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Thread: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

  1. #26
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The Guardian has more details about the proposal.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...athens-details

    Krugman is negative, but not without cause (although he repeats his usual short-sighted "it's ideology, not economy" spiel).

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...usterity/?_r=0

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece


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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Talks collapsed, there is no deal. Greece plans a referendum on any agreement for next Sunday.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33300543

    Eurozone finance ministers have rejected a Greek request to extend a bailout programme beyond 30 June.

    A Eurogroup statement said Greece had broken off negotiations over a new bailout deal "unilaterally".

    Late on Friday, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras called a surprise referendum for 5 July over the terms of any new deal.

    Greece has to pay €1.6bn (£1.1bn) to the IMF on Tuesday. Without new funds, there are fears Greece may leave the euro and its economy may collapse.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Krugman also considers the creditors' sudden concern for damage to the economy trollish (click on the link to read that).

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/krug...eaking-greece/

    I’ve been staying fairly quiet on Greece, not wanting to shout Grexit in a crowded theater. But given reports from the negotiations in Brussels, something must be said — namely, what do the creditors, and in particular the IMF, think they’re doing?

    This ought to be a negotiation about targets for the primary surplus, and then about debt relief that heads off endless future crises. And the Greek government has agreed to what are actually fairly high surplus targets, especially given the fact that the budget would be in huge primary surplus if the economy weren’t so depressed. But the creditors keep rejecting Greek proposals on the grounds that they rely too much on taxes and not enough on spending cuts. So we’re still in the business of dictating domestic policy.
    It is interesting that there are two divergent narratives building in continental Europe and the Anglosphere. The Anglos think that the Troika aimed for Grexit from the start, while most Europeans think it was less intentional. The truth in hindsight is probably a little of both: inconsistent aims among the creditor nations and institutions from the start.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The ECB (European Central Bank) wants to lend liquidity assets to Greek banks for now:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33304674

    The European Central Bank says it will maintain its emergency funding of Greek banks at the level agreed on Friday.

    The ECB said that it stood ready to review the decision on its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) and would work closely with the Bank of Greece.

    BBC economics editor Robert Peston says the ECB is not providing any additional aid to Greece, which will lead to huge pressure for capital controls.
    An economist at Bruegel argues that a referendum is the perfect outcome, but unlike the Greek government, he prefers a yes. He also points out that Greece runs a massive primary surplus (its spending without interest is much smaller than its tax income).

    http://www.bruegel.org/nc/blog/detai...-their-future/

    This illustrates the history of the Greek primary balance.

    http://mainlymacro.blogspot.nl/2015/...surpluses.html

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    To qualify what I said above, current funding will be used, but the ceiling will not be raised. That could be a serious limit on "for now".

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33304674

    The European Central Bank says it not increasing its emergency funding for Greek banks, amid fears that Greece may default on its debts on Tuesday.

    The decision not to raise the cap on aid to Greece increases the likelihood of bank closures and restrictions on cash withdrawals, analysts say.

    That in turn could eventually result in Greece leaving the euro.

    The ECB said that it stood ready to review the decision and would work closely with the Bank of Greece.

    The current ceiling for the ECB's emergency funding - Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) - is €89bn (£63bn). It is not clear if all that money has been disbursed.

    Those funds are used by banks to provide cash to depositors who want their money back.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Some investigations of the possible scenarios:

    https://twitter.com/_basjacobs/statu...90277653970944

    They expect a clear victory for "Yes", which would probably prevent a Grexit. A "No" would in their eyes very likely result in a Grexit.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Banks are closed, ATM withdrawals limited to €60 in Greek for the whole week:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33307263

    The Greek government has confirmed that banks will be closed all week, after a decision by the European Central Bank not to extend emergency funding.

    In a decree, it cited the "extremely urgent" need to protect the financial system due to the lack of liquidity.

    Cash withdrawals will be limited to €60 (£42; $66) a day for this period, the decree says.

    Athens is due to make a €1.6bn payment to the IMF on Tuesday - the same day that its current bailout expires.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Several (as far as I can tell progressive) economists argue for Europeans leaders to agree on easier terms for Greece and continuation of the current programme on less austere principles.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e17046ec-1...db721f996.html

    Sir, We call on European leaders to avoid creating bad history!

    Enable Greece to pay the €1.6bn payment to the IMF on June 30. Allow a debt swap with ECB bonds coming due in July and August in exchange for bonds from the bailout fund, with longer maturities and lower interest rates reflecting the lower borrowing costs of the creditors. Then make a fresh start, bearing in mind, first, that the contractionary austerity policy demanded of Greece has been discredited by the IMF’s own research department; and second, that Syriza’s leaders are committed to undertaking far-reaching reforms in the Greek state — if they can get the latitude to do so.
    However, that was written yesterday and meeting the deadline of today seems far-fetched now.



    Meanwhile the Greek government campaigns a "no" in the referendum about the current package with the claim that it is an opportunity for a better deal, the European Commission endorses a "yes" and claims that a "no" means a Grexit. And all this happens while some sort of negotiations have resumed.

    Interesting times, for sure.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    This is a good explanation of the German general attitude to debts. I can vouch that is intuitively known by Europeans familiar with Germany (it's not an exclusively German attitude either).

    http://www.vox.com/2015/6/30/8871981...-merkel-greece

    Jane Kramer's profile of Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi in last week's New Yorker only mentions Greece by name once. But toward the end, there's a paragraph that perfectly sums up why Germany has been pushing policies on Greece that look clearly unsustainable to most outside observers:

    [Former Italian prime minister Mario] Monti told me that, when he was Prime Minister and visited Barack Obama at the White House, Obama admitted to being at a loss to know "how to engage Merkel on matters of economic policy." Obama asked his advice, and Monti replied, "For Germans, economics is still part of moral philosophy, so don’t even try to suggest that the way to help Europe grow is through public spending. In Germany, growth is the reward for virtuous economics, and the word for ‘guilt’ and ‘debt’ is the same."
    Now, moral philosophy is certainly where a large part of economics belongs. But most Germans have gotten the moral principles wrong with their truly Weberian ethos.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    An appeal to any European citizens who dislike austerity, prefer to restore growth to the Greek economy, oppose the high (youth) unemployment and have no paraphiliac drives to waste 100% of special loans to Greece when saner alternatives exist: please sign this petition.

    http://supportgreens.eu/greece

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    One reason austerity has hit that hard, is because the fiscal multiplier was higher than austeritarians assumed. This means that public spending created more economic activity than assumed, so cutting spending led to worsening the recession. This paper suggests that the fiscal multiplier was in the range from 0.9 to 1.7 in Europe early on during the crisis.

    https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2013/wp1301.pdf

    Another problem for Greece is that it cannot borrow money from financial markets because interest on loans is too high. The conventional wisdom is that the level of government debt is directly related to interest rates on government loans. Historical evidence doesn't bear that out, so the relation is probably a socially constructed belief.



    Varoufakis has said he will resign if the referendum outcome is "yes". Right now the two options are evenly matched in the polls, with "no" having dropped in support.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4e826...9974f25d0.html

    Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister, said on Thursday he would resign if Greeks voted Yes in Sunday’s referendum on the country’s bailout, but he declined to speculate on the future of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    Mr Varoufakis also said he would “prefer to cut my arm off” than sign any deal with Greece’s creditors that did not include debt relief.

    His comments in an interview with Bloomberg Television came a day after Mr Tsipras accused Europe’s leaders of attempting to “blackmail” Greek voters into voting Yes, only hours after apparently holding out an olive branch to the country’s creditors by accepting most of the terms of their latest rescue offer.

    European leaders have made clear that Sunday’s referendum is in effect a vote on Greece’s membership of the eurozone but Mr Varoufakis dismissed that view, saying that talks would resume with creditors even if the result on Sunday was a No vote.

    In the case of a No vote, he said the Greek government would “immediately start negotiations”.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    And suddenly it is reported that the IMF insists on debt relief for Greece. Useful, but very late.

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/198839/a...s-more-from-eu

    The International Monetary Fund says Greece needs debt relief and 50 billion euros ($56 billion) in new financing from October through 2018.

    The IMF said Thursday that Greece's finances have deteriorated because Athens has been slow about enacting economic reforms. Last year, the IMF predicted Greece's debt would fall from 175 percent of economic output in 2013 to 128 percent in 2020. Now it sees Greece's debts at 150 percent in 2020.

    The IMF says creditors must offer Greece discounted interest rates and a longer repayment period.

    The analysis was made before Greece defaulted on IMF loans Tuesday and closed its banks Monday. The outlook is worse now.

  14. #39
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    NSA taps unveiled by WikiLeaks show that in 2011 Merkel believed that Greek debt was unsustainable and was sceptical about a debt reduction improving the situation:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world...able-1.2270858

    German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted in a 2011 phone call that Greek debt would be unsustainable even after a second debt write-down, according to a phone call intercepted by the NSA.

    A transcript of the call from October 9th 2011 suggested the German leader was “at a loss” as to whether another haircut (a debt write-down) - or a transfer union (between EU member states) would be best for addressing the Greek crisis.

    According to the summary, part of a cache of NSA documents handed by Wikileaks to the German press, finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble was reportedly supportive of another haircut, “despite Merkel’s efforts to rein him in”.
    It is probably not a very positive thing that she considered the government debt impossible to sustain, as she likely also thought that more austerity measures would need to be part of the solution. As a matter of fact these measures are part of the problem. The major part.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The outcome of the referendum is an unambiguous "No". The more recent polls that suggested a close election were off.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33403665

    With almost all the ballots counted, results from the Greek referendum show voters decisively rejecting the terms of an international bailout.

    Figures published by the interior ministry showed nearly 62% of those whose ballots had been counted voting "No", against 38% voting "Yes".

    Greece's governing Syriza party had campaigned for a "No", saying the bailout terms were humiliating.

    Their opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.

    "Today we celebrate the victory of democracy, but tomorrow all together we continue and complete a national effort for exiting this crisis," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address.

    He said that voters had granted him "not a mandate against Europe, but a mandate to find a sustainable solution that will take us out of this vicious circle of austerity".

    Some European officials had said that a "No" would be seen as an outright rejection of talks with creditors.
    This likely means a definitive end to the austerity measures as Greece has seen the past five years, because if this won't be possible within the Eurozone, Greece would leave it. The questions are now, what will the Troika do and, even more crucial for the upcoming week, will the ECB increase the ELA limit?

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Varoufakis has stepped down as finance minister. The Greek government hopes this will improve relations during the negotiations (not very likely imo).

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    In an interview, Piketty stresses taking historical public debts into account, especially the German post-WW II debt.

    https://medium.com/@gavinschalliol/t...d-7b5e7add6fff

    In a forceful interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, the star economist Thomas Piketty calls for a major conference on debt. Germany, in particular, should not withhold help from Greece.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Part of the reason why Varoufakis left was because of his rude comments recently (and people have been taking offence at it way earlier). But there are also reasons that sound less like Perez Hilton's gab or a pathetic high school drama:

    http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason...-politics/4081

    Why did Varoufakis go? The official reason, on his blog, was pressure from creditors. But there are a whole host of other reasons that made it easier for him to decide to yield to it.

    First, though he came from the centre-left towards Syriza, Varoufakis ended up consistently taking a harder line than many others in the Greek cabinet over the shape of the deal to be done, and the kind of resistance they might have to unleash if the Germans refused a deal.

    Second, because Varoufakis is an economist, not a politician. His entire career, and his academic qualifications are built on the conviction that a) austerity does not work; b) the Eurozone will collapse unless it becomes a union for recycling tax from rich countries to poor countries; c) Greece is insolvent and its debts need to be cancelled.

    By those measures, any deal Greece can do this week will falls short of what he thinks will work.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...nance-minister

    Back in January, when I was half-awake while listening to the interminable euro discussion, a man for whom English is a second language started speaking poetry. He was talking of his fellow Greeks, who he said chose, “to quote your own Dylan Thomas, to stop going gently into the night and to rage against the dying of the light”. I perked up, and I wasn’t the only one. This was Yanis Varoufakis, an economist, blogger and academic, who was soon to become Syriza’s finance minister.

    Eloquently, he put into words the suffering and resilience of his fellow Greeks, but this alone did not fascinate the media. It was his “flamboyance” they focused on. Clearly, in the world of Eurocracy, to not wear a tie is radical. Or rude. Or both. Sometimes he wore a leather jacket. Or a Barbour, or a shirt that was perhaps a little bit too tight. He signalled simply that he was not another “suit”, and made the rest of them look stuffy, uptight and clonish. He continued to ride his motorbike instead of being driven by a chauffeur. In this upside-down world, this level of normality meant he was dubbed everything from a rock star to a sex god.

    He smiled to himself, as well he might. The one foot he put wrong was a spread of him and his wife in Paris Match. It was one of those “laughing with salad” pictures. No one should ever do that.

    But no matter, for what Varoufakis did, like the rest of his party, has been deeply confusing. What is this complicated game theory he promulgates? I will tell you what it is. It is attempting to keep the promises you made when you were elected to try to get the best possible deal for your country. It is refusing to be intimidated by undemocratic forces and standing up for your principles.

    Varoufakis was sidelined a week or so ago, not because of the “disrespectful” style of his jackets, but because of the directness of his argument. As the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras said, he speaks the language of economists better than they do.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Tsipras is reputed to have the backing of all Greek parliamentary parties except for the KKE (who left GUE-NGL recently because of a more anti-European line among the Hellenic commies) and Golden Dawn (duh).

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...h-may-be-brief

    Alexis Tsipras’s response to the Greek referendum was smart. A dumber politician might have been tempted to turn up the volume following the thumping victory for the no side in the referendum. But instead of striking macho poses, the Greek prime minister was emollient. He said Greece wanted to resume talks with its creditors, and backed up his words by getting rid of his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who relished being a figure of hate in Brussels.

    Emollient and realistic, because, without question, Tsipras is in an uncomfortable position. The Greek economy is even closer to seizing up than it was before Sunday’s vote. The banks remain shut and it looks as if the cashpoints will run out of cash within the next 48 hours. Even if a deal is done in the next few days, Greece is in the early stages of another deep and painful recession.

    All that said, Tsipras is better placed than he might have feared in the middle of last week, when it looked possible that the gamble of holding a referendum would blow up in his face.

    Winning the vote decisively has refreshed the anti-austerity mandate he got from the Greek people at the general election in January. Far from securing the regime change they were seeking, the creditors now find that Syriza is being supported by all Greek political parties apart from the communists and the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. By demonstrating that he wants to reopen negotiations, he has put the onus on Greece’s 18 single-currency partners to respond.


    Why the "Yes" campaign lost:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b7ea4b6c-2...b2169cf79.html

    It is not that hard to explain why Alexis Tsipras won the referendum by a landslide. It is a lot harder to see what’s going to happen now.

    His opponents, both inside Greece and in the European Union went wrong because of serial misjudgments, ranging from the petty to the monumental. For me, three stand out.
    By the way, Samaras resigned as leader of Nia Dimocratia.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Creditor nations attempted to delay the publication of an IMF report on the Greek debt that favoured restructuring:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0PD20120150703

    Euro zone countries tried in vain to stop the IMF publishing a gloomy analysis of Greece's debt burden which the leftist government says vindicates its call to voters to reject bailout terms, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

    The document released in Washington on Thursday said Greece's public finances will not be sustainable without substantial debt relief, possibly including write-offs by European partners of loans guaranteed by taxpayers.

    It also said Greece will need at least 50 billion euros in additional aid over the next three years to keep itself afloat.

    Publication of the draft Debt Sustainability Analysis laid bare a dispute between Brussels and the Washington-based global lender that has been simmering behind closed doors for months.

  21. #46
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Yglesias on whom to blame in the Greek debacle:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/6/8900659/greek-crisis-blame

    Greece and, in a sense, all of Europe are at a point of dramatic crisis. The country has defaulted on its debts, its banks are closed, and its citizens now face drastic limits on their ability to withdraw money from ATMs or make foreign purchases with credit or debit cards. Exit from the eurozone — an outcome all the relevant parties have loudly insisted for years that they want to avoid — seems likely.

    In the midst of a serious meltdown, what the world needs is forward-thinking solutions, not finger-pointing. But if you're just some random resident of an English-speaking country that has no real say in what happens in the eurozone, then there's really no reason not to play the blame game. The key thing is to play it well.
    It must be noted that there are some narrative incoherences with earlier articles by him. For example he wrote earlier that the Greek government didn't have much of a chance to renegotiate from the start (an extremely pessimistic view on the possibilities of negotiating). To then blame it for failing to do what he already regarded as impossible is opportunistic to say the least (not that you couldn't blame them for other things with some validity).

    But on the upside, he gives a very excellent, clear description on the blame that lies with Finland and the Netherlands. The problem in the Netherlands is to a large degree the idiot behind the wheel (and his party, but earlier also his coalition mates).

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Read here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...they-still-can

    Greeks are splurging on expensive electronics amid limits on the ability to withdraw money from ABMs.
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  23. #48
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Syriza has proposed a rather massive austerity package, hoping to get a debt reduction in exchange later:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...out-deal-nears

    The Greek government capitulated on Thursday to demands from its creditors for severe austerity measures in return for a modest debt write-off, raising hopes that a rescue deal could be signed at an emergency meeting of EU leaders on Sunday.

    Athens is understood to have put forward a package of reforms and public spending cuts worth €13bn (£9.3bn) to secure a third bailout from creditors that could raise $50bn and allow it to stay inside the currency union.

    A cabinet meeting signed off the reform package after ministers agreed that the dire state of the economy and the debilitating closure of the country’s banks meant it had no option but to agree to almost all the creditors terms.

    Parliament is expected to endorse the package after a frantic few days of negotiation that followed a landmark referendum last Sunday in which Greek voters backed the radical leftist Syriza government’s call for debt relief.

    Syriza, which is in coalition with the rightwing populist Independent party, is expected to meet huge opposition from within its own ranks and from trade unions and youth groups that viewed the referendum as a vote against any austerity.
    The details aren't disclosed yet to my knowledge, but this doesn't sound very good. How large should Greece's primary budget surplus frigging get?



    In other news, the Greek government had announced a crackdown on some media and journalists for alleged partisanship during the referendum campaign which is claimed to have violated an equal time law:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/greek-de...0150709-gi84l1

    Greek journalists who criticised the Syriza administration and supported a 'yes' vote in the lead-up to Sunday's referendum have come under investigation by government agencies and may be prosecuted for their reporting.

    The public prosecutor, the government media watchdog and the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Paper (ESIEA) have all launched investigations into the reporting on privately-owned media channels in the lead-up to Sunday's historic vote.

    It is alleged the reporters breached electoral law by not allowing fair and equal time to all sides of the debate. The public prosecutor said it was responding to "viewer complaints".

    Nine of the country's most visible anchors and news directors have been called to answer to the ethics board of ESIEA - they are Olga Tremi, John Pretenteris, Maria Sarafoglou and Manolis Kapsis from Mega Channel, Stamatis Malelis, Nick Konitopoulos, Aris Portosalte and Dimitris Oikonomou from SKAI and Maria Houkli? from ANT1.
    This doesn't seem good and shows issues with equal time laws that focus on content (of course, if you don't regulate content, coverage can still be very biased, but I'd prefer bias to government intrusion), but on the other hand the 'journalist' interviewed later in the article sounds more hysterical than Glenn Beck on heroin. And there is reason to suppose that many Greek media are corrupt and have a predominantly pro-business bias, because they are owned by oligarchs:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...r-social-media

    ...

    Oligarchs control much of the Greek press. According to Oikonomides, frustrated Greek citizens turned to social media from 2011, when the country’s debt crisis first began. Some politicians in turn started tweeting, including far-right ones. “There are more progressive people active on Twitter,” Oikonomides says, adding that Varoufakis had a large following well before he became a celebrity minister.

  24. #49
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    It seems that France and Italy are stepping up their game, coming out stronger in support of the Greek proposals.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33473779

    Greek MPs are to debate new proposals sent to the country's creditors with the aim of getting a third bailout and averting a possible exit from the euro.

    The plans contain elements, including pension reforms and tax rises, that were rejected in a referendum called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    The EU and other creditors are studying the plans before a summit on Sunday.

    France and Italy welcomed the proposals but Germany, Greece's biggest creditor, warned of little room for compromise.
    Hollande wasn't unequivocal about the outcome, but he said that the proposals were serious and credible without ambiguity:

    https://twitter.com/fhollande/status/619428324113317889

    Dijsselbloem was notably carefully positive and he is an indicator politician to watch. Merkel is often mindful not to pick any hill to die on, so she may shift position when it seems the noses are turning to one side. That she recently left it to Schäuble to hurl complaints seems like a tactic move to allow herself more movement.

    The proposals are rather in strong contrast with the referendum results. I'm curious about Syriza's strategy, but there's no denying they're between a rock and a hard place at this time. And they did succeed in a 3-year offer for roughly the same concessions as for the 5-month lifeline, so there's that.



    Verhofstadt may gain from the privatisation of water services in Greece (a type of utility that should never be privatised):

    http://www.thepressproject.net/artic...or-Greek-water

    Guy Verhofstadt, candidate for EU Commission president, sits on the board of a multinational looking to gain from the privatization of water utilities in Greece. It is widely known that many of Greece’s problems with corruption stem from the cosy relationships between politicians and business interests. Yet that some of the EU candidates have similar ties with powerful lobby groups or industries appears to be of little concern.

  25. #50
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Tsipras got the reform proposal through parliament by a comfortable margin, but with some rebels in his own ranks.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0P40EO20150711

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won backing from lawmakers on Saturday for painful reform proposals aimed at obtaining a new international bailout, but he faced a rebellion in his own party that could threaten his majority in parliament.

    The measures, which received an initial nod from European Union and International Monetary Fund officials before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Saturday, were passed with the support of pro-European opposition parties.

    With Greece's banks shut and completely dependent on a credit lifeline from the European Central Bank, the measures were seen as a last chance to avert the collapse of the financial system and prevent Greece from being pushed out of the euro.

    In an ominous sign for the stability of the government, however, 10 deputies on the ruling benches either abstained or voted against the measures and another 7 were not present, leaving Tsipras short of the 151 seats needed for a majority of his own.

    Prominent leftwingers in the governing Syriza party signaled before the vote that they could not support the mix of tax hikes and spending cuts proposed by Tsipras, following the rejection of similar austerity measures by voters in Sunday's referendum.


    Paul Mason has a hand at explaining why Syriza proposed this package. One of his points is that the policies are net redistributive.

    http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/4131/4131

    The new Greek government proposals, published late last night are clearly based on those submitted by Jean Claude Juncker last Thursday, before the referendum.

    It’s left many Greeks frustrated, asking: what was the point of the referendum? It’s left many foreign observers saying the same.

    Here are the most obvious answers:


    Varoufakis believes Schäuble always aimed for Grexit. That could well be right. Schäuble is a hostile voice to Greece in the CDU, although he is also a party follower who would be ready to grudgingly accept a veiled U-turn by Merkel.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...droidApp_Tweet

    Greece’s financial drama has dominated the headlines for five years for one reason: the stubborn refusal of our creditors to offer essential debt relief. Why, against common sense, against the IMF’s verdict and against the everyday practices of bankers facing stressed debtors, do they resist a debt restructure? The answer cannot be found in economics because it resides deep in Europe’s labyrinthine politics.

    In 2010, the Greek state became insolvent. Two options consistent with continuing membership of the eurozone presented themselves: the sensible one, that any decent banker would recommend – restructuring the debt and reforming the economy; and the toxic option – extending new loans to a bankrupt entity while pretending that it remains solvent.

    Official Europe chose the second option, putting the bailing out of French and German banks exposed to Greek public debt above Greece’s socioeconomic viability. A debt restructure would have implied losses for the bankers on their Greek debt holdings.Keen to avoid confessing to parliaments that taxpayers would have to pay again for the banks by means of unsustainable new loans, EU officials presented the Greek state’s insolvency as a problem of illiquidity, and justified the “bailout” as a case of “solidarity” with the Greeks.

    To frame the cynical transfer of irretrievable private losses on to the shoulders of taxpayers as an exercise in “tough love”, record austerity was imposed on Greece, whose national income, in turn – from which new and old debts had to be repaid – diminished by more than a quarter. It takes the mathematical expertise of a smart eight-year-old to know that this process could not end well.

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