Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

11 Δεκ 2011

#rbnews Weekly round-up December 03-10, 2011

The item that topped the news agenda over this past week was doubtless the Brussels summit where the exceedingly strict Franco-German austerity plan for all euro zone countries was adopted. However, another page in the history of the zero-tolerance approach of the Greek authorities was written during the protests marking the third anniversary of the murder to Alexandros Grigoropoulos on December 6, confirming a trend in State policy towards demonstrators.


On Tuesday 6 of December, three years to the day after the murder of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by Special Guard Epaminondas Korkoneas, Athens was once again under draconian police surveillance due to demonstrations planned by schoolchildren. 5,000 policemen from all services were mobilised for the occasion. There were multiple clashes in downtown Athens, and the police proceeded to detain 46 people and arrest 21 in the framework of their zero-tolerance policy.
Among those arrested was the well-know cyber-activist @menacius, who is a member of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla initiative and a contributor to web-based television station Omnia TV. He was arrested as he was performing his duties – together with many others – as a citizen journalist. It must be noted that a request was put forward to the Greek section of Amnesty International via Twitter to look into his case.
Also notable was the number of minors among those arrested, who were held for two days. Denunciations abound of beatings and psychological violence against some of them. On Thursday afternoon, the district attorney ordered the release of all detained minors without preconditions. On Friday, 5 foreign citizens (3 Germans, 1 Spaniard and 1 Portuguese) who had been arrested were also released on bail.


The European summit in Brussels which ended on Friday night resulted in a plan for a new financial austerity rule, to which 26 of the EU’s 27 member states, with the exception of the United Kingdom, chose to subscribe. The new accord which will be developed and will automatically concern all euro zone member states as well as other EU countries who will choose to be included sets zero deficit as its first priority. Notable decisions of the summit include in particular:
1. The upper acceptable limit for budget deficits in euro zone countries is lowered from 3% to 0.5%. This measure should be integrated in national constitutions or another equivalent body of national law. This means that, should a country exceed this limit, a mechanism of financial restructuring will automatically come into effect.
2. The compliance of national budgets will be assessed by the European Court of Justice, while decisions for submitting a country to supervision by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will be taken by a majority of 85% of members states instead of the current requirement for unanimity.
3. The establishment of the ESM (with a budget of €500Bn) will be hastened by 6 months, meaning June 2012. Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund will be reinforced with €200Bn which will be provided by the central banks of euro zone member states (including those of Greece, Italy and Portugal).
Comments from the Greek government on the accord, which must be ratified by March 2012, were positive. Prime Minister L. Papademos claimed that the proposed measures for elimination of budgetary deficits will relieve the markets. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister E. Venizelos specified that ratification of this rule by the Greek parliament would require a majority of 180 MPs (out of 300), as this is considered to be an international agreement. Among the PM’s statements, most notable were those regarding the 2012 budget, as they implied that further austerity measures might be imposed.


The Ministry of Justice submitted on 05 December a bill to the relevant parliamentary committee « to fight manifestations of racism and xenophobia ». Reactions were guarded. The bill suggests fines ranging from €3,000 to €10,000 and prisons sentences ranging from 6 months to 3 years for whoever, intentionally and publicly and by any available means (verbally, in the media, on the internet, etc) encourages, provokes or incites to violence or hatred against a person, a group or their assets and property. The bill also specifies that this includes any actions that may constitute a threat to public order. Significant number of people have expressed their concern that such a bill could turn out to be a pretext for censorship.


Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια:

Δημοσίευση σχολίου