During an interview in Mediapart, a French online newspaper, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that it’s unethical that rich Greeks are not paying their fair share of taxes during a crushing economic crisis that has seen big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions for workers, the elderly and the poor.
“The crisis is not only economical, is political as well,” he stated, insisting that Greece should be given more time to implement reforms only if the will to reform is genuine. A new poll showed that 90 percent of Greeks, however, are against additional austerity measures being prepared by the government and a massive general strike is set for Sept. 26.
Ayrault underlined that if Greece is forced out of the Eurozone of the 17 countries using the euro that it would be a blow for the country and is an option European Union leaders are not considering. Ironically, French President Francois Hollande, a Socialist, was elected on an anti-austerity platform for his country but said Greece has no choice but to accept more austerity if it wants to stay in the Eurozone.
Greece’s politicians and rich elite have largely escaped sacrificing during a 2 1/2-year crisis in which successive governments have imposed austerity measures on the order of international lenders putting up rescue monies to keep the country’s economy from default.
The rich in Greece are mainly owners of banks, construction companies, media conglomerates and shipping industry tycoons who have managed to avoid paying taxes as much as possible – or completely in some cases. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, who is aiming harsh measures at Greece’s most vulnerable sectors, comes from a wealthy family and has not held any positions outside government.
Some media magnates also are invested in banks, construction companies and the shipping industry and use their companies to provide coverage favorable to politicians they support and oppose those they don’t, and it has been reported that their tangential businesses get lucrative contracts in return.