Transparency Everywhere! My fees and the troika’s latest vilification drive

Since my resignation from the finance ministry, in protest at our government’s capitulation to the troika, I have been spending my time and energy to transfer the spirit of the Athens Spring to the heart of Europe – to promote the urgent need to shine the light of transparency on Europe’s decision making as a prerequisite to tackling Europe’s gargantuan democratic deficit.

In practice, this meant endless travel, and more than twenty appearances in different European cities over the space of a couple of months. As expected, the same troika-friendly media that attempted to vilify the Athens Spring during our tug-of-war with the troika also invested effort in vilifying my latest endeavours. After all, nothing upsets the powers-that-be in Brussels, Frankfurt, etc. more than the exposure of their deep contempt for democratic principles and practice.

Beginning with some Greek media outlets which have an impecable record of defamation (e.g. a grubby newspaper that ‘reported’, during my ministry, that I was conspiring with a Singaporean company to make Bitcoin Greece’s currency), a fresh campaign of vilification has begun the purpose of which is to portray my recent efforts, and travels, as part of a self-enrichment drive.

Transparency is one of the pillars of the European democracy network that I, and many others, are working towards these days, and which my travels and talks are intended to promote. For this reason, I owe a debt of gratitude to the troika-led media in the sense that, through their vilification campaign, have given me a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate in practice the principle of transparency that we want to bring to European politics.

Our campaign for Transparency Everywhere! can thus begin now, in this post. Below the reader will find, in response to the reports regarding the fees, format and travel costs of my recent and future speeches an account of where I have been, whom have I addressed, complete with fees and travel costs.

List A refers to political speeches I gave (or plan to give) since my resignation from the Greek Ministry of Finance. My fee for delivering the bulk of these speeches was the radical number ‘zero’. In three cases I received a small sum (mainly because the organisers insisted I should).

List B comprises two speeches/appearances which I delivered commercially to maintain my economic independent from vested interests and to my other activities. (Note that this ratio of about 12 to 1, unpaid to paid, appearances was also my practice as an academic prior to 2014, when I decided to throw my hat in the ring of politics).

I conclude with a message to the troika-loyal media, in Greece and at large: Your continued efforts to vilify me constitute a great gift for which I am thankful to you. They confirm the extent to which you are still threatened by the Athens Spring and that your loathing of the hope it spread around the world is undying. At the same time, your grimy efforts contribute to us, your opponents, excellent ideas on how to promote the task of Transparency Everywhere!

So, to conclude, from today and ad infinitum, let’s demand of ourselves and of others: Transparency Everywhere!

LIST A – Political Speeches, given and planned since August 2015

23 Aug. 2015 – Open air political speech at a rally in Frangy (France). Topic: “What does the Athens Spring mean for France and for Europe” – along with former French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

4 Sept. 2015 – Day long debates and meetings concerning the prospects of the European and Greek economies, organized by OMFIF, London

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

5 Sept. 2015 – Speech in the House of Ambrosseti, Lake Como, along with French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, invited by former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

12 Sept. 2015 – Address at the “Festival of Humanity” (Festival de l’humanité), in Paris. Topic: “The Solution Must Be European”

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

13 Sept. 2015 – Back-to-back speeches with Britain’s Shadow Chancellor John MacDonnell, Brighton UK. Topic: “Austerity was never an option”

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

14 Sept. 2015 (morning) – Address of striking staff at London’s National Gallery

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: No

14 Sept. 2015 (evening) – Public address at the Emmanuel Centre, in London, UK. Topic: “Fighting for Our Future” (with Labour Party parliamentarian and Shadow Cabinet Minister Diane Abbot)

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: No

24 Sept. 2015 – Panelist on top BBC tv political debate’s program “Question Time” (Cambridge, UK)

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

26 Sept. 2015 – Public debate with Daniel Cohn Bedit at the Festival of Le Monde, Paris

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

1 Oct. 2015 – Closing Speech at the 6th Moscow Biennale. Topic: “Artists Should Be Feared by the Powerful”, Moscow, Russia

Fee: €1000, Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

6 Oct. 2015 – Public address at the Volksbühne Theater, Berlin, Germany. Topic: An Alternative Plan for Europe”

Fee: €500 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

15 Oct. 2015 – Talk at the Bon Centre, Municipality of Barcelona, invited by Mayor Ada Colau

Fee: €1700 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

17 Oct. 2015 – Inaugural Lecture of the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra (Portugal)

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

23 Oct. 2015   Open public address at the Central Westminster Hall, London, UK – organized by THE GUARDIAN newspaper

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

24 Oct. 2015   Address at the Oxford Union, the University of Oxford, Oxford Union

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: No

25 Oct. 2015 – Public debate with Lord Howard, How To Academy, London

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: No

26 Oct. 2015   Address at an inter-collegiate meeting hosted by the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: No

27 Oct. 2015   Public debate in Munich with German economist Professor Hans Werner Sinn

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

3 Nov. 2015    Keynote speaker at a Summit with international banking sector representatives organised by Financial Times and hosted by the FT’s economics editor Mr Martin Wolf

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

4 Nov. 2015    Public Lecture, University of Vienna University (co-organisation with Kreisky Forum)

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

5 Nov. 2015    Opening event at the Kilkenomics Festival, Ireland

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

6 Nov. 2015    Public Lecture University of Bocconi, Milano, Italy

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: No

16 Nov. 2015   Public Debate on the Future of Europe, with Professor Slavoj Zizek, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK

Fee: 0 Travel expenses: Yes (Economy)

LIST B – Commercial Speeches/Apperances, given and planned since August 2015

27 Sep. 2015 – Participation in tv program Che Tempo Che Fa, RAI 3,

Fee: €24,000 after Italian tax and social security contributions Travel expenses: Yes (First Class)

21 Oct 2015 – Presentation in the context of the Abraaj annual conference in Singapore

Fee: €28,800 after Greek tax

Travel expenses: Yes (Business Class)

9 thoughts on “Transparency Everywhere! My fees and the troika’s latest vilification drive

  1. There is absolutely no reason to apologize to the Berlin ratzillas (and their disgusting Gestapo controlled Greek press which “manufactures” these defamation articles) about your comings and goings.

    Your job is to do what you have to do; their job is to get used to it and to stop behaving like some sewer vermin (wait I just repeated myself) of the Rhinelands.

  2. Oh my, Yanis. there is nothing immoral about collecting fees for value delivered. If you delivered no value, you would not get any fees. That system is called ‘market economy’, by the way. A system which has created enourmous wealth for societies over the centuries (after all, you will spend your money somewhere; won’t you? That will substitute for government deficit spending somewhere…).

    There is no need for you to put on the Mother-Theresa-hat. On the contrary, you could be a role model for young Greeks by showing them that if you deliver value, you will be compensated in accordance with that delivered value. And if you get rich in the process and if richness bothers for idiological reasons, just donate your wealth once you have proven that you can accumulate wealth. Warren Buffett can tell you how to do that. But first show that you can accumulate wealth!

    The real losers are the ones who say: “I could have made so much money but I didn’t because it would have been immoral”. So, do you want to come across as loser?

  3. I am coming to the one in London in November. I did pay for attendance, but not for a second did I think the cash would come to you as a fee. We can crowdfund a meal for you and Slavoj though…

  4. A modest proposal from Italy (accounting for bank money creation)

    In a recent post on the Positive Money blog we read: “What did you feel when you understood the full implications of the fact that banks create money out of nothing?”
    The first consideration is: this is the biggest tax at all ! With all this banking money the private seigniorage is now 100%. So, either the banks have become the accepted sovereigns in town or else this wealth has to be returned somehow to the legitimate government elected by the democracy.
    History tell us that whenever in modern times a government has tried to do so – by issuing directly state currency (state legal tender money) – it was targeted with negative propaganda, reversed by a military coup or the politicians involved have been made object of targeted assassinations (Sylvanus Olympio in Togo and Kennedy in the US both on 1963, Aldo Moro in Italy on 1978, etc. etc.). So here in Italy we propose at least to tax this banking privilege by forcing the banks to account for it in their asset-side of the balance following IAS-IFRS rules. This is equivalent to a tax of 31.4% (IRES TAX+IRAP TAX on corporate profits) on all banking money created in Italy, enough to cover for the full State budget. (31.4% on 1,840 billions of electronic euro created yearly. i.e. 577 billions euro). The same must be extended to the actual wrong central bank accounting for money creation adding even more resources to the total treasury chest.
    I don’t know how much it is the taxation on corporation in Greece but the same proposal can apply without a need for a specific new reform. Just a ‘third part’ AUDIT of the banks balances and the game is done.

  5. Yes, Yiani, with all due respect, transparency is fine but given your frugal way of living, and still teaching at UA (I hope), the 52,000 euros from only two of your foreign lectures is beyond the sunset for most of your compatriots here. It would be absurd for you to deny the money, in fact you could ask for more – for a good cause. You could set up a special fund (we, your friends, can do it for you if you’re not inclined) and put all the amounts you get for your lectures in the Fund to go to the homeless who will fill the streets of Athens this winter living in boxes, etc. And we are expecting a very cold winter…

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