In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The End of The Olympics

The Greek government has blamed the unchecked spending on the 2004 Olympics as being the reason for Greece's growing budget deficit.

Seemingly, because of accounting errors and "omissions", this deficit is likely to grow.

The latest figures from the EU show the deficit at 6.1% of gross domestic product, more than double the cap allowed by the EU.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told the Parliament:

"The burdens we face from the past are very large..".

The cost of the 2004 Olympics is now being estimated at being $12BN. The Greek government has until the end of the month to explain to the EU how it will lower the deficit.

In a statement on the Finance Ministry website, the blame is pointed directly at PASOK, the socialist government that ruled Greece in the lead-up to the Olympics.

Additionally, there is the nagging question of what to do with the now redundant white elephants that made up the Olympic infrastructure. These are costing around $100M per annum just to maintain.

In respect of the breaching of the EU deficit rules, I would imagine that some form of political "fudge" will be made. The EU is notorious for allowing its members to break the rules, this will be no exception.

After all, if the then Greek government had been honest about the costs it would never have been allowed to join the Euro.

The EU will never admit to the fact that it had been conned.

With regard to the $12Bn cost, this is surely proof positive that the Olympics as a whole need to be totally reformed and scaled down.

No one in their right mind should even think of hosting them, if they are going to cost this much.

The trouble is that politicians' egos overrule common sense.

Maybe it is now time to abandon the Games, and for countries to spend their money on something more productive instead.

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