Archive for Ιουλίου 2015

Γ. Τσολάκογλου. Προδότης ή πατριώτης;   Leave a comment

Η καλύβα ψηλά στο βουνό

GEORGIOS-TSOLAKOGLU

Του Σάκη Μουμτζή

Ο Γεώργιος Τσολάκογλου ( 1886-1948), δεν ήταν άκαπνος στρατιωτικός. Απεναντίας, πήρε μέρος στους βαλκανικούς πολέμους, στις μάχες του Α΄Π Π στο μέτωπο του Στρυμόνα, στην εκστρατεία στην Ουκρανία ( 1919- 1920) και στην Μ.Α σία.

Η επίθεση των ιταλών τον βρήκε αντιστράτηγο-σωματάρχη του Γ΄ΣΣ ( Δ. Μακεδονία). Η δράση του στον ελληνοιταλικό πόλεμο είναι γνωστή και ο πατριωτισμός του αλλά και οι ικανότητες του ποτέ δεν αμφισβητήθηκαν. Τα προβλήματα για τον Τσολάκογλου- και όχι μόνον- αρχίζουν μετά τον αιφνίδιο θάνατο του Ι. Μεταξά στις 29 Ιανουαρίου 1941. Ο Μεταξάς, ως γνωστόν , κατέβαλλε κάθε προσπάθεια για να αποτρέψει την εμπλοκή των γερμανών στον ελληνοϊταλικό πόλεμο. Στην ελληνοβρετανική σύσκεψη κορυφής της 15ης Ιανουαρίου 1941 ( Γεώργιος Β΄, Παπάγος,Ουέιβελ. Ουίλσον κλπ) (1) ο Μεταξάς δια του Παπάγου απέρριψε την αποστολή βρετανικού εκστρατευτικού σώματος στην Ελλάδα για να μην προκαλέσει τους γερμανούς, ενώ δήλωσε κατηγορηματικά την προσήλωση του στην…

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Posted Ιουλίου 31, 2015 by msofcrete in Uncategorized

The Euro: Monetary Unity To Political Disunity?   Leave a comment

SAN FRANCISCO – A common currency is an excellent monetary arrangement under some circumstances, a poor monetary arrangement under others. Whether it is good or bad depends primarily on the adjustment mechanisms that are available to absorb the economic shocks and dislocations that impinge on the various entities that are considering a common currency. Flexible exchange rates are a powerful adjustment mechanism for shocks that affect the entities differently. It is worth dispensing with this mechanism to gain the advantage of lower transaction costs and external discipline only if there are adequate alternative adjustment mechanisms.
The United States is an example of a situation that is favorable to a common currency. Though composed of fifty states, its residents overwhelmingly speak the same language, listen to the same television programs, see the same movies, can and do move freely from one part of the country to another; goods and capital move freely from state to state; wages and prices are moderately flexible; and the national government raises in taxes and spends roughly twice as much as state and local governments. Fiscal policies differ from state to state, but the differences are minor compared to the common national policy.

Unexpected shocks may well affect one part of the United States more than others — as, for example, the Middle East embargo on oil did in the 1970s, creating an increased demand for labor and boom conditions in some states, such as Texas, and unemployment and depressed conditions in others, such as the oil-importing states of the industrial Midwest. The different short-run effects were soon mediated by movements of people and goods, by offsetting financial flows from the national to the state and local governments, and by adjustments in prices and wages.
By contrast, Europe’s common market exemplifies a situation that is unfavorable to a common currency. It is composed of separate nations, whose residents speak different languages, have different customs, and have far greater loyalty and attachment to their own country than to the common market or to the idea of «Europe.» Despite being a free trade area, goods move less freely than in the United States, and so does capital.
The European Commission based in Brussels, indeed, spends a small fraction of the total spent by governments in the member countries. They, not the European Union’s bureaucracies, are the important political entities. Moreover, regulation of industrial and employment practices is more extensive than in the United States, and differs far more from country to country than from American state to American state. As a result, wages and prices in Europe are more rigid, and labor less mobile. In those circumstances, flexible exchange rates provide an extremely useful adjustment mechanism.
If one country is affected by negative shocks that call for, say, lower wages relative to other countries, that can be achieved by a change in one price, the exchange rate, rather than by requiring changes in thousands on thousands of separate wage rates, or the emigration of labor. The hardships imposed on France by its «franc fort» policy illustrate the cost of a politically inspired determination not to use the exchange rate to adjust to the impact of German unification. Britain’s economic growth after it abandoned the European Exchange Rate Mechanism a few years ago to refloat the pound illustrates the effectiveness of the exchange rate as an adjustment mechanism.
Proponents of the «Euro» often cite the gold standard era from 1879 to 1914 as demonstrating the benefits of a common currency. But the gold standard also had its costs. The period was characterized by declining prices from 1879 to 1896, rising prices thereafter, and sharp fluctuations within each period, especially severe in the 1890s. The standard was viable only because governments were small (spending in the neighborhood of 10 percent of the national income rather than 50 or more percent as now), prices and wages were highly flexible, and the public was willing to tolerate, or had no way to moderate, wide swings in output and employment. Take away the rose-colored glasses and it was hardly a period or a system to emulate.
As of today, a subgroup of the European Union — perhaps Germany, the Benelux countries, and Austria — come closer to satisfying the conditions favorable to a common currency than does the EU as a whole. And they currently have the equivalent of a common currency. Austria and the Benelux three have, to all intents and purposes, linked their currencies to the Deutschmark. However, these countries still retain their central banks and hence can break the link at will. Any country that wishes to link to the Dmark more firmly can do so on its own, simply by replacing its central bank with a currency board, as some countries (such as Estonia) outside the EU have done.
The drive for the Euro has been motivated by politics not economics. The aim has been to link Germany and France so closely as to make a future European war impossible, and to set the stage for a federal United States of Europe. I believe that adoption of the Euro would have the opposite effect. It would exacerbate political tensions by converting divergent shocks that could have been readily accommodated by exchange rate changes into divisive political issues. Political unity can pave the way for monetary unity. Monetary unity imposed under unfavorable conditions will prove a barrier to the achievement of political unity.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-euro–monetary-unity-to-political-disunity#L9yGxuG5QXRsBlYT.99

Posted Ιουλίου 31, 2015 by msofcrete in Uncategorized

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Greece’s Problem Is More Complicated than Austerity, Michael G. Jacobides   Leave a comment

It is easy to see Greece as a clash between “austerity” and “progressive economics,” with the Germans (and Finns and Dutch, alongside various international public servants and economists) on one side, and Keynesians and progressives on the other as Paul Krugman’s recent CNN interview suggests. This has certainly been the picture painted by Syriza, the left-wing political party of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and by many friends of Greece and progressive economists.

The reality, though, is more complicated. To be sure, excessive austerity is bad macroeconomic policy. But the issue at stake isn’t just austerity.  The issue is that Greek “resistance”—not just Syriza’s, but also that of the previous government—takes the form of protecting rent-seekers. This is where the July 2012 memorandum of understanding between Greece and the Troika (the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and the European Commission) failed miserably; the previous government, much like Syriza, wanted to preserve the status quo.

Greece’s main economic problem is structural and an exit from the Eurozone will not solve it. Besides the short-term costs of such a move, history shows us that Greece has never managed to benefit from currency devaluations. What’s more, the recent McKinsey study on Greek competitiveness shows that the country’s biggest challenge has been a lack of investment.

Exit from the Euro would only increase that capital scarcity, as the foreign exchange uncertainties would need to be factored in. For a country that isn’t export-oriented, and whose major industry, tourism, relies on stability, having its own currency is not much of a solution to economic woes.  The lack of investment, along with red tape, byzantine regulations, and corruption make it fiendishly difficult for new businesses to grow.  This, more than anything else, explains why Greece been unable to benefit from lower wage costs in developing its economy.

The problem is compounded by the fact that many groups have strong motivations for preserving the status quo.  From taxi and lorry drivers to lawyers to pharmacists to milk producers, regulations protect incumbents and forestall the introduction of new business models.  On the social front, some groups enjoy truly outrageous benefits, even as others suffer. Take the case of pensions: the average pensioner under 55 is getting 46% more than the average pensioner over 70.

The previous PASOK and ND governments resolutely failed to address these evolutionary, structural problems, which create “haves” and “have-nots”; sets of incumbents (usually connected to the government) and outsiders. Justice can hardly be served when court proceedings take over seven years on average to reach a conclusion. And it all revolves around a statist model, with politicians creating influence zones.

It isn’t only the branded pundits who are neglecting these issues. Over the last few years, focused fiscal consolidation also failed to fix these  underlying problems. The 2012 memorandum of understanding was supposed to address them, but Greek governments had neither the capacity nor the will to change. Yet if we want to understand and fix the Greek crisis, we must look at its structural causes, not just its symptoms.

Many reports have portrayed the Syriza government as the defenders of social justice and Greek national pride. On the latter, they have indeed done a terrific job—albeit at a heavy economic cost. But on social justice the claim is more than questionable. For all the party’s talk of “social justice” and “solidarity,” only €200 million has been granted to cope with Greece’s human crisis, and it has still not been fully disbursed. Meanwhile, the retirement fund for pensioners of DEO, the state electricity company, continues to receive an annual state subsidy to the tune of €600 million—at a time when most pensions are being slashed. Syriza, which is close to DEI unionists, even instituted a canteen subsidy a few weeks after taking office. Not only is there a lack of will; there’s a critical lack of skill. In the recent government reshuffle, a former comedian with no policy experience was made Minister of State for Pensions. He is a vociferous member of ANEL, Syriza’s far right-populist partner.

As for all Syriza’s pre-election noise about “oligarchs”, nothing has happened beyond a few nice headlines. And it’s interesting to note that although the party had threatened to check the licenses of the rich “entrepreneurs” who own the key media, they shelved the pledge a few weeks into their administration—after which media coverage of the party became broadly supportive (at least until the crisis peaked).  Business as usual?

On tax evasion, despite clear evidence of malfeasance, and nearly 450,000 identified possible tax evasion cases, there have been no new concrete measures whatsoever. Syriza did change the makeup of the panels who evaluate corrupt officials, though: rather than judges, they now feature local union reps. And they did away with the rule that state officials found guilty of corruption could no longer work—now, those convicted can stay at their unit during the five- or six-year appeal process.

The record on economic policy-making is equally disappointing. Although former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis made eloquent appeals about the need to rethink macro, he said very little about changing how the economy is run. In his first four months in office, he put his signature to 403 documents, 245 of which were approvals for travel for himself and his appointees.   In a country slipping from 1.8% growth in late 2014 to a 2.5% contraction today, there was no one in the finance ministry actually making policy.

Greece’s continued failure to fix its economy is an important part of the Greek crisis.  But the Greek government is not the only guilty party and there is some truth to the claims that the debt crisis that Greece is currently enduring is in part the responsibility of its EU partners.

Many in the press fingered excessive and ill-judged lending by Greek banks as a prime cause of the crisis. In fact, Greek banks were some of the soundest institutions in Europe before Greece went into the crisis and Greeks didn’t borrow much. Their total debt (private and corporate) was between a half and a third of that in the UK and the US. It was sovereign debt that was off kilter. And amidst all today’s calls for debt forgiveness, people seem to forget that Greece did enjoy the biggest write-off in global economic history, when the 2012 bailout saw Greek-issued private debt cut by over 50%.

But the 2012 haircut only covered debt held by private creditors (including banks, insurance companies, and pension funds). By 2012, that was less than half the Greek debt—so Greece got a write-off on 50% of its 50%, or just 25% of the total. The IMF, ECB, and EU own the rest. So what about that debt?

Here’s where it gets interesting. Back in 2010, before the haircut, when Greece ran out of money, all of its debt was private and issued under Greek law. At the time, everyone knew that Greece was going to have to be forgiven some of its debt but the then president of the European Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, would not entertain the idea. Why? Because French and German banks had gorged on Greek debt, and a haircut would mean that they, and the whole EU banking sector, would collapse. So he forced Greece to pretend that its solvency problem was a liquidity problem, and pushed it to substitute official debt for private debt. Effectively, between 2010 and 2012, Greece borrowed from the IMF, ECB, and EU in order to pay the banks that should have assumed the losses. At the same time, he forced Greek banks and pension funds to keep rolling over debt. This is why Greek banks got into trouble – it was not because of too much lending.

What happened was that the EU and taxpayers got dodgy Greek debt to help EU (but non-Greek) banks and hedge funds, which duly made a killing. Then, when Greece eventually got the debt forgiveness in 2012, its official debt to public institutions was excluded.   This is the real scandal of the Greek crisis — not the profligacy of Greek individuals, corporates, or banks.   The bottom line is that the Greek people are paying a heavy price today both for their government’s failure to restructure in 2010 and for their government’s bailout of French and German banks.

And what about that price?   All in all, the current deal is really tough in terms of the fiscal targets; it’s punitive, focused on tax hikes rather than cutting expenditures, and probably makes little macroeconomic sense. Of course, there should be a medium-term program on debt relief – after all, we Greeks do deserve a payback for bailing out all those big German and French banks five years ago.

Yet we have to deal with political reality as it is and on balance the structural changes that the deal calls for represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They are reforms that no government in Greece, including Syriza, has attempted, for fear of upsetting powerful vested interests.   By forcing the government to remove institutional barriers to competition and innovation the deal will create a sound basis for economic growth and development.  If (and that’s a huge if) the politics work out, confidence returns, and people invest again, things could get back on track; the alternative may be a failed state.  So, let’s keep a cool head, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There’s just too much at stake—for Greece, for the Eurozone, and for the European project more broadly.

Posted Ιουλίου 27, 2015 by msofcrete in Uncategorized

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Intentionally or otherwise, Schäuble has killed off the prospect of a Grexit   Leave a comment

One of the more controversial ideas put forward during the Greek debt crisis has been the suggestion by the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, that Greece could temporarily leave the Eurozone for a period of five years. Miguel Otero-Iglesias writes that while the idea itself has been widely criticised, the hard-line taken by Schäuble, and the subsequent U-turn by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, has paradoxically reduced any real potential for a Grexit to take place.

The Greek drama has just produced the greatest twist in the plot. Although his manners were teutonically rude, the German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble’s much criticised Grexit strategy has achieved something miraculous. Intentionally or not – only he knows – it killed the Grexit fairy tale told for so long by well-known US, UK and German academic economists.

From the start of the race, it was clear that the game of chicken between Syriza and Germany would always be won by the side able to convince their opponent that they were ready to jump into the abyss of Grexit. Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, was close with the referendum on 5 July. But Schäuble did not blink. On the contrary, he stamped on the accelerator, and once Tsipras had taken a good look into the black hole of Grexit, he pulled the hand-break and made a U-turn.

Tsipras’ volte-face demonstrates that the economists who call for Grexit might have their economics right (a devaluation could potentially benefit the country) but they have their politics and sociology awfully wrong. There is a reason why 70 per cent of Greeks want to stay in the euro. They know their country well. This is why they have accepted Tsipras’ capitulation in Brussels and encouraged their Parliament to vote, for the first time with an overwhelming majority, in favour of this harsh third rescue package.

Until now many in Greece, both on the far left and the far right, dreamed of a better life with the Drachma. Schauble’s Grexit plan, and Tsipras’ reaction to it, have brought them back to reality. Living standards will fall in Greece over the coming years, but Grexit would be much worse. More than any other European leader, over the past six months Tsipras has weighed up the pros and cons of an exit. His determination to stay is a strong message for anyone who will be at the same juncture in the future.

Although the Greek people are not the most Europeanised citizens of the Eurozone, even today, despite their hardship, most Greeks associate membership to the inner club of the EU with progress, modernity and high living standards. They look to their neighbours – Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania – and know they are better off. Leaving the euro would be a national humiliation much larger than the one experienced by Tsipras in Brussels.

Another element of the fairy tale is that a transition to the Drachma could be done smoothly. This is wishful thinking. Most Greeks oppose leaving the club. They will fight Grexit; even violently. Thus, if it happened, Greece would be mired in political instability: the worst possible environment to introduce a new currency. ‘Euroisation’, Montenegro-style, would be the most likely scenario.

As Tsipras has pointed out, the losers of Grexit would be the poorer and lower-middle classes. By contrast, the winners would be the conservative elites, who have stashed their savings abroad and are eagerly waiting for the introduction of the ever-devaluating New Drachma in order to use their hard euros to buy assets on the cheap. This would only increase the wealth gap between rich and poor in a country that is already highly unequal.

Schäuble’s in-your-face-Grexit therapy and Tsipras’ U-turn have achieved two outcomes hardly anyone envisioned a couple of months ago. First, the German Bundestag has agreed another rescue package for Greece, making many Germans grudgingly accept that we are de facto in a transfer union. Second, most of the radical left in the South of Europe has now realised that leaving the euro is not an option. The structural constraints and potential risks are too huge.

People in the South want to stick to the core of the Eurozone, not because they want, or are forced, to become German, as is often stated by Anglo-American commentators, but because they aspire to have the same capitalist and democratic institutional frameworks (more meritocracy and less clientelism and corruption) found in central and northern Europe.

Now that the Grexit fairy tale has been killed off and the social-democratic and hard left, including the anti-establishment Spanish party Podemos, seem to have acknowledged the structural constraints of leaving the euro, perhaps they will focus their efforts on changing the structural conditions of the Eurozone. It is clear that Merkel cannot permanently decide the fate of the Union. She has no legitimacy to do so. The Eurozone needs to move towards a fiscal and political union to survive, but to get there Europe’s social-democracy and France need to play a more active role.

In this regard, it is positive to see Hollande both stand firm against Grexit – if Paris says no it will not happen; forcing Berlin to eventually agree on a debt restructuring – and call for the creation of a European Finance Minister and a Eurozone Parliament. The only way to test whether Schäuble and the German public are true Europeans, as they constantly claim, is to match their bet and force them to show their cards.

 

 

Posted Ιουλίου 27, 2015 by msofcrete in Uncategorized

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The dark clouds of peace   Leave a comment

Built to foster friendship, the euro is manufacturing misery instead

 

UNRAVELLING the tangled logic of Greece’s bail-out talks, Charlemagne has learned, is a little like trying to explain the rules of cricket to an American. How to make sense of a process in which Greek voters loudly spurn a euro-zone bail-out offer in a referendum, only to watch Alexis Tsipras, their prime minister, immediately seek a worse deal that is flatly rejected by the euro zone, which in turn presses a yet more stringent proposal to which Mr Tsipras humbly assents? Better, perhaps, not to try.

After six months of this nonsense, little wonder everyone is depressed. The immediate danger of Grexit has at least been averted, after Mr Tsipras and his fellow euro-zone heads of government pulled a brutal all-nighter in Brussels this week. But it comes at the price of a vast taxpayer-funded bail-out for Greece, worth up to €86 billion ($94 billion) over three years, and a humiliating capitulation by Mr Tsipras. Greece’s economy is in tatters, its creditors are fuming and Europe’s institutions are in despair. Much to Britain’s disgust even non-euro countries have been sucked into the nightmare: a bridge loan designed to keep Greece afloat while the bail-out talks proceed looks set to tap a fund to which all EU countries have contributed.

But wasn’t this week’s agreement a triumph for the shock troops of austerity? Hardly. Finland’s coalition, formed only two months ago, tottered at the prospect of funding a third Greek bail-out. The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has admitted that it would violate an election pledge he made in 2012. One euro-zone diplomat says that 99% of her compatriots would say “no” to the bail-out if offered a Greece-style referendum. Even Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and Mr Tsipras’s chief tormentor, is damaged. The deal, crafted largely by Mrs Merkel, Mr Tsipras and François Hollande, France’s president, has exposed the German chancellor to competing charges: of cruelty abroad and of leniency at home, notably among Germany’s increasingly irritable parliamentarians, who must vote twice on the Greek package.

Europe’s single currency, designed to foster unity and ease trade between its members, has thus become a ruthless generator of misery for almost all of them. That is why hardly anyone has a good word to say about the new agreement. In private, officials acknowledge that the best to be said for it is that it kept Greece inside the euro. Some would not go even that far. On July 14th, one day after the euro summit, Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s bristly finance chief, declared that many of his colleagues in Berlin thought Greece would be better off leaving the euro than submitting to its demands. (He did not need to add that he shares that belief.) That evening Mr Tsipras admitted that the deal he had signed was terrible for Greece, but said that he was left with no choice if he wanted to avoid a return to the drachma. This gives the lie to the second sentence of the agreement, which states that “ownership by the Greek authorities is key”.

Several more fantasies emerge over the course of its seven pages. In order merely to earn the right to begin bail-out talks, the Greek government, which took office promising to end austerity and restore the nation’s battered dignity, must implement an epic list of reforms, from an overhaul of its civil-justice code to the rules governing its bakeries. Some, like a “depoliticisation” of the public administration, have eluded every government since Greece won freedom from the Ottomans in 1832. As the IMF pointed out this week, Greece’s creditors assume it can catapult itself from the lowest to among the highest productivity-growth and labour-force-participation rates in the euro zone.

That Mr Tsipras has been obliged to submit so cravenly is largely his own fault. Since taking office his preening government has vaporised the bonds of trust on which a currency union without a central authority must rely. But Europe’s hopes for bailed-out Greece now rest in a prime minister who has built his career opposing its bail-out philosophy. If Mr Tsipras does secure his rescue package, its regular reviews will be tortuous affairs. No one in a position of authority, it seems, has any better ideas.

The frustration with Greece is at its most intense in Mr Schäuble’s finance ministry, which last weekend floated the idea of a temporary Grexit. The proposal, which made its way into a draft euro-zone finance ministers’ document, was quickly scotched at the leaders’ euro summit; because a deal was struck, say officials, the doomsday option was not needed. But the foreign tutelage enshrined in the published document hardly represents a shining vision for Greece’s future. This newspaper has always opposed a Greek departure from the euro because of the economic shock it would bring and the political chaos that could follow. But faced with a programme that infantilises Greek citizens, endlessly saps its creditors’ energies and offers little hope of improvement, it is easy to see why some are tempted by the alternative.

Give Greece a chance

Can anything be salvaged from the wreckage? Perhaps. The boost to confidence that should follow the removal of the Grexit risk might counter the recessionary impact of the agreement’s austerity. Mr Tsipras might use his domestic authority constructively, starting by rebuilding his relations with the euro zone and attacking vested interests at home. As for his fellow leaders, having yanked Greece back from the abyss at great cost, they will be keen to make the deal work. They could offer Greece a slightly easier fiscal path than under previous agreements. Following the entreaties of the IMF, they might even make good on their vague pledges of debt relief, though that will be a hard sell.

Yet Charlemagne confesses to pessimism. Interviewed after he signed the deal, Mr Tsipras spoke darkly of an ideological “clash” within Europe that “will become more obvious over time”. Other ministers in his government have been freer with their military metaphors. The euro zone’s war with Greece has been traumatic enough. The peace could be harder still.

 

From The Economist

Posted Ιουλίου 27, 2015 by msofcrete in Uncategorized

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Το δημόσιο χρέος και η πτώση του φιλελευθερισμού / Γεώργιος Α. Σιβρίδης   Leave a comment

Το δημόσιο χρέος και η πτώση του φιλελευθερισμού / Γεώργιος Α. Σιβρίδης.

Το Σχέδιο Μακμίλαν   Leave a comment

7 Αυγούστου 1958. Ο πρωθυπουργός Κωνσταντίνος Καραμανλής υποδέχεται στο αεροδρόμιο τον Βρετανό ομόλογό του Χάρολντ Μακμίλαν. Το βρετανικό σχέδιο απορρίφθηκε από την ελληνική κυβέρνηση και τους Ελληνοκυπρίους.

Το 1957 η Βρετανία έλαβε σημαντικές αποφάσεις για το κυπριακό ζήτημα: η κυβέρνηση του κόμματος των Συντηρητικών υπό την ηγεσία του Χάρολντ Μακμίλαν απομακρύνθηκε από το δόγμα της άμεσης κυριαρχίας επί ολόκληρης της Κύπρου. Αντίθετα, υιοθέτησε την άποψη ότι τα στρατηγικά συμφέροντα του Λονδίνου στην Ανατολική Μεσόγειο, τη Μέση Ανατολή και τον Περσικό Κόλπο θα μπορούσαν πλέον να διασφαλιστούν με τη διατήρηση κυρίαρχων (sovereign) βρετανικών βάσεων στο νησί. Επιδόθηκε λοιπόν στην αναζήτηση μιας λύσης η οποία θα εξυπηρετούσε τις αξιώσεις τόσο της Τουρκίας (εκ των ρυθμιστών των εξελίξεων μετά την Τριμερή Διάσκεψη του Λονδίνου το 1955) όσο και των Τουρκοκυπρίων (σημαντικός αριθμός των οποίων στελέχωνε τις τάξεις της αστυνομικής δύναμης του βρετανικού αποικιακού καθεστώτος) για διχοτόμηση της νήσου. Ο εν λόγω προσανατολισμός της βρετανικής διπλωματίας ενίσχυσε δραματικά την εξάρτηση του Λονδίνου από την τουρκική κυβέρνηση και την τουρκική μειονότητα της αποικίας. Το γεγονός αυτό ερχόταν σε έντονη σύγκρουση με την επιθυμία της ελληνικής κοινότητας της Κύπρου (80% του συνολικού πληθυσμού), η οποία ήταν ταυτόσημη με αυτή του ένοπλου κινήματος της Εθνικής Οργάνωσης Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών (ΕΟΚΑ) για ένωση της Κύπρου με την Ελλάδα.

Οι περιφερειακοί και διεθνείς παράγοντες που αναλύθηκαν πιο πάνω υπήρξαν κυρίαρχο κριτήριο κατά τη διαδικασία διαμόρφωσης της συνταγματικής φόρμουλας που προτάθηκε το 1958 από το Λονδίνο για τη διευθέτηση του Κυπριακού: ένα νέο σχέδιο λύσης θα έπρεπε να ανταποκρίνεται πρωτίστως στις απαιτήσεις της Αγκυρας, ταυτόχρονα με τη διαιώνιση της βρετανικής παρουσίας στο νησί μέσω στρατιωτικών βάσεων.

Από τη νέα πρόταση της Βρετανίας απουσίαζε η επιστημονική νομική διατύπωση του σχεδίου Ράντκλιφ (1956): δεν επρόκειτο για ένα σύνολο συγκεκριμένων συνταγματικών προτάσεων, αλλά για μία διακήρυξη των γενικών αρχών ενός πλαισίου διευθέτησης, ώστε να αυξηθούν οι πιθανότητες αποδοχής του από την Ελλάδα και την Τουρκία. Το σχέδιο ήταν απότοκο μιας εξελικτικής διαδικασίας κατά την οποία λήφθηκαν υπόψη οι ιδέες του Βρετανού κυβερνήτη της Κύπρου, σερ Χιου Φουτ, όπως αυτές εκφράστηκαν στις αρχές του 1958, καθώς και το πλαίσιο αποφάσεων στις οποίες κατέληξε ο Macmillan το 1957. Η επίσημη παρουσίαση έλαβε χώρα στο βρετανικό Κοινοβούλιο (19 Ιουνίου 1958) από τον ίδιο τον Βρετανό πρωθυπουργό, γι’ αυτό και έμεινε γνωστό ως Σχέδιο Μακμίλαν.

Οι κύριες προβλέψεις και οι τροποποιήσεις της νέας πρότασης

Πυρήνα του Σχεδίου αποτελούσε η ιδέα για την εγκαθίδρυση στην Κύπρο ενός καθεστώτος τριπλού «συνεταιρισμού» μεταξύ Βρετανίας, Ελλάδας και Τουρκίας. Προβλεπόταν η διατήρηση της βρετανικής κυριαρχίας για επτά χρόνια, η συμμετοχή αντιπροσώπων της Ελλάδας και της Τουρκίας (ως βοηθών του κυβερνήτη) στη διοίκηση της αποικίας και η εκπόνηση Συντάγματος στη βάση της μέγιστης δυνατής κοινοτικής αυτονομίας. Θα ιδρύονταν δύο κοινοτικές Βουλές (μια ελληνοκυπριακή και μια τουρκοκυπριακή), αλλά όχι ένα κοινό κυπριακό νομοθετικό σώμα. Τα μέλη της κάθε κοινότητας θα είχαν το δικαίωμα να αποκτήσουν διπλή ιθαγένεια, δηλαδή τη βρετανική καθώς επίσης και αυτή των μητέρων-πατρίδων τους (ελληνική ή τουρκική). Στο Υπουργικό Συμβούλιο θα συμμετείχαν τέσσερις Ελληνοκύπριοι, δύο Τουρκοκύπριοι καθώς και οι αντιπρόσωποι της Ελλάδας και της Τουρκίας. Η πιθανότητα εγκαθίδρυσης της τριπλής συγκυριαρχίας θα εξεταζόταν μετά την πάροδο του διαστήματος των επτά ετών. Σημαντικό στοιχείο ήταν ότι για την εφαρμογή του Σχεδίου δεν κρινόταν απαραίτητη η συγκατάθεση της Ελλάδας ή της Τουρκίας, επομένως υπήρχε η δυνατότητα μονομερούς εφαρμογής του από τη Βρετανία.

Τα στοιχεία που οδηγούσαν σε διαχωριστικά τετελεσμένα για να εξυπηρετηθούν οι απαιτήσεις της τουρκοκυπριακής μειονότητας και της Τουρκίας ήταν πρόδηλα στη φύση του προτεινόμενου καθεστώτος, προσδίδοντας μια διχοτομική δυναμική στο Σχέδιο Μακμίλαν. Εξίσου ξεκάθαρη ήταν η νομική επαναφορά μιας μορφής τουρκικής επικυριαρχίας στην Κύπρο, παρόλο που αυτή είχε τυπικά τερματιστεί με τη Συνθήκη της Λωζάννης (1923). Οι ΗΠΑ εξέφρασαν αμφιβολία κατά πόσο θα δεχτεί το Σχέδιο η Ελλάδα, ωστόσο δέχτηκαν να βοηθήσουν τη Βρετανία ασκώντας πιέσεις στην Αθήνα.

Η Τουρκία ανταποκρίθηκε θετικά στο βρετανικό πλαίσιο λύσης, θεωρώντας το βάση για διαπραγμάτευση: αν και το Σχέδιο Μακμίλαν ήταν κοντά στις τουρκικές θέσεις, κατεβλήθη προσπάθεια να πιεστεί η Βρετανία για την πραγματοποίηση δήλωσης ότι οι πρόνοιές του θα λειτουργούσαν ως ενδιάμεσος σταθμός πριν από τη διχοτόμηση. Στις προσπάθειες της Αγκυρας συνέδραμαν οι Τούρκοι της Κύπρου μέσω αιματηρών γεγονότων που ξέσπασαν ύστερα από τουρκική προβοκάτσια στις 8 Ιουνίου 1958, όταν εκδηλώθηκε η αποτυχημένη προσπάθειά τους να επιβάλουν διά της βίας μια de facto διχοτόμηση μέσω επιθέσεων εναντίον των Ελληνοκυπρίων.

Η Αθήνα ενημερώθηκε για το περιεχόμενο των προτάσεων Macmillan στις 11 Ιουνίου 1958, μέσω επιστολής του Βρετανού πρωθυπουργού προς τον Ελληνα ομόλογό του, Κωνσταντίνο Καραμανλή. Το διχοτομικό πνεύμα του Σχεδίου Μακμίλαν προκάλεσε απογοήτευση και αμηχανία στις τάξεις της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης, η οποία το απέρριψε την ίδια μέρα μέσω απαντητικής επιστολής του Καραμανλή προς τον Βρετανό ομόλογό του. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Μακάριος, ο πολιτικός ηγέτης των Ελληνοκυπρίων, τήρησε επίσης αρνητική στάση και αντιπρότεινε τη διεξαγωγή συνομιλιών στη βάση ενός μεταβατικού σταδίου αυτοκυβέρνησης.

Πρωτοβουλία Σπάακ

Η αρνητική στάση της Αθήνας, οι υπόνοιες ότι η κυβέρνηση Καραμανλή ενδεχομένως να παραιτείτο και η απειλή αποχώρησης της Ελλάδας από το ΝΑΤΟ, οδήγησαν σε πρωτοβουλία εκ μέρους του γενικού γραμματέα της Βορειοατλαντικής Συμμαχίας, Πολ-Ανρί Σπάακ, ώστε το βρετανικό προταθέν πλαίσιο αρχών να τύχει αλλαγών. Η δραστηριοποίηση του ΝΑΤΟ σηματοδότησε εξελίξεις κατά τις οποίες η Βρετανία έπρεπε να συμβιβάσει δύο εντελώς αντίθετες τάσεις: από τη μία, η ελληνική κυβέρνηση επιζητούσε σημαντικές αλλαγές σε πρόνοιες του Σχεδίου· από την άλλη, η ηγεσία της Τουρκίας υπογράμμιζε ότι ήταν έντονα αντίθετη σε τυχόν τροποποιήσεις.

Το Λονδίνο επικεντρώθηκε στην εισαγωγή μερικών τροποποιήσεων ώστε να δελεάσει την Αθήνα για την επίδειξη συγκαταβατικής στάσης. Σε νέα επιστολή του, στις 14 Αυγούστου 1958, ο Μακμίλαν πρότεινε μερικές αλλαγές στο Σχέδιο: ο Ελληνας και ο Τούρκος αντιπρόσωπος δεν θα είχαν δικαίωμα συμμετοχής στο Συμβούλιο του Κυβερνήτη, η πρόνοια περί διπλής υπηκοότητας θα απαλειφόταν, ενώ θα καταβάλλονταν προσπάθειες για τη δημιουργία ξεχωριστών δημοτικών αρχών στις μεγάλες πόλεις της Κύπρου. Επίσης, η βρετανική κυβέρνηση ήταν διατεθειμένη να διακηρύξει επίσημα την ευχή για την ίδρυση ενός ενιαίου αντιπροσωπευτικού σώματος με μέλη Ελληνες και Τούρκους της Κύπρου (που θα λειτουργούσε παράλληλα με τις δύο Βουλές), καθώς και την πρόβλεψη ότι η τελική διευθέτηση θα αναζητείτο έπειτα από διαβούλευση με τα ενδιαφερόμενα μέρη. Αναφορικά με το χρονοδιάγραμμα εφαρμογής του Σχεδίου Μακμίλαν, σε πρώτο στάδιο θα συντάσσονταν χωριστοί εκλογικοί κατάλογοι για τις δύο μεγαλύτερες εθνικές κοινότητες του νησιού. Ακολούθως θα διενεργούνταν εκλογές για την ανάδειξη μελών στις δύο Κοινοτικές Συνελεύσεις, τα οποία με τη σειρά τους επρόκειτο να υποδείξουν τους αντιπροσώπους τους, οι οποίοι θα συμμετείχαν στο Συμβούλιο του Κυβερνήτη. Επιπλέον, θα καλούντο οι ηγεσίες της Ελλάδος και της Τουρκίας να υποδείξουν τους αντιπροσώπους τους στην Κύπρο, ώστε η ανάληψη των καθηκόντων τους να αρχίσει την 1η Οκτωβρίου 1958.

Διπλή απόρριψη και κλίμα πόλωσης στην Κύπρο

Οι προτάσεις της βρετανικής πλευράς για μία ακόμη φορά δεν έτυχαν της αποδοχής της Αθήνας και του Μακαρίου λόγω της διχοτομικής δυναμικής, η οποία εξακολουθούσε να είναι σύμφυτη σε αυτές. Αντίθετα, εκδηλώθηκε ξανά η τουρκική πρόθεση για αποδοχή του Σχεδίου Μακμίλαν. Οι προειδοποιήσεις της κυβέρνησης Καραμανλή προς την ηγεσία του ΝΑΤΟ, ότι η απόπειρα μονομερούς εφαρμογής του θα έθετε σε κίνδυνο την αρμονία στους κόλπους της δυτικής συμμαχίας, οδήγησαν σε πρωτοβουλία εκ μέρους του Σπάακ τον Σεπτέμβριο του 1958 για τη σύγκληση πενταμερούς διάσκεψης για διαβουλεύσεις. Εντούτοις, η εν λόγω προσπάθεια σύντομα κατέληξε σε αδιέξοδο (στα τέλη του Οκτωβρίου του 1958) όταν η ελληνική κυβέρνηση αποχώρησε από τις διαπραγματεύσεις για τη διεξαγωγή της πολυμερούς διάσκεψης.
Στροφή Μακαρίου

Ενόσω οι πιο πάνω εξελίξεις σε διεθνές επίπεδο λάμβαναν χώρα, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Μακάριος θορυβημένος από το ενδεχόμενο της μονομερούς επιβολής του βρετανικού πλαισίου λύσης πραγματοποίησε για πρώτη φορά δημόσια στροφή προς τη λύση της ανεξαρτησίας, μέσω σχετικής συνέντευξης που παραχώρησε στην αντιπρόεδρο του βρετανικού Εργατικού Κόμματος, Μπάρμπαρα Καστλ (22 Σεπτεμβρίου 1958). Παρά την απουσία πρότερης συνεννόησης με τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο, η κυβέρνηση Καραμανλή δήλωσε ότι ήταν διατεθειμένη να στηρίξει την προσέγγιση του Μακαρίου, εμπεδώνοντας έτσι τη σταδιακή απομάκρυνση από το αρχικό αίτημα της αυτοδιάθεσης-ένωσης. Συνεπακόλουθα, η πέμπτη προσφυγή της Ελλάδας στον ΟΗΕ μερικούς μήνες αργότερα (Δεκέμβριος 1958) δεν αφορούσε την απαίτηση για την υιοθέτηση ψηφίσματος υπέρ της παραχώρησης του δικαιώματος της αυτοδιάθεσης στην Κύπρο (όπως οι τέσσερις προηγούμενες) αλλά την ανεξαρτησία του νησιού.

Η κυβέρνηση της Βρετανίας απέρριψε την εισήγηση του Αρχιεπισκόπου Μακαρίου και διακήρυξε την πρόθεσή της να προχωρήσει στη μονομερή επιβολή στην αποικία μιας σειράς προνοιών του Σχεδίου Μακμίλαν. Η συγκεκριμένη ενέργεια αναπόφευκτα συνέβαλε στη θεμελίωση ενός πολύ πιο έντονου κλίματος πόλωσης στο νησί. Συνεπακόλουθα, ένας νέος κύκλος βίας επρόκειτο να ξεσπάσει σύντομα κάνοντας την περίοδο γνωστή ως «Μαύρο Οκτώβρη».

* Ο δρ Ανδρέας Κάρυος διδάσκει Ιστορία στο Ανοικτό Πανεπιστήμιο Κύπρου.

Δημοσιεύτηκε στην έντυπη έκδοση της Καθημερινής.

Posted Ιουλίου 23, 2015 by msofcrete in Ιστορικά

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