Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Liberal Alliance (Greek Liberals) manifesto for the European Elections 7 June 2009

For a new Greece part of a new Europe of freedom, of economic development and democracy

Four urgent questions in need of clear answers

After 50 years of European integration the citizens of Europe face a triple crisis, a crisis of identity, a crisis of purpose and a crisis of means.
Today the Citizens of Europe ask persistently these questions: Who are we?, where are we heading? How will we get out of the current crisis? What means should we use to escape this stalemate?

Liberal Alliance believes that all the political parties should provide answers to these questions, particularly during the campaign for European Elections, and submits this manifesto to the voters, thus contributing to this crucial debate.

Who are we?
- The values of the Enlightenment is the basis for our common European identity

The 'European Community' identity was nearly clarified during the decades of Cold War, during a period where the European Community member states were democracies as opposed to the totalitarian regimes of Eastern Europe of the time.

But the collapse of communism and the successive enlargements that included the previous Eastern block countries, and the commencement of entry negotiations with Turkey, placed the current European institutional framework in question. They also raised the question of the limits that European Union can be extended to.

Liberal Alliance considers that this identity crisis, presents an opportunity to return to the values that founded the liberal western societies, the values of Enlightenment, of democracy, of the rule of law, of the human rights protection and a free market economy.

This European identity puts foremost the freedom of the citizen to enjoy inalienable rights (life, property, the pursuit of happiness) and his or hers rights to freedoms (of conscience, of opinion of expression and self-determination), that are limited only by personal responsibility. A European identity can not but rely on Humanism, this fundamental value of Enlightenment that demands respect of human dignity, tolerance and acceptance of different ways of life (of languages, of civilisations, religions and nationalities) within a broader society.

For Liberal Alliance these values shape our common European identity that has been the drive of the impressive progress of liberal western societies.

Where are we heading? How can we move past the current crisis?
- Our common European vision of economic growth, the entrenchment of freedom, of the rule of Law in Europe and the world
- Reform Now!

More and more citizens face the European Union, with disappointment and disbelief as its purpose and aims become less and less apparent and understood.

The political leadership of the member states, bear the responsibility for this current state of affairs as they do not explain in public the decisions that together agree to in Brussels. Instead they appear in their domestic audiences surprised about these very same decisions siding with the populist opposition to European Union.

For Liberal Alliance, we, the people of Europe want to live harmoniously, preserving our identity, our common principals and our route to prosperity.

However this preservation of our identity, principals and prosperity should not be taken for granted as new challenges place them in constant danger.

In particular, today we see two new phenomena: On the one side large parts of the world are escaping poverty and previously developing states take a more prominent role in the world stage, and on the other the re-emergence of ideologies that encourage new forms of totalitarianism, of protectionism and xenophobia.

European Union faces these conditions fractured and politically weak.

During a severe international economic crisis, European leaders appear to be interested only for their narrow national interest or, worse, for their re-election whilst nine years before these same leaders were agreeing to the Lisbon agenda, the implementation of which would make the European Union by 2010: 'the most dynamic and competitive, knowledge economy with the most and better jobs and social care system in the world'.

It is more than obvious that even if these aims where partially achieved, Europe would be better prepared to face the current economic crisis. Unfortunately since 2005, European Leaders confessed their inability to face the structural problems of Europe and progress towards the targets they themselves have set.

Today European leaders have no common policy and disparately move towards the wrong direction, as for the first time in decades, economic protectionism muttered in European countries threaten to reverse the progress of free trade the last 50 years.

Liberal Alliance contents that the current crisis brings to light and exacerbates the structural problems of European Union, each of its member states. It is time for European leaders to face the current political and economic challenges by redirecting their policies from the ineffective subsidies (e.g. CAP) to policies encouraging growth and freeing up the internal market, fighting monopolies, regulating the financial sector, protecting human rights, fighting corruption and crime and the advancement of a more coherent foreign and defense structures.

It is also time for the European leaders to understand that the crisis may challenge and even destroy the monetary union if this is not complemented by a political union of Europe. This imbalance will lead to the collapse of both the European integration and the monetary union as they will keep on undermining each other.

Liberal Alliance proposes a Federal Europe, the political integration of Europe through a European constitution, which will found the United Countries of Europe and will remodel the current European institutions to a new federal system

What means should we use to move away from the stalemate?
-We need the United Countries of Europe and re-orientation of European policy

Today, the institutions of the European Union have reached their limit in terms of effectiveness and democratic accountability. The European citizens consider them distant, bureaucratic and undemocratic whereas the national governments crave for the powers they had to hand over to the European institutions.
The Lisbon Treaty, successor to the not so innovative treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam, and Nice, details the modernisation of the European Union through clarity, efficiency, and democratic safeguards. Still the Lisbon treaty does not reform the current institutional framework, and does not resolve the conflict of European and national powers. The Lisbon treaty although a step in the right direction for the European integration, deals with only part of the problems and provides inadequate solutions.

Liberal Alliance considers that the common European identity and the common European vision as stated in this manifesto, can be best served through a politically integrated Europe, a Federal Europe by the United Countries of Europe that will adjust the current institutions to a federal system.
Liberal Alliance submits these proposals for the public debate :

-All current Treaties should be replaced by a simple and clear Constitution, protecting the fundamental rights of European citizens, and establishing Institutions with clearly defined powers in the European (federal), national (state), and regional level. A federal Europe will mean 'less government' as it will strengthen the democratic institutions in the national and regional level whilst the federal institutions will act only when this action provides clear benefits.

- The European Parliament should be replaced by a bicameral legislative congress: The European parliament of representatives and a European Senate, which will be granted extended duties and authority.

- The European Council should be abolished and the European Commission should be transformed to a European (federal) civil service and each commission department to a federal department .

- The creation of the office of the President of European Union elected by the European Parliament who will appoint the Secretaries of Federal Departments

-The remodeling of the European Court and the European Court of Auditors and the European Central Bank to Federal Institutions.

-The remodeling of the Europol to a Federal Police force, for the fighting of interstate crime and the creation of a single European Army for the defense of the outer borders of the federal Europe.

-The reorientation of the European policies from the counterproductive subsidising (e.g. CAP) to policies of growth, of fighting monopolies and oligopolies, freeing up the internal market, promoting competition, regulating the financial sector, fighting corruption and crime, protecting the fundamental human rights and advancing more coherent foreign and defense policy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yes to open shops on Sunday 28/12 (and every other Sunday too)

Liberal Alliance press release 26 December 2008

Liberal Alliance (Greek Liberals) supports for the recent measure to allow the shops in Athens to open for business, on Sunday 28 December 2008 (last Sunday of the year) and demands that this measure is extended for the rest of the country, and for the rest of the year.

Liberal Alliance will stand by any shopkeeper that will work this day, against the irrational and hostile behavior they experienced during the week from the Greek Government the opposition parliamentary parties of the opposition and the unions

The inalienable right to work, the contribution of businesses to economic growth and event the democratic process does not seem to be acknowledged from certain unions of shop workers. Some of them invaded the conference room of the Athens Prefecture during a meeting of the council of the prefecture on Wednesday 24 December 2008, and forcibly reversed the decision from the Greek Ministry of Development, and forced the Council of the Prefecture first to confirm that the shops would stay closed.
Then the Prefect Mr. Scouros, changed the decision again to allow the opening of the shops only within the borders of the Athens Municipality.

Liberal Alliance have repeatedly concluded that businesses in Greece is neither recognized nor rewarded but the there is a constant hostility against them and against any lawfully made profit. Within this negative climate for businesses, the damages from the recent riots, the 25% drop in sales, and the heavy taxation, opening the shops on Sunday is a matter for survival for the shops and the only rational course of action.

At the opposite end from anyone who demonizes any business activity, Liberal Alliance contents that the complete deregulation of the opening hours will revitalize the economy, and the market competition will reduce unemployment and inflation, will provide more negotiating powers for the employees, and improvement of quality of life for all.

Liberal Alliance's vision is a free market with simple but strict anti-cartel and public health laws, that will create rapid economic growth, and new jobs. Businesses are not alone any more, because Liberal Alliance will support them at their difficult effort to create wealth and to face the attacks from those who deny freedom.

The 'revolutionary' lifestyle of the past, destroys the present and future of young generation in Greece

Liberal Alliance press release 10 December 2008

Liberal Alliance (Greek Liberals) has concluded that the tragic events of the recent days have revealed all the symptoms of an ailing society. The violence ingrained in the Greek State, responsible for the death of a young man, and the vandalism and pillaging that followed, prove the inability of the State to protect the life and property of Greek citizens, and the complete lack of competence of the Greek political leadership to confront the crisis.

The New Democracy Government, with a phenomenal inability let the situation to escalate to a point of total insecurity and collapse of the rule of law.
New Democracy's government have produced nothing but stagnation and disasters at education, health, protection of the environment. The dilemma pushed hard upon the Greek People, by New Democracy ' Karamanlis or Chaos', is no more….
Karamanlis is chaos.

The Greek opposition, lead by PASOK & the left, continue for decades to cultivate and promote a 'revolutionary-combative' lifestyle, that becomes more destructive the more revolutionary it is alleged.

A lifestyle that proved profitable for the generation that matured with the resistance against the Dictatorship (1967 - 1974) is sinking the new generation of 700 euros, into oblivion.

PASOK & the Greek Left, use the youth of this country as militants in a war to conserve the failing status quo, in schools, and Universities, and destroying any reforming effort, that can create wealth & jobs.

This 'revolutionary struggle', serves no one, other than the entrenched interests, in order to keep taking advantages, from their despair, in this context, the Leader of SYRIZA, (the Coalition of Radical Left) Mr. Alavanos, has placed the portraits of the dead young man next to the other 'martyrs' presenting him as an example to be followed.

Liberal Alliance calls on the young people to realize the nature of political games, are played against them.
Liberal Alliance calls on young people to reject this nihilistic lifestyle, that is placing them to the margins of society.

Liberal Alliance calls on young men & women of Greece, to choose between a course for reform that will reform Education and Economy for their benefit, or for a struggle that ensures a revolutionary course to poverty, deprivation, and even death.

The lack of the rule of law, reinforces violence and lack of accountability by the State

Liberal Alliance press release 7 December 2008

Within a few hours, two fundamental human rights, were violated by State Agents, in the harshest way. Once more, the Greek Police, attempted to cover its incompetence by turning the citizens against each other.
The only responsible party for the loss of life of the 16 year old young man, and the destruction of the shops and cars of our fellow citizens, is the Greek Police, that in the absence of the rule of law, is functioning by promoting state violence and leaving bands of people that destroy public and private property, with uncontrollable eruptions of violence.

Liberal Alliance (Greek Liberals) calls on Greek citizens to react against a State that cannot, protect the inalienable human rights, and the State's attempt to hide its incompetence by dividing Greek Society.

Employment Protection: When the route to long-term unemployment is laid with good intentions.

Liberal Alliance press release 4 December 2008

Liberal Alliance (Greek Liberals) considers that following recent proposals by Mr. Mihalos (president of the Greek Chamber of Industry and Commerce), a broad debate should commence for the real causes of unemployment and the ways to reduce it.

It is disappointing that Mr Mihalos' proposals, were rejected without any dialog, from all the major political parties, despite the fact that serious economic studies (Alpha Bank, Financial Report), prove that the lack of flexibility of labor market in various countries create high and persistent unemployment.

In this context European Union, promotes of flexibility and security (Flexicurity) for Europe. This system, was applied, first in Denmark, and it has been recognized, even by Workers Unions, that it has significantly unemployment.

So if labour flexibility can be the main tool for reducing unemployment why, the political establishment, rejects any discussion even for the limited flexibility by Mr. Mihalos?

For Liberal Alliance it is obvious, that the political establishment, Government and opposition parliamentary parties, could not care less about the unemployed, instead, they only care about the preservation of work privileges, of few civil sector workers groups that believe that any flexibility no matter how small will jeopardize their comfortable life.

It is becoming more and more apparent that any muttering from the political establishment about ' employment protection', implies the protection of the privileges of a small minority that leaves more and more people to unemployment and poverty.

Liberal Alliance proposes the abolition of civil servants tenure, a minimum guaranteed income for every Greek citizen and more flexible labour markets which will contribute to the revitalizing of the economy, and reduce unemployment

Reforms are the only effective response to the crisis

Liberal Alliance press release 13 November 2008

Liberal Alliance (Greek Liberals) contents that the major political parties use the global financial crisis as an excuse dealing for populist stunts instead of dealing with it, seriously and responsibly. The Greek Government and the Opposition bid for the most spectacular spending splurge, and the most generous promises about redistribution of wealth to promote their supposed 'social sensitivity'.

Still none of those 'compassionate' politicians explains to the Greek people where the money will come from. It appears, that since they do not propose any measures to increase wealth and develop the economy, they are most likely to resort to their usual tactics of lending and sinking the government finances into more debt.

They are gravely misguided.

The disastrous mismanagement of the economy from the governments led by New Democracy and PASOK have accumulated a huge public debt the servicing of which, requires around 40 billion euros each year of new loans.

This annual borrowing is becoming even more unmanageable now, because of the recent increase to the spread of interest to 1.5 from 0.32 that it was at the beginning of the year. This means that whilst Germany is borrowing with an interest at 3.78%, Greece will borrow with an interest at 5.28% since October. This rate reflects the increasing unreliability of the Greek Government, to its creditors.
Greece's demotion to the countries with a high default risk combined with the limits set by the European Union's Stability Pact make the 'good intentions' of the 'compassionate' politicians impossible to fulfil.

Liberal Alliance believes that only economic growth through radical reforms can respond effectively to the crisis. Nuriel Roumbini, the economics professor of New York that became famous for predicting the global financial crisis, states that there is no alternative for Greece but to reform its economy.

Liberal Alliance proposes a different economic development model based in reforms implemented successfully all over the world. By applying Liberal Alliance proposals for the economy to the 'reforms simulator' of the World Bank, Greece's economy is placed at the ten most competitive economies in the world from the 100th position it is today.

Liberal Alliance proposes that the best protection of the citizens against this and future crisis is achieved by improving the competitiveness of the Greek economy.

1000 euros per day per patient the cost at the Greek State hospitals where healthcare is 'free'.

Liberal Alliance press release 23 September 2008

Liberal Alliance (Greek Liberals) points out to the Greek Citizens, that according to reliable sources (letter of former minister of Health, Mr Solomos, to newspaper Kathimerini (16/9/2008), the daily cost per patient, at the public hospital has reached 1000 euros. This is how much every taxpayer pays, for each day he spends at State Hospitals of the 'Public Free Healthcare'.

Just at the Healthcare Fund for Civil Servants, according to recent press stories, it was concluded that 40% of the expenses were non-existent, prompting, a legal action, against the managers of the fund.

The cost of this 'virtual' spending, only for 2007, arose to 300 million euros, and this spending was tolerated by the union representatives of ADEDY (Civil Sector Workers Union), who were members of the board of the Healthcare and Insurance Fund.

This outrageous waste, the mismanagement, unlawful actions, and lack of transparence, at the purchasing of medicine, and other materials, and salaries, have lead to the current dead end. It has become apparent that the main cause for this, is the heavy involvement by the State to the provision of Healthcare, a State that is unable to conduct good management, enforcing the laws contrary to the above tasks, with a consensus by all main parties, wastes the Greek taxpayer's money to benefit a few organised special interests and favorable businesses.

Liberal Alliance proposes the complete independence and autonomy of all the Healthcare, Education and Insurance Institutions, so that citizens can choose the Healthcare, Insurance and Education provider they prefer.

Liberal Alliance proposals includes a personal healthcare allowance provided by the State, instead of taxing the citizens for the benefit of State monopolies from which they will find their way to few privileges groups and established political parties.