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German Company Buys Greek Airports

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COMMENT: In FTR #‘s 746, 788, 855, we looked at the Greek economic/political cri­sis against the back­ground of long-term (two hun­dred years or so) Ger­man plans for the eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal col­o­niza­tion of Europe as a vehi­cle to effect world dom­i­na­tion. It is against that same back­ground that we exam­ine the pur­chase of Greek region­al air­ports by a Ger­man com­pa­ny. (Nev­er for­get that, as seen in FTR #305, cor­po­rate Ger­many is con­trolled by the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.)

. . . In the ear­ly 1980s, as Chair of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR), [Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang] Schäu­ble had orga­nized the first eco­nom­ic ini­tia­tives [and not just] toward France. Theodor Veit­er [6] a for­mer Nazi spe­cial­ist for bor­der sub­ver­sion was one of Schäuble’s advi­sors as chair of the AEBR. . . .”

“Greece Sells Air­ports to Ger­mans as Bun­destag Pre­pares for Day of Reck­on­ing” by Mehreen Khan; The Tele­graph; 8/18/2015.

The Greek gov­ern­ment has rowed back on a promise to halt the fire sales of the country’s strate­gic assets by approv­ing the sale of its air­ports to a Ger­man com­pa­ny.

Oper­at­ing rights to 14 region­al air­ports, includ­ing those on pop­u­lar hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions such as Crete, will now fall under the con­trol of Fra­port AG, the oper­a­tor of Frank­furt air­port.

The €1.23bn deal rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant climb­down for Alex­is Tsipras who had denounced attempts by the Troi­ka to force var­i­ous Greek gov­ern­ments to de-nation­alise the country’s ports, elec­tric­ity net­works and air­ports.

But the embat­tled prime min­is­ter has been forced into a num­ber of con­ces­sions in return for an €86bn aid pack­age to keep the coun­try in the euro for the next three years. The deal comes as Germany’s Bun­destag pre­pares to vote on the pack­age on Wednes­day.

Bid­ding for the air­ports was won by the Ger­man firm in Novem­ber but the process was sus­pended by Syriza amid claims the ten­der broke com­pe­ti­tion rules. Fra­port will oper­ate the air­ports for the next 40 years under the licence agree­ment.

For­mer finance min­is­ter Yanis Varo­ufakis has attacked the sales for entrench­ing the country’s oli­garchic elites and hurt­ing the government’s cof­fers through under-priced sales.

In a line-by-line cri­tique of the demands, he dubbed the pri­vati­sa­tions as “a major dis­as­ter in every con­ceiv­able way – from the prices fetched to the rate at which the pri­vati­sa­tions that occurred were over­turned by the Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion com­mis­sion and the Greek Coun­cil of State”.

The sale comes as a host of euro­zone par­lia­ments are prepar­ing to rat­ify the terms of the new res­cue pack­age — Greece’s third bail-out in five years.

Germany’s Angela Merkel is bat­tling to fight down a rebel­lion in her rul­ing Chris­t­ian Demo­c­rat par­ty. As the eurozone’s largest cred­i­tor state, Ger­many holds a block­ing minor­ity vote on Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism loans.

Although the pack­age is like­ly to gain the nec­es­sary votes, more than 60 of Ms Merkel’s par­lia­men­tar­i­ans vot­ed to reject new bail-out talks in July. The rebel­lion is set to esca­late to around 100 out of her 311 MPs.

The Chan­cel­lor has sought to con­vince scep­ti­cal law­mak­ers that Greece will be able to car­ry a the raft of oner­ous eco­nomic reforms in return for a first dis­burse­ment of €26bn due to be made by Thurs­day.

Dis­quiet in Berlin has also grown over the posi­tion of the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, which is only like­ly to release its own funds to Greece in Octo­ber.

...

 

Discussion

One comment for “German Company Buys Greek Airports”

  1. With Greece still forced to pri­va­tized its top state assets, here’s a reminder of that the love­ly pri­vate sec­tor that’s sup­posed to mag­i­cal­ly rid Greece of all its inef­fi­cien­cies and cor­rup­tion has been con­tribut­ing to and prof­it­ing from Greece’s inef­fi­cien­cies and cor­rup­tion for years. And those love­ly pri­vate enti­ties weren’t just Greek:

    AFP

    Dozens of Ger­man busi­ness execs are try­ing to escape pros­e­cu­tion for cor­rup­tion in Greece

    Yan­nick Pas­quet

    Aug. 30, 2015, 5:53 PM

    Athens (AFP) — Siemens, Daim­ler, Rhein­metall — the cream of Ger­man indus­try — have been mired in cas­es of alleged cor­rup­tion in Greece, the coun­try that Berlin has repeat­ed­ly admon­ished for the par­lous state of its econ­o­my.

    No date has been set yet for 19 for­mer exec­u­tives of Ger­man engi­neer­ing group Siemens to appear in Greek court, but it is expect­ed to be one of the biggest finan­cial tri­als of the decade in Greece.

    More than 60 peo­ple in total are being inves­ti­gat­ed for cor­rup­tion in the case that US watch­dog Cor­p­Watch has labelled “the great­est cor­po­rate scan­dal in Greece’s post­war his­to­ry.”

    Bavaria-based Siemens, whose links to Greece go back to the 19th cen­tu­ry, is sus­pect­ed of hav­ing greased the palms of var­i­ous offi­cials to clinch one of the coun­try’s most lucra­tive con­tracts — the vast upgrade of the Greek tele­phone net­work in the late 1990s.

    Over­all, Siemens alleged­ly spent 70 mil­lion euros ($78 mil­lion) on bribes in Greece, accord­ing to Greek judi­cial sources.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion is now in its ninth year with a case brief over 2,300 pages long.

    Con­tact­ed by AFP, a Siemens spokesman at com­pa­ny head­quar­ters in Munich said: “We don’t com­ment on that case.”

    Among those sus­pect­ed of cor­rup­tion is the group’s for­mer point man in Greece, Michalis Christo­forakos.

    But the 62-year-old, who holds dual Greek and Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship and at the height of his influ­ence rubbed elbows with the ensem­ble of Greece’s polit­i­cal elite, is unlike­ly to face tri­al.

    Christo­forakos fled Greece for Ger­many in 2009, and Ger­man jus­tice has refused to extra­dite him, argu­ing that the statute of lim­i­ta­tions cov­er­ing his alleged activ­i­ties has lapsed.

    Rela­tions between Athens and Berlin — already test­ed by the Greek eco­nom­ic cri­sis and Ger­many’s insis­tence on painful aus­ter­i­ty to bail out the debt-wracked coun­try — have not been helped by the Siemens case.

    Ear­li­er this year, Greece’s com­bat­ive par­lia­ment speak­er Zoe Con­stan­topoulou said the affair smacked of dou­ble stan­dards on the part of Berlin.

    “This is a ques­tion of jus­tice that shows there is dou­ble­s­peak by Ger­many,” she told France’s Lib­er­a­tion news­pa­per in a recent inter­view.

    “Ger­man com­pa­nies have noto­ri­ous­ly engaged in cor­rupt prac­tices in Greece but such cas­es are only occa­sion­al­ly inves­ti­gat­ed,” the Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy think-tank said in a recent report.

    ...

    In 2011, at the height of the Greek eco­nom­ic cri­sis, a par­lia­men­tary inquiry esti­mat­ed the dam­age to pub­lic cof­fers at two bil­lion euros from inflat­ed con­tract costs ulti­mate­ly borne by tax­pay­ers.

    Lucra­tive mil­i­tary deals

    Arms pro­cure­ment has been anoth­er lucra­tive field for Ger­man com­pa­nies, with Greece for years spend­ing the most mon­ey pro­por­tion­ate­ly on defence — 2.2 per­cent of gross domes­tic prod­uct (GDP) in 2014 — among EU mem­bers, Sahra Wan­genknecht, a law­mak­er of Ger­many’s left­ist par­ty Die Linke, told AFP.

    “Ger­man com­pa­nies have reaped con­sid­er­able prof­it from Greece’s colos­sal arms pur­chas­es,” Wan­genknecht said.

    For automak­er Daim­ler, Greek jus­tice opened an inves­ti­ga­tion ear­li­er this year on sus­pi­cion of bribery in the award of an 100-mil­lion-euro mil­i­tary vehi­cle con­tract.

    Krauss Maf­fei Weg­mann, the mak­ers of the Ger­man Leop­ard tank, was also placed under inves­ti­ga­tion in Munich.

    Mean­while, fel­low defence con­trac­tor Rhein­metall in 2012 was fined 37 mil­lion euros by a court in Bre­men, Ger­many, over a bribery case involv­ing the sale of its anti-air­craft defence sys­tem for 150 mil­lion euros.

    And two for­mer man­agers at indus­tri­al ser­vices provider Fer­rostaal were also con­vict­ed in Munich of shady pay­ments to clinch a Greek sub­ma­rine order, with the com­pa­ny fined 140 mil­lion euros.

    But observers note that the fines are usu­al­ly nowhere near the val­ue of the gov­ern­ment con­tracts in ques­tion, effec­tive­ly ren­der­ing them use­less as a deter­rent.

    “But observers note that the fines are usu­al­ly nowhere near the val­ue of the gov­ern­ment con­tracts in ques­tion, effec­tive­ly ren­der­ing them use­less as a deter­rent.”
    If only there was some­thing we could do about that.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 2, 2015, 2:35 pm

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