Lots has been made of the profilgacy of Greek state spending, on the way in which billions have been wasted on white elephants and unjustifiable wages and benefits. Yet there are areas of public expenditure which have barely been discussed, let alone touched by the swingeing cuts in services and incomes. Whilst the present socialist PASOK government is busily implementing cuts in minimum wage and lowest pensions the country's massive defence outlays seem to be immune from the fiscal demands of the IMF and EU.
Just today two stories have come to light which show just how much military spending weighs down the public coffers and the shadowy way in which Greece's EU partners have used their clout to ensure their own countrys' defence industries are insulated from any possible effects of the economic crisis in Greece.
Despite the dire state of the economy Athens is still going ahead with the purchase of two more German built submarines worth one billion euros in total. To add insult to injury the first Type 214 submarine when delivered to Greece in 2006 had 400 defects according to Strategy Pages, including excessive rolling in bad weather, overheating fuel cells and below par specifications which failed to live up the manufacturer, HDW's claims.
In addition European MP Daniel Cohn Bendit has claimed the Greek prime minister, Giorgos Papandreou confided that French leader, Nicolas Sarkozy strong armed Greece into fulfilling its previous commitment to purchase three billion euros worth of French defence equipment in return for French support for any bailout deal.