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"Radical leftist" SYRIZA brings Monsanto's "RoundUp" to Greece

A herbicide accused by some of being a carcinogen and harming the honeybee population, “Roundup” licensed to be distributed in Greece for five years.

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One of the things I remember from my childhood as a Greek of the diaspora was traveling to Greece in the summertime and being amazed by how fresh and rich-tasting the fruits and vegetables were. Everything from tomatoes to peaches seemed to burst with flavor which was nowhere to be found in the United States. Similarly, many other products, from ready-made juice to the meat, also seemed to be packed with a flavor that seemed to be missing back in the U.S.
As Greece has opened its doors to the “European common market” however, and as it has implemented the EU’s “Common Agricultural Policy,” more and more imported fruits, vegetables, and meats have made their way into the Greek marketplace, and into the Greek kitchen. Moreover, the “Common Agricultural Policy” altered Greek agriculture itself: by dictating to farmers what to grow, what not to grow, what quantities to produce, how much to export, where to export, what crop and seed varieties to use, even regulations as to the shape and look of items such as bananas, many of Greece’s traditional crop varieties disappeared, being replaced with the same homogenized (and often tasteless) produce found elsewhere in the “developed” world.
In addition, Greek farmers were (and are) often encouraged — and paid — with EU monies to not grow anything at all, while the people of Greece are told that Greece is permanently wedded to the EU because “it doesn’t produce anything” and therefore can’t afford “Grexit.”
In an analysis last year for MintPress News, I examined the destruction of Greek agriculture during the years of EU membership:

Indeed, it is membership in the EU that has led to a sharp decline in the domestic production of numerous staples in Greece. In 1961, twenty years before joining the EU, “impoverished” Greece produced 169,200 tons of figs, 6,374 tons of sesame, 52,000 tons of dry beans, 13,365 tons of chickpeas, and 19,246 tons of quince. In 2011, the respective figures were 9,400 tons of figs, 33 tons of sesame, 22,744 tons of dry beans, 2,200 tons of chickpeas, and 3,432 tons of quince.
In 1981, the year Greece joined the EU, production of fresh vegetables was at 123,298 tons, lemon production was at 216,874 tons, apple production was at 337,091 tons, almond production at 73,181 tons, tobacco production at 130,900 tons, tomato production at 1,884,600 tons, and potato production at 1,056,000 tons.
Thirty years later, the figures for each of these crops had sharply declined: 74,393 tons of fresh vegetables, 70,314 tons of lemons, 255,800 tons of apples, 29,800 tons of almonds, 20,287 tons of tobacco, 1,169,900 tons of tomatoes, and 757,820 tons of potatoes.
A major factor in this decline is the EU’s common agricultural policy, which sets production quotas for each country and each sector of production, and dictates to each country what to produce and which crop varieties to cultivate, what not to produce, where to export, where not to export, how much to export and at what price.
For example, until 2005 Greece’s sugar production sector was profitable and met a large part of domestic demand. In a 2006 deal with the EU, however, Greece agreed to reduce its domestic sugar production and increase imports. In 1980, the year before Greece ascended to the EU, pork meat production met 84 percent of domestic needs, while beef production met 66 percent of domestic demand. Those figures have declined to 38 and 13 percent, respectively.
The decline in beef production has also impacted the dairy sector. The EU’s influence is evident here as well: in 2000, Greece was fined 2.5 billion drachmas (over 7.3 million euros) for exceeding EU-imposed quotas for the production of cow’s milk.
And yet the myth persists: Greece “cannot survive” outside of the eurozone and EU. And while the lack of production—whether imagined or real—is one of the main arguments used by proponents of remaining in the EU, the lies do not stop there.

SYRIZA rounds up Monsanto, brings Roundup to Greece
This brings us to the present. It feels like ancient history right now, but prior to its election in January 2015, the “radical leftist” SYRIZA issued promises left and right, pledging to end the many ills of austerity and to stand up to demands made by the Europeans — and particularly the Germans — towards Greece. Tsipras earned legions of gullible followers with statements such as “Go back Mrs. Merkel.”
SYRIZA, however, was careful not to question Greece’s place in the EU or the eurozone, and sidestepped potential hot potatoes such as the then-proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which among other things would have opened the floodgates for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and companies such as Monsanto to freely enter the European marketplace.
As it turns out, however, despite the fact that TTIP was shot down by the Trump administration, much to the chagrin of globalists and neoliberals the world over, it wasn’t needed after all. In a ministerial decision issued on March 6 and made publicly available Wednesday on the Greek government’s Diavgeia database, Monsanto has been issued a five year license to distribute its infamous herbicide, RoundUp, in Greece.
This follows in the footsteps of the European Commission’s decision in December to renew Monsanto’s license to operate in the EU for five years, in large part due to German pressure.
Notably, Monsanto is currently in the process of completing its merger with German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, a deal which will also require final approval from the EU.
What is RoundUp? It is a herbicide, specifically a weed killer, whose primary ingredient is a chemical called glyphosate. Used by farmers to kill weeds which compete with crops, RoundUp has been accused of being a potent carcinogen. As reported recently by Newsweek, over 300 farmers and other individuals have filed lawsuits against Monsanto, alleging that RoundUp gave them cancer. Experts on both sides have weighed in, some claiming that RoundUp has not been shown to be linked to an increased incidence of cancer, while other scientists have disagreed. For instance, the California Environmental Protection Agency has included glyphosate in its list of potential carcinogens.
In a 2017 analysis, Hellenic Insider contributor Evaggelos Vallianatos, formerly of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also argued that RoundUp is harmful for the honeybee population.
Even French president Emmanuel Macron, no radical himself, has stated his intent to have glyphosate banned in France within three years.
This is not the place for a proper analysis of RoundUp’s potential effects on human health. Readers are encouraged to do their own research on the topic. What is clear though is that the verdict is far from settled as to the safety of this product. At one time, the EU supposedly prided itself in standing apart from the United States in the realm of food safety, while Greek produce was particularly distinct for its quality and flavor. Now, it is the “radical leftist” SYRIZA itself which is opening the floodgates for Monsanto and Roundup to enter the Greek marketplace, while the Greek people are repeatedly told that the country cannot stand on its own outside the eurozone or the EU.
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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Greek Opposition Leader Mitsotakis Coming To Moscow For High Level Talks

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Archons of Greek Orthodox Church issue toothless letter about abortion law

The good news is the Archons did say some good things in reaction to the New York abortion law. But there was no consequence.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In relation to our previously published piece about Governor Andrew Cuomo signing abortion into the New York State Constitution, we noted that at the time of the article’s writing, no entities within the Orthodox Church in any jurisdiction issued any kind of statement condemning this law. Of all fourteen universally acknowledged Local Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church was particularly of note, since their Archons awarded a humanitarian award known as the Athenogoras Award to extremely liberal, pro-abortion politicians, Andrew Cuomo being one of these.

Well, the Archons did issue a statement yesterday:

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Condemns New York’s New Abortion Law

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, strongly condemns the State of New York’s new Reproductive Health Act that was passed on January 22, 2019. This new law allows abortions up to the moment of birth and gives people who are not doctors the right to perform abortions.

The Order also deplores the celebratory atmosphere surrounding the new law, as One World Trade Center was lit pink to commemorate the passage of the law, as if it represented a great advance for the rights of women. The rights of no human being are ever advanced at the expense of another. The State of New York will not truly have respect for the rights of women until it once again restores legal protections for every human being, from his or her first moment of existence until natural death.

Hailed as progress, New York’s Reproductive Health Act is not actually an advance, but a regression, a return to a time of barbarism when the weak were at the mercy of the strong and had no protection from legal structures or governing authorities.

The Order implores New York’s legislators to reconsider this dangerous new law and reinstitute protections for all human life, no matter how weak and vulnerable. Only when such protections exist can any society truly prosper.

Rev. Alexander Karloutsos
Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Is this enough?

It does not seem to be so. Governor Cuomo and his award, along with pro-abortion Roman Catholic Vice President Joe Biden, also received this award at the same time Governor Cuomo did.

What did not happen in this letter was that neither politician was named, nor were the four (out of five) Greek Orthodox politicians in the New York State Assembly that voted FOR this law.

Neither did the Archons move to rescind the Athenagoras Awards they gave to Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Biden. This move appears to be still far too politically calculated, and keeping with the tragic, curious and distressing behavior of the leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Monomachos.com is a popular blog site whose editor, George Michalopulos, is undoubtedly one of the giants among those Greek Orthodox who seriously uphold at the notion that the Church ought never compromise herself. Yet, he was very happy with the letter that is shown above because for him it represented a “180-degree turnabout” in terms of the history of the Archons’ behavior, which he noted elsewhere as smacking of “the feeling that their primary job is to raise money for Istanbul.”

He neglected to mention the lack of mention of the Awards, but perhaps understandably, his surprise at any sort of traditional statement by this group was leading to exuberance where perhaps it is not deserved.

The Greek Orthodox Church seems to have an overall alignment with very liberal figures, and it is unclear as to why. But this tendency of people that are considered good and faithful Greek Orthodox churchgoers to align with liberal politics in the United States is very different than the sharply conservative tendencies of Russian Orthodox churchgoers, or Greeks or Romanians in the US.

The other rather liberal church is the US is the Orthodox Church in America, but this group does tend to involve itself in social causes in the US – especially abortion – in a very conservative, if rather feeble, manner. They do make their presence known at the annual March for Life and this is of great value.

We wish to name all the Greek Orthodox elected New York assembly members here, with their votes regarding the state abortion measure:

Michael Gianaris             (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Andrew Gounardes         (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Nicole Malliotakis           (R)                            – No. (and she is a woman!!)
Aravella Simotas             (D)                            – Yes.
James Skoufis                  (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.

This measure enshrined abortion at any point in a woman’s pregnancy as a constitutional right. The law stipulates several following procedures are now “rights:”

  • The law allows non-physicians to perform abortions.
  • The law allows abortion through the third trimester.
  • and the law repeals protections for babies that survive abortions (this means that if the baby gets delivered alive, it will still be killed.)

This is a barbaric law, and a resounding victory for people aligned with some very dark ideas about life and death. It is a tragedy, and while the Archons’ letter condemning it is at least a token statement, it really wants a full-throated response from the Christian world.

In fact, even Muslims and religious Jewish people ought to be outraged as well. All the Abrahamic religions understand that only God is the author of life. In this viewpoint, people do not themselves create life. We only cooperate with God to bring it into existence, by his blessing.

But we can cause death, and this power is influenced by forces that are not interested in God, traditional values, family, children or anything of the sort.

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Greek MPs pass Prespes deal with 153 votes in 300-seat House

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year.

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Via Ekathimerini


Greece’s parliament on Friday ratified a landmark accord that changes the name of neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), ending a decades-old dispute and opening the way for the ex-Yugoslav republic to join the European Union and NATO.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who hammered out the deal with his FYROM counterpart last year, secured the parliamentary majority needed to get the accord approved with support from independent and opposition lawmakers.

“Today we are writing a new page for the Balkans. The hatred of nationalism and conflict is giving way to friendship, peace, and cooperation,” Tsipras wrote on his social media account.

FYROM has already ratified the deal, brokered last year, and its prime minister promptly sent a tweet hailing the Greek parliament’s vote.

The settlement seeks to end a 28-year old row between Athens and Skopje over the use of the term “Macedonia” by renaming the tiny Balkan state “Republic of North Macedonia” to differentiate it from Greece’s northern province of Macedonia.

Greece’s European Union allies welcomed the ratification.

“They had imagination, they took the risk, they were ready to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted. “Mission impossible accomplished.”

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year. A general election is due by October, and his party is trailing the opposition New Democracy by up to 12 points.

The debate in the Greek parliament was heated, with voting almost interrupted on Friday when an MP for the right-wing Golden Dawn Party, asked to cast his vote, responded: “No to treason!”

Several MPs in favour of of the accord reported attempts to intimidate them.

Many Greeks fear the agreement could lead to territorial claims against Greece and say it constitutes an appropriation of their country’s ancient cultural heritage. Macedonia was the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Protests against the deal have at times turned violent this week, and on Thursday evening police fired teargas to disperse crowds outside parliament. Smaller groups of people braved heavy rain on Friday to demonstrate outside the parliament.

New Democracy slammed the agreement.

“This deal should never have been signed or brought to parliament for ratification,” party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament. “It is a national defeat … a national blunder that is an affont to the truth and history of our country.”

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