Mr Theodoros Pangalos , Vice-President of the Greek government was the host of the EACC’s European American Press Club in Paris today. Speaking on the record, he mostly addressed the current “Greek crisis”. His key comments were :
– Greece does not need fresh aid . It only needs the “troika” (EU,ECB,IMF) to implement the 07/21 accord. Greece will keep its word and do its bit provided the troika fulfills its financial commitments. All parties must act within the framework of the agreement and not further. For example, the IMF is highly legitimate in the financial area but not regarding the Greek national healthcare system , a political domain only Greeks can decide on.
– The Greek view is that existing agreements regarding the Eurozone are intangible: no one can opt out , no one can be kicked out.
– Greece does not believe in the relevance of surveys of “the man in the street” purporting to show that a majority of Germans and Frenchmen are against financial support in favor of Greece
– Rich Greek shipowners will not be called on to pay taxes and take a share of the financial burden: that would be unheard of and not feasible. The same goes for the professions, where taxes are against the grain. Mr Pangalos recounted how, as a lawyer , he was disbarred for declaring monthly income over € 1,500 , the highest amount accepted by the profession’s instances for tax purposes. The brunt of the financial effort will have to be borne by SME’s.
– All investors and competencies are welcome in Greece , including China (e.g. in railroads)
– “nobody is innocent in our financial situation”
– Greece has no regrets it joined the EU
– The EU without its currently weak members would be a return to the Europe of twenty years ago , and that would be a disaster.
Mr Pangalos spoke in French and English. He holds a PhD from the Sorbonne. He was a fierce opponent of the 1967-1974 of the military dictatorship (the junta deprived him of his Greek nationality). He has held various high positions in Greek government and public affairs continually since 1981.
by Maurice Marchand-Tonel