“Southern Europe Does Almost Nothing—Except Complain”

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com

“While Eastern Europe is largely implementing the necessary reforms, Southern Europe does almost nothing—except complain,” said Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov in an interview, a withering blast aimed at neighboring Greece.

And in Greece, “The risk of bankruptcy is still existent,” said Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of Democratic Left, smallest of the three parties in the coalition government. His way of reminding the bailout Troika—the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the IMF—to open the money spigot all the way, or else! The Troika inspectors are scheduled to return to Athens next week to have another look [read.... Greece Flails About, Troika Inspectors Paint “Awful Picture,” Merkel Draws A Line, German Industry & Voters Back Her: It’s Almost Over For Greece].

In September, armed with the inspectors’ final report, the Troika will decide whether or not to make the next bailout payment to Greece. If the decision is no, Greece will default and most likely return to the drachma.

“We demand an extension,” Kouvelis said, summarizing eloquently the strategy since the June elections. Instead of implementing with fiendish dedication the reforms that the prior government had agreed to in exchange for the second bailout package, the new government insists on renegotiating those reforms and then delaying those renegotiated reforms, while insisting on the continuous flow of other people’s billions. He complained about the recession, and that therefore structural reforms couldn’t be implemented.

But neighboring Bulgaria is one of the EU’s fastest growing economies. It has the second lowest national debt of all EU countries and even sports a budget surplus. Individual and corporate income tax rates are 10%. And it’s one of only three EU countries in compliance with the financial stability criteria in the Maastricht treaty. The very criteria that were supposed to have prevented the debt crisis ravaging the Eurozone. So the fiscal union treaty, pushed through by Chancellor Angela Merkel but hung up in the German Constitutional Court, is supposed to accomplish the same thing that the Maastricht treaty already failed to accomplish: force countries to obey limits on deficits and debt.

But Bulgaria has been in compliance, in part due to Djankov, who became Finance Minister in 2009, after a 14-year stint at the World Bank. When asked if his country, still one of the poorest in the EU, wasn’t balancing its budget at the expense of the people, he said: “That is a false and dangerous contradiction that the Southern Europeans recently added to the debate. Countries like Germany, Finland, or also Bulgaria have growing economies and still adhere to the deficit rules. Balanced budgets and growth are not a contradiction. Prerequisite is that the necessary reforms are implemented.”

Spain has been trying to do that. But people resist. With unemployment at 24.4%, their government on the brink of financial doom, and their banks collapsing, Spaniards have turned to protests. Yesterday, firefighters were on the forefront. While some battled the police, others protested tongue in cheek, and with a good laugh, making their point with perfect visual clarity—and with a lot of bare skin. Read.... Naked Firefighters Protest Salary Cuts (VIDEO - they use their hands or helmets to cover up their equipment).

And in Greece, reforms just aren’t implemented. Even the privatization of bloated state-owned enterprises is bogged down. 28 projects by 2015: electricity provider DEI, the postal service, airports, railroads, ports, hospitals.... For €19 billion, an amount that keeps shrinking. But this year, only two projects are on the list: the national lottery and the former International Center of the Olympic Press, a mere building.

And so, Costas Mitropoulos, the frustrated CEO of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, which was put in place a year ago to implement the privatizations, resigned. “The newly elected government has not given the support needed,” Mitropoulos wrote in his letter of resignation. “Instead, they have indirectly yet systematically reduced the prestige and credibility in the eyes of potential investors.”

And the argument that Bulgaria has an advantage over Greece because it has its own currency doesn’t hold water. After losing value at an exponential rate, the lev was pegged to the Deutsche Mark in 1999 at 1:1 and then to the euro at the DM’s conversion rate. And the peg has held! Alas, Bulgaria was scheduled to adopt the euro by January 1, 2012. A deadline that came and went. So was Djankov hesitating to adopt the euro? “Hesitating?” he said. “More than that. We put the process on ice. We first want to see what the future rules of the Eurozone look like.”

If it sticks around. In December 2001, when I was in Germany on business, bank showcases were filled with feel-good euro agitprop. Euros would enter circulation on January 1, and this was part of the campaign to persuade Germans to surrender their Deutsche Marks. Some were apprehensive, but my business contacts were gleeful: the euro would become the dominant reserve currency, and oil would be priced in it! Read.... Now Even Counterfeiters Are Giving up on the Euro.

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fatlibertarian's picture

Statists gonna state.

dcb's picture

No problem with what you ae saying, and greece is a different case3, but these ailing economies of other countries would have been in such dore straits if they hadn't been forced to bailout the banks, and they should have given the bondhiolders haircuts in doing it. this whole plan has been about preserving the wealth of the wealth and transferrring the investment mistkes they made onto the public. So, in my view these riots and proests are justified!!

shovelhead's picture

Any culture that eats canned beans on toast is pretty much doomed to begin with.


chiswickcat's picture

Haaaayyy! I resemble that statement!

Winston Churchill's picture

Spoken by a citizen of a country whose only claim to

the culinary arts is;

The peanut butter and jelly on wonder bread sandwich.

People in glass houses etc.,,

sun tzu's picture

spoken by a citizen of a country whose only claim to the culinary arts is;


pudding made from sheep guts. no country has worse food than the UK


perhaps you should remove your head from your ass and try some american BBQ, cajun, or soul food instead of eating peanut butter sandwiches

Winston Churchill's picture

You mean BBQ from the west Indies,and cooking from an area ruled by the French

before the Luisianna prchase.

You have obviously never been to th UK as your totallly bigoted ignorance is showing.

As I have personally introduced several Americans to the "real' British food and their mind

and taste buds were blown away by it.

Looking in fom the outside anyone would think McDs was the staple food here

(and it is for many).Stereotype are aa moch a fallacy as Red and Blue politics.


Ropingdown's picture

shovelhead:  If more Americans could eat a healthy cheap meal of canned beans on toast with a small glass of milk, instead of the free-refill 32 oz sodas with double bacon cheeseburgers....they'd be fitter, slimmer, and they'd have a a hundred extra bucks to SAVE at the end of each month.  The "you're nobody if you have to eat simple food" BS is the culture fault TV/Hollywood/euro class culture has brought us.  I know a billionaire family that eats food so simple you would sneer at it, as you did above.  "It is no sin to be poor, but to fail to do something about it." Pericles.

sun tzu's picture

why don't you lead the way. there are plenty of better foods to eat for me and i bet i'm in much better shape than your saggy pale ass

DeltaDawn's picture

From the looks of it, you are in excellent shape, unless that is only a photo of your Internet identity. ;)

FeralSerf's picture

There is nothing healthy about a meal of canned beans on toast with a small glass of milk for the average adult.

Not to imply that 32 oz hfcs sodas with double bacon cheeseburgers are much better, but I will agree that the canned beans (or peas) on week-old toast is cheaper.

"It is no sin to be poor, but to fail to do something about it." Pericles.

Unfortunately , the police won't let you do something constructive about it.   This is doubly true of the UK where firearms are strongly discouraged by management.

My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture



perhaps no one every read Crime and Punishment in Greece:



“‎Honoured sir, poverty is not a vice, that's a true saying. Yet I know too that drunkeness is not a virtue, and that's even truer. But beggary, honoured sir, beggary is a vice. In poverty you may still retain your innate nobility of soul, but in beggary--never--no one. For beggary a man is not chased out of human society with a stick, he is swept out with a broom, so as to make it as humiliating as possible; and quite right, too, forasmuch as in beggary as I am ready to be the first to humiliate myself.”

Fyodor DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment


Inthemix96's picture

Well over here in England Wolf we seem to have a small immigration problem,

Namely net migration is now running at 250,000, per year and growing.  We are a tiny rock in the north sea.

We cannot handle this amount of folk arriving here, the infrastructure is fucked, the finances are fucked, the roads are fucked, the whole place is fucked, and still we import 250,000 more people each year.

Fucking class A madness

Psyman's picture

First off, fuck you Brit pig.  You are one of the cornerstones of the global Anglo-Zionist empire.  You may not like mass immigration, but you mean nothing.  Your elites are helping to construct the New World Order and one world government under Jewish rule.  And it's way too late to complain about mass immigration into the U.K. now.  All you can do is flee elsewhere.  I recommend Australia, still 92% white.

Jack Sheet's picture

Shit, ITM96,I thought all that stopped after Labour was voted out. Immigrants always vote for Socialism and free handouts.

trailing's picture

Just three years ago it was reported that the UK was importing over 400,000 legal immigrants a year, so you can guess at the number of illegals.  At the same time, native Britons were leaving the country at the same rate, a little over 400,000 a year.  In a state with roughly 70 million total population, that's a a million a year turning over.

tobus's picture

No one in the pro mass immigration media ever wants to mention the population churn figures. How can communities learn to give a shit about each other when half a million newcomers arrive and half a million bugger off each year? Answer is that they can't and don't.

That's why someone in Hackney (London riots) can get up off their sofa, walk 100 meters down the street and burn someone's business to the ground. They don't care if someone's sleeping in the flat upstairs and have to jump for their lives.

The uk is being torn to shreds by this stuff. The majority across the board want it to stop but anyone who dares to say so is labelled as a xenophobe and a racist. The elites who never have to suffer, living in their crystal townhouses, are perfectly happy to see democracy betrayed and the popular will ignored as long as it allows mass immigration to continue so they can satisfy themselves that they're clearly "Not Racist"(tm).

Psyman's picture

North America and Western Europe are far past the point of no return at this point.  All you can hope for at this point is for it all to burn to the mother fucking ground.

FeralSerf's picture

"Not Racist"(tm) is just nonsensical advertising script.  The real reason is so they can have loyal subjects.  This sort of population exchange as happened a number of times in the past in the British Isles.  At times it was quite brutal.

Winston Churchill's picture

British expats have always been a very large number.

I am one of those.I will be making the first return visit in 15 years,

right after the Olympics.

Always found a lot of Brits whichever of the many countries

I've lived in.Fort Lauderdale here in Florida seems to be part of greater Manchester.

From what I read , the immigration has changed from being the commonwealth

countries to mainly east european .Or is that wrong ?

tobus's picture

re most immigration coming from Eastern Europe, I'm afraid that's an outright lie propagated by the usual suspects (bbc et al). The vast majority 60-70% of mass immigration is from countries outside of the EU. 

Those also happen to be the countries from which immigration is not reversible.

Come from Poland and find that the UK is in economic crisis? No problem, Poland aint that bad, so they just return home.

Come from Nigeria and find that the UK is in economic crisis? There is no mother fucking way you're going to go back to Nigeria, to church bombings and low level perpetual civil war. Better just go on the dole and bring over 4 other Nigerians based on your Human Right to a family life.

Welcome back when you come by the way :)

silverdragon's picture

The Greeks need to tell the banksters to piss off.

brettd's picture

Right. How is that done?

Joe A's picture

If it is so good in Eastern Europe, then why so many of them left or are leaving to Western Europe or elsewehere? The EC the other day published a damming report about Bulgaria and Romania. About lack of transparency, lack of democracy and corruption (yes, this coming from the EC....). There is potential for growth and opportunities in Eastern Europe but there is a lot of corruption there. Lots of pay-offs and kickbacks to be paid. And government officials are very much involved in that. The people of Eastern and Southern Europa have a right to complain, not their politicians because they are the ones filling their pockets. The fastests ways to make money in Eastern Europe and anywhere else are politics and organised crime and often they have strong links.

Winston Churchill's picture

I went to Bulgaria once.Vowed never to return.

Everything was grey,the people ,the countryside,the very atmosphere itself.

Which explains why so many of them are anywhere else than there.

AnAnonymous's picture

Why do they leave?

For the same reason as usual: the consumption is done elsewhere.

A Eastern person moving to the West increases one opportunity of consuming products made in one (eastern) country.

The alternative looks like the following: stay on location, work and produce goods that are unlikely to be consumed on location or move where the consumption is done and improve the opportunity of consuming what is produced in the former country.

US citizen economics.

michigan independant's picture

For pitys sake we should of left you all alone I see. My god your master does not need a r232 jack in the back of your head since lead will fill it anyway with your ism of reductionist history. Sucks being a counter balance to reality as the middle kingdom.

AnAnonymous's picture

Reductionist history? A good one. US citizens know a lot about reductionist history.

Joe A's picture

They leave because they locally they cannot even afford to consume. The average net salary in Bosnia, Serbia or Macedonia for instance is 375 Euro. There are people who make more of course but there are people who only make 200 Euro. Try to live of that when prices are near Western European standards. Perhaps salaries in Bulgaria or Romania are higher but not that much. People in the former Yugoslavia have been living in crisis for the last 20 years and no end in sight. Whenever people in Western Europe complain about the crisis, they should go and have a look in Eastern Europe.

disabledvet's picture

Indeed. "Creating enough internal demand such that one can even afford an internal devaluation" is a challenge beyond all measure. Needless to say "the euro is the pain, not the cure." Currencies of all sorts will soon be the result "lest all default"...and "terms of trade" not friggin' debt money is the way forward now. WORK FOR A LIVING BY DOING SOMETHING USEFUL you clowns. To the East i say "start with a highway." Who knows...maybe even a trucker will appear.

brettd's picture

Some of this very complex economics gets reduced to this:

What can I do to bring value (to someone else)---for which I can be compensated.

ElvisDog's picture

I just got back from spending 3 weeks in Bitola, Macedonia. No one really seems to work there except those that work in restaurants and hotels. It's a city of 90,000 but it seems like 1/4 of them spend every afternoon and every night hanging out in outdoor bars and cafes. They stay up all night and they do this 7 days a week. Beer is cheap, about 1 Euro per bottle, and cigarettes are too, but even so they seem to spend a large percentage of their 375 Euro monthly income on beer and cigarettes.

Psyman's picture

I'll take that life style over 70 hour weeks in a corporate prison, working oneself into an early grave for green pieces of paper.  The people you describe are living.  Freely associating with other free humans and enjoying life.  Those of us in the West are foregoing life itself for a few pieces of fiat, to buy shit we don't need.  Overconsuming ourselves into obesity and illness.  The entire "Western" way of life needs a re-evaluation.

AnAnonymous's picture

I just got back from spending 3 weeks in Bitola, Macedonia. No one really seems to work there except those that work in restaurants and hotels.


Yep, so basically the population a tourist is primarly exposed to.

Speaking of bias, US citizen bias.

ElvisDog's picture

Nice try, smug dickhead, but I wasn't there on a vacation.

FeralSerf's picture

Traditionally in Muslim Yugoslavia, the women did all the work.  They women were an extremely sturdy lot.  The men primarily bullshitted and played games with each other all day except for the obligatory call of the faithful when they went to the mosque.  This is the way it was in Sarajevo when I was there in 1985.  I doubt much has changed.

ElvisDog's picture

Young Macedonian women are thin, stylish, and generally speaking hot. Young Macedonian men typically have thick necks and shaved heads. Sucks to be a young Macedonian woman.

Joe A's picture

You will find this "Kafana" culture all over the Balkans. Some people have nice cushy jobs that they got via connections but you probably did not see the single mothers working behind the cash registry of a supermarket who make perhaps 200 Euro in the bars. Or the farmer who has to work his behind off to make a similar amount of money. For every person you see in a bar, there are 2 or 3 who have crappy jobs with crappy salaries. Is there laziness in Eastern Europe? Yes indeed. Just like in Western Europe. We just can them "unable to work" or "extensively unemployed" and give them nice social benefits at the expense of the working.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

" so they seem to spend a large percentage of their 375 Euro monthly income on beer and cigarettes."

Apple has a plan for these smokers and drinkers: uzo ipads for only 250 euros. that'll cut back on cigs tho.

Psyman's picture

Eastern Europe is doing well because there are still white people in Eastern Europe.  Western Europe is completely overrun with Arab Muslims.  Walk through Vienna and tell me otherwise.  Sure, there are plenty of white people, but they're all 70 years old.  ALL of the youth, young families, and children are Arab Muslims.  And you'll see so many Burkas you'll swear you're in Saudi Arabia.


The Jews have successfully destroyed Western Europe and America via mass non-white immigration.  The victory of the N(J)ew World Order is at hand.  The United States of Europe will take a few years to build, but they are patient.  It has been 50 years in the making already.  They are willing to wait a few more years to extinguish the last bits of national sovereignty from the previously free nations of Europe.


First world European standards of living cannot and will not be maintained in the absence of European peoples.  The cultural and racial genocide of the white race as carried out by the Jews via their media propaganda campaigns has been wildly successful.  I see nothing in North America or Western Europe worth saving.  Demographics have already passed the tipping point that ensures these regions will be predominantely non-white, and therefore impoverished, unsafe, and in steady decline for the rest of human existence.  If you want to see America's future, see Brazil.  If you want to see Western Europe's future just imagine current day Paris or Vienna with much worse infrastructure and Sharia law.


Cultural and racial genocide against the white race is the Jew's punishment for the holocaust.  Never again shall a strong racially homogeneous white nation be allowed to exist anywhere on Earth.  Except they aren't quite sure what to do with Russia...but their elites are mostly crypto-Jews like the American elite, so they've got that on lock down too.  The N(J)ew World Order has Europe zipped up.  It's game over for liberty and white culture/people in Europe.  It's way too late to complain about it now.  It's a done deal.

brettd's picture

So it's the Jews creating the NWO, destroying once great cities and helping establish Sharia Law in England/Europe?

Like Detroit?

Winston of Oceania's picture

They have entered the gates of Vienna unapposed despite the works of good King Jan...




12 September 1683 Polish hussars save the Western World

Psyman's picture

Correct.  And that's the great irony.  They fought hard to win that victory and keep them out.  Yet now they have surrendered willingly and let millions flood into Europe.  It's far past the point of no return.  Don't believe me?  You haven't been to France, Germany, or Austria lately.

FeralSerf's picture

Why would the Jews punish the Goyim for the holocaust?  The holocaust was due to a partnership between the Nazis and the Zionists.  The historical record that still remains (much of it has been and is still being destroyed by the Zionists) is clear in that regard.  Ben Gurion and his gang of thugs and war criminals were intent on building themselves an empire in Palestine with ordinary Jews as their livestock.  They were successful thanks to the help they got from the Nazis.  They, of course, back-stabbed their Nazi partners.  There is no honour among these thieves.

tulip_permabull's picture

Holocaust? You mean an official progam of extermination against the Jews? Didn't happen. You might like to read Prof. A.R. Butz'

The Hoax of the Twentieth Century on this issue. It can be downloaded from http://pubweb.nwu.edu/~abutz/ihrbook.html


FeralSerf's picture

Whether it happened or not, it is necessary for the Jews and Wrestern Europeans to believe it happened so that the Zionists in Charge like Ben Gurion could use it for their advantage in their manufactured history.

FWIW Eichmann testified that 3.5 million Jews lost their lives in the concentration camps.   Why would he lie?  It is noted that the Zionists rounded off that 3.5 to 6 million.  Many people that died in the concentration were not Jews.  Maybe they got counted as Jews.

epwpixieq-1's picture

I am sure that the Grand Jewish conspiracy has its finger on the fall of the Roman Empire and Rome being overrun by the barbarians. This sounds as a plausible explanation, does not it.

And now, for those of you rooted in the any conspiracy type of theory, there is NON. There are only basic rules, laws, fundamental blocks or whatever you would like to name them, that SHAPES the human (and now days company, as it appears to be now companies are equivalent to humans, but this is what happens when one looks at the human based laws in an unintelligent way)  intended interactions and everything evolves around it.

For example, masses would move from poor to rich arias, whenever is possible ( fewer barriers, less resistance ). In the same way as electricity is equalizing potentials, whenever can overtake the resistance. Most of intelligent people in poor place with no much laws will migrate to reach places with stronger laws and more  "perceivable opportunities" for building "better" life.

Now, with this basic idea you can see the highly complex environment that can evolve, especially when you throw in the mix, the regulations and the laws imposed by the governments, usually influenced by highly opportunistic, and I would add highly damaging and inefficient in the natural sense, business interests.

Everything is evolution from this environment, and it true that some highly organized groups of people, can use this enthronement for their intended interests, but to say that such groups of people are creators of this grand schema is like saying that Life on Earth has created the Sun because it serves excellently ( actually can not exist without ) its purpose of Growth.

Jut to note, that I myself, have entertainment in some conspiracy theories, but it is based on the simple rules and laws we are perceiving as fundamentals for our politico-economical system, that give rise to a given, interest based, highly organized human behaviour, and not vice versa.

Psyman's picture

So all of the "multicultural" and "diversity" propaganda pushed through the TV/movie media and schools in all Western "first world" nations is just a figment of my imagination?  Who controls the media?  Jews.  Who controls the school curriculum?  Jews.  Multi-culturalism and mass immigration are both part of a multi-decade long genocidal campaign against the white race being waged by Jews.


Doesn't always work out how the Jews say it will, though.  Despite being a good tool of race mixing and anti-white propaganda, this cunt got raped and murdered by a black man.  Sweet irony.




She was a singer in a Swedish rap video that showed her having sex with a black man while singing the Swedish national anthem in an insulting manner.  The song was called "mix it up" and encouraged race mixing.  She was raped and murdered by an "Ameican" black man (Somali immigrant, black).