conservative estimates, is equal or surpasses the so-called debt in absolute numbers. Data concerning the damage are once more repeated.
-Unemployment has reached 30% and 60% of the youth is unemployed.
-The healthcare system has been dismantled and education is on the verge of collapse.
-Poverty is on the increase (one out of three Greeks has fallen below poverty level) and the amount of homeless in the Athens area has reached 25.000.
-Suicides due to the crisis have reached the 4000 level yearly.
In order to prevent the destruction of Greece, EPAM suggests:
1.The denouncement of the Loan Facility Agreement of May 2010, signed between Greece and the Member States of the Eurozone. The denouncement will be based on articles 48-52 of the Vienna Convention of the UN concerning the Law of Treaties. These articles anticipate the invalidity of Treaties if there was an error in the Treaty, fraud, coercion of a representative of a State and coercion of a State by the threat of use of force. it is underlined that for EPAM the Loan Facility Agreement of May 2010 is considered null and void.
2.Furthermore EPAM demands that compensation be given to Greece by the EU for damages done to the country. The compensation can be in the form of deleting the so-called debt. Article 41.3 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU mentions that ”Every person has the right to have the Union make good any damage caused by its institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties, in accordance with the general principles common to the laws of the Member-States.”
3.This would allow Greece to take the necessary measures to repair the damages done and at the same time instigate development. However, in order to stabilize development of the country, EPAM supports the withdrawal of Greece from the Eurozone, so that the country can adopt beneficial economic policies that it cannot under Eurozone rules.
4.EPAM also supports the withdrawal of Greece from the EU in accordance with the procedure anticipated in article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Greece joined the EEC in 1981 in order to safeguard its democracy, enhance its economic development and protect its territorial integrity against third countries. Today the EU has an increased democratic deficit while in Greece democracy has been weakened and authoritarianism is increasing. The EU has not shown that it is able to protect the territorial integrity of any of its members, while the economy of Greece has been destroyed because of the austerity measures. Under these conditions, there is no reason for Greece to remain within the EU.
EPAM International Relations