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article imageOp-Ed: Troika concerned about cuts to Greece's defense spending

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 2, 2012 in World
After months of political maneuvering to conjure up austerity cuts of €11.66 billion, the government may find the proposed measures don't win the approval of their Troika masters. The latter are reportedly concerned about cuts to Greek defense spending.
A decision is expected to be reached by the Troika of international creditors in October to determine if Greece has gone far enough in acceding to demands for austerity and reform, to land itself with yet another bail out loan, complete with hefty interest payments. This would avoid the much speculated upon Grexit. Political machinations will inevitably influence the decision, as much as economics.
Digital Journal reported that Greek media released a list of the proposed cuts which slash pensions by over €4.5 billion, reduce expenditure on health care that is already in crisis, yet reduces defense spending by a mere €517 million.
The proposed cuts are not yet a done deal. As the FT reports the coalition government must first approve them and then parliament must vote them in, against a likely increase in social unrest.
Even before the proposals have landed on the desk of the Troika Ekathimerini reports the Troika "are said to be concerned about some of the measures on the blueprint -- namely cuts to public administration and defense spending."
Considering the Troika comprises the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank, the natural cynic presumes the objections are that the cuts to defense spending are too much: after all a pre-condition of previous bail out loans was Greece's commitment to purchase yet more expensive armaments, primarily from Germany, the U.S. and France. As Spectrezine reported "It is thus clear that the ever-increasing bail-outs are in reality, directly or indirectly, consecrated to the purchase of arms."
Where defense spending is concerned bankrupt Greece still plays with the big boys. As the Guardian reported defense spending has been the largest single contributer to Greek debt, yet it would appear inconceivable that the Troika would sabotage its own agenda by demanding Greek defense expenditure is slashed further.
Defense Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos has proposed cuts in military wages, which Ekathimerini reports will be protested against on Thursday. A previously tabled proposal to reduce military costs by increasing the term of mandatory military service from nine to 12 months was shelved before it even reached the blueprints, as too costly.
Perhaps the Troika will yet shock and prove to be aghast that Greece has not slashed its defense expenditure enough, though it appears unlikely. Far better that pensioners and citizens face penury than a grossly inflated collection of faulty submarines and other useless armaments go untended.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about troika, Greek defense, Greek cuts, anthonis samaras, Evangelos Venizelos
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