Athens: Deb(t)acle

Posted on April 27, 2006


warplane.jpg by melinda elliott 

It’s no secret that Greece is up to its neck in debt and Finance Minister, has been trying for the past two years to scrape enough money together from tax revenues, privatization of public companies, slashing (or so I thought) public expenditures and attempting some creative accounting to get the debt under control and under the EUs 3% Growth & Stability Pact limit.

So why then, is Greece planning to spend € 22 billion on new weapons? Are we planning a war and no one told me? How can this kind of expenditure be justified considering Greece’s dire fiscal straits? Elefterotipia daily in Greece wrote that the Greek government plans to purchase a new weapons system worth €22 billion as part of its 10 year armament program.

According to the Greek daily, Greece will purchase 40 warplanes, 45 training planes, six frigates, four submarines and 35 helicopters of various types, 291 TOMA type chained vehicles, 26 fighting vehicles and satellite communications systems. Are the new planes needed to replace the ones that have crashed? Are we expecting civil insurrection? Is the government planning to use the 35 helicopters to ensure the recent spate of bank robberies are kept in check? What on earth is a TOMA type chained vehicle anyway?

No doubt Greece’s military weapons are outdated and in need of modernization but surely not enough to justify spending 22 billion especially at a time when every penny counts in the effort to keep this country from falling into an economic sinkhole.