Greece Spends Bailout Cash On European Military Purchases
As Greek standards of living nose-dive, loans to households and businesses shrink still further, and Troika-imposed PSI discussions continue, there is one segment of the country's infrastructure that is holding up well. In a story on Zeit Online, the details of the multi-billion Euro new arms contracts are exposed as the European reach-around would be complete with IMF (US) and Europe-provided Greek bailout cash doing a full-circle into American Apache helicopters, French frigates, and German U-Boats. As the unnamed source in the article notes: "If Greece gets paid in March the next tranche of funding (€ 80 billion is expected), there is a real opportunity to conclude new arms contracts." With the country's doctors only treating emergencies, bus drivers on strike, and a dire lack of school textbooks and the country teetering on the brink of Drachmatization, perhaps our previous concerns over military coups was not so far-fetched as after the Portuguese (another obviously stressed nation), the Greeks are the largest buyers of German war weapons. It seems debt crisis talks perhaps had more quid pro quo than many expected as Euro Fighter commitments were also discussed and Greek foreign minister Droutsas points out:"Whether we like it or not, Greece is obliged to have a strong military".
From Zeit Online: Fine Weapons For Athens (Via Google Translate)
Frigates, tanks and submarines: A Greek military passes any savings package. And Germany benefited.
The Gift of the Greek Ministry of Defense has the man in the head: up to 60 fighter aircraft fighter for maybe € 3.9 billion euros. French frigates for about four billion, patrol boats worth 400 million euros, as much is the necessary modernization of the existing Greek fleet. Then it still lacks of ammunition for the Leopard tank , also would have two American Apache helicopters will be replaced. Oh, and one would like to buy German U-boats, total price: two billion euros.
What the man who goes in and out of Greece's Defence Ministry, in an Athens cafe is because of the sounds absurd. A State which is on the verge of bankruptcy and is supported by billions of the European Union wants to buy tons of weapons? The man in the café is often seen in photos next to the generals of the Army or Defense, he phoned often with these people, so he knows his way around. He knows how sensitive the issue, and would therefore - like most other party - are not named in the newspaper. He even holds for arms purchases currently not communicable. But could soon change that, he says: "If Greece get paid in March the next tranche of funding of € 80 billion is expected, there is a real opportunity to conclude new arms contracts."
If only one billion staying left, so the man could be, for example, the first Euro Fighter frigates or a binding order.
Really incredible: This spring, decides whether Greece survives in the euro area or the drachma back . On the morning of the internals in the café are freely divulged, physicians treat in Athens hospitals only in emergencies, bus drivers on strike, are still missing textbooks in schools and thousands demonstrate against state officials announced their dismissal. Greece's government announced a new savings program that barely spared a Greek.
Unless he works for the military or the armaments industry . On these two areas is in fact still almost passed without any austerity.
Under Greece's EU partners, there are few who speak out publicly in favor, stop the project immediately and Greek armor for a long time. One is Daniel Cohn-Bendit, leader of the Greens in the European Parliament: "From the outside, access to EU countries in practically all the rights of Greece. Nurses will cut the wages and everything should be privatized. Only in the defense budget, it means a sudden, it was a sovereign right of the state. It's surreal. "
Cohn-Bendit believes that behind the hesitation of Europe to entrenched economic interests. Main beneficiary of the Greek armament policy in Europe is just saving champions Germany. According to the just-released report, Arms Export in 2010 after the Portuguese, the Greeks - a state on the verge of bankruptcy - the largest buyers of German war weapons. Spanish and Greek newspapers spread the rumor at all, Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy would have remembered former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou nor the end of October at the edge of a summit meeting to finding solutions to existing or new arms orders complete. In Papandreou's environment is not confirmed, the federal government decided denied "messages, Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy had recently urged Greece to new arms deals, baseless," said a spokesman via e-mail.
Clearly this is apparently also become a state visit in Greece: German Government members expressed their export needs, and the Greeks reiterated their demand for imports. It has every known, "that Greece had invested too much in its military," so Linnenkamp. Yet the Greeks piled on over the years, enormous obligations.
But in the spring of 2010 reminded Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (FDP), the Greek government to the order of € Fighter, just weeks before the Greek bankruptcy. "Westerwelle called for a commitment to the Euro Fighter," says someone who has experienced the talks closely. The Foreign Minister also assured again in the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini: "We do not urge the Greek government to buy. If (they) but, at any time whatsoever, a decision to purchase fighter aircraft meets the Euro Fighter countries want to be represented here by Germany, will be considered in the decision. . This is within the European Union, but completely normal, "A few weeks later Westerwelle called in the stock market newspaper more discipline from the South:" We expect before, there are discussions about aid that Greece executes fully their own homework to consolidate policy. "
How does that work? Not at all, is the defense expert Linnenkamp: "It was totally irresponsible to speak in the midst of severe economic crisis, the issue of Greece's Euro Fighter at all."
Dimitris Droutsas is one of the few Greeks who speak openly about these figures. By June 2011, he was of Greek foreign minister. "We have not spent so much money on defense, because we made it fun," he says. The Greek foreign borders must be secured against the waves of migration from North Africa and Asia, almost daily there are conflicts with Turkey. "As Foreign Minister I was always in the afternoon a message from the Defense Department with the list of Turkish violations of our airspace." Greece also been watching with concern the increasing activity of the Turkish navy in the Aegean Sea and have seen a good 35 years on the "Turkish invasion" Cyprus . Since then, the Greeks lived in a state of fear. That with Turkey give an arms race, although both countries are in NATO, Droutsas deems legitimate: "Whether we like it or not, Greece is obliged to have a strong military" point.
Resistance in its own population as Droutsas Greeks need not fear. The Greek military security sector promises to the people - and jobs. In a country without its own significant industry that is worth much. German defense companies have recognized this early and with Greek companies closely intertwined. Someone who mitverhandelte long, says: "In Greece, the arms deal as a give and take anywhere. What do I get in return when I buy a tank with you? Always it was also about compensation. Any politician who signed a treaty with the Germans hoped that a corresponding portion flows back. "