Just a few hours before the Euro elections, in which Eurosceptics are galloping fast, an investigative report by pressproject, regarding the parallel business activities of one of the candidates for the presidency of the EU, is perhaps indicative of why this Europe of lobbies and oligarchs has shredded all remaining make up of “democratic” legitimacy.
The particular gentleman in question is no stranger to the Greek public opinion and he has in the past denounced EU corruption, he has taken a stand for the need of new rules and also suggested to the voters to search who are those who seek their vote.
He said: “You cannot forbid that there are lobbyists, the problem is that from time to time, like we have seen the case in this Commission, there is corruption coming from that. That is the problem. And that we have certainly to fight against, and to make new rules; and we have made new rules in the last parliament to strengthen the fight against corruption, against the lobbyists… It is about who is the guy or the woman representing you and what are the ethics of these politicians…”
So who is the Guy representing you?
Besides being an MEP, a candidate for President of the EU Commission and a former Prime Minister of Belgium, Mr. Verhofstadt sits on the board of Sofina (Société Financière de Transports et d’Entreprises Industrielles), a Belgian holding company headquartered in Brussels.
Sofina, according to Wikipedia, invests in multiple economic sectors such as telecommunication (7%), portfolio companies, banking and insurance (6%), private equity (6%), company services (18%), consumer goods (31%), energy (6%), distribution (8%) and various other sectors (10%). Mr Verhofstadt is also a board member at Exmar, a shipping group serving the international gas and oil industry.
Guy Verhofstadt, GDF Suez and the privatization of Greek water
Cutting to the chase: Sofina, according to its own statements, has a stake in the energy multinational, GDF Suez. Indeed its impact is so important that the fund has a seat on the board of Suez. Now, the plot thickens: Suez’s full subsidiary, Suez Environnement (in which Sofina also holds a stake) is participating in one of the two consortia that in Greece have reached the final phase of the privatization of EYATH, the state-owned company that manages the water services for Thessaloniki, the second biggest Greek city.
In its bid for the Greek water company, Suez is not alone. It is complemented by Aktor, one of the most powerful business groups in Greece, with a leading role in construction, highway concessions, waste management and… now water. Aktor is controlled by a Greek family with a pivotal role in the so called ‘triangle of power’, a nexus of media, business and politics in Greece. By most forecasts the Suez – Aktor consortium is considered the favorite to win the bid.
In Greece, this interrelation of interests, in Greek “diaploki”, has become a second nature for the benefit of the very few, and the ‘triangle of power ” is the Bermuda Triangle where tremendous sums have” disappeared ” at the expense of the public interest. The European political class and its own controlled media have repeatedly pointed their finger to the “corrupt Greeks”. How far away from their own definition of corruption is the example of Mr Verhofstadt, member of the political elite involved with his own political agenda in the shaping of policies imposed on Greece?
Note: Mr Kaminis, Mayor and candidate for Mayorship of the city of Athens, who escorted today Mr Verhofstadt, has declared that he is opposed to water privatization. We cannot help but wondering if he is aware of his Belgian guest’s business activities.