Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

We’d be very lucky if the Troika stayed forever

By Loucas Charalambous

I HAVE always maintained that one Troika was not enough for Cyprus and that we needed more. I think all these crazy goings-on of the last three weeks regarding the retirement bonus and pay cuts of public employees show that the Troika has not been doing its job very well.

It is now abundantly clear that we will not change no matter how much harm our mentality causes. The issue is not that we have not learnt anything from mistakes, but that we pretend not to understand what is going on. The bizarre behaviour of our politicians and union bosses shows these people are content to pretend that we are not bankrupt.

They pretend they are unaware of the fact that the lies are finished and that from now on, whether we like it or not, we will not do as we like (thankfully) but what we are told to do by those who came to our rescue with their billions when we were begging for help so that we could avoid the bankruptcy caused by the populism and demagoguery.

The demagogues and union bosses literally went wild because the finance minister said what even a child knew – the policy of economic prudence that was imposed by the Memorandum of Understanding would remain even after the so-called exit – what exit? – from the adjustment programme.

The AKEL leadership was spoke first, spokesman Giorgos Loucaides expressing outrage that the “deeply unpopular memorandum policies would remain on the shoulders of the Cypriot people.” The leadership of his party, which gave the country the final push, to fall into the abyss, has the audacity to complain.

As if the leading AKEL lights do not know that the Troika, which Christofias invited, gave us the €10 billion loan on the condition that we would save up money so as to repay it. The amount is expected to be paid back by 2053. They should be patient at least.

Until then, the Troika will be – fortunately – suppressing us and we hope it would never allow the leadership of AKEL and the rest of the demagogues to commit again the crimes that made their arrival necessary.

Not that there is a danger of our politicians showing the slightest awareness about the consequences of their actions. AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou, displaying the trademark political nerve, has been protesting because “Cyprus is no longer being governed by those elected by the people but by the Troika.”

Thank goodness, and hopefully things will stay this way. We would be very lucky if we have the Troika around forever, to govern us and put us in order, rather than the ruthless political fraudsters who, with their boundless, shameless populism drove us to bankruptcy. It does not matter at all that the Troika was not elected by the people.

Meanwhile the PASYDY boss Glafcos Hadjipetrou and his fellow union leaders are collectively beating their breasts because public employees had supposedly been ‘targeted’ and had been allegedly shouldering the biggest burden. The union bosses are as ruthless as the politicians in resorting to lies to mislead people.

What burden was imposed on public employees? The deductions made to their wages, apart from the special contribution which is also being paid by employees of the private sector, are between 8 and 14 per cent and are not even enough as contributions towards their princely pensions and their tax-free retirement bonus.

Private sector workers, whose pensions are half what the public employees are paid and whose provident fund retirement bonus is much smaller, make much bigger contributions towards these from their monthly salary.

The self-pitying Hadjipetrou and his comrades should leave aside the dirty lies, as should the political fraudsters that are egging them on. It is exactly this obscene behaviour by this self-serving clique which shows how much we need the Troika. However it needs to tighten the reins if it really wants to put things in order here and get its money back.

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