thanking you all once again for the solidarity and your active way to assist in these moments, we would like to share some thoughts and some info with you.
You all know that tomorrow the stock market and the banks will not open in Greece and that there is a limit to cash withdrawals, however credit and cash cards will fully operate and all bank deposits are guaranteed. This is a measure which was necessary to be taken as a reaction to the blackmail as formed by eurogroup and the ECB.
In parallel, PM Alexis Tsipras has again tonight asked for a few days extension of the program. He has sent the request to the leaders of EU Commission, EU Council, ECB, EP, and the leaders of the Eurozone member states. Waiting for answer we would like to ask you to join your efforts to exercise pressure in favor of this request.
Also, today the PM addressed the citizens with a new message calling them not to be afraid as “our only fear is fear itself” (you may find this and previous speeches in English at his official site here).
Remaining in the line of solidarity, your initiatives, statements, mobilization and, even, demonstrations can be an important part of a massive international response to this attack.
As social media is also an important part, below you may find some hashtags (for some of the countries) and some parts of PM Alexis Tsipras' speech yesterday in the Greek parliament in case you want to use them on your twitter.
Another issue that came up today concerns the proposal of the institutions as uploaded on the EC site and the argument of several representatives of the EU institutions saying that Greece walked out of the negotiations. This is absolutely not true as the Greek government was put in front of a “take it or leave it” ultimatum.
In any case, with both of their texts, the one of today and the one of 25 June which was given as an ultimatum, the institutions ask, amongst others:
* To impose 23% VAT on restaurants
* To abolish the VAT exemption on the islands
* To impose the deposit of the 100% of the “tax advance” to businesses and self employed
* To abolish the tax deductions for the farmers (on fuel, on income tax)
* To cut 900 millions (0.5% of the GDP) the expenditures on social welfare
* To reduce immediately the early retirements
* To gradually abolish the solidarity subsidy to pensioners
* To fully implement the law 3863/2010 on social security funds, which was adopted during the previous memorandum program
* To implement the condition of zero deficit and the funding of secondary pension funds to be done only by own resources
* To abolish specific type of contributions that finance the pension funds, which means a more than 700 million euros reduction of their income
* To increase the contributions of the pensioners for their health rights, from 4 to 6%
* To freeze pensions until 2021
* To create the law allowing massive lay-offs and not to bring back by law the collective bargaining, if not allowed by the institutions
* To reduce the limit of non-confiscation on bank deposits of less € 1500
* To increase the interest rate for debt settlements of citizens and businesses
* To reduce the salaries on the public sector
* To implement fully the tool kit of OECD that the previous governments had decided (which contained several negative aspects and despite the fact that the new Greek government has a new and different agreement with the OECD)
* Measures that seriously harm the greek pharmaceutical production
* To go on with the privatization of the Independent Power Transmission Operator
* To sell the shares of the Greek Telecommunications that are held by the State
* Not to impose the special contribution of 12% on profits of more than 500.000 for 2014
* Not to bring back the employers' contributions for pensions and social security back to the levels of 2014.
All of the above are part of a set of measures, corresponding to the IMF's philosophy, which was given as an ultimatum to the Greek government as it can also be deducted by the relevant decision of the eurogroup. The only difference is on the VAT on hotels in the text uploaded today by the Commission on its internet site. But, here is a small explanation on this issue that also took some space in the public debate: on Wednesday morning the institutions gave a proposal for 23% VAT on restaurants and 13% on hotels starting on the 1st of July. The Greek government did not accept the increased VAT on restaurants. On the morning of Thursday, the Institutions came back with a proposal of 23% both on restaurants and hotels! This is the proposal which was given to the Greek government by the institutions in the eurogroup as ultimatum. So, if there was a change of position the next day, without being officially communicated to the Greek government, this is an issue that concerns the institutions and the Greek side cannot do anything about it.
We thank you once again for all your solidarity,
Belgium: #jesoutienslaGrèce and #iksteunGriekenland
Some parts of PM Alexis Tsipras' speech yesterday in the Greek parliament:
* In the birthplace of democracy, we will not ask Mr. Schäuble’s or Mr. Dijsselbloem’s permission to allow the Greek people to voice their opinion!
* Europe has a long tradition of democracy. This was neither created by the Eurogroup nor the International Monetary Fund – which seem more intent on dividing Europe.
* The only thing that the Greek people have to fear today, after so many years of being pillaged, is fear itself.
* We were asked to once again place the burden on the shoulders of pensioners and workers. To sign another Memorandum, bringing further recession and a slow death for the Greek economy.
* With a clear "NO" vote, we will have a much stronger negotiating position after the referendum.
* With a clear "NO" vote, we send a message that Greece is not going to surrender.
* Honoring the sovereignty of the Greek people to express their will is in no way a decision to break with Europe. It is a decision to put an end to extortion and coercion, practices that have become all too common in Europe.
* With the support of our people, we will reject the ultimatum before us. We seek to uphold Europe's democratic traditions and values, as well as the European acquis. Holding a referendum is a decision of dignity. We are standing up to the economic blackmail.
* We have a huge responsibility both to our people and to all the people of Europe who saw the political change in Greece as a great hope for change and transformation in Europe.
* The values we seek to defend are: democracy, equality, solidarity, mutual respect, dignity and social rights.
* The Greek people have a crucial choice to make – one that will affect the future of Europe, as well as the future of our country. The people of Europe are looking to Greece to uphold dignity and democracy. We have a strong responsibility to not disappoint these hopes.
* We are accountable to the Greek people, our history and future, as well as the futures of all people to live with dignity and hope.
* We will defend democracy. We will defend popular sovereignty, while also defending Europe’s founding principles.