Well said Wim. Additionally I would like to add that Asim's economic scenario does not work in Greece. This has recently been demonstrated by the high prices in Greece set and controled by the few large private companies (Cartels) who set/fix prices among them to maximize profits at the expense of the Greek consumer. The Government is unable to control the prices because of the existing legislation which protects the private companies even when they are caught to fix prices. According to the existing legislation they are obliged to pay only 20% of the fine imposed on them (when they are caught on fixing prices) and the 80% of the fine they pay only if the courts force them to pay and that is after several years of trials. The government is unable to do anything to protect the consumer like in other EU states.
Additionally a recent survey of the Athens Technical University found that 8 out of 10 Gas/Petrol stations cheat the consumers by a smart chip properly positioned in the electronics of the pumps. The survey was made on petrol stations allover in Greece. Do you think that your car is consuming a lot of gas? This is the reason folks. I just returned to Switzerland from Greece. My car was averaging 15 liters for 100 km in Greece and in Switzerland 12 for the same style of driving. Mind you I noticed the same consumption in Italy as in Greece. I support privitization only if there are strong Government regulations and legislation along with frequent government uncorupted checks to protect the citizens. But how can you trust the government when last week it was revealed that 160 million euros collected last year by private citizens in Greece and from abroad aimed to help the victims of the fires somehow went to balance a black hole of the Government's financial mess.
The fact the cartels are able to fix prices advocates my view rather than what you say. If you open up the market and have a truely free market then companies can come in from abroad and start up locally without having to forge an alliance with the existing monopolies. This then means there are more than 2 or 3 companies in one market meaning that price fixing between them becomes harder. It only takes one to lower her prices and then the others have to break their cartel and follow.
I am sure I don't understand something though, as since the telecoms market has opened up and we can choose carrier I actually get better service from my telecoms company than the state encumbant gave me(quantifyable by the time it takes to respond to new line requests and customer service queries etc) and at 1/2 the price it used to be. Yet still more than 50% of Greek consumers don't support the further deregulation and opening up of the telecoms market. When the evidence is in your face and its not accepted then its certainly an up hill battle.
It is very difficult for any governement to bring in or change laws here. When they try there is always a minority protesting over such things. But we have been members of the EU for 27 years now and need to impliment the EU directives. If you look at Spain it was similar to Greece on black money economy, but has used the EU funding more wisely and benefitted from the membership more than Greece has. Also Ireland has gone from strength to strength. We have just squandered the opportunity
The government is unable to do anything to protect the consumer like in other EU states.
European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros
and his comments about how Greece is doing