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German Company Buys Greek Airports

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Frequent Fliers

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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