Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Apparently the invasion is to blame for bailout

By Loucas Charalambous

BELOW is an excerpt from the transcript of the exchange between the chairman of investigative committee for economy, retired judge Giorgos Pikis and Michalis Sarris who was finance minister during the two March meetings of the Eurogroup at which the memorandum of understanding was agreed. The exchange took place on July 25.
Pikis: As minister did you investigate the legal dimension of the ‘haircut’?
Sarris: We advanced the general argument that the decisions were a violation of the right to property and the constitution. The answer from the troika was that constitutions are made to be changed.
Pikis: It is not only the constitution, it is also the convention of human rights which is adopted by the European Union and constitutes a fundamental principle of the charter of rights of the EU.
Sarris: We raised it. Their interpretation was different. There was no clash between the provision and a contribution by depositors.
Pikis: Did you ask for the referral of the issue to the European Court of the Communities for guidance?
Sarris: No, we did not tell them this.
Pikis: In 1974, 38 per cent of Cyprus was seized, there was ethnic cleansing and the influx of settlers. Were these things mentioned?
Sarris: The president made intense and animated representations. The Europeans do not deal with this aspect.
Pikis: It does not concern them that the country is under occupation and that the invasion resulted in it losing 70 per cent of its productive resources?
Sarris: With sadness, I tell you that these (matters) do not concern them.
Pikis: Are you sure they concern us? We asked for support of Cyprus that is under occupation and not its strangulation?
Sarris: We cited, in a forceful way, the difficult situation Cyprus was in. I am not a political person, I fully share what you are saying but for the average European, dealing with economics, these are not issues that concern him.
I often write that with the brains we have, what has happened to us until today is less than we deserve. The man who asked Sarris these idiotic questions had served for many years as President of the Supreme Court of Cyprus. And he is the man whom the government appointed to investigate how the country became bankrupt.
His questions, mentioned above, illustrate the level of thought of the average Cypriot and his political culture. It is the culture which believes we 700,000 jumped-up Cypriots are at the centre of world interest and the target of everyone. It is the culture that maintains foreigners are to blame for all our woes and are conspiring against us day and night. This has been the dominant culture for the last 50 years and the reason for the total destruction of the country.
It is the culture that destroyed the state in 1963, just three years after its establishment, perpetuated partition and kept the Turkish army in Cyprus. The same culture which maintains that we were not to blame for living the good life for 30 years with borrowed money until we went bankrupt, but the troika that came to save us with €10bn of the European taxpayer’s money.
This is the politics/culture of lunacy. As Pikis claimed, because there was an invasion in 1974, the taxpayers of other countries were obliged to pay the bill for our bankruptcy, 40 years later, because by giving us only 10 billion they strangled us. By the same logic, if France went bust, Paris would have demanded that we paid the bill because 70 years ago it had been invaded by Germany.
This is the unbelievable reasoning of the man asked to find those responsible for our bankruptcy. And he has found them. They are President Anatasiades and Sarris who forgot to tell Wolgang Schaeuble that we went bankrupt in 2013 because in 1974 there was an invasion and Turkish settlers were brought here, which meant that Germany should have paid the bill.
Pikis’ work has been completed. He can now end the investigation.

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