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Thread: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

  1. #1
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    After failing to elect a president (in fact not a very politically important role), the ruling conservative-dominated coalition cabinet of Nia Dimokratia and PASOK decided to write out new elections. Syriza is expected to do very well in the upcoming elections.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-snap-election

    Fears were growing on Monday night of a fresh crisis in the eurozone after Greece failed to elect a head of state, triggering a snap election that is tipped to bring radical, anti-austerity leftists to power.

    The Athens stock exchange slumped by more than 10% at one point as concerns mounted over the political turmoil likely to hit the twice bailed-out country. The effective interest rate on the nation’s three-year debt soared to more than 12% – signalling investor fears that Greece will not be able to repay its loans in the short term.

    Elections were called for 25 January after the government failed to find enough votes to elect its preferred candidate for president, the former European commissioner Stavros Dimas. With the vehemently anti-cuts Syriza opposition ahead in the polls, the campaign will now revive the debate about austerity policies across the eurozone and raise questions over the harsh terms attached to Greece’s €240bn (£188bn) bailouts.

    The leftists have declared that renegotiation of the accords Athens has signed with the EU, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund – the lenders that have kept the country afloat – will be among its top priorities.

    Syriza would also seek to write off the country’s monumental €320bn debt – an aim that has revived fears of Greece clashing with creditors and being ejected from the eurozone.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...ections-greece

    The election that the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, has called after losing his gamble over the presidency on Monday represents the start of an even more uncertain era in Europe. The political forces set in motion by austerity policies designed to cope with the still unresolved economic crisis are coming to the fore everywhere, undermining established parties, changing the way countries are governed, and reshaping popular attitudes.

    New parties, as well as older but previously marginal ones, have grown apace. Some are getting closer to power, or at least to a share in it. If Syriza, the Greek radical leftist party, wins the elections scheduled for 25 January – and its chances of doing so are deemed to be good – it will have achieved such power, even if it has to rule in coalition. It will perhaps go down as the first true anti-austerity, as well as unashamedly anti-capitalist, party to come to office in Europe after 2008 changed the rules of the game. It might well set a precedent for other new parties, notably Podemos in Spain, which has burst from nowhere to become a serious rival to the ruling People’s party and the opposition Socialists. The question a Syriza victory could raise is whether a specifically anti-austerity party in a small country can force a change in an economic strategy for the whole eurozone that has been largely crafted by Germany, and which that nation has until now shown little readiness to change.
    I think it is mostly a good thing if the hard left will decide matters after the election. The current austerity regime is obviously unsustainable and a precedent will be a very good thing. It (almost) certainly won't establish the ideal set of controls (Eurobonds, fully democratic control of the ECB, elimination of extra-democratic, multilateral Troika mechanisms, European financial union that includes the entirety of the Six-pack and the Two-pack in its recommendations, a larger and fairer burden on banks for Greece's debts), but it is unlikely that there would be no meaningful accommodation. For Greece to drop out of the Eurozone now would be a massive humiliation for the Northern Euro countries, so they would have to mollity Syriza to a degree that would satisfy its supporter base.

    A right-wing victory would be business as usual, so the enormous social fallout would just stay in place.
    Last edited by Villerar; January 3rd, 2015 at 05:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Assist Trophy astroninja1's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    This sounds like great news if Syriza does win! I fully support them, Austerity needs to go, and the world needs much stricter regulations on capitalism.

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    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Here is some pre-election posturing from Merkel:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30672182

    The German government expects Greece to uphold the terms of its international bailout agreement, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

    But spokesman Georg Streiter declined to comment on reports that Berlin is now content that eurozone could withstand Greece's exit from the bloc.

    Greece is holding a general election later this month, and anti-austerity party Syriza is ahead in the polls.

    Syriza wants to renegotiate the terms of its international bailout.

    Under those terms, the so-called troika - EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank - supported Greece with the promise of €240bn (£188bn) in return for budget cuts and economic reforms.
    This defines the Troika incorrectly, as it's not the EU but the European Commission that is a partner. The important difference is that the European Parliament has no say over this.



    Vox lists some other scenarios, but I think they underestimate how important it is for European leaders to maintain Eurozone integrity unless Greece wants to leave. It sets an important precedent (remember all those speculators who bet on a Grexit?).

    http://www.vox.com/2014/12/29/746012...tion-scheduled

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Syriza appears the most likely winner of the next election, but they may require a second party for a coalition. Therefore much could depend on whether a smaller left-leaning party like the Democratic Left or the former major party PASOK will secure enough seats.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...wing-syriza-eu

    After five punishing years of austerity and recession, Greeks have begun casting their votes in a high-stakes election that could set their battered country on a collision course with the European Union.

    Final opinion polls on Friday showed Syriza, which has pledged to overturn austerity and renegotiate Greece’s debt mountain, with a lead of between four and seven percentage points over its main rival New Democracy, with one poll putting the radical leftist party 10 points clear.

    But while it seems clear Alexis Tsipras’s barnstorming alliance of Maoists, Marxists, Trotskyists, Socialists, Eurocommunists and Greens will comfortably see off the conservatives of the prime minister, Antonio Samaras, they are far from certain to win the 151 seats they need to govern alone.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    It's almost certain that Syriza has won. However, whether they'll have an absolute majority is another matter. It seems likely that they don't, with the Greek Interior Ministry predicting a total of 150 out of 300 seats:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/liv...y-live-updates

    I'm quite elated about Syriza's results. Anything that challenges austerity via the ballot has good odds of being an excellent thing.
    Last edited by Villerar; January 25th, 2015 at 02:09 PM.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Syriza has formed a coalition with the right-wing populist Independent Greeks:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30981950

    The far-left Syriza party, which won Greece's general election on Sunday, has formed an anti-austerity governing coalition with the right-wing party Greek Independents.

    The coalition will have a comfortable majority in Greece's new parliament.

    Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has vowed to renegotiate Greece's bailout, worth €240bn (£179bn; $268bn), to end Greece's "humiliation and pain".

    Several European politicians have warned him to respect bailout terms.

    The euro fell to $1.11 against the US dollar following Syriza's win - the lowest level in more than 11 years.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Their choice of coalition partner is unsavoury, to say the least:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...alexis-tsipras

    After a brief round of consultations, Tsipras turned the political order upside down by partnering with the rightwing party Independent Greeks (known by its Greek acronym, Anel) – which is notable for its xenophobia, antisemitism and homophobia and won just under 5% of the vote.

    Anel’s leader, Panos Kammenos, singled out Jews for not paying taxes. He has also loudly drawn a historical parallel between austerity and wartime occupation that Tsipras left unspoken with Monday’s visit to the war memorial. Kammenos has described Europe as being governed by “German neo-Nazis”.
    I think any leftist party should exclude parties like that.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The newly appointed finance minister from Syriza, Yannis Varoufakis, is often considered hard-nosed and intransigent. However, it may interest you that he has derived an empirical basis for his views from the study of video game markets.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/1/28/7924485...is-video-games

    Greece's new finance minister is well-known heterodox economist Yannis Varoufakis. Before he got into Greek politics, though, Varoufakis was standing out from the pack by working as an in-house economist for the video game company, Valve.

    This may seem odd, but the video-game work is actually extremely relevant to his new gig. Indeed, Varoufakis was originally hired by Valve because of his work on the economics of European monetary union. Valve operates several different games that have their own in-game economies, and the company wanted to link them and provide a unified medium of exchange — essentially a virtual equivalent of the creation of the euro. Europe basically botched this, so Valve brought in an economist to try to manage it better.
    For more about the members of the new Greek cabinet:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31005693

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Speaking of Greece and video games, read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_3037/2002

    Greece at one point banned all electronic games in public areas as an attempt to fight illegal gambling, which turned out to be overkill.
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The new Greek government has already gone fast-forward on reversing the forced privatisation policy:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...erity-policies

    In a dramatic start to his tenure in office, Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has begun unpicking the deeply unpopular austerity policies underpinning the debt-stricken country’s bailout programme.

    After storming to power on Sunday, the leftwinger said there was no time to waste. “We will continue with our plan,” he told his first cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “We don’t have the right to disappoint our voters.”
    Sweeping privatisation was a condition imposed on Greece by the Troika.

    More troubling is the Greek government's soft line on Russia - and that they've apparently already lied about that.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Syriza's most important programmes to be put into force:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31003070

    Syriza, the left-wing party that stormed to power in Greece with 36% of the vote, has promised to ditch austerity and renegotiate the country's €240bn (£180bn; $270bn) bailout with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

    But what exactly have Greeks signed up to, backing a party that was once a wide-ranging far-left coalition that included Maoists?


    The Greek line towards the forces of austerity continues to toughen:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31055069

    Greece's new left-wing finance minister says his government will not negotiate over the Greek bailout conditions with the "troika" team from the EU and IMF.

    Yanis Varoufakis said he was rather seeking direct talks with eurozone leaders, to try to cancel more than half the money Greece owes.

    He was speaking after meeting Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup - the eurozone finance ministers.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Joschka Fisher opines that Greece has already won the battle, it's a mere issue of when:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...s-future-greek

    Not long ago, German politicians and journalists confidently declared that the euro crisis was over; Germany and the European Union, they believed, had weathered the storm. Today, we know that this was just another mistake in a continuing crisis. The latest error, as with most of the earlier ones, stemmed from wishful thinking – and, once again, it is Greece that has broken the reverie.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Greece has started bilateral talks with governments, rejecting any multilateral deal with the Troika:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...alks-in-france

    Greece’s new anti-austerity government was set to kick off its European charm offensive in Paris on Sunday seeking to renegotiate its €240bn (£179bn) bailout despite resistance from Germany to consider any debt relief.

    Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who is aiming to write down half of Greece’s debt, was scheduled to meet with French finance minister Michel Sapin and economy minister Emmanuel Macron in the afternoon, before heading on to London and Rome.
    France is quite likely to be kind to Greece, as French social democrats are on friendly terms with more left socialists and communists.

  14. #14
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The negotiations have ended for now without a result:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31485073

    Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis declared he was ready to do "whatever it takes" to reach agreement over its bailout after the collapse of talks with EU finance ministers.

    Mr Varoufakis spoke after Greece rejected an EU offer to extend its current €240bn (£178bn) bailout, a plan he called "absurd" and "unacceptable".

    He said he was prepared to agree a deal but under different conditions.

    But the head EU negotiator warned there were now just days left for talks.

    Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said it was now "up to Greece" to decide if it wanted more funding or not.
    The Eurogroup decided to play hardball, too, so it's unclear for me to what degree there were actual negotiations.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    If you want to know where austerity got Greece, check these graphs from The Economist (one of the last bulwarks of classical liberalism):

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/graph...3956ea65f756e0

    GREEK voters want to stay in the euro. They have also elected a government that has made a Greek exit, or "Grexit", seem much more likely. Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, said on February 10th that if Greece's new Syriza-led government did not seek an extension of its bail-out, which expires on February 28th, “Then it’s over.” Negotiations in Brussels aimed at reaching an agreement with euro-zone finance ministers broke down earlier than expected on February 16th. A meeting on February 11th also ended in disarray. Unless some sort of agreement is found soon, another Greek default looms when IMF debts mature in March.
    Last edited by Villerar; February 18th, 2015 at 01:43 AM.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Germany has decided to make a surprise move:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...loan-extension

    Germany has rejected Greece’s proposal for an extension of its loans, saying that it fell short of the conditions expected by the rest of the eurozone.

    The shock announcement from Berlin came just hours after Greece filed a formal request to its eurozone partners to extend its loan agreement, in the hope of averting a cash crisis.

    Eurozone ministers are due to meet on Friday in an attempt to hammer out a deal. It will be their third attempt in 10 days to resolve a standoff that has sent jitters across the continent at the prospect of a messy Greek exit from the single currency.

    The European commission had described the Greek proposal – widely seen as a climbdown on some of Greece’s key demands – as a positive sign that could pave the way for compromise.

    But Germany said the Greek plan failed to meet eurozone ministers’ demands that Greece stick to its bailout programme – a set of demands laid out on Monday at an acrimonious meeting in Brussels that failed to end the deadlock.

  17. #17
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    A memo has been leaked from Schäuble's ministry.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/2/19/8072415...y-trojan-horse

    Rather than publicly explain their reasons for rejecting the latest proposal from the Greek government to keep their country solvent, the German finance ministry leaked a memo explaining their reasons. There are some reasonable arguments in here, but I do think a tell is that they describe the Greek ideas as a "Trojan Horse"

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    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    A quick summary of what has happened. There is still no consensus on a deal, Greece has to present new measures to the Troika. One annoying aspect is that Piraeus (the harbour of Athens) has to be privatised. Something similar has happened some time ago in the Netherlands (which has one of the biggest harbours in the world, the most important one in the West) and a few years ago an enquiry was held into it. It indicated that the privatisation was a neo-liberal pet project. To enforce it in Greece is a very bad idea.

    I'll cross-post this:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-tsipras-putin

    The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, will meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow today while the west is left guessing as to whether the pair will hammer out an economic deal.

    Financial aid from the Kremlin would give Athens breathing space in its debt repayments, but analysts say that the countries may be more interested in grandstanding than a dramatic diplomatic realignment.

    “Moscow could give Greece money … but it won’t solve either Moscow’s or Athens’ problems,” said Vasily Koltashov, head of the Institute of Globalisation and Social Movements’ economic research centre.


    One plan of the Greek government is to claim WW II era war reparations from Germany. Yes, that idea is as asinine and silly as it sounds.

    However, due to the right-wing slant of most Anglo-Saxon media, they do not give the full background, which includes that the Troika aid Greece received mostly benefited northern banks.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ment-in-greece



    The Greek government also has taken a pleasant stance on refugees (not the sort of policy that you'd expect given the junior coalition partner). It takes a great step back from the heavy-handed Frontex border controls of yesteryear.

  19. #19
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The window of time is narrowing for Greece to secure bailout.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32229793

    The eurozone has said only six working days are left for Greece to come up with a revised list of reforms to seal a deal on its next rescue bailout.

    Eurozone deputy finance ministers want an agreement on the €7.2bn loan in time for a Eurogroup meeting on 24 April.

    An EU official said: "If you take into account weekends and Orthodox Easter, there are only six days left."

    It comes as Greece said it had met Thursday's deadline to repay €460m to the International Monetary Fund.

    A Greek government official told the Reuters news agency: "The payment has been made."

  20. #20
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The rating agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded Greece's ratings.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...lt-say-experts

    Greece is at substantial risk of a default, one of the world’s three leading ratings agencies said on Wednesday, as it downgraded the debt of the struggling eurozone country.

    Standard & Poor’s said the drawn out negotiations between Athens and its creditors were damaging the economy and had resulted in a fresh cut in Greece’s credit rating, which is already at junk-bond status.

    “Without deep economic reform or further relief, we expect Greece’s debt and other financial commitments will be unsustainable,” said S&P. It cut Greece’s rating to CCC+/C from B-/B, a level it considers puts the country at “substantial risk” of a default.

    Interest rates on two-year Greek bonds stand at almost 24%, an indication that investors expect the country either to have its debt burden eased or to default.
    Calling a rating agency "expert" is probably pushing the semantic range of the word.



    Greece claims that it will not default:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...april-deadline

    Greece has vigorously rebutted speculation that it will declare a debt default and plunge out of the eurozone if it fails to strike a deal with lenders to keep its bankrupt economy afloat.

    Acknowledging that the Syriza-led anti-austerity government had faced the “teething problems” of any administration new to power, the minister tasked with overseeing the country’s international economic relations expressed confidence that a deal with creditors would be reached even if negotiations went to the wire.

    “I can assure you we are working flat out for the good scenario,” said deputy foreign minister Euclid Tsakalotos. “I am absolutely confident an agreement will be reached on 24 April. Deals are always done five or three or one minute before midnight, it’s not unusual that they should go right to the brink.”

    In what is widely seen as a make-or-break date for the debt-stricken nation, eurozone finance ministers have said they will pass judgment on the reform package Athens has been told to submit next week when they gather in the Latvian capital, Riga, on 24 April.
    Last edited by Villerar; April 16th, 2015 at 02:27 AM.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Another episode in this saga of Eurozone brinkmanship, Greece requires its public agencies to send back any reserve cash back to state coffers.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32382826

    Greece has ordered its public sector bodies to hand over any reserve cash to help it meet a payment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    The country is running out of cash and must repay the IMF nearly €1bn in May.

    It comes after the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said that Greece needed to do much more if it wanted access to bailout funds.

    Negotiators are trying to strike a deal ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday.

    There are mounting fears that Greece could default on its debts and exit the eurozone.

    Prime minister Alexis Tsipras urgently needs money to pay government salaries as well as the country's debt repayments.

    In order to get the funding, he needs to strike a deal with eurozone lenders at the European Central Bank, the European Union and the IMF, and introduce economic reforms.
    If the excitement is too much for you (fairly improbable if you're not affected by it), sit back, relax and enjoy this classic:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-1LQu6mAE
    Last edited by Villerar; April 24th, 2015 at 05:45 AM.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Varoufakis lays out how he sees the differences here:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...eal-for-greece

    Three months of negotiations between the Greek government and our European and international partners have brought about much convergence on the steps needed to overcome years of economic crisis and to bring about sustained recovery in Greece. But they have not yet produced a deal. Why? What steps are needed to produce a viable, mutually agreed reform agenda?

    We and our partners already agree on much. Greece’s tax system needs to be revamped, and the revenue authorities must be freed from political and corporate influence. The pension system is ailing. The economy’s credit circuits are broken. The labor market has been devastated by the crisis and is deeply segmented, with productivity growth stalled. Public administration is in urgent need of modernization, and public resources must be used more efficiently. Overwhelming obstacles block the formation of new companies. Competition in product markets is far too circumscribed. And inequality has reached outrageous levels, preventing society from uniting behind essential reforms.

    This consensus aside, agreement on a new development model for Greece requires overcoming two hurdles. First, we must concur on how to approach Greece’s fiscal consolidation. Second, we need a comprehensive, commonly agreed reform agenda that will underpin that consolidation path and inspire the confidence of Greek society.
    The laid-out view is rather optimistic, in fact the European finance ministers also demand substantially different reforms.

    And his colleagues responded today in a spirit of non-collegiality:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...euro-ministers

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was heavily criticized by his euro-area colleagues amid mounting frustration at his refusal to deliver measures to fix his country’s economy and release financial aid, according to three people familiar with the talks.

    Euro-area finance chiefs said Varoufakis’s handling of the talks was irresponsible and accused him of being a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur, one of the people said. Another said the Greek complained of the hostile atmosphere in the meeting, as he was criticized from all sides. A Greek official in Riga, Latvia, for the meeting wasn’t able to comment on the talks when reached by phone.
    Calling him an amateur is pretty ridiculous, so I guess the blokes had a fit of dilettante rancour.

  23. #23
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Varoufakis has claimed that they are very close to a deal.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32790726

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said he expects an agreement with the country's international creditors within the next week.

    The government is fast running out of money and is due to make a payment of €1.5bn (£1.09bn) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 5 June.

    Mr Varoufakis told Star TV a deal with creditors was "very close" and denied the country might leave the eurozone.

    "Another currency is not on our radar," he added.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also talked up the prospect of a deal in a speech to Greek business figures earlier, saying the government was "in the final straight" before a deal.

    Greece has been locked in negotiations with the EU and IMF over economic reforms they say must be implemented before the final €7.2bn tranche of the country's €240bn bailout is released.

  24. #24
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Well, there isn't any agreement yet and the Syriza government rejected the Troika's ultimatum.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...part-ceasefire

    The phrase “trench warfare” comes to mind. On Friday evening the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, lobbed some choice words at his foes in Brussels, calling their proposed debt deal “absurd”. Days earlier, the International Monetary Fund had joined its allies in Brussels to fire a volley of criticism at Athens. The Greeks already had “significant flexibility” to get out of their budget mess, IMF boss Christine Lagarde said, as she urged Athens to repay the €300m instalment of its bailout loan due on Friday.

    This could go on for several more weeks: Greece told the IMF it will have to wait until the end of the month to get its money, when it will “bundle” four payments together. And should the sides become more entrenched, this long-running war could still end in the disaster of Greek default.

    In Washington, where the IMF is hunkered down, and in Europe’s finance ministries, the Greek stance is considered wilfully unreasonable. The Syriza government’s demand for the return of national pay bargaining, a relaxed timetable for pension reform and a lower budget surplus than that demanded by the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank are all but ridiculed in Berlin, Helsinki and Riga.

  25. #25
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Things are finally moving again, just on the brink.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33228119

    Greece's economy minister has spelled out the terms of new proposals to end deadlock on its debt crisis, amid hopes a deal can now be struck this week.

    It includes new taxes on businesses and the wealthy, Giorgios Stathakis told the BBC in an exclusive interview.

    Eurozone finance ministers have welcomed the plan, saying there could be a deal "within days".

    Greece is required to repay a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan by the end of the month.

    If it does not, it risks crashing out of the single currency and possibly the EU.

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