Greece regularly makes the news around the world for things like being about to default, being about to slaughter the Euro, and so on. But here in Greece, we have a lot more to talk about. So periodically I’ll be posting on what’s getting a lot of play in the Greek media.
Today, it’s the Greek Minister of Development, Mr. Mihalis Chrysochoidis.
For those who’ve been avoiding the news since May, 2010, the “Memorandum” is the law that the IMF and EU required Greece to pass in order to receive the bailout that Greece needed to avoid a national default.
I’m linking to another blog which posted this story, but the story is in Greek there. I’m translating it for you here.
“I didn’t read the Memorandum.”
“The details of the Memorandum were not a part of my political responsibility at that time,” noted Mr. Chrysochoidis a little after his statement on SKAI 100.3 FM.
“I didn’t read the Memorandum,” said Development Minister Mr. Mihalis Chysochoidis on Tuesday, having stated that he will be running for PASOK party president, speaking on SKAI Channel’s morning program “Front Line.”
“I didn’t read the Memorandum, because I had other responsibilities, I had other duties. I had to deal with crime as Minister of Citizen Protection, it wasn’t my job to study the Memorandum,” he stressed.
Mr. Chrysochoidis stated that he agrees with the speech made by Former Prime Minister Simitis in Berlin, who said that the Memorandum was signed under conditions of panic because a stop-payment was imminent, and was based on having to accept several things that were not realistic, with suffocating timelines and measures that hit commerce.
“The negotiations were done in a very horizontal manner, and made a very optimistic and simplistic prediction that things would work out in one particular way; things don’t work out in the way you want. The measures on top of measures led to a greater recession because they reduced revenue,” he stressed.
“I heard the day before yesterday in the [PASOK party] National Conference that we did everything properly and ‘we embittered the people but we saved the country,’ but I don’t make that claim,” added the Development Minister. “
Another minister admitted to having had only three hours to look over the Memorandum before having to vote on it.
Both of these ministers – the one quoted above and the 3-hour one – voted in favor of the Memorandum – the law that is now considered by many responsible for the tremendous recession, unemployment, and quickly worsening financial situation in Greece.
Tonight, on the very popular comedy talk-show Radio Arvyla, they made a great deal out of this. In particular, they poked fun at how boring the Memorandum was, and of course he wouldn’t read it: if they had put some comics or photos of hot naked chicks in there, then maybe. Or maybe if it came with a free CD. And “the main reason he didn’t read it was he was waiting for it to come out on DVD.”
Should we really expect our Parliamentarians (equivalent to US Senators) to read the text of a bill before voting it into law?
Is it an unreasonable expectation? Or is it part of the job for which we taxpayers pay them (a lot)?
That is what is all over the Greek media today.