Strategy 101 – Sell off the Land Titles Agency before you sell-off the coastline

closed imageA new Eleftherotypia report suggests the Ministry of Finance took €250m from the national land registry agency to boost the primary surplus figures. This was part of the miraculous surplus they took to the elections and to the EU as evidence of their good work. Greece and Albania are the only European countries without a complete land registry.

The fate of €250m collected in fees from property owners and earmarked for use in completing the country’s land registry has been raised by engineers and lawyers involved in the project. This was after the agency responsible for creating the mapping halted payments to its suppliers and clients and ceased most of its activities.

In actual fact, the money represents the total cash reserves of the geomapping  agency and came from the €35 application fee that property owners paid to register their properties in urban centres since 2008. By law, this money was exclusively for the purpose of expanding and completing the creation of the land registry. Greece and Albania are the only European countries without a complete land registry. After failed attempts in the 1990s to create one, the effort was renewed in 2008. Although €1bn has been spent over 20 years on the cadastre – much of it EU funds – only about a fifth of the project has been completed.

The Eleftherotypia report, which is based on information from engineers and lawyers involved in the cadastre project, said that the agency has already started closing some of its offices, halted payments to its suppliers and clients and, more seriously, suspended its activities, plunging the process of creating property and forestry registries into uncertainty. The article added that the board of the agency has not met since April.

See full story here


SYRIZA Victory helps Greek Negotiating Position on Debt

Deputy PM Venizelos: " Who said I'm the guinea pig?"

Deputy PM Venizelos: ” Is Ms Merkel ready to see me yet?”

The conservative financial press reveals that scareomongering about the possible outcomes of a SYRIZA election victory was more than just wrong. In fact, the SYRIZA victory has opened the way for a much stronger negotiating position for Greece and other countries.

Under the heading EU Austerity Rethink Urged as Voters Back Protest Parties, Bloomberg reports

European Union leaders north and south of the economic divide are channeling an anti-austerity electoral backlash as they seek to push the case for an easing of fiscal policy throughout the euro zone….

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras told reporters that the election result sent a message against austerity “from the country which was chosen to become the guinea pig” of the economic crisis.

“The election result puts Greece in a sweet spot for debt relief negotiations,” said Michael Michaelides, a rates strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London.

After a six-year recession that wiped 25 percent, or 50 billion euros ($68 billion), off national gross domestic product, Greece recorded a primary budget surplus — which excludes interest and one-time payments — equivalent to 0.8 percent of GDP last year.

Any EU attempt to force Greece to go further and target an “unrealistic” primary budget surplus through more austerity would mean “a Syriza victory in national elections is on the cards,” said Michaelides.

See full article here

Greece comes first in sex – new tax is on the cards

erotic greek coinHaving fallen to the bottom of pretty much every statistical table in existence, Greece has surprised German researchers by topping the international league table for the average number of times having sex in a year. The magic number for the Greeks was 164 times per year, compared to the 111 average for the Germans. As the reporter for Kathimerini newspaper noted, that is barely over 2 times per week for the Germans.

With more than three out of five young people unemployed, and more than one in four of all people unemployed, that spells a lot of free time for some free fun.

Responding to rising speculation in the markets, the Finance Minister Mr Stournaras refused to rule out at this early stage the possible introduction of any new tax on sex. However, the smart money is saying the ‘sex tax’ is clearly not on the cards. Speaking on condition of annonymity, one analyst said; “The entire government Ministry and backbenchers would be bankrupted and jailed for life given the unconsensual acts they have committed on the Greek population just in the past 12 months”. The analyst did concede however, that it would be techncially possible for the government to grant itself immunity from the sex tax, which would mean it would be back on the table for the rest of the Greek population.

see full Kathimerini article in Greek here

New warning on destruction of Greek coastline

Anyone want a some tapas?

Anyone want some tapas?

The head of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Foundation warns that the proposed bill for coastal development in Greece will lead to the same dramatic alteration and destruction of the coastline seen in Spain.

When several weeks ago the Finance Ministry submitted for public consultation the bill titled (with more than a trace of doublespeak) ‘Protection of the shoreline and coast’ the criticism of it was swift and widespread.The outcry prompted the government to extend the period of public consultation until after the European elections. While many of the critics of the bill heralded the announcement as a victory, it is highly likely that the government will still attempt to pass it with amendments.

See full article from The Presss Project here

Below is the letter from the WWF Spain CEO in full:
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Huge Wins at Local and National Level Elections – Austerity on the Ropes

Rena Dourou - the successful SYRIZA candidate in Attica . The biggest electoral region of Greece.

Rena Dourou – the successful SYRIZA candidate in Attica . The biggest electoral region of Greece.

The 2014 Euro-elections and regional elections have confirmed a historic victory for the radical left. For the first time in Greece and for the second time in Western European history (since the 1984 victory of the Italian Communist Party in the EU elections) the Radical Left has won national level elections.

The Euro-election triumph has been noted extensively across the media. Less well understood is that this achievement was reinforced by a major triumph at the local government elections which were held simultaneously.

See below for a quick overview of key results by region.

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A Historic Left Victory – Government Suffers Embarrassing Losses

Euro-election celebrations

Euro-election celebrations

A historic victory for SYRIZA in the Euro-elections and massive gains in the regional elections saw SYRIZA take control of the largest regional government in the country (Attiki) and narrowly miss out on taking Athens.

The headline result, showed the anti-Austerity party has won the greatest number of votes in the Euro-elections. The latest figures show SYRIZA to have won 26.7% compared to 23.3% for the ruling New Democracy party. The PASOK party did not even run candidates under its own name fearing the backlash that was coming. But even its rebranded ‘Olive tree’ grouping showed a spectacular collapse in its vote, dropping to less than 9%.

Syriza declared that its nationwide victory in the European parliament polls was a historic milestone for Greece and Europe, as it represents the first time a genuine leftwing  (as opposed to a social democrat party) has finished first.

In declaring a “historic victory” for the left, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras called for elections as soon as possible, declaring that the result delegitimises the government at home and in the EU.

Tsipras noted that the returns show that if these were general elections, Syriza would have gained 130 parliamentary seats, and New Democracy just 69.

He said New Democracy dropped seven percentage points from its June 2012 showing, while Pasok lost five points since 2012.

Tsipras pledged to forge a “progressive and patriotic” social alliance that can garner a large majority in the next general elections.

The worrying emergence of the far-right has not diminished. While Golden Dawn did not poll as highly as it did during the first round of regional elections, it has polled around 9% in the Euro-elections. This is indeed worrying when linked to the strong performance of other right-wing pro-nationalist forces across Europe.

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Enough Already!!

from Athens - photo Angelo Kalokoudas

from Athens – photo Angelo Kalodoukas

Greece goes to the polls today for the final round of local elections and the Euro-elections. The overiding feeling of many citizens may well be captured by this piece of grafiti in Athens. The scream of ‘enough already’ is exactly how many people feel after many years and rounds of austerity which seem to only bring further austerity and pain.

Tomorrow we find out how the country voted and what that might mean for the future of the government.

Stay tuned….