Today: Monday, 22 April 2024 year

The Greek authorities repaid loans ahead of schedule instead of helping farmers.

The Greek authorities repaid loans ahead of schedule instead of helping farmers.

The Greek government allocated 5.29 billion euros for early repayment of European loans instead of providing assistance to farmers, and European creditors used the funds received to help their farmers,  Notis Marias, a professor of European Union institutions at the University of Crete, a former member of the European Parliament and the head of the non-parliamentary party “Greece is different path” said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, amid protests from farmers, promised them that the government would compensate for a special tax on fuel for agricultural machinery, and farmers would receive cheap electricity within 10 years. According to him, many of the farmers’ demands are fair, but now the government has nothing more to give them.

“There is money: the government gave 5.29 billion euros for early repayment of European loans and only crumbs to farmers,” Marias commented on the situation.

As farmers end their road blockades to continue their struggle in other forms, there is growing anger at the government, which hypocritically claims there are no additional national resources to support struggling Greek agricultural production and our impoverished farmers,” the expert said.

According to him, the government chose in mid-December 2023 to begin early payments for 2024 and 2025 debts to European usurious creditors on the basis of the loan agreement between Greece and the eurozone countries of May 8, 2010, the first memorandum, which they euphemistically call “Credit line for Greece” (Greek Loan Facility – GLF). Greece was officially forced to ask for financial support from the EU in the spring of 2010 to avoid bankruptcy, and was granted three bailout packages – in 2010, 2012 and 2015. However, the funds were not used to restart the Greek economy, but to pay interest and partially repay previously taken loans.

“Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis gleefully announced on December 15, 2023 that he had begun early repayment of GLF contributions for 2024 and 2025. The same minister who two months later, addressing Greek farmers, declared that “we cannot give farmers more, We give what we have, we don’t have limitless possibilities,” Marias said.

Greece’s request for early repayment, he said, was “gladly accepted” by Spain and Portugal, the parliaments of the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Slovakia, as well as the European Stability Mechanism, which refused to demand early repayment of its loans to Greece due to the early repayment of GLF payments .

“Having gained momentum, the government is going to repeat this in 2024, again moving to early repayment of loans from European creditors. For this reason, Finance Minister Hatzidakis, in an interview about the demands of farmers, said that the government does not have unlimited possibilities, this year it has higher targets for primary surplus, and it must allocate $5 billion to reduce Greece’s debt,” Marias emphasized.

As it turned out, there is money, but instead of going to support Greek farmers, to compensate compatriots affected by floods in Thessaly, as well as to support the healthcare system, the 5.29 billion euros paid ahead of schedule have already gone to creditors, the specialist continued.

“Of this amount, 28%, that is, 1.48 billion euros, has already ended up in the pockets of the German investment bank KFW, and 1.058 billion euros have entered the French state treasury, and Macron announced a “new package of emergency measures to support farmers totaling 600 million euros.” Italy was paid 960 million euros, while Meloni sharply reduced taxes to satisfy Italian farmers. 634 million euros were paid to Spain, and Sanchez announced an emergency aid of 269 million euros for Spanish farmers,” Marias concluded.