Greece is paralysed by another general strike today, affecting the public and private sectors. Unions are protesting against austerity measures adopted on May 9 to cut the deficit by about ten billion euros this year.
On strike are civil servants, most public transport in Athens, rail, local and regional government, public school teachers and academics, customs workers, passenger shipping, pension funds, banks and many private sector workers. Athens International Airport is remaining open, though Olympic Air has unilaterally cancelled some flights.
Tax evasion higher than deficit
The government estimates that it is owed 25 billion euros in tax arrears and fines, says the finance ministry's man in charge of tax collection. Dimitris Georgakopoulos, General Secretary for Tax Revenue and Customs, told an open meeting of Athens and Peiraieus chambers of commerce yesterday that the sum is equal to about 40 percent of budget revenues. The government's austerity measures, in contrast, aim to curb about 10 billion euros in public spending this year.
'Stop making money from Greek misery'
Green Europarliamentarian Daniel Cohn-Bendit has called on European Union states to stop making money from Greece's misery, as he describes it. He told Europarliament that selling European arms to Greece and lending it money at a markup amounts to profiteering. He called on leaders to set up a European Monetary Fund and give Greece time to massage in reform rather than rush it through. The speech was made on May 5, the day three Greek bank employees died in a fire set by anarchists on the sidelines of a protest march.
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