Ιt’s now a month since the result of the Greek national elections put MeRA25 inside the Greek Parliament, the first DiEM25 electoral wing to pass that threshold, blazing the trail for others to follow. So what have MeRA25 been doing inside the corridors of EU-dictated legislation? What we have always been doing: battle on many fronts.
The newly elected New Democracy government really hit the ground running, firing legislation from all cylinders, opting for a “shock and awe” legislation carpet-bombing that would take as many hills as humanly possible before “the enemy” had a chance to form an army. The heavy use of military metaphors is not an accident. This is the most male-gazing, patriarchal, clan-operating, status-quo worshiping and pro-troika government in recent history.
MeRA25 set its mission statement during the Programme Declarations, the opening day of Parliament, when every party sets forth its mission statement for the upcoming four-year period.
Yanis Varoufakis’ first speech started with a bold declaration: that MeRA25 will signal the end of the “we’ll sign everything” era that turned the country into a debt colony. He went on to describe MeRA25’s role in this parliament: not only to deconstruct each and every toxic proposal of the government but to put forward more coherent, technocratically sound counter measures. MeRA25 is also planning to bring back political civility by actually voting in favour of any government measures which are in accordance with our programme and helpful to the many.
A few days later, it was time for the test run: the first pieces of proposed legislation from the government revolved around minor but significant patches to the Taxation system. Namely, a more rich-friendly reconstructing of the real estate tax ENFIA and a slightly polished version of a legislation introduced by the SYRIZA government, thanks to which indebted professionals could settle their debts in 120 installments.
On these, our response was a socially fairer version of ENFIA, and, in tune of our promise to vote for helpful legislation, the approval of the 120 installment plan. BUT: we declared it loud and clear that none of this would be any good if a key measure wasn’t immediately taken – the abolishment of the 100% prepayment of next years’ taxes, a truly sadistic measure that cripples the economy. The government’s response was to reject our proposal as being “unrelated to the legislation in question“. (Just to add insult to injury, the government incorporated a totally unrelated tycoon-favouring regulation inside that very legislation).
Next week, the last before Parliament closes for 10-days summer vacation, the Mother of All Legislation will be presented to the Parliament for a flash vote. It includes everything AND the kitchen sink – from Local Authority regulations to the abolishment of Academic Asylum. This behemoth was distributed for reviewing Friday evening, and MPs are expected to study and vote on it in only a handful of days. This is continuing the tested tradition of the Memorandum era, when 400 pages long legislation written by Troika technocrats were incorporated into law by MPs who didn’t even bother to read them.
And just like in the Memorandum era, Yanis Varoufakis and a small but dedicated group has vowed to give them a hard time!
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