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Thread: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

  1. #51
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    To be read with care, an anonymous interview with a Greek negotiator:

    http://www.mediapart.fr/en/journal/i...km?onglet=full

    A senior member of Greece’s negotiating team with its European creditors agreed to a meeting last week in Athens with Mediapart special correspondent Christian Salmon. Speaking on condition that his name is withheld, he detailed the history of the protracted and bitter negotiations between the radical-left Syriza government, elected in January, and international lenders for the provision of a new bailout for the debt-ridden country.

    The almost two-hour interview in English took place just days before last Sunday’s referendum on the latest drastic austerity-driven bailout terms offered by the creditors, and opposed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and which were finally rejected by 61.3% of Greek voters.

    While the ministerial advisor slams the stance of the international creditors, who he accuses of leading a strategy of deliberate suffocation of Greece’s finances and economy, he is also critical of some of the decisions taken by Athens. His account also throws light on the personal tensions surrounding the talks led by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned from his post on Monday deploring “a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my ‘absence’ from its meetings”.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Dijsselbloem has qualified his earlier praise for the proposals with concerns about the credibility of their implementation. Shifting the goalposts to trust is now the common line among the sceptics.



    A typically German idea for a solution for Greece, the euro holiday, has been raised again by an opponent of the Eurozone. This is to my knowledge only rarely discussed in English media. I just came across this rebuttal of it:

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/how-des...o-holiday-idea

    Martin Feldstein suggested last week that Greece take a “holiday” from the Eurozone, rejoining with a depreciated nominal exchange rate. This column argues that the idea is not just impractical, it’s dangerous for the Eurozone.


    A Grexit would do more than economic damage. That is why it is dangerous that around half of polled Germans want Greece to leave the Eurozone. (Other "hardliner" countries are probably less stiff-necked; Dutch polls indicated that over half of Dutch people want Greece to remain in the euro, despite the fact that the Dutch government is also exceptionally hidebound and jerkish.)

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...a-1043159.html

    Anyone who opposes the prospect of a Grexit can feel a little lonely in Germany these days. Indignation over the Greek government is widespread and the seemingly endless rounds of debt talks have left the public drained. A Grexit seems to promise release and is looking increasingly appealing to many.

    But were Greece to leave the euro, the consequences would be disastrous -- for Europe, for Greece and indeed for Germany. It wouldn't be long before we would regret the day. Far more is at stake than just a few billion euros -- which are most likely already lost, anyway.

    A Grexit would mark the end to the process of European integration; the euro would be destabilized as a currency; the EU would be geopolitically undermined.
    If you prefer to have more American exceptionalism along with that opinion, read this (author is not American):

    http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=60651

    The lack of contextualising is bemusing. If you consider American foreign policy during the Cold War, it isn't strange that social democrats were 'ambivalent' about American governments supporting conservative dictators even against democratically elected socialists. But they always preferred the United States as an ally.



    Not so intelligent people on social media think that Greece only collects 10% of due taxes (this is a perplexingly stupid thing to believe). The truth is more complex and this article only scratches the surface.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33479946

    There are many reasons why Greece finds itself in a precarious financial position, one of which is its poor record at collecting tax. But is it really true that in 2010 the government collected only 10% of the tax it was due, asks David Rose.

    A graphic published by the Washington Post on Sunday suggested that 89.5% of the country's tax receipts remained uncollected in 2010.

    In Germany the corresponding figure was just 2.3%, the newspaper's Wonkblog reported.

    This left many social media users claiming that the root cause of Greece's problems is that the vast majority of its taxpayers that year simply didn't pay their taxes.

    But that is a mistake.
    An aspect that isn't made explicitly in there is that a lot of the low tax returns is caused by the make-up of employment. Self-employment is disproportionally common in the Greek economy and self-employed people are more likely to commit tax fraud at a significantly higher rate anywhere in the developed world.



    To dwell on the subject of not so clever people on social media, they really liked Guy Verhofstadt's speech against Tsipras. I have seen a little of it and disliked the theatrically ramped up volume, the superfluous oral shower and the attempt at choreography that can only be characterised as a lame attempt at Angus Young's duck walk. But then, I don't really like the guy (see earlier post about privatising utilities) and his political group (ALDE, made up of liberals, from conservatives to progressives). Anyway, a few minor points in his speech have been fact-checked and were either false or unsubstantiated.

    https://pagellapolitica.it/blog/show...grecia#english

    Following the victory of the “NO” side at the referendum held last Sunday, Alexis Tsipras gave a speech at the European Parliament three days later. The speaker who really gained widespread attention on the social media, though, was Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the ALDE group in the European Parliament who invited Tsipras to prove to be a “true leader and not a fake prophet”.

    Verhofstadt’s speech became so viral that we decided to dedicate our weekly “FactCheckEU” blog to it. We focused on two issues Verhofstadt commented on, the first being civil servants in Greece and the second one being the clientelistic choices of the SYRIZA Government.

  3. #53
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Schäuble has suggested to let Greek temporarily leave the Eurozone (the position debunked above). Any of his demands for alternatives are completely unworkable and unrealistic, so it is safe to say he steers for a Grexit under a false pretext.

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

    Greece’s final attempt to avoid being kicked out of the euro by securing a new three-year bailout worth up to €80bn ran into a wall of resistance from the eurozone’s fiscal hawks on Saturday.

    Finland rejected any more funding for the country and Germany called for Greece to be turfed out of the currency bloc for at least five years.

    The last-chance talks between the 19 eurozone finance ministers in Brussels ended at midnight, as they struggled to draft a policy paper for national leaders at yet another emergency summit on Sunday that was billed as the decisive meeting.

    With Greece on the edge of financial and social implosion, eurozone finance ministers met to decide on the country’s fate and on what to do about its debt crisis, after experts from the troika of creditors said that new fiscal rigour proposals from Athens were good enough to form “the basis for negotiations”.

    But the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, dismissed that view, supported by a number of northern and eastern European states. “These proposals cannot build the basis for a completely new, three-year [bailout] programme, as requested by Greece,” said a German finance ministry paper. It called for Greece to be expelled from the eurozone for a minimum of five years and demanded that the Greek government transfer €50bn of state assets to an outside agency for sell-off.

    Timo Soini, the nationalist True Finns leader, meanwhile, threatened to bring down the government in Helsinki if Alex Stubb, the finance minister, agreed to a new bailout for Greece. Stubb apparently came to the crunch meeting on a new bailout without a mandate to agree one.
    The crucial issue is now whether Merkel will budge. My guess is that France and Italy won't move from their softer line and that they may persuade Austria, Spain, Portugal and Belgium in the end. Finland and the minnows are numerically irrelevant and Soini, a disgusting populist, blowing up the current coalition in Finland could only be a good thing.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Renzi is going to intensify the offensive to keep Greece in. Meanwhile, the ECB has decided that ELA will end if there is no agreement today.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...talks-grind-on

    Europe braced itself for its most fateful day in years on Sunday as presidents, prime ministers, and chancellors congregated in Brussels for a summit to decide whether Greece remains in the euro single currency.

    Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, cancelled an emergency full summit of the 28 countries that was to deal with the fallout from Greece’s ejection, in order to give eurozone leaders a last chance to reach an accord saving Greece and forestalling what would be a devastating schism sowing deep resentment and division between Europe’s leaders.

    Eurozone finance ministers met on Sunday morning to try to reach agreement on launching talks on Greece’s third bailout in five years after failing by midnight on Saturday to draft a common statement on the crisis.

    The eurozone’s fiscal hawks, led by Wolfgang Schaüble, the German finance minister, the Finns and the Slovaks, rejected new austerity measures conceded by Alexis Tsipras, the leftist Greek prime minister, and for the first time pushed openly for Greece to be allowed to collapse financially and ejected from the single currency.

    The mood in Brussels was grim, sombre, and ugly. The stakes could not be higher. The weight of history seemed to rest on the shoulders of Chancellor Angela Merkel. If the German leader supports her finance minister’s hard line later on Sunday, it may be that Greece cannot be saved.

    Der Spiegel in Hamburg called it the biggest day of Merkel’s 10-year chancellorship and appealed to her to “show greatness” and save Europe. Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, was said to be planning a bitter attack on Merkel, depending on the progress at the summit. Renzi was to tell Germany enough is enough and that the EU could not flourish while member states were humiliated.

    If Der Spiegel is right about the momentousness of Merkel’s day, the same could be said for President François Hollande of France who, with his government and officials, has been campaigning tirelessly in recent weeks to keep Greece in the euro, helping Athens to draft its proposals.

    A decision on so-called Grexit, which has never been closer, would be a shattering failure for Hollande and the resulting Franco-German recrimination will be deeply damaging.

    Last-chance talks between the 19 eurozone finance ministers in Brussels ended at midnight, with deep divisions persisting over whether to extend another bailout of up to €80bn to Greece in return for fiscal reforms.


    The Finnish parliament has rejected any new agreement with Greece.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...ro-says-report

    Finland’s parliament has decided it will not accept any new bailout deal for Greece, media reports said Saturday, piling on pressure as eurozone finance ministers tried to find a way out of the impasse.

    The decision to push for a so-called “Grexit” came after the eurosceptic Finns party, the second-largest in parliament, threatened to bring down the government if it backed another rescue deal for Greece, according to public broadcaster Yle.

    Under Finland’s parliamentary system, the country’s “grand committee” – made up of 25 of 200 MPs – gives the government a mandate to negotiate on an aid agreement for Greece.

    Members of the committee met for talks in Helsinki on Saturday afternoon to decide their position, YLE reported.

    But the parliamentary officials have declined to comment on the media report.
    From an economic perspective it is an unbelievably senseless route. A collapse of the current Finnish coalition looks like a very good thing, but expect opposition to a new programme to be wider than just the Simply Finns crazies.

    Anyway, Finland is irrelevant for the Eurogroup numbers game, so this would probably a sideshow haggling. The same goes for the recent entrants to the Eurozone. It is as a matter of fact very hypocritical of these small countries to be so inured in their push for a Grexit, because they generally field very little of the 'bill'. What they try to do is to avoid costs for themselves by massively increasing the losses for other countries.



    More important is that the German Green Party has committed to obstruct the government at the German Constitutional Court should Schäuble seek to impose his Euro Holiday plan.

    http://www.gruene-bundestag.de/press...D_4396220.html

    If it came to this, it would likely be joined by The Left who have already insisted that Schäuble leave. Although it probably won't matter much for Greece any more, because a Grexit is really close right now.

  5. #55
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Coppola on how Schäuble's untrustworthiness threw the French-Greek strategy, covered by Italy, off.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/francesc...ts-greece-out/

    After a bruising few days, the Greek government has come up with a new proposal. Helped by the French, who appear to have decided that under no circumstances should Greece be forced out of the Euro, they have produced a detailed document that includes commitments to reform of pensions and taxation. The distinction between this and the European Commission’s unofficial proposal of June 26th is vanishingly small: longer timeframes for elimination of the EKAS supplementary pension and ending of VAT subsidies for the islands makes this proposal a little less like a cliff edge, but as far as I can see that’s about the only difference. Faced with a stark choice between crossing its “red lines” or being forced out of the Euro, the Greek government has caved in.


    Argument that French-German cooperation is at stake. It is however far from clear how a bankruptcy would be necessary for the euro to work in the future: that it is hugely destructive is the no-brainer there.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/artic.../merkel-method

    “If the euro fails, Europe fails.” This dictum must be the most often-quoted sentence from Europe’s most powerful politician, a figure otherwise hardly known for making straightforward statements or clear commitments. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s success over the past ten years (she is already the longest-serving German chancellor after Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl) is often attributed to her uncanny ability to let political developments and debates take their course—and only to stake out a position when she can be sure that her position will be on the winning side. However, in the eyes of her German critics, her apparent commitment to saving the euro no matter what has made her vulnerable to blackmail. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in particular has been betting that, for all German elites’ moralizing, the country will not, in the end, want a Grexit. And so, as is so frequent in the EU, a great policy fudge will be found that will allow all concerned to somehow save face. But Tsipras should not be so sure. A number of developments—not least profound transformations within German political culture that Germany’s partners have barely begun to understand—make it risky to bank on Germany keeping Greece.


    German intransigence is the product of decades of ordoliberal self-delusion:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...economic-bully

    “The lesson of this crisis is more Europe, not less Europe,” Angela Merkel said in 2012 as the integrity of the region’s monetary union was threatened by financial instability, touched off by Greek debt, that was spreading through the euro zone’s weaker economies. By “more Europe,” the German chancellor meant a deepening of the continent’s noble mission—peaceful integration to ensure prosperity and democracy—of which the common currency, the euro, is the ultimate symbol.

    In the intervening three years, Greeks have come to understand “more Europe” as something different: “more Germany.” That was one of the few clear messages sent in a referendum on July 5 that had everything to do with Greek voters’ views on how Merkel had imposed her vision of Europe on the zone and if their troubled nation would be better served as part of its grand project, or not.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Grexit looks like the only possibility now, unless Merkel plans on electoral suicide.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...-but-in-chains

    The Greek crisis began like the proverbial cloud that was no bigger than a man’s hand and has grown into a perfect storm which has shaken Europe to its foundations. Regardless of the final outcome of the negotiations, what unfortunately can be said with certainty is that the union’s fault lines have all but burst under the pressure.

    Between France and Germany, between north and south and east and west in the union, and even within nations, there are now profound differences, only potential before, which it will take a long time to resolve. The past few days have seen Paris commit itself to keeping Greece in the euro and the union in a way which puts President François Hollande on a collision course with hawks in the German government, headed by the finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble. France’s mentoring of Greece as that country made its own final proposals did not seek an easy or soft arrangement, but nor did it envisage Greece’s reduction to the status of a debt colony, not too different from the conditions once imposed on Egypt and China in the imperial era, with foreigners in controlling positions in its economy.

    Mr Schäuble’s recent interventions in the talks, coming out in the leaks which have been his ministry’s way of influencing the debate for many weeks, have placed tougher and tougher options on the table. It seems that if Greece leaves the euro, he would not repine; but if Greece stays he wants to see it in manacles. He has canvassed the idea of a “temporary exit” for Greece from the euro for five years, a plan for which there is no legal precedent and one which most people see as a sneaky way of setting things up for a permanent departure.
    It's hard to see how a rational best-case scenario is still possible. Germany seems simply hell-bent on wasting everybody else's guarantees and killing the Greek economy.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Negotiations still continue, with rumours of a compromise. Public opinion is strongly turning against Schäuble and more generally Germany because this is the line of almost the entire CDU-CSU line. Honestly, this deceit will burn through a lot of Germany's international political capital.

    The problem with the democratic deficit is that a toxic potential criminal like Schäuble (rumours are that he has a vested interest in the group to manage the asset fund) can only be removed through Germany and it's not known whether that is possible. That he has lied to the German parliament about his witless proposal is dire, but can it force a career end?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0ZS0VC20150712

    Tsipras's demand that the IMF is not involved is less sensible. It seems he will definitely lose on this.

    Krugman's opinion on the mess:

    http://nyti.ms/1L0mEBO

    Varoufakis also comments on Schäuble's gambit:

    http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/13...6th-july-2015/

  8. #58
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The agreement has been reached and it is monstrous. Greece will probably prefer it to leaving the Eurozone, but it has been compromised by the German government's unhinged demands - that came out of nowhere and were just a heinous trolling attempt by Schäuble to force an exit. That disgusting imp should be put in an off-limits retirement home - he is like the very embodiment of petit bourgeois law-type mediocre bureaucrat that has made Germany fail at times before.

    Well, at least Merkel and the CDU-CSU have utterly wasted their political capital abroad. That doesn't have to be a good thing, because there are important climate talks upcoming.

    Some demands like the privatisation push or mandatory Sunday opening (a decision that hurts small businesses and privileges supermarkets and large retail conglomerates) are stupid enough already. But some weren't even implemented by Germany, so the rank hypocrisy makes manifest that it was just Schäuble being insufferable and impossible.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/7/12/8939937...opping-germany

    This led to a new (admittedly silly) hashtag trending:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...ailout-demands

    The draconian list of demands eurozone leaders handed to the Greek government in return for a European bailout has inspired a social media backlash against Germany and its hawkish finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.

    ?#ThisIsACoup was the second top trending hashtag on Twitter worldwide – and top in Germany and Greece – as eurozone leaders argued through the night to convince the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, to take the deal or face bankruptcy and his country’s expulsion from the euro. The hashtag also featured strongly in Finland, whose government is open to the idea of a Grexit.


    How insane policy became set in stone:

    http://re-define.org/blog/wed-070120...ot-fair-chance

    Despite having experienced an angry German government almost push Greece out of the Eurozone in 2012 first hand, I never thought we’d be standing at this crossroads again. It took many of us - advisers, EU technocrats, American politicians and some academics several weeks to convince the key-decision makers in Berlin not to pull the trigger, and it was far from obvious we would be successful. In the end Chancellor Merkel took a fateful decision to overrule the finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who remained unconvinced.

    Living through this process was hell not least because economic arguments, financial calculations and political scenarios are not ideal for changing the minds of often-ideological lawyers that form the core of the German financial policymaking community. For them it was less about the economics and more about rules and morality.


    How insane policy worked out elsewhere:

    https://rwer.wordpress.com/2015/07/1...eral-miracles/

    In case you missed it: Greece has to accept all the measures, which will increase unemployment to at least 30% and possibly 35%, lead to unprecedented amounts of dirt poor old people while 50 billion worth of assets is stacked away in a fund which is mainly meant to recapitalize the banks (surprise!) to be able to negotiate about a deal. This is not yet the deal itself (personal: as I see it there is literally a sadistic element to these measures). Mind that Greece knows next to no unemployment benefits while the number of elderly is rising rapidly. Austerity is of course supposed, by some, to be some kind of miracle cure. But is it? No. None of the Eurozone austerity countries did well, when we look at employment. And neither did Denmark or the Netherlands which before 2008 did everything right, aqccording to the neoliberal rulebook. Private debt fuelled growth, government surpluses, flexible labour markets etc. etc. At this moment, the Netherlands even have something like a 13% of GDP surplus on the current account (Q1, 2015). Despite this employment growth disappointed….
    Luke 23: 34 comes to mind.

    Well, I'm back to hoping the fragile pro-austerity governments of some mid-size countries (Belgium, the Netherlands) collapse so the balance of power changes.

  9. #59
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Some righty ideologues are truly fed up with Varoufakis and will not believe anything he says any more, but given that the Germans have openly trolled Greece with objectively brainless demands any person with some capability of putting ideological blinders off must admit that his claims over the past five months look extremely cogent. The man is probably telling a large chunk of the truth:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/world-af...le-save-greece

    Greece has finally reached an agreement with its creditors. The specifics have not yet been published, but it is clear that the deal signed is more punitive and demanding than the one that its government has spent the past five months desperately trying to resist.

    The accord follows 48 hours in which Germany demanded control of Greece’s finances or its withdrawal from the euro. Many observers across Europe were stunned by the move. Yanis Varoufakis was not. When I spoke with Greece’s former finance minister last week, I asked him whether any deal struck in the days ahead would be good for his country.

    “If anything it will be worse,” he said. “I trust and hope that our government will insist on debt restructuring, but I can’t see how the German finance minister [Wolfgang Schäuble] is ever going to sign up to this. If he does, it will be a miracle.”


    An interesting argument that there is an inherent imbalance in the European Imbalance Procedure is made here:

    http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/mr_...fficult_to_see

    Four years into the Euro-crisis, and the true faults of the Eurozone are finally sinking in. Except one.

    Draghi named a couple in his Jackson’s hole speech, the lack of an EU budget and the lack of a lender of last resort. But his speech, although encouraging, had one glaring omission: the total asymmetry in the Eurozone’s economic policy coordination, the so called ‘Excessive Imbalance Procedure’ or EIP, which is now part of the Stability and Growth Pact.
    Instead it has turned into voodoo economics with liturgical drama:

    The EIP is not sound economic policy but a morality play. Debt and deficits are bad, financial assets and surpluses are good. High wages bad, low wages good. Rising currency good, falling currency bad. It does not recognise that debt and assets, surpluses and deficits are twins, two sides of the same coin. It does not recognise that a surplus or a deficit is not only the result of differing competitiveness, but also the result of differing savings and investment patterns. From an economic perspective all this is utter nonsense. Since economies must find their equilibrium, there is no intrinsically “good” or “bad” price level: nstead, there is an optimal level that can be high or low, rising or falling. Without the Euro, floating currencies would take the largest share in restoring equilibrium, and this would ALWAYS mean both a rise and a fall in relative prices between countries. Within the Eurozone, restoring equilibrium must follow the same path, or it will break up eventually. With high and rising debt levels, being stuck in a deflation machine will kill it, sooner or later. We will then finally have our transfer mechanism in the Eurozone, through defaults and the resulting return to multiple currencies, but it will be very, very painful.

    The EIP is the new Gold Standard. It forces member states into rounds of competitive wage declines. It is mercantilism through wage devaluation instead of competitive currency devaluations.
    For a Lutheran like Schäuble, this would be a better premise for a morality play (from Matthew 18):

    23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29 Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’
    Useful note: Germany has had massive debt cancellations in the past. The federal government consists of hypocrites (and hypocrisy forms the pointe of the above parable).
    Last edited by Villerar; July 14th, 2015 at 12:29 AM.

  10. #60
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The Guardian has a cacophony of commentators in a panel, with a weird bias for the right.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...-panel-verdict

    Has the threat of Grexit really been seen off by the deal that emerged from an all-night summit? Our panel of experts from Greece and across the eurozone give their verdict


    Paul Mason claims the problem for Syriza lies in their strict parliamentarism with too little grass-roots action.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...cracy-is-loser

    The only thing certain about the aftermath of Sunday’s Euro summit is the disgrace of the political leaderships. The EU’s main powers tried to ritually humiliate the Greek government, but ruthlessness of intent was matched by incompetence when it came to execution. The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, threw on to the table a suggestion for Greece to leave the single currency for five years. Senior MPs from his coalition partner, the socialist SPD, screamed from the sidelines that they had not agreed to this – yet enough of Germany’s partners did agree to get the proposal into the final ultimatum.

    The Greeks were negotiating under threat of their banking system being allowed to collapse, a threat made by the very regulator supposed to maintain financial stability.

  11. #61
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Surprising exactly nobody who isn't an ideologue, the current agreement is insufficient when it comes to debt relief. These are the conclusions of an unpublished IMF report that Reuters saw.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0PO1CB20150714

    Greece will need far bigger debt relief than euro zone partners have been prepared to envisage so far due to the devastation of its economy and banks in the last two weeks, a confidential study by the International Monetary Fund seen by Reuters shows.

    The updated debt sustainability analysis (DSA) was sent to euro zone governments late on Monday, hours after Athens and its 18 partners agreed in principle to open negotiations on a third bailout program of up to 86 billion euros in return for tougher austerity measures and structural reforms.

    "The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date - and what has been proposed by the ESM," the IMF said, referring to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.

    European countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and a very dramatic maturity extension, or else make explicit annual fiscal transfers to the Greek budget or accept "deep upfront haircuts" on their loans to Athens, the report said.
    Bridging Greek finances is a bit of a bind, too.

    http://openeurope.org.uk/blog/bridge...k-be-involved/

    EU finance ministers are meeting today and will discuss how to find between €7bn and €12bn in bridge loans for Greece to hold it over until mid-August when a full bailout might be secured. However, there are few good options on the table and the UK risks being dragged into what should be a Eurozone only issue up to the tune of €1.4bn.
    I don't think there are any reasonable ground to involve the UK in this. But I have a hunch that it isn't considered a viable pathway to begin with.

  12. #62
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Sony Kapoor thinks there are some three pernicious untruths out there:

    http://re-define.org/blog/tue-071420...reek-agreement

    The media is abuzz with hyperbole calling the Greek agreement to work toward a deal “humiliating”, “capitulation”, “surrender” or worse, “a coup”. Weighty names such as Nobel Laureates Krugman and Stiglitz have also endorsed the #ThisIsACoup hasthtag that has been trending on Twitter. The idea behind all of these is the supposed “near total” loss of Greek sovereignty. In particular, the idea that Greek public assets would be handed over to an agency under EU supervision for privatisation has provoked particular fury.

    Another idea that is doing the rounds is that the creditors exacted revenge for Tsipras having dared to call a referendum. The statement that the conditions under the new programme are much harsher than what was on offer has been repeated ad infinitum.

    The third narrative floating around is one that holds Syriza and Tsipras primarily responsible for Greece’s current problems. The Eurogroup statement, for example, seems to blame doubts about debt sustainability primarily on the failure of Greeks to implement policies over the past few months. A particularly pernicious version of this is the politically tone-deaf and highly unprofessional tweet from Peter Kazimir, the Slovak Finance Minister, who said the agreement was tough for Athens because of their “Greek Spring”.

    The problem with all three of these narratives that are very widespread and taken to be received wisdom by many, including in the mainstream press, is that they are all wrong.
    I'd agree on the first to an extent (a coup is unacceptable hyperbole) but that the conditions aren't unprecedented doesn't make them any less unethical, and I definitely agree on the third. But the second isn't really that mythical. The vindictive drive is well-attested after all.

    Conditions did change, yes, but the lenders are at least as guilty of that. We now know that Schäuble never wanted an agreement, given that Tsipras gave him nearly everything on a silver platter and the German stickler still added senseless, hypocritical fringe demands.

    Governments pointing to popular discontent with financially supporting Greece is a poor excuse for any decision they make, because these governments are themselves responsible for deluding the public.



    Somebody took the effort to write a salty rebuttal of Marxists who criticised Syriza. I haven't seen any such, but I haven't really followed any Marxists on this topic apart from Varoufakis, who wouldn't excoriate Syriza.

    https://www.byline.com/column/11/article/164

    It is revealing of the political landscape in Europe - indeed, the world - that everyone's dreams of socialism seemed to rest on the shoulders of the young Prime Minister of a small country. There seemed to be a fervent, irrational, almost evangelical belief that a tiny country, drowning in debt, gasping for liquidity, would somehow (and that somehow is never specified) defeat global capitalism, armed only with sticks and rocks.

    When it looked like it wouldn't happen, they turned. "Tsipras capitulated." "He is a traitor." The complexity of international politics was reduced to a hashtag, that quickly changed from variants of #prayfortsipras to variants of #tsiprasresign. The world demanded its climax, its X-factor final, its Hollywood dénouement. Anything other than a fight to the death was unacceptable cowardice.
    No genuine socialist should prefer extra Verelendung for the poor to a lifeline. But the "inevitable" line is a rather cheap escape (and a cheap way for a commentator to be cool and edgy), for on the creditor side a different decision was certainly possible - especially if some nation didn't resort to diabolically immoral tactics. And if some parties actually showed some spine when it mattered - not talking about GUE-NFL here.



    Now something with which I can fully agree:

    http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist...er_393692.html

    Many Europeans breathed a sigh of relief when they learned, early Monday morning, that after days of uncertainty there was a deal in Brussels: Greece will remain part of the eurozone and therefore the common currency will not be confronted with all kinds of acute dangers and uncertainties. That comfortable feeling was, however, soon replaced by question marks about the content and consequences of the agreement.

    After they read the details, many of Europe's best-informed analysts and observers vilified the conditions for a new Greek bailout package. Germany's leading weekly Der Spiegel called the terms for saving Greece a “catalogue of horrors.” The Economist labeled the deal as “painful and humiliating” for Greece and The Guardian concluded that last weekend the “serious illness afflicting the euro had turned terminal. … Things will only get a lot worse in Greece before there is any chance of them getting better, while [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel's ruthless display of power politics will worry many about the direction that Europe is taking. It is difficult to discern any winners in a long and sorry saga of mismanagement and collapsing confidence that is poisoning European politics.”

    Let there be no misunderstanding: Most of these critical comments were not made by anti-EU radicals who would love to see the European project fail as soon as possible. They come from pro-Europeans who support a common currency and accept that Greece has to introduce fundamental reforms that should tackle some of the country's structural weaknesses: a dysfunctioning tax system that favors the rich, rampant corruption and clientelism, and, above all, an economy that produces hardly anything that can be exported.
    I don't think this heralds any permanent German reign of terror, but it proves severe flaws in the current confederal set-up of the Eurozone.



    The IMF dislikes being involved in the next programme. This can be very pointy because their involvement was a demand from the German ultimatum. It also explains why Tsipras didn't want them involved, and it makes more sense than I thought.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/444a0...edbb7bdb7.html

    The International Monetary Fund has sent its strongest signal that it may walk away from Greece’s new bailout programme, arguing in a confidential analysis that the country’s debt is skyrocketing and budget surplus targets set by Athens cannot be achieved.

    In the three-page memo, sent to EU authorities at the weekend and obtained by the Financial Times, the IMF said the recent turmoil in the Greek economy would lead debt to peak at close to 200 per cent of economic output over the next two years. At the start of the eurozone crisis, Athens’ debt stood at 127 per cent.

    The memo argues that only through large-scale debt relief — something eurozone officials have fiercely resisted — could Greece see its debt fall to levels where it would be able to return to the financial markets.

    “Greece’s debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far,” the memo reads.

    Under its rules, the IMF is not allowed to participate in a bailout if a country’s debt is deemed unsustainable and there is no prospect of it returning to private bond markets for financing. The IMF has bent its rules to participate in previous Greek bailouts, but the memo suggests it can no longer do so.
    One guesses they considered one can't be neutral on a moving train... that is on collision course with empirically demonstrated economic sense.

  13. #63
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Important day for Syriza and Greece:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...rity-proposals

    Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, is preparing for a make-or-break parliamentary vote over the austerity measures Athens must take in exchange for a fresh bailout from its eurozone partners.

    Just hours before the vote, Tsipras suffered a blow with the loss of a key minister, Nadia Valavani. The deputy finance minister resigned, saying it was “impossible” for her to keep serving in the government given the austerity measures to which Tsipras had agreed. She warned the nation faced a “crushing” capitulation at the hands of its creditors in Brussels.

    Tsipras must keep the number of rebels within his own party below 40 in order to pass the measures required as part of the controversial rescue package agreed after marathon talks last weekend.

    The deal – which includes austerity measures tougher than those overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek public in a referendum this month – has come under fresh fire after the International Monetary Fund published a highly critical paper calling for large-scale debt relief for the stricken country.
    British concerns over the EFSM possibly being used have flared up (and I sympathise with the Tory government for a change!), because the EC is so stupid to consider tapping it.



    On a weird sentiment in Northern Europe (which is not only held in Germany, contrary to the article's focus):

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/15...ive-anger.html

    A DEAL has finally been reached that could keep Greece in the eurozone. Few are happy with the outcome. We’ve heard a lot about how the Greeks feel humiliated. But we’ve heard less about German anger, and we know they are angry. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was reported to have started yelling during Saturday night’s negotiations. France and Italy have both made huge loans to Greece, but neither country has expressed hostility to Greece. Why is Germany so angry?

    As an economic historian, I got a taste of this resentment during a conference on Greek sovereign debt held in Munich last week. It took place at the Center for Economic Studies and the Ifo Institute, which are headed by Hans-Werner Sinn, the German economist and longtime proponent of a Grexit. The conference included economists, accountants, journalists, investors and government officials from both Greece and Germany. Diverging views were aired by Mitu Gulati, the Duke law professor who helped devise an earlier Greek bailout; by Ashoka Mody, an economist, formerly of the International Monetary Fund, who preaches debt forgiveness; by accounting experts, who agreed that Greece’s total debts seem to have been inflated; and by Mr. Sinn.

    But when the German economists spoke at the final session, a completely different tone took over the room. Within the economic theories and numbers came a moral message: The Germans were honest dupes and the Greeks corrupt, unreliable and incompetent. Both parties were reduced to caricatures of themselves. We’ve heard this story throughout the negotiations, but in that room, it was clear how much resentment shapes the views of German economists.


    In Germany, a slanted poll 'showed' enormous support for Merkel, with the options "Merkel did a good job" and "I preferred a Grexit". It was also widely parodied.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Schäuble still pushes for a Grexit, openly conflicting with Merkel. I think this is suggestive evidence for the conjecture that Merkel indeed never wanted a Grexit, but used Schäuble's position as a lever.

    http://www.politico.eu/article/germa...grexit-merkel/

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble cast doubt Tuesday on Europe’s latest rescue plan for Greece, claiming that many Germans would still prefer a ‘Grexit.’

    Schäuble’s extraordinary comments signal a rift within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government over whether to continue to extend aid. The comments are particularly notable because Schäuble was for the first time publicly distancing himself from Merkel, who fought for the agreement reached Monday after a 17-hour negotiating session.

    In the past, Schäuble has disagreed with Merkel in private but toed the chancellor’s line in public.

    “There are many people, also in the German federal government, that are pretty well convinced that (a Grexit) would be a much better solution for Greece and the Greek people,” Schäuble told reporters in Brussels. “But it’s something that only they can do themselves.”
    I wonder whether this jeopardises Schäuble's own cabinet position, but I'd guess the answer is probably not. Schäuble is by himself too important for Merkel. Clashes with other governments or the Greens' constitutional court case are the real threats.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Of course, the Goldman Sachs banker responsible for getting Greece into the Euro and who fields a major share of the responsibility for this mess has never had any pecuniary consequences for (facilitating) fraud.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-10381951.html

    If you thought the Goldman Sachs banker who did the deal to get Greece into the euro might have been chased out of the City of London, think again.

    Antigone Loudiadis, more widely known as “Addy”, has been richly rewarded by the bank for her dealmaking prowess and now sits atop one of Europe’s fastest growing insurance companies, Rothesay Life.

    The 52-year-old, who lives with her family in a vast stucco house in west London, was one of the brightest stars in Goldman’s Fleet Street headquarters.


    Krugman isn't buying the IMF's contention that it's just the new plan that is unrealistic.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...able-position/

    Everyone is talking about the IMF’s new update to its debt sustainability analysis, which says that Greece’s attempt to surrender is doomed to failure without massive debt relief. That’s surely the right conclusion.

    However, it’s hard to accept the document’s claim that this is a new development, the result of the banking crisis of the past two weeks plus the economic troubles since Syriza came to power. If the original plan for Greece made any sense, whatever damage has been done recently should be largely reversible: restore liquidity to the banks, establish a government of faithocrats who restore confidence, and debt should end up peaking only a few percentage points of GDP higher than previously predicted. That is, even if you accuse Syriza of botching things terribly, no economic analysis I know of says that a few months of misgovernment permanently damage a country’s growth prospects.


    A BBC presenter paint a glum picture of Germany's ambitions:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33535257

    This is not the end of the drama for the European Union. Perhaps, the passion play we are witnessing is just the prologue to tragedy.

    Tragedy, after all, depends upon the blossoming of flaws that undermine an otherwise noble character.

    In this case, it makes the Europe Union wrestle with the central conundrum behind its existence.

    The European dream was conjured out of a nightmare - it was, in origin, a project to exorcise the family ghost: the vast power of one country, Germany.
    It must be said that German dominance is temporary and will come to end in the upcoming thirty years as France's population (and economic and political power) grows. (Germany's military isn't exactly "powerful" however.)



    Syriza is experiencing large problems with internal conflict. The revolt in parliament is considerable but may be manageable, but the party's central committee is by majority opposed to the current deal. You have to wonder: Are the Eurogroup's hardliners begging for blowback? What government would they like next with these senseless demands, KKE or Golden Dawn?

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The cash did come from the EFSM after all, but there are guarantees to non-Eurozone countries.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33546352

    Eurozone ministers have agreed to give Greece a €7bn (£5bn) bridging loan from an EU-wide fund to keep its finances afloat until a bailout is approved.

    The loan is expected to be confirmed on Friday by all EU member states.

    In another development, the European Central Bank (ECB) agreed to increase emergency funding to Greece for the first time since it was frozen in June.

    The decisions were made after Greek MPs passed tough reforms as part of a eurozone bailout deal.


    Goldman Sachs more generally also made perverse profits by hiding Greek debt, it's not just that one banker of course.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/goldmans-greek-gambit/

    ? The Greek debt crisis offers another illustration of Wall Street’s powers of persuasion and predation, although the Street is missing from most accounts.

    The crisis was exacerbated years ago by a deal with Goldman Sachs, engineered by Goldman’s current CEO, Lloyd Blankfein. Blankfein and his Goldman team helped Greece hide the true extent of its debt, and in the process almost doubled it. And just as with the American subprime crisis, and the current plight of many American cities, Wall Street’s predatory lending played an important although little-recognized role.

    In 2001, Greece was looking for ways to disguise its mounting financial troubles. The Maastricht Treaty required all eurozone member states to show improvement in their public finances, but Greece was heading in the wrong direction. Then Goldman Sachs came to the rescue, arranging a secret loan of 2.8 billion euros for Greece, disguised as an off-the-books “cross-currency swap”—a complicated transaction in which Greece’s foreign-currency debt was converted into a domestic-currency obligation using a fictitious market exchange rate.

    As a result, about 2 percent of Greece’s debt magically disappeared from its national accounts. Christoforos Sardelis, then head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, later described the deal to Bloomberg Business as “a very sexy story between two sinners.” For its services, Goldman received a whopping 600 million euros ($793 million), according to Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over from Sardelis in 2005. That came to about 12 percent of Goldman’s revenue from its giant trading and principal-investments unit in 2001—which posted record sales that year. The unit was run by Blankfein.


    Seemingly Rutte was the leader of the grubhawk midgets faction on Sunday when heads of government negotiation over Greece. Merkel was more moderate, but obviously more relevant. (Apparently Rutte made some egregiously stupid demands that were laughed away.)

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    David Cameron has supported debt relief for Greece:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0P500520150715

    British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said that Greece needed to be granted relief from its debts, backing an International Monetary Fund study on the subject.
    Yes, he isn't a creditor which is important to remember, but it is a good thing if he increases pressure on Germany, just as American appeals are to be appreciated.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Former Guardian reporter on the changing face of Germany:

    http://www.socialeurope.eu/2015/07/g...ropean-policy/

    When I was a correspondent in Germany two decades ago, in the run-up to unification and thereafter, interviews with Helmut Kohl, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and other senior politicians – such as Wolfgang Schäuble, who negotiated the two Germanys into one – would always end with the mantra: “We want a European Germany, not a German Europe.” It was true then but it is not true now.

    Almost 25 years on from that October night in 1990 when I wrote the Guardian splash with the headline “A New Colossus is born in Europe” the Greek crisis has laid bare Germany’s transformation from “political dwarf, economic giant” into a “political and economic bully” that provokes fear and loathing among its victims and anxiety among its friends.


    A persistent problem for Greece is companies diverting tax money to tax paradises, like Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium and Ireland. This is a massive drain on government finances.

    This recent letter offers a case study:

    http://www.thepressproject.gr/details_en.php?aid=79276

    Dear President, dear Commissioner,

    According to a report entitled ‘Fool’s Gold ’ published by SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, Greece lost out on EUR 1.7 million in corporate income tax resulting from interest payments in 2012 and 2013 alone, because of tax arrangements between the Netherlands and the Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold.

    This report has sparked three written questions to the Commission by Members of the European Parliament (P-005648-15, E-005544-15 and E-005210-15). We consider that the answers that the Commission has provided are insufficient and do not do justice to the seriousness of the matter raised. We consider that the vagueness and omission of certain aspects of the questions in the answers are not in line with the spirit of Article 230 TFEU.

  19. #69
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Today is Merkel's birthday. The votes to authorise the new package passed in all national parliaments that had to authorise it.

    A very long but educational feature on how we landed ourselves in this mess. The main reason: Schäuble. He directly defied the chancellor, so Merkel had less control over him than I estimated.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...a-1044259.html

    There are days when Wolfgang Schäuble's staff would prefer to be somewhere else. In Timbuktu perhaps, or up on the Acropolis. In any case, far, far away.

    Last Thursday, the German finance minister rolled into an elevator in the Reichstag in Berlin. He was irritated, for he soon had to appear before the Affairs of the Euroepan Union Committee to defend a bailout plan for Greece that he didn't even believe in. "Grottenfalsch," as he would say -- "dreadfully wrong."

    In his wheelchair, Schäuble leaned to one side and rubbed his face. "What about the appointment at 5:30?" he wanted to know. "It's in the schedule," a staffer responded, immediately wishing he was somewhere else. "In the schedule?" When Schäuble gets irritated, he doesn't raise his voice. Instead he stretches out his vowels like a rubber band. "Scheeeeeeedule," he said, and then issued an order: "Call the chancellor's secretary and ask where it is."

    He then inhaled, flashing a pugnacious smile and turned his wheelchair around. He then prepared for battle of a kind he had never before fought in his long political career -- a battle against the Greek government, against American economists, against large swathes of European public opinion and also, to some extent, against the chancellor herself.
    The take-away from this is that the northern Eurozone social democrats did more than they let on - but they still disappointed compared to the French and the Italians (who cooperated with the Swedes and the Austrian plus Schulz to improve Greece's proposals). There was a lot of contingency in the results, with Schäuble's crazy antics having been pivotal. Some different decisions by others could have altered the outcome dramatically. Relations between France and Germany have deteriorated, too, and Hollande is personally annoyed with Merkel.

    An important change to the narrative is that Merkel was less using Schäuble than she had to condone him. So much imputed to Germany in the past days is Schäuble's economically illiterate legalistic philosophy. Though he is definitely influential in the CDU-CSU.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    This will be very familiar ground to everyone who has following this sage, but Varoufakis has predicted the current agreement will fail to deliver what has been promised. And that is impossible to seriously doubt.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33578778

    Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has told the BBC that economic reforms imposed on his country by creditors are "going to fail", ahead of talks on a huge bailout.

    Mr Varoufakis said Greece was subject to a programme that will "go down in history as the greatest disaster of macroeconomic management ever".

    The German parliament approved the opening of negotiations on Friday.

    The bailout could total €86bn (£60bn) in exchange for austerity measures.

    In a damning assessment, Mr Varoufakis told the BBC's Mark Lobel: "This programme is going to fail whoever undertakes its implementation."

    Asked how long that would take, he replied: "It has failed already."

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Tsipras takes a shot at rebels in his own party:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33616177

    Greece's prime minister has taken on critics in his Syriza party ahead of another crucial vote on reforms.

    Alexis Tsipras attacked rebel MPs who opposed an agreement with creditors, accusing them of "hiding behind the safety of my signature".

    MPs need to back the reforms for talks to start on a new €86bn bailout.

    The vote is expected to pass with the support of opposition parties, but Mr Tsipras hopes to avoid a rebellion from within the ranks of Syriza.

    Parliament began debating the second set of reforms earlier on Wednesday.

    Some 32 of the radical-left party's 149 MPs - including former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis - voted against the first tranche of bailout measures last week. Another six abstained.


    Miscellaneous:
    http://thinktankreview.co.uk/europe/...ws-agreekment/
    http://fr.slideshare.net/DominiqueSt...18-tweeteurope
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/...a-1044233.html
    http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015...tal-officials/

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Varoufakis may face charges for hacking into tax accounts for setting up an alternative currency.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-currency-plan

    The scene has been set for possible criminal charges to be brought against the former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, following revelations of his secret plan to establish an alternative currency in the event of the country leaving the eurozone.

    The country’s most senior state prosecutor, Efterpi Koutzamani, ordered the Greek parliament to examine an array of complaints brought by private citizens against Varoufakis. The supreme court prosecutor, who played a leading role in putting the far right Golden Dawn party on trial, also asked a magistrate to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought against non-political figures who allegedly hacked taxpayers’ accounts to set up the parallel payment system.

    “I would not want to be in Varoufakis’ shoes,” the conservative MP and shadow finance minister Anna Asimakopoulou said. “I think that it is highly likely he will end up in a courtroom.”

    As a sitting MP, the economist-turned-politician enjoys immunity from prosecution. But the prosecutor’s move paves the way for criminal charges to be brought against him if parliament determines there are grounds to establish a special congressional committee to probe the allegations.

    Judicial sources said the charges could range from dereliction of duty to overseeing the formation of a criminal gang. The latter was the central accusation brought against Golden Dawn, whose leaders are on trial.
    Serious commentators don't think much of the idea of a trial.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...lan-b-fallback

    Yanis Varoufakis has few friends in official circles these days. Greece’s outspoken former finance minister has long been loathed by his erstwhile eurozone counterparts, on whom he counterproductively impressed their mediocrity. Since he has been jettisoned by his prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and criticised Greece’s capitulation to Germany’s iniquitous demands, his former Syriza colleagues are losing patience with him too. He is becoming the perfect fall guy for having devised a daring escape plan in the event that Greece’s creditors shut down its banking system and severed its international economic ties – as they eventually did.

    While Varoufakis’s plan to create a parallel payments system based on the country’s tax register was certainly unorthodox, it was completely understandable. Until the recent revelations, Varoufakis was being criticised for standing up to Greece’s eurozone creditors without preparing a Plan B in case negotiations failed. As many experts and commentators, including me, advised, the Greek government needed to prepare for a parallel currency to provide liquidity to the economy in case eurozone authorities turned off the taps. That way it could credibly threaten to default on its debts while remaining in the eurozone – and thus, it hoped, convince its creditors to offer the debt relief that the depressed Greek economy desperately needed to recover.
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...nis-varoufakis

    From blaming him for the renewed collapse of the Greek economy to accusing him of illegally plotting Greece’s exit from the eurozone, it has become fashionable to disparage Yanis Varoufakis, the country’s former finance minister. While I have never met or spoken to him, I believe that he is getting a bad rap (and increasingly so). In the process, attention is being diverted away from the issues that are central to Greece’s ability to recover and prosper – whether it stays in the eurozone or decides to leave.

    That is why it is important to take note of the ideas that Varoufakis continues to espouse. Greeks and others may fault him for pursuing his agenda with too little politesse while in office. But the essence of that agenda was – and remains – largely correct.

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    The IMF has stated they will not sign any bailout package that does not include debt relief.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...ef-demands-met

    The International Monetary Fund will refuse to participate in a new bailout for Greece until there is an “explicit and concrete agreement” on debt relief from the country’s eurozone creditors, an IMF official has confirmed.

    Without the IMF’s involvement, Greece’s eurozone partners will have to find more funds to meet Athens’ short-term financing needs, raising questions about whether the outline €86bn (£60bn) bailout thrashed out earlier this month will prove workable.

    As the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, battled to win the backing of his radical Syriza party for the austerity programme demanded by the rest of the eurozone, an IMF official, speaking from Washington, said the fund would not get involved until there is “an explicit and concrete agreement between Greece and its eurozone partners on how to provide debt relief”.

    The IMF insisted that it also expects tough economic reforms from Athens in return for a reduction in its debt burden. “There is a need for difficult decisions on both sides. One should not be under the illusion that just one side can fix the problem,” the official said.

    Meanwhile, the IMF’s team in Athens, which is helping draw up a third bailout, would not “sit on the sidelines”, the official said. But it will not sign up to any formal support programme for the troubled country. “We will be participating actively in policy discussions over the coming weeks.”

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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    Tsipras took a, perhaps not wholly committed, stand for Varoufakis amid the rather silly accusations of treason against the economist. (I consider the more serious investigation for illegal hacking into tax accounts distinct from those more surreal claims.)

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...et-grexit-plan

    Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has launched a staunch defence of his former right-hand man Yanis Varoufakis following revelations that the ex-finance minister drew up secret plans to ditch the euro if bailout talks failed.

    Varoufakis, who was a controversial figure during his tenure in Athens, courting publicity and provoking his eurozone counterparts, has admitted he formulated a scheme for leaving the euro, which involved hacking into the Greek tax system.

    Some Greek politicians have suggested that Varoufakis, who left his post in the wake of the Greek public’s no vote in the referendum on a new bailout for the country, should face criminal charges for drafting the plan.

    However, speaking in the Greek parliament, where Varoufakis appeared in jeans and a patterned shirt, Tsipras spoke up for his former colleague.

    “You can blame him all you want for his comments, for his political plans, for his bad taste in shirts, for his holidays on the island of Aegina. But you can’t say that he is a crook, you can’t say that he stole the money of the Greek people, you can’t say that he had a secret plan to lead the country on to the rocks.”
    Meanwhile, meet the successor to the Troika... the Quartet:

    His interlocutors included the head of the International Monetary Fund mission to Greece, Delia Velculescu. On Thursday, the Washington-based lender said it would refuse to contribute to a new rescue package until the eurozone makes a “detailed and concrete” offer of debt relief, although it will continue to take part in talks.

    Alongside Velculescu at Friday’s discussions were representatives from the European commission, the European Central Bank, and the eurozone’s bailout fund.

    Between them, these four institutions have been dubbed the “quartet”, taking over from the hated “troika” that negotiated Greece’s previous bailouts.
    Who still commit intolerable, stupendous right-wing agenda-pushing:

    Among the demands reportedly tabled by the quartet at the start of talks were several that could prove controversial, including an abolition of the so-called “solidarity tax” imposed on the wealthiest Greeks, and the removal of tax exemptions for farmers.
    It's hypocritical. Plenty of European governments introduced a "solidarity tax" to help balance budgets.

  25. #75
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: New Elections to Be Held in Greece

    There is a behemoth of an article at the New Yorker about Varoufakis's tenure as finance minister. It states that there was more of a cool between Tsipras and him than he let on earlier, caused by Tsipras's tactics to sacrifice opposition to austerity for debt relief. Also interesting was that the government expected as "yes" in the referendum and that the entire referendum was a way of staging their exit. Furthermore, a lot of intriguing claims about politicians' statements that are a feast for the political junkie.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...-greek-warrior

    On July 4th, the night before a referendum asked the Greek people to decide how far their debt-ridden government should accommodate the demands of its main creditors—the “troika” of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund—Yanis Varoufakis, the country’s minister of finance, sat outdoors at an Athens restaurant, wearing a T-shirt with an outline of Texas on the front. In January, Varoufakis, an economist who had been teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, abruptly entered Greek politics, becoming the public face of the country’s defiant negotiations with European leaders. After months of fatigue, he had slept for much of the day, and he was in a good mood. Varoufakis, who is fifty-four, had the peace of mind of someone who was certain of an election result and already savoring the satisfactions to follow. His government, the left-wing Syriza party, would lose. The people would vote “yes”—that is, in favor of making more concessions than Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras, the country’s forty-year-old Prime Minister and the leader of Syriza, had said that they could stomach. Varoufakis would resign as a minister, and would never again have to endure all-day meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg, listening to other European finance ministers scold Greece for its disobedience. And he would no longer need to marshal scant supplies of discretion to disguise the fact that he and Tsipras had, in recent weeks, lost significant faith in each other. Varoufakis had not given up his hostility toward the troika, or the economic arguments underpinning that hostility, but he spoke as if Syriza’s weeklong campaign of slogans and street protests in support of ohi—“no”—were already archived in Greece’s long history of resistance to external aggressors. A “yes” vote, Varoufakis declared, was “inevitable.”

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