Guest post by Kaj Embrén, Sustainable Development export and blogger, Stockholm, Sweden.
I don’t know about you, but I have tried to find out exactly what is in the bailout package offered to Greece by the European partners, but I could not find much. Banks are mentioned in all the newspapers articles, sometimes because they need to be shored up, sometimes because they will take a haircut. There are also clear indications that the social programmes, pensions and public sector jobs will be cut and that unemployment and despair will rise.
As I continued my research, I discovered that Greece is the biggest arms importer in the EU and that France has recently sold Greece four war ships at the cost of € 1.2 billion – See Der Spiegel article -
In my readings, I came across one potential piece of good news: the Helios project- a Greek €20 billion solar initiative to generate 10 GW until 2050. The project can create between 30 to 60 thousand jobs.
Greece needs to find finance for the project and it has signalled that it could pay up to 15 billion Euros of their debt by exporting to Europe the energy generated by Helios.
I don’t expect this solar project to be the solution to the financial misery the Greeks are going through, but I did expect some serious wordings in the rescue package of how the EU could provide guarantees to project investors in Helios and how the EU could help support a sustainable bailout approach that moves away from the failed recipe of arms sales and helping the banks to the structuring of green venture investment in Greece. In 2010, the global clean energy sector attracted € 176 billion of investments. See the Financial Times article by Pilita Clark .
If we are to see the creation of jobs and real opportunities in the decades to come that will effectively lift Greek population out of poverty, the EU must propose a bailout package that funds low carbon development and green investment opportunities.
Kaj Embrén, Sustainable Development export and blogger, Stockholm, Sweden.