Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Interview of mr Alavanos (SY.RIZ.A) to TVXS

We recently watched an interview with the leader of the Greek political party SY.RIZ.A (Coalition of Radical Left). SY.RIZ.A. was the fourth party in the last national elections (with 5,04% of the vote and 14 seats in Parliament).

This was one of a series of interviews done by the internet news media TVXS, and until now the most interesting by far. Let it be said is passing that these interviews (at least some of them) have the added interest of including questions posed by the internaughts directly, and will include interviews with many of the more important Greek political parties before the European Elections, including SY.RI.ZA, Ecologists, PASOK, ANTARSYA, EEK etc, but also an alternative debate between candidates of the six largest parties, with the internet audience posing questions live and voting for the adequacy of each answer.

Here are some of the points made by mr Alavanos, some of which , I am quite sure, are applicable to other (Balkan) countries as well. Although I can't say I agree with all points to a full extent, I thought a short presentation would be of interest :

Weapons Spending

According to the Stockholm Institute, every Greek pays 550 Euros per year for the Greek weapons programs. Greece is the fifth behind the India, China, the U.A.E., and N. Korea in weapons importations. If one were to compare the relative strengths and sizes (population, GNP etc etc) of Greece and the rest on the list, one can realise how absurd the Greek choice is !

According to mr Alavanos, just one F-16 has the same cost as the construction of 220 fully equiped school rooms or a fully equipped hospital with the same amount of beds…

Waste of Public Funds
Apart from scandals, corruption etc etc the Government and Assembly have not really tried to cut spending : The National Assembly pays for the transopt of its members, who, in accordance with the agreement it has with the various airlines, can only travel Buissnes Class !

He also talked of taxing various classes that are not taxed, including off-shore companies and the Church.

Mr Alavanos spoke of an alternative EU which would invest in the poorer countries, veritably aiding their development. He opposed the privatisation of public companies, especially those with a positive budget. He compared Greece to Finland (of approximately the same population) and underlined that fact that Finland chose to invest in education, and ten years later has one of the best development rates in the world.

Greece has the lowest percentage of GNP invested in its education.

Mr Alavanos asked for a change of European policy concerning immigrants, saying that the current European policy uses frontier countries as store-houses for (illegal) immigrants, instead of accepting a distribution of immigrants throughout the EU.

Although against addictions, mr Alavanos also declared he was against oppression of users etc. The accent should be put on prevention and therapy.

Macedonia Question
A composite name with a geographic adjective is a good basis for discussion. He called the current government extreme, and expressed regret that a greater effort had not been made by Greece to come closer to the people of FYROM and to develop common programs for example for the protection of Vardar/Axios, a visa waiver program, educational cooperation, which would impede the nationalists in FYROM to take advantage of the situation and make the resolution of the problem more difficult.

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