European stocks plummet on Greek concerns
European stocks have plummeted today on the back of fresh concerns over the stability of the Greek government and its economy. The nations elected officials were going head to head today after the country’s state funded television station was shut down overnight. The political opposition (The Democratic Left and Pasok) have already submitted appeals and the early stages of a new law in a big to get the decision overturned, putting ERT back on the air.
The news has damningly compounded the ASE, Greece’s major benchmark, with a 3.2% decline for the day — making the losses so far this week 12%. Greece has been in turmoil since 2007 with the benchmark plummeting by 83% since its financial woes coming to light.
The CAC, the leading French benchmark, fell by 0.4%, trailing the FTSE 100 and the DAX who slid by 0.6% and 1.2% respectively.
There is currently a 24 hour walkout taking place in Greece from journalists who are against the sudden closure of the nations sole state operated broadcaster. The TV station was one of the last bastions of quality broadcasting in the nation during a period when pop culture, low budget reality television programmes and suspect journalism have spiralled out of control. Some commenters have gone as far as to say that the TV station was a “poor man’s BBC” and “flawed but vital”. Various governments have been put under pressure to address the flamboyant spending at the TV station, in particular addressing how many members of staff were actually required for the operation.
Yiannis Baboulias has gone as far as to say the closure was a “direct attack on democracy” and highlighted an example of the flamboyant spending when he said the following in the NewStatesman “ERT has long been used by government ministers and MPs as a way to take care of their own. Most recently, the case of Anthi Salagkoudi made it to the pages of the German news magazine Der Speigel as a striking case of nepotism, in which the daughter of the former minister George Salagkoudis was hired as a presenter with a salary of €3,500, only for the channel to find out she wasn’t suitable for the position”.
While this could be shrugged off as mainstream news story, the potential impact from this could be damning as it once again underlines the instability in the region and shakes investor confidence in the Eurozone — and the world over.