Wednesday, May 16, 2012

greece will run out of money in six weeks unless it bends over for the "bailout"

telegraph | Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Telegraph, Theodoros Pangalos said he was "very much afraid of what is going to happen" after Greek voters rejected the deal in elections last Sunday.

"The majority of the people voted for a very strange mental construction," he said. "We want to be in the EU and the euro, but we don't want to pay anything for the past."

The main beneficiary of the election, the hard-Left Syriza coalition, came a startling second on a promise to tear up the deal, which promises EU loans to keep massively-indebted Greece afloat, but demands crippling spending cuts in return. Germany, the principal lender, has said it will stop payments if Greece breaks its promises on spending.

Mr Pangalos warned: "There is a school of thought that says the Germans are bluffing. They need Greece and will never throw us out of the eurozone. But what will happen, which is almost certain, is they will not give us the money to pay our debts.

"We will be in wild bankruptcy, out-of-control bankruptcy. The state will not be able to pay salaries and pensions. This is not recognised by the citizens. We have got until June before we run out of money.

"We have been spending the future for half a century. What [the anti-bailout forces] are really asking from the EU is not just to pay our bills, but also to pay for the deficit which we are still creating.

"I'm sure the Germans don't want Greece to leave the euro. What I don't know is how much they're willing to pay. It depends on the German man on the street. Is he willing to pay his taxes to save Greece? I doubt it."

After each of the top three parties at the election failed to form a government, Greece's president, Karolos Papoulias, will on Sunday hold last-ditch talks to cobble together a national unity coalition. The alternative is a fresh election next month which polls show Syriza is likely to win.

Mr Pangalos compared Syriza's charismatic leader, Alexis Tsipras, to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

"Are the Germans going to pay for a guy that wants to imitate Chavez?" he said. "Except that Chavez has oil, and an army."

The deputy prime minister also warned that chaos could boost the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, which won an unprecedented seven per cent of the vote, and 21 seats, in Sunday's election.

"In the places where the police voted, the fascists got 25 per cent," he said. "They are a serious threat. They have used violence already – you don't know where it will stop.

"You know how it happened in Germany – it started with the Jews, then the Communists, then everybody – it could happen here. This is the country, after the Soviet Union and Germany itself, with the biggest percentage of [Second World War] casualties in its population."