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Of shipowners and taxes

by talos Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 05:51:02 AM EST

Greek Shipowner Victor Restis, on SYRIZA's plan to impose some sort of minimal tax on ship-owners:

"You cannot squeeze and tackle a person that is in international shipping trade and finance and say, `I will tax you,'" said Restis, who controls a fleet of more than 200 vessels. "The answer is `sure, tax me. Find me.'"

Restis is not just a shipowner though, he is also a large shareholder in Greek media enterprises. The sort that spend most of their newscasts blaming working people for the disaster that has befallen them and complaining about fiscal imprudence and "generous" public sector salaries.

Promoted by Colman


Restis is among other things also in banking and tourism (in many countries). So is he as safe as he thinks?

I note that SYRIZA is not proposing some heavy tax-burden on the industry, it is proposing imposing a one-off wealth tax on ship-owners for now and then changing the laws so that are more like the Norwegian shipping tax system. They would surely be affected though by SYRIZA's implementation of a wealth register that would include foreign assets... As the Bloomberg story reports apparently shipowners have "remitted more than $175 billion in untaxed earnings to the country in 10 years", (at a mere 10% tax rate that would make for 14 billion euros in lost revenues)...

The truth is that there are rumors already floating about many shipping companies preparing to move their offices from Greece to other countries and/or change flags, and they might just start doing that to score a political point. However in order to go to a more favorable tax-regime, they would have to switch to a country flag that would be less privileged according to IMO and would therefore cost them more insurance fees and have a larger inspection burden etc. Also the fact that most of the ship-owners are heavily invested in all sorts of industries in Greece and own assets and property, might make a bargain anything but costless for them...

But the attitude described in the Bloomberg article is infuriating and indicative of how taken for granted is the privilege that the Greek tycoons enjoy:

A lack of government involvement helped Greece's maritime industry to remain competitive, according to Michael Bodouroglou, chairman of Paragon Shipping Inc. The Voula, Greece-based company operates 11 dry-bulk vessels and has three more under construction as well as two container ships, its website shows.

"If we have tax officers visiting shipping companies, they would eventually stop being as efficient as they are now," Bodouroglou said in a May 30 interview. "The most important characteristic of this business is that we're lucky enough to have very little interaction with the state."

Display:
Related: To his credit in this time of skewed narratives, J.C.Juncker has stated the obvious: "I don't see any rich people in Greece crying". Though this is almost a truism and he personally is guilty of supporting the exact policies that spared the rich in Greece of any pain and in fact rewarded them, it is some sort of heartening to know that traces of reality diffuse through even the least porous of elite superstructures

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jun 13th, 2012 at 06:49:24 PM EST
Do we know if he considered this a bug or a feature?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 02:44:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found the original source & translated the entire passage:

Jean-Claude Juncker drängt auf rasche Lösung der spanischen Bankenkrise | Tacheles | Deutschlandradio Kultur Jean-Claude Juncker urges speedy resolution of the Spanish banking crisis | Tacheles | Deutschlandradio Kultur
Deutschlandradio Kultur: Aber, wenn man jetzt auf die Bevölkerung geht, Sie sagen ja, in den hiesigen Ländern, sagen wir Luxemburg, Deutschland, Frankreich oder wo auch immer, ist die Bevölkerung skeptisch geworden, ob diese Hilfsaktion tatsächlich auf fruchtbaren Boden fällt. Aber wenn man die Situation vor Ort betrachtet, könnte man sich auch die Frage stellen: Ist die internationale Staatengemeinschaft bei Griechenland zu weit gegangen? Verlangt sie zu viel?Germany Kultur: However, if you go to the people, you say yes, in the countries around here, say Luxembourg, Germany, France or wherever, people became skeptical about whether this relief is truly falling on fertile ground. But if you look at the situation on the ground, one could also ask the question: Has the international community gone too far in Greece? Does it demand too much?
Jean-Claude Juncker: Nein, ich glaube nicht, dass wir zu viel verlangen. Vielleicht haben wir zu viel verlangt angesichts der rezessiven Tendenzen, die es in der griechischen Volkswirtschaft gibt. Vielleicht haben wir zu sehr aufs Tempo gedrückt. Und deshalb stellt sich die Frage, wie man die Konsolidierungsanpassungsphasen in Griechenland anders gestalten kann, ohne dass das zu dramatischen Veränderungen in der Vereinbarung führen würde.Jean-Claude Juncker: No, I do not think we ask for too much. Maybe we have asked for too muchin view of the recessionary tendencies that exist in the Greek economy. Maybe we have pressed too for speed. And therefore the question arises of how to shape the consolidation adjustment phases in Greece differently, without that leading to dramatic changes in the agreement.
Aber ich bin schon besorgt, und das spricht auch aus Ihrer Frage, Frau Koch, dass wir den Griechen nicht zu viel, aber sehr viel zumuten, vor allen Dingen - ich sag das mal so - den einfachen Griechen, dem kleinen Mann in Griechenland. Den gibt es nicht nur in unseren Ländern, es gibt besonders kleine Männer in Griechenland.However, I am concerned, and that speaks out of your question too, Ms. Koch, that that while we aren't expecting too much, we are expecting a lot of the Greeks, aboveall - I say that this way - the common Greeks, the little man in Greece. He exists not only in our countries, there are especially little men in Greece.
Und ich hatte mir schon gewünscht, aber das ist halt Sache der griechischen Regierung, dass man - um das mal salopp und etwas zu pauschal formuliert so zu benennen - die toten Griechen etwas stärker in die Pflicht genommen hätte. Hätte ich hier in Luxemburg ein Griechen- identisches Problem, hätte ich mich an diejenigen gewandt, die es sich leisten könnten, Solidarität mit anderen zu üben. Das scheint mir in Griechenland in ungenügendem Maße passiert zu sein.And I for myself did wish, but that's a matter for the Greek government after all, that - to denote that with a rakish and somewhat sweeping formulation - that a little heavier onus be placed on the dead Greeks. Had a a Greek-identical problem[sic!] here in Luxembourg,, I would have turned to those who could afford to show solidarity with others. That seems to have happened to an insufficient extent in Greece.
Es gibt nämlich reiche Griechen. Und im Fernsehen sieht man eigentlich nur ärmere Griechen sich mit den Folgen der Anpassungsprogramme herumplagen. Ich habe noch keinen reichen griechischen Reeder weinen gesehen. Ich habe aber schon viele kranke Griechen, die keine medizinische Versorgung kriegen, weinen sehen.Because there are rich Greeks. And on TV in fact one can only see poorer Greeks struggling with the consequences of adjustment programs. I saw no wealthy Greek shipowner crying. However, I have seen a lot of sick Greeks crying who don't get the medical care.

Two observations: one, Juncker is responding to the backlash and he is directing all the blame at the past Greek governments. Two, he omits to mention that many of the measures the Troika demanded are by their nature leaving the rich unscathed and hitting the poor, including healthcare 'reforms'.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 03:35:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forgot to emphasize: the original was referring to rich shipowners explicitly.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 03:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is bullshit. Plain foul smelling bullshit from Junker.

It was not up to the local governments to "make soup out of chicken nails".

Here in Portugal, the Troika actually spent time (God knows how much) discussing if chocolate milk, something that unfortunately is a stable in children's diet, should be taxed at 13% or 23% VAT!!!
That is how deep they went in order to have control of the austerity measures.

This could have been a joke but it aint funny in my book.

by Euroliberal on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:09:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is how deep they went in order to have control of the austerity measures.

And, I gather, the Portuguese have complied well with these 'recommended' measures, so how successful have the Troika's measures been in generating the revenue to pay back the loan?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 09:35:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh... they sure did. They just love to be caled the "good students".

As for the result, (please act surprised) VAT revenues fell, consumption crashed, businesses closing by the thousands and unemployment soaring. Other than that, austerity is a huge success.

by Euroliberal on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 11:14:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am so surprised.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 01:13:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
staggering, huh?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm shocked, shocked, to find that crashing is going on here.
by rifek on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 02:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here in Portugal, the Troika actually spent time (God knows how much) discussing if chocolate milk, something that unfortunately is a stable in children's diet, should be taxed at 13% or 23% VAT!!!

As insane as US taxing policies are, do prefer that food staples aren't subject to sales tax.  That said, it's a measure of how far we've strayed from need to "want" that chocolate milk is considered a staple instead of an occasional treat.  

by Marie2 on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 12:26:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sales tax on food is not a bad tax actually. After we cut our sales tax on food from 25% to 12%, studies showed that the main benefactors were consumers of luxury foodstuffs. Better to cut taxes on low incomes!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 04:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not eliminate taxes on the sale of all fruits and vegetables? That would be a good beginning point.
by sgr2 on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 11:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Differentiated VAT has non-trivial administrative overhead.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 12:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No sales tax on food in your jurisdiction, perhaps, but not here.
by rifek on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 02:53:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Euroliberal:
Here in Portugal, the Troika actually spent time (God knows how much) discussing if chocolate milk, something that unfortunately is a stable in children's diet, should be taxed at 13% or 23% VAT!!!

it's the reagan 'ketchup counts as a vegetable' movie again!

it's the pettifogging quality that is so anal, that they really are that miserably shrivelled of mind beggars belief.

no wonder they make money and power their gods, it's a massive compensation.

my currency's harder than yours!  it's the emotional maturity level of 12-year old boys in a locker-room, developmentally arrested, while the morally stunted adult parts of their consciousness obsess with how much they can torture the food out of their own neighbours' children to keep another penny in their wallets.

our dystopia is their crackers and caviar.

these people are seriously disturbed psychopaths who have bribed the guards and stolen the keys to the asylum.

their speeches about reform and such are ringing ever hollower, as the sting of poverty makes more discerning political watchers and of all the under- and unemployed people curious as to exactly how neoliberal economics has brought a successfully harmonious postwar continent to its bloody knees in only 40 years!

with the moon of international discontent waxing brightly before our semi-blinded eyes, you know this tide will turn.

just a question of when and how.

just...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:05:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is anecdotal and perhaps besides the point, but I just spent 5 days in Paris eating red meat at every meal (because I try to avoid it in the USA) and copious amounts of red wine. I drank more than a bottle one night (I'm tall and can handle it). I never once suffered the migraines and other assorted side effects I suffer in the USA when I eat red meat and drink red wine. No hangover even. Not once, and I was practically on a binge. Red food dyes injected into meat and all the preservatives in red wine in America show me how toxic our food chain is, and though they may be necessary for wine in the USA, it still shows how these chemicals can impact the human body.
by Upstate NY on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 09:02:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could allow yourself to eat red meat (baaaad!) and drink red wine (goooood!) more often if they were organic. Even in the USA. I can attest to the improvement in the headache factor with respect to French organic vs. "conventional" wines.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 09:36:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will start looking for it. The problem is that I only drink red wine at social affairs or dinners related to work when the choice of wine is not mine. Almost all of the upscale restaurants around here do not note or stock organic wines.

As for red meat, I binged because I try not to make it a habit. And, the meals in Paris were really really cheap compared to the USA, and so was the wine.

by Upstate NY on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 10:07:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They also interviewed George Economou in that article, a guy who is anathema on Wall Street for not only being a crook (there are many of those on Wall Street) but for being entirely open about fleecing people who buy his stock on NASDAQ.

The shipowners then blame Greeks for allowing crooks and corruption to take over gov't. And these are the people who are considered huge cheats by even the crooks on Wall Street!

by Upstate NY on Wed Jun 13th, 2012 at 06:59:36 PM EST
Heh.

Keep a roll of the ships that used to be Greek and are now flying the flag of convenience. Want to go to the Black Sea or Istanbul? You better hope your tax is all paid up, because otherwise the Greek government will seize that shiny asset you're brining into its jurisdiction as down payment. And the cartoon joke country whose flag you're flying does not have enough gunboats to escort your ship.

Or, as you note, you could just start confiscating domestically held assets until they behave.

Of course, shipping really needs to be taxed at the European level, with any shipping company that wishes to dock in any European port having to pay up the difference between European corporate tax and what they are paying in their flag of convenience country (and having to pay their crews European wages).

You can push around a small country like Greece. You can't not do business with the EU.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 12:43:58 AM EST
Nationalize some of the media assets primarily owned by wealthy tax avoiders and instal radical new editorial staff.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 06:03:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hollande warns Greece on euro exit | Athens News
French President Francois Hollande warned on Wednesday that some countries in Europe would want Greece to be forced out of the euro zone if it did not respect its engagement to international creditors after the June 17 election.   In an interview with Mega TV, Hollande said he wanted Greece to remain in the single currency and would argue for the use of European structural funds to help it return to growth. He said Greek voters would decide what they wished for.

Is this more of an election help for the sister party, or strategic EU policy with centrist ideology?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 03:41:06 AM EST
Presuming that the Athens News version had been translated from French into Greek and then into English, I went to the French source, hoping it wouldn't be as bad as it looks.

Hollande met en garde les Grecs contre une sortie de la zone euro Holland warned the Greeks against leaving the euro area
François Hollande a demandé aux Grecs de tenir leurs promesses, mercredi 13 juin, dans une interview à la télévision hellène Mega channel, quatre jours avant des élections législatives dans le pays. "J'ai conscience que les électeurs (grecs) doivent avoir la pleine souveraineté, mais je dois les prévenir que (...) si l'impression est donnée que les Grecs veulent s'éloigner des engagements qui ont été pris et abandonner toute la perspective de redressement, alors il y aura des pays dans la zone euro qui préféreront en terminer avec la présence de la Grèce dans la zone euro", a prévenu le président français.Francois Hollande called on Greeks to keep their promises, Wednesday, June 13, in an interview on television channel Mega Hellenic, four days before parliamentary elections in the country. "I am aware that voters (Greek) must have full sovereignty, but I must warn them that (...) if the impression is given that the Greeks want to move away from the commitments that were made and abandon the whole perspective of recovery, then there will be countries in the euro area which will prefer to put an end to the presence of Greece in the euro area ", warned the French president.
"Je respecte le peuple grec. Il décidera ce qu'il voudra à l'occasion de l'élection du mois de juin, le 17", a-t-il ajouté. Selon le chef de l'Etat, "respecter les engagements qui ont été pris, cela ne veut pas dire rester dans la même situation et j'ai même notamment plaidé auprès de mes collègues, chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement pour que les fonds européens, les fonds structurels qui ne sont d'ailleurs pas utilisés, puissent l'être pour que la Grèce retrouve de la croissance". "I respect the Greek people. They will decide what they want in the election of June 17," , he added. According to the head of state, "to honor the commitments that were made does not mean to stay in the same situation and in particular I have negotiated with with my colleagues, heads of state and Government, to ensure that European funds, structural funds that are not even used, could be used so that Greece finds growth ".
"NOUS DEVONS ÊTRE SOLIDAIRES LES UNS DES AUTRES" "We need mutual solidarity"
Pour autant, François Hollande estime que "l'abandon pur et simple du mémorandum [plan de rigueur] serait regardé par beaucoup de participants de la zone euro comme une rupture". "J'ai fait en sorte que la croissance soit maintenant le thème sur lequel nous devons mettre les Européens autour de la table et prendre de nouveaux engagements", a-t-il affirmé, mais "la situation financière est devenue telle que nous devons aussi avoir des garanties pour que les banques puissent être préservées et financées. Nous sommes déjà dans une autre étape. C'est ce que doivent comprendre les Grecs aussi", a-t-il ajouté.However, Francois Hollande estimated "the outright abandonment of the memorandum [austerity plan] would be viewed by many participants in the euro area as a rupture" . "I made sure that growth is now the topic on which we must put Europeans around the table and take new commitments" , he said, but "the financial situation has become such that we also have guarantees for banks to be preserved and financed. We are already in a new stage. This is what Greeks must understand too ", he added.
A l'intérieur de la zone euro, "nous devons être solidaires les uns des autres, faire des efforts par rapport à nos devoirs de responsabilité (...) Je veux préserver la zone euro", et les pays qui en sont membres "doivent pouvoir le rester, à condition de le vouloir et de le décider. C'est ce que vont faire les Grecs le 17" juin, a-t-il martelé. "Ce que je demande" aux Grecs, "c'est d'avoir confiance dans ce que nous pouvons faire ensemble, d'avoir aussi le souci de la vérité, c'est-à-dire de faire le choix qui leur paraîtra le meilleur et s'ils veulent rester dans la zone euro, de savoir que l'Europe leur viendra en soutien parce que c'est nécessaire, et qu'en même temps des efforts sont à faire", a-t-il insisté.Within the eurozone, "we must be supportive of each other, make efforts in relation to our duties of responsibility (...) I want to preserve the euro area", and the countries which are members "must be able to remain so, provided they want to, and decide to do so. This is what the Greeks are going to do on 17" June, he said. "What I ask" of the Greeks , "is to have confidence in what we can do together, also to have concern for the truth, to make the choice they deem the best and if they want to stay in the euro area, to know that Europe will come to their support because it is necessary, and that at the same time efforts need to be made ", he insisted.

It's awful. He's effectively asking them to elect a corrupt right-wing government with a corrupt PASOK fig leaf.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 05:05:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
when Nigel Farage (MEP, UKIP) makes more sense than François Hollande (French President, PS)
*European Parliament, Strasbourg, 13 June 2012

  • Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the 'Europe of Freedom and Democracy' (EFD) Group in the European Parliament - http://nigelfaragemep.co.uk

  • Joint debate: European Council meeting - Multiannual financial framework and own resources

A. Preparation for the European Council meeting (28-29 June 2012)
Council and Commission statements
[2011/2920(RSP)]

B. Multiannual financial framework and own resources
Council and Commission statements
[2012/2678(RSP)]

Transcript:

"Another one bites the dust. Country number four, Spain, gets bailed out and we all of course know that it won't be the last. Though I wondered over the weekend whether perhaps I was missing something, because when the Spanish prime minister Mr Rajoy got up, he said that this bailout shows what a success the eurozone has been.

And I thought, well, having listened to him over the previous couple of weeks telling us that there would not be a bailout, I got the feeling after all his twists and turns he's just about the most incompetent leader in the whole of Europe, and that's saying something, because there is pretty stiff competition.

Indeed, every single prediction of yours, Mr Barroso, has been wrong, and dear old Herman Van Rompuy, well he's done a runner hasn't he. Because the last time he was here, he told us we had turned the corner, that the euro crisis was over and he hasn't bothered to come back and see us.

I remember being here ten years ago, hearing the launch of the Lisbon Agenda. We were told that with the euro, by 2010 we would have full employment and indeed that Europe would be the competitive and dynamic powerhouse of the world. By any objective criteria the Euro has failed, and in fact there is a looming, impending disaster.

Here's the key point
You know, this deal makes things worse not better. A hundred billion [euro] is put up for the Spanish banking system, and 20 per cent of that money has to come from Italy. And under the deal the Italians have to lend to the Spanish banks at 3 per cent but to get that money they have to borrow on the markets at 7 per cent. It's genius isn't it. It really is brilliant.

So what we are doing with this package is we are actually driving countries like Italy towards needing to be bailed out themselves.

<sigh>
In addition to that, we put a further 10 per cent on Spanish national debt and I tell you, any banking analyst will tell you, 100 billion does not solve the Spanish banking problem, it would need to be more like 400 billion.

And with Greece teetering on the edge of Euro withdrawal, the real elephant in the room is that once Greece leaves, the ECB, the European Central Bank is bust. It's gone.

It has 444 billion euros worth of exposure to the bailed-out countries and to rectify that you'll need to have a cash call from Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. You couldn't make it up could you! It is total and utter failure. This ship, the euro Titanic has now hit the iceberg and sadly there simply aren't enough life boats."



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 05:40:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While Tsipiras continues to argue that Greece needs to remain in the Euro and the memorandum is toxic, Hollande responds with veiled threats of expulsion, and Rajoy sets down plea for greater European integration in a letter to Van Rompuy (ElPais.com in English)
"It is necessary to adopt decisive and forceful measures to leave clear the irreversibility of our integration project, and in particular the single currency," the letter said. "The uncertainty regarding the euro is preventing the adjustment measures many countries are carrying out to have the desired effects that they should have," the letter continued. "This situation is worsening in an accelerated manner and it is necessary to address it as soon as possible."

Rajoy made the revelation on Wednesday in Congress, where he told lawmakers that what was required at the moment is for European to make a strong commitment statement in favor of greater union before opening a debate on how best to achieve this. "The future of the euro depends on us initiating this debate," he said. "The road won't be easy but it is an indispensable goal on which we must be in agreement."

But don't worry, Germany and the Netherlands think everything is a-ok. From Eurointelligence: Germany says no to banking union- existing tools are apparently adequate
We always feared that Angela Merkel's recent endorsement of a political union was a deflection, and this fear is now confirmed. The FT reports from Berlin that German officials are now playing down any expectations that Germany is ready to support a banking union and eurobonds, insisting that the existing tools of crisis resolution are adequate.

Instead German officials are pretending that they support a long-term process of political union. We are now back to where we were before: there is a need to act fast, but the German chancellor is chronically incapable of making the political case for burden sharing. Expectations in the German media, and among coalition politicians have also been "managed" in such a way that an agreement for a banking union would come as a total shock.

The Dutch finance ministry also said yesterday, according to Reuters, that a banking union should be seen as a long-term project that cannot be implemented immediately.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 05:48:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW what is the PSOE up to nowadays? Any serious anti-austerity voice in the party, any serious anti-government initiative?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 05:52:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing at all can be expected of the PSOE, for a long time. This is a big problem in the Spanish political scene. Besides, the United Left can not evolve into a kind of Spanish SYRIZA.
by PerCLupi on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 06:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not even given two years of Russia-style austerity?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 07:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have a higher unemployment rate than Greece. I shudder to think what Spain will look like after two years of "rescue".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 07:07:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Spanish people are not awared (concienciado?). Even with 10 years of austerity Siberian, there would not be something like SYRIZA. In that situation, people would call a "savior."

I believe a consciousness-raising action is urgently needed in Spain and Europe. A Spanish Party (French, Italian, German, etc) for a Social Europe.

Now, people can feel "the crisis". If you miss the opportunity, there will be a maximum globalization, with governors servers of it.

I think in Spain it can be perceived well.

by PerCLupi on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 09:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While you're probably right, I must point out that two years ago no one in Greece could have publicly predicted that SYRIZA would evolve into SYRIZA without suspicion that they are on crack. SYRIZA was polling around 3%, 15 months ago...

The IU -> SYRIZA scenario would go like this: First PSOE would have to start splintering. Then a left/sane faction would have to join the IU. Then the IU would have to seek alliance with other credible forces that would prop up its street cred which could be built by unwavering, clear and principled support of popular movements against austerity. That would involve removing any people who are too soft on the PSOE and recognizing that whatever remains of the PSOE is a political opponent, pretty much on the same level that the right is.
Then a leader with some public charisma would help, but is not really, absolutely necessary...
The problem is that at this stage there is no time for this scenario. Developments will occur at too rapid a pace so who knows... How strong is the fascist right in Spain right now and how high the level of xenophobia?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 07:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The IU -> SYRIZA scenario would go like this: First PSOE would have to start splintering.

Now that Spain has been "rescued" almost exactly 2 years after Greece, the situation is that the PP parliamentary group needs to start leaking parlamentarians, like PASOK did, until the government loses its supermajority and becomes vulnerable to a no-confidence motion. For PP parlamentarians to break party discipline seems unthinkable right now.

I think it's more likely that Spain's economy will tailspin to 30-35% official unemployment (60-70% youth unemployment!) and then social unrest prompts a suspension of civil liberties than that the PP will lose its parliamentary supermajority. The government has already legislated a criminalization of nonviolent civil disobedience.

But the PP base (and the parliamentary backbenchers) are right now in a state of perplexed shock both at the political/economic situation and at the government's performance (and performance art). So, who knows, there could be an internal revolt.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:13:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since Spain has an industrial base (that Greece doesn't have) isn't the whole of Europe frightened that Spain will--at some point--decide not to take on any more debt in this crazy, crazy plan of the troika?

Are people concerned that Spain will leave the eurozone precipitously? If they are not, should they be?

by Upstate NY on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
#VivaSyriza was (might still be) trending impressively in the Spanish tweetoshere. And the hope and goodwill being projected through it are impressive. Apparently there is great internal demand for such a project.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 11:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen that. Pleasantly surprised
by Euroliberal on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 03:04:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain there are something "worse than fascism" today's politicians are the grandchildren of grandparents, no children from their parents, ie caciquismo (perversion of the idea and the use of the power).

 UI is marked in Spain, very different from what it was in Greece. The Socialist Party is also marked and no alternative leaders.

 Since people from IU, from the PSOE, and new people, a new party would be required, unmarked, looking to the future.

 I quit. Sorry. I have to go to the doctor.

by PerCLupi on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 10:04:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is one of the problems that I see with the indignados. They could very well challenge established parties if they chose to participate in electoral politics, but there's a reticence to enter politics. If they did, you would have a Syriza type party.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 10:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have 1/2 hour. I agree.

 

by PerCLupi on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 10:36:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Greece. it happened in a timespan of a handful of months, if not weeks or days. I note that only in the last in Wednesday before Sunday May 6, had been recorded in the polls that Syriza might end up second party.

"Eurozone leaders have turned a 50bn Greek solvency problem into a 1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Sat Jun 16th, 2012 at 11:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering the record of Greek pollsters, as well as their close affiliation with the two clientilist parties, I think a better measure of when Syriza became a credible threat would be the shift in the propaganda from "there is no alternative" to "Syriza is not an alternative."

To be blunt: If a Greek polling agency about whom I knew nothing else told me that a majority of the Greeks believed that sky to be blue, I would email talos and ask him whether the result was credible before believing it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 16th, 2012 at 11:19:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In any case, voters moved quite suddenly in Greece. And I believe that is the lesson for Spain, too.

"Eurozone leaders have turned a 50bn Greek solvency problem into a 1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Sat Jun 16th, 2012 at 11:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ans: the latter since his sister party has imploded and is now beyond logical repair.
by Euroliberal on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When was the last time that stopped a PES politician from supporting a party or policy?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:16:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lol

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:24:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The centre right/far-right divide is crumbling further:

News bites @ 10 | Athens News

6. BROTHER PARTIES New Democracy has landed itself in a spot of trouble after its election coordinator in northern Greece, Panayiotis Psomiadis, described neo-Nazi Golden Dawn as a "brother, centre-right party of New Democracy". The comment was made some days ago and Psomiadis denied it. The issue returned on Wednesday when a recording of the comment surfaced on YouTube. Last year, a court removed Psomiadis from his position of governor of Central Macedonia after it found him found guilty of cancelling a fine for a petrol station owner while he was Thessaloniki prefect.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 03:43:44 AM EST
I really don't get this. They really think they can pick up enough extreme-right votes to beat Syriza, without being abandoned by centrists?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 06:00:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

ekathimerini.com | New Democracy official 'not bothered' by Golden Dawn

"Personally, I'm not bothered by Chrysi Avgi, apart from any extreme behaviour, which I condemn," said Psomiadis, who was brought back into the ND fold for these elections after losing his post last year after being found guilty of cancelling a fine for a gas station while he was Thessaloniki prefect.

Psomiadis is then reported to have told reporters that ND would perform well in Thrace as it was attracting support from "sibling center right parties" such as Democratic Alliance, Independent Greeks, Drasi and Chrysi Avgi. He added that he was in talks with members of the far right part in a bid to convince them to move to ND.

Regarding abandonment by those right of centre, I wouldn't bet on that. (Then again I don't think too highly of them.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 06:19:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to enforce their austerity should they get a majority, or undermine syriza should they fall short.
by wu ming on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 05:43:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Of shipowners and taxes
they would have to switch to a country flag that would be less privileged according to IMO and would therefore cost them more insurance fees and have a larger inspection burden etc.

I am clueless about shipping. How does this work?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 07:45:16 AM EST
IMO = International Maritime Organization

According to my vague understanding - the IMO rates the shipping inspection regimes of various countries and this rating forms part of the insurance assessment.

So if you switch from Greece to Liberia all sorts of costs may go down, but the likelihood is your insurance costs will go up.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:02:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shipping is not as simple as some rich guy wanting to own a ship.
There is a lot of know-how in Greece and it's no coincidence that a small country like that can boast such a position in Int'l shipping.
That know-how lowers the risk to clients and the costs to both maily from insurance fees.
by Euroliberal on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:17:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You overestimate those guys.

"Eurozone leaders have turned a 50bn Greek solvency problem into a 1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Sat Jun 16th, 2012 at 11:34:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The International Maritime Organization, from the little I have read has some sort of evaluation of "flag credibility" which affects such things as insurance rates, and inspection procedures (that could be time-consuming). I.e. liabilities based on Greek law is something insurers prefer compared to flag-of-convenience countries... Also Greek shipowners will no longer have the advantage of being part of a country block that supports their interests in more ways that one and at all levels. The single most active area of intervention by Greece in EU affairs concerns shipping laws and regulations. The Greek commissioner is of Shipping and Fisheries.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:08:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, they're very likely bluffing.

I can't see that a move to a flag of convenience in the long term would be cheaper than a one-off payment in the short term.

Some business owners may still throw their toys out of the economic pram to make a politcal point. But I'd guess a majority would be more hard nosed about.

The current narrative counts as lobbying and persuasion, not a genuine statement of intent.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 08:26:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of these companies are run with the long term in mind, like Diana Shipping run by Simeon Palios, but other companies such as DryShips run by George Economou have shown a proclivity toward hopping on the quick dollar even at the expense of future business and reputation. So it's anyone's guess what these people would do if Greece instituted a new law.

But, don't expect help from Europe, if you're Greece. When a soda tax was prescribed by the troika for Greece, Hellenic Coca-Cola bottling (#2 bottling in the world after Coke Atlanta) threatened to move, and apparently there were suitors in Eastern Europe.

This is just like the transparency in banking accord that was just nixed by Austria and Luxembourg (among others) even as Switzerland AGREED to it!!

by Upstate NY on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 09:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no such thing as long-term shipping for Greek ship-owners now. The Chinese are preparing to squeeze them out and they really know it. So they are going for the short-term bonanza to move to some new business.That's part of what is currently happening in Greece behind the screens.

"Eurozone leaders have turned a 50bn Greek solvency problem into a 1,000bn existential crisis for the European Union." David Miliband
by Kostis Papadimitriou on Sat Jun 16th, 2012 at 11:38:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Furthermore, shipping rates are very, very weak, at least tanker rates. Many companies have lost 80% or more of their market values in the last year alone. Even the ones who have strong balance sheets and lots of long-term fixed-price contracts are down about a third (to my sorrow, as I have a small (now even smaller :p ) position in one of them).

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 05:21:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope the IMO are better at rating things than S&P and Moodys... :p

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 05:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The statement you quoted is not really correct. For one, taxing Greek owned ships will not change flagging in any way. There is nothing now in place stopping ships that are owned by a Greek or any other company from flying whatever flag they choose. The one general exception is for ships operating in cabotage (i.e domestic service). A quick look at the fleet of Greek owned Danaos bears this out: there are ships with flags from Malta, Cyprus, Panama and Liberia but none from the sample I looked at with a Greek flag. Some of the generally richer countries offer financial or tax incentives to maintain some semblence of a domestic fleet in case of emergency or for pride but as far as I know, there are no legal restrictions in place that would keep the ship's owner from changing flags at their convenience.

Flag choice will have little if any impact on insurance rates. No matter the flag, a ship owner can easily under-insure a ship, especially for old junkers hauling non-hazardous (bulk) cargo. It's their risk after all, plus tracing actual ownership can be very difficult if not impossible. For older ships, this option can be very attractive. Far more important to insurers is where (actually with whom) the ship is classed. The use of a reputable classification society (Lloyd's, American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas...) will do much more to impress insurers than the flag on the stern.

Flag choice will impact inspections. Increased inspections by the three major Port State Control organizations (Tokyo MOU, Paris MOU and the US Coast Guard) will result in lower ship productivity and there will be greater uncertainty for a shipper but the major benefit is low crewing requirements/costs. Note also that the relationship between flags and their performance rating is not necessarily intuitive. Simply being European doesn't help the Belgians who are currently targeted by the Coast Guard and in the gray area for Tokyo MOU. Meanwhile, the Marshall Islands and Liberia are white (i.e. not targeted) for both of the MOU's and also non-targeted by the Coast Guard.

Regardless of the ship's classification or flag, I agree with the quote from the ship owner, good luck tracking these guys down now to make them pay taxes. For this tax to have been effective, they would have had to establish it quickly and without the ship owners' prior knowledge. Forget it now.

by Jace on Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 05:43:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Greek real estate, financial companies, hotels and media companies along with the concept of imputed wealth could be another matter. If shipowners and other oligarchs want to play hide and seek with their ships their other assets might become fair game. But the assets should be encumbered before the claims are made.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 12:45:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't tax the ships, but you can confiscate any still domestically held assets, potentially to the tune of the sum total of any assets remaining in Greece.

I say take away their houses, their TV stations, their newspapers, their bank accounts (retroactively too) and the clothes on their back when they try to leave the country. And just for good measure, they should be banned from owning property of any kind until they have returned the stolen assets.

For that matter, you can lock them up if they are dumb enough to stay in Greece after expatriating valuable assets for tax avoidance purposes.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 01:07:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is, IMHO, the most important election news today:

News bites @ 10 | Athens News

4. KAMMENOS EYES SYRIZA The Independent Greeks are not prepared to discuss any "renegotiation" of the austerity conditions outlined in the memorandum, party leader Panos Kammenos underlined at a Thursday press conference in the Zappeio Mansion. He also ruled out any cooperation New Democracy and Pasok, saying they were essentially "one and the same". He did not, however, rule out cooperation with Syriza, under certain conditions.

Although SYRIZA talks about a leftist coalition, it appears to me that the rhetoric of Independent Greeks is the only one compatible with aiming for a coalition (or at least cooperation) with a SYRIZA government.

In other news, Greek voters are blackmailed with the threat of Euro exit while the BuBa head protests blackmail with the threat of contagion by threatening blackmail with the bailout programme...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 03:41:13 AM EST
If it could avoid Syriza having to deal with Pasok to gain a majority, it would be worth it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 04:51:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
News bites @ 10 | Athens News
BUNDESBANK 'NO' TO 'BLACKMAIL The eurozone can't allow any country to blackmail it with the threat of financial contagion, the chief of Germany's Bundesbank Jens Weidmann said on Friday. "In any case, we must not allow any country to blackmail us with the consequences of contagion," Weidmann, who is also a member of the governing council of the ECB, was quoted as saying in an interview with Kathimerini. He said Greece had to stick to the terms of the 130bn euro bailout programme agreed in March and he ruled out any extension of the programme's timetable to allow the country more time to reach its targets.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 04:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it me or does it seem that German politics resembles (in a creepy way) the Iranian regime?

Merkel is more like Ahmadinejad and the Bundesbank the Grand Ayatollah.

Are they a bank or is it just a huge basement with thousands of bloggers in pijamas? Do they have a Tweeter #account btw?

Oh... never mind that no day goes by that some new guy with the pompous title of BB Vice president feels the urge to pontificate on European policy. Kind of reminds me of the number of AlQaeda #2s that Bush used to kill every week.

by Euroliberal on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 05:59:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL!
by Katrin on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 08:08:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have a point.

Both are theocracies, albeit with a different religion.

Both resort excessively to capital punishment.

Both have an Expediency Council

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 07:55:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, one German minister admitted they are preparing blackmail for the world at the G20.

Blackmail, or, as it was formerly known, Negotiation.

by Upstate NY on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 09:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial Times Deutschland apparently decided it needed to adress Greeks in Greek to warn than of the gravity of their mistake if they don;t resist the "demagogue" of SYRIZA, while acknowledging that the clowns they are urging Greeks to support are corrupt and incompetent...

As polls showed that the vote was tightening to a draw, this message was celebrated at SYRIZA's headquarters as possibly a game changer. What were these people thinking?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2012 at 07:31:20 PM EST
Thinking? There is a combination of extreme arrogance and ignorance at play here, also called hubris.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 16th, 2012 at 02:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Demagogy" and "inflation just around the corner" and "irresponsible" and "Unserious" are rhetorical weapons that have always worked in the past. Humans, when confronted with new situations, reach first into their bag of proven tools, no matter how obviously (to anyone else) unsuitable they are for the new circumstance.

And besides, anybody who understands what is going on in Greece is unlikely to object to that editorial.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 16th, 2012 at 04:42:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The answer to an anti-social ass like Restis is to seize domestic assets; track recent transfers overseas, domesticate judgments there, and start seizing; then start domesticating judgments in shipping centers in general and obtaining maritime liens.  We'll see how fast his assets remain "unfound."
by rifek on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 09:16:55 PM EST
Or you could just lock him up until he coughs up the account numbers for the Swiss bank accounts. He's basically admitted to tax fraud in public.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 17th, 2012 at 09:42:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was assuming he's already out of the country.
by rifek on Mon Jun 18th, 2012 at 08:38:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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