söndag, juli 17, 2011

Why a poor economical development in Greece?

This question has been discussed for a long time now and we've followed the different debates and negotiations within the EU concerning how to solve the situation...but!

About a year ago - already then a vital discussion within Europe - I read an article about the fact that Greece is the most succesful maritime nation in the world! Nothing revolutionary about that but the important thing about this article is more that one haven't taken advantage of this in Greece.
In this article written by a Swedish economy reporter - Staffan Sonning (photo above) - we get to know something essential, namely that Piraeus outside Athens is a veritable power center within the shipping world and that the Greek merchantfleet is the biggest in the world, estimated to equal 18 per cent of the freight tonnage of the world!
I don't know if people in general are aware of this.
The quays in Piraeus are filled with big ships and this giant fleet has created a lot of billionaires, from the most mythic one, Onassis, to the latterday rich and the revenues has been prodigious.

One of the entrepreneurs interviewed in this article - a Konstantinos Calicamanis - told the journalist that if one owned a tanker the size of 200 000 tons, one earned 200 000 US $ per day - when everything was payed, that is to say net!
As a young man Mr Calicamanis studied in Sweden and has a background as part owner in several succesful Swedish companies.
Furthermore he told the reporter that there are people in Piraeus that owns 40-50 such vessels and you are able to work out how much they earned per day - it's amazing!
This would contribute to a good revenue to the state through the taxes they have to pay - but no.

If these ships are registered in Greece the tax they pay amounts to 4,25 per cent(!) not much at all, compared to other taxes imposed on the citizens.
In many cases however, their companies are registered in Cyprus and Panama, whereby they pay nothing at all!
This leads us to conclude that Greece is capable of handling their economical problems very much on their own, provided that the Greek government change their taxation rules and put a pressure on these shipping owners.
Unfortunately most politicians are much to interested in maintaining a good relationship with the wealthy people in a country as this facilitate for them to receive economic fundings in connection with elections, thus making them less inclined to act against this segment of the population.

The question is: Will the Greek government - beyond other economical measures - have the 'guts' to deal with the shipping industry and not continuously ask the European Union for money?
This remains to be seen but obviously the Greek government is able to do much more in order to straighten up the economy.

(Picture map of Greece copied from: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/europe/greece/map_of_greece.jpg)
(Photo Piraeus copied from: http://www.greeceathensaegeaninfo.com/a-greece-travel/a-h-historic-destinations/piraeus/piraeus1_big.jpg)
(Photo Aristotle Onassis copied from: http://www.lecimetiere.net/images_site/2010/943602imageslvc977.jpg)
(Photo Staffan Sonning copied from: http://sverigesradio.se/diverse/appdata/isidor/images/news_images/3304/989130_520_300.jpg)
(Photo Géorgios Papandreous copied from: http://trupokarudos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/papandreou.jpg)

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