Greece, throughout her long history, has endured worse situations and has always been able to overcome them and survive.
Let’s face it, joining the European Economic Community (EEC) was a big mistake. Greece was not an economic or industrial power seeking expansion.
Greece cannot compete with the economies of Germany, France, UK, Holland, etc., and therefore has no future in the EU (European Union).
And Greece will never be in a position to compete with such big powers, so she must consider getting out of the union now and implement some of the following measures and find a way to progress economic growth and national optimism for a future far better than the bleak one within the EU.
Withdraw from the Eurozone and European Union
We have heard several EU officials saying that Greece – in order to become competitive again – must leave the Eurozone. This suggestion presents the best opportunity for Greece to leave the union. Greece does not deserve its current humiliating status. Greeks have been characterised by their (supposedly) EU partners as lazy people: ignoring the fact that low paid Greek immigrants contributed in building the economies of Germany, Australia, Canada, the U.S., etc. They can rebuild their own economy too, without the illusionary assistance of unwilling benefactors.
The epithet “lazy” is appropriate for corrupt and empty-headed politicians whom the suffering Greek population must ban permanently from holding any public office.
Declaring Greece an “import and export tax-free” heaven
This will make the country an attractive investment destination. All types of revenue-generating activities such as international conferences, trade shows, cultural events, free economic and trade business centres, favourable to shipping business sector laws, will contribute to the national economy and create employment opportunities for Greeks.
Open negotiations to set up regional depots and assembly plants
Invite international manufacturers to establish regional depots and offices in Greece to be close to European, parts of Middle East and North African markets. The strategic geographical location, together with the import tax-free or reduced tax environment can make Greece among the most preferred business centres in the world.
Respect individual currencies and avoid monopolistic currencies
Enter into bilateral agreements with various countries on business conditions based on mutual respect for each other’s national currencies on settlement of payments and avoid dependence of the national economy on the monopolistic currencies of USD, EURO, and YEN etc. Greece is a small economy and does not need a large volume of trade to survive and develop better than any outside help, advice, dictates and influences.
Re-circulating the Drachma
Bringing back the drachma will benefit the big Greek tourism industry, which should strive to become the most attractive and budget-competitive tourism destination in the world. The conversion of foreign currencies will have higher value in drachma for tourists. Prices quoted on the Greek drachma, together with the tax-free or reduced tax environment, will result in adding more value to a holiday budget, potentially making Greece very affordable and hopefully overwhelmed with tourists from every part of the world.
A thriving tourism industry will substantially help the Greek economy and create many new job opportunities for Greeks.
Re-circulating the drachma will create an unfavourable business environment for many multinational companies in Greece such as Carrefour, LIDL, Cash&Carry, Dia, CHAMPIONS, IKEA, Praktiker, etc., who would either have to use locally produced goods or import their goods using the drachma to pay their suppliers.
Their profits can only be repatriated in drachmas to their mother companies.
Calculating simple numbers we can see the large scale bleeding of the Greek economy by the multinational chains operating in Greece. If the 11 million Greek consumers each spend a minimum of 200 euros monthly buying Greek products, the country will have more than 2.2 billion euros circulating monthly in the market. This is beyond any doubt the sponge that absorbs every single euro from the pockets of Greek consumers causing additional haemorrhage to the national economy.
Regulated immigration in Greece
Greece is not against legal immigrants for specialised services, but due to financial constraints, specific restriction must be accepted if the immigrants indeed want to work and live in Greece.
The return of the drachma and the regulated export of foreign currencies will discourage illegal immigrants therefore stopping the billions of euros exported every year from Greece and at the same reduce the social problems created by illegal, undocumented immigrants.
Boost Greek shipping companies
Initiate negotiations, with the Greek shipping companies located abroad to find ways for mutual benefits and bring them back to Greece to enhance more shipping activities and further help the Greek economy including creation of new jobs. Given the large Greek merchant marine fleet, efforts must be exerted to the possibility of converting it into large global corporations and compete internationally to obtain better trade terms and make Greece a major shipping centre of the world.
Politicians should not hold office for more than two terms
Term limits in holding public office for politicians to maximum two terms of five years each will deter re-elected corrupt politicians to rule perpetually. Permanently banning lobbyists and eliminating closed door negotiations for procurement of services, military supplies and other important purchases of substantial value. Instead, all such negotiations must be made publicly to prevent a crisis like the present one.
Pursue war reparation claims
Pursue with serious determination through the international courts, the war reparation claims for the hundreds of thousands innocent victims including the destruction of the country by Germany’s invasion and occupation. The USD $3 billion occupational loan imposed on Greece during WWII by the German Nazis is still unpaid.
The above are the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of the undersigned with millions more to follow. The priority now is to empty the Greek parliament of its present members and fill it with fresh faces and ideas for a new page in the Greek political history.
* Ilias Sourdis is a freelance 60-year-old Greek expatriate and businessman.