Greece: In Debt? He Told Us So! a Better Way to Meet EU Financial Requirements

Editorial Comment

The Greek economy is being blamed for many things and some are having the chance to say “I told you so!” Understanding what went wrong and how to set things right will be good for Greece, the European Union and the world economy.

«Το σας είπα, » said Mr. Tsovalas.

What does that mean in English?

“I told you so!”

The former Greek Minister of Finance was commenting on Greece’s debt and the situation of other countries in the European Union. Mr. Tsovalas was Finance Minister during the 1980s when the first discussions were taking place as to the benefits and drawbacks of joining the European Union.

Sunday morning (May 30, 2010) on Greece’s MEGA channel news he shared his thoughts about today’s money problems. Mr. Tsovalas offered his opinion on the EU, “The free market has failed.”

He then continued by commenting on Greece “because Greece is my country” he felt he could pass an opinion on the current debt crisis. He is a very polite guest, quiet spoken compared to many others, yet firm.

“Before Greece joined the European Union,” he explained, “I suggested that a better chance for success would be to let each country have some flexibility in how financial rules were applied in order to make a better fit.” In this way the culture and needs of each country can be met in a more practical way. Europe is a diverse area and giving countries leeway rather than constraining them to the limited boundaries of “neoliberal financial rules does not respect the diversity among the European countries.”

“Now Greece has no agricultural profits and small factories are almost nonexistent. The essential problem being, we no longer produce,” he concluded.

When asked what he thinks the Ministry of Economy should be doing differently as measures are taken to lessen the Greek debt, Mr. Tsovalas had two suggestions. Firstly, tax evaders should be taken to court before being “outed.” Secondly, the tax system should be more progressive.

Mr. Tsovalas served for eight years as the Finance Minister of Greece in the 1980s under Prime Minister Andreas Papandreiou.

I found Mr. Tsovalas’ comments about giving each country more flexibility in meeting the goals of the European Union to be very wise. Social research has come up with the same conclusion when applying changes to improve the environment for better agricultural production. Look for an article on their findings soon.