Greek deal: This Is NOT a Coup

Whether the Syriza-led government of Greece survives its own domestic democratic pressures remains to be seen following the deal struck at the Eurozone summit yesterday – in the end the 28 EU leaders didn’t have to meet…  The Guardian live-blog on the Greek crisis notes one possible scenario Analysts at Eurasia Group suspect Greece could soon head towards a national unity government, if many government MPs refuse to back the bailout deal on Wednesday night. If Tsipras loses his majority and potentially even … Read more

European Council President on Greek Crisis: “the final deadline ends this week”

Following what the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is reported to have described as a “very long, intensive”, “very clear and candid discussion” at the emergency summit of Eurozone leaders in Brussels tonight, some details are emerging of the next steps in the continuing Greek crisis.  From the Guardian’s live blog. Europe has given Athens one last chance to produce a credible economic reform plan that could underpin a new bailout.  It has also threatened that Greece will leave the Eurozone … Read more

“For those who can’t read Greekdebtspeak, well, you’re on your own”

With European leaders, including Syriza’s erstwhile ally the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, warning Greek voters that they will be, effectively, deciding whether or not they want to stay in the eurozone, the BBC takes a side-ways look at the wording of the controversial 5 July referendum the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras suddenly announced at the weekend.  From the BBC article Voters go to the polls for the Greek referendum. pic.twitter.com/xpp3OWEvgX — Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) June 29, 2015 Here’s the … Read more

More Greek gamesmanship…

With the Greek Parliament, and Greece’s creditors in Europe and elsewhere, discussing the latest sudden manoeuvre by the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, via the Guardian’s live-blog, here’s a reminder of Alexis Tspiras’ criticism of ex-PM George Papandreou’s, failed, attempt to hold a similar referendum in 2011. @graemewearden A transcript of @atsipras‘s scathing criticism of the 2011 proposed referendum, with compliments. pic.twitter.com/TIqQ10ZAdp — Finisterre67 (@Finisterre67) June 27, 2015 With the new manoeuvre almost certainly designed to short-circuit the … Read more

IMF to Tsipras: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

After more of the familiar lies and misdirection yesterday, there were some optimistic noises from Brussels last night as the leaders of Germany, France and Greece met on the side-lines of the EU-Latin America summit.  They were short-lived. Having tried to play the International Monetary Fund, and its managing director, Christine Lagarde, last week, the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government are being treated to a practical lesson in hard-ball negotiations by the IMF.  As the Guardian’s Larry Elliott … Read more

“Greece is joining a fairly exclusive club…”

Which ‘club’, exactly, remains to be seen…  If you’ve been having trouble following the twists and turns and lies and misdirection of the on-going Greek financial crisis [Join the club! – Ed] *ahem*  Perhaps some notes on Greece’s Syriza-led Government’s latest reverse-ferret decision to delay Friday’s €300m (£216m) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund, and bundle all four of its June payments together in one easy €1.5billion payment by 30 June might help.  30 June, according to the BBC report, is the … Read more

Jean-Claude Juncker: “[Tsipras] must explain that some of the promises upon which he was elected will not be honoured…”

As Mick has noted, at the weekend the under-pressure new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took undiplomatic aim at the governments of Spain and Portugal [But not Ireland! – Ed] in an attempt to explain the outcome of European negotiations to his Syriza party coalition. The European Commission has been quick to step in to act as a “mediator” after receiving complaints from the Spanish and Portuguese authorities, but not before those governments had responded in kind. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hit back … Read more

“…the platform on which Syriza won the recent general election has been significantly reconstructed.”

What now for “the Syriza experiment“?  The Irish Times reports that the Eurogroup of finance ministers have deemed the Greek government’s list of proposed reforms to be “sufficiently comprehensive” for a four-month extension of the Greek bailout programme which was due to expire on Saturday. In an official statement released after today’s conference call between euro zone finance ministers, the euro group said that the proposal was “sufficiently comprehensive” to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of … Read more

“…complex issues cannot always be addressed via online petitions.”

Sinn Féin, and others, agitating on behalf of “the Syriza experiment” following the recent elections in Greece, has more to do with positioning to blame the current Irish Government for the likely outcome [added link] than any professed desire for a resolution in Ireland’s favour. But there are a few things to note about the rise of the various Eurosceptic and anti-establishment parties across Europe [Who “will ultimately chose financial and macroeconomic stability over revolution? – Ed].  Perhaps… Firstly, domestic democratic pressures … Read more

“Sunday’s election could be a significant day for Europe…”

The campaign may have resembled a “political circus”, but Sunday’s general election in Greece could see the leftist Syriza, led by former communist Alexis Tsipras, emerge as the leading party – but in search of a partner-in-government [We’ve been there before! – Ed].  Indeed.  Although, they could still achieve a majority… In the meantime, the Irish Times highlights a report from Standard & Poor, “European Sovereign Creditworthiness Might Diminish If Eurosceptics Take Power”.  From the Irish Times report In a report assessing the rise … Read more

Cyprus: So what happens next?

The Guardian’s still live-blogging, for now, in the aftermath of Cyprus’ parliament’s rejection of an, albeit amended, EU/IMF cunning plan bail-out which included the public seizure levying of €5.8billion from private depositors in Cypriot banks – 36 votes against, 19 abstentions, none in favour.  The paper’s economics editor, Larry Elliot, answers the title question …there are really only two plausible scenarios: somebody – be it Europe or the IMF – gives Cyprus more money, in which case there is a chance that the crisis … Read more

Italy: “History risks repeating itself…”

The BBC’s Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt has been looking to Italy ahead of a general election brought 2 months early after Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew support for Mario Monti’s technocratic government – voting begins on Sunday.  The FT notes that Strong, stable government will be needed to continue the reform process put in place by Mr Monti’s technocrats, and to argue in Brussels for more growth-oriented policies and a possible relaxation of fiscal deficit targets. However, the worst-case scenario emerging from … Read more

Euro crisis: “This time it’s really, really serious…”

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso is off to Greece for “a regular meeting” with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.  His first visit to Athens since June 2009.  Meanwhile, the rising cost of Spanish and Italian Government borrowing has prompted a declaration of intent from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. “To the extent that the size of these sovereign premia hamper the functioning of the monetary policy transmission channel, they come within our mandate,” Mr Draghi said in a speech at the Global … Read more

Euro crisis: “Welcome to Europe’s endless debt saga.”

I haven’t posted an update on the euro crisis for a while, and this European Diary piece by Arthur Beesley in the Irish Times might help explain why. Welcome to Europe’s endless debt saga. Sunshine is a rare enough commodity in cloudy Brussels – and a downpour follows any glorious spell. The hunch must be, however, that Vitamin D levels are at an all-time low in the euro trouble crowd. After all, the general routine these days involves hundreds if not thousands … Read more

Euro crisis: “I am not sure whether the urgency of this is fully understood in all the capitals”

It would be fair to say that there remains a difference in opinion of the correct response to the euro crisis.   The BBC quotes European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. European governments need to agree urgently on steps to forge a closer union because of the eurozone’s “systemic problem”, the head of the European Commission says. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called for a “vision of where we need to go”. “I am not sure whether the urgency of this … Read more

Euro crisis: “A fiat currency backed by heterogeneous sovereigns is irremediably fragile…”

The Financial Times’ chief economics commentator Martin Wolf was at the Bilderberg meeting in Chantilly this year too.  And on his return, as spotted by the Guardian’s eurozone crisis live-blog today, he has had this to say. How much pain can the countries under stress endure? Nobody knows. What would happen if a country left the eurozone? Nobody knows. Might even Germany consider exit? Nobody knows. What is the long-run strategy for exit from the crises? Nobody knows. Given such uncertainty, panic is, … Read more

Euro crisis: “Europe’s common currency is its formative element.”

The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has a plan.  Or, at least, a timetable. Herman Van Rompuy told a news conference in St Petersburg, Russia that, by the next summit of EU leaders at the end of June, he and three other EU officials would present “the main building blocks for this deepened economic and monetary union” and “a working method to achieve this objective”. “In those building blocks, banking integration is an important chapter… I will deal at … Read more

Euro crisis: “With that we buried the Maastricht Treaty, the legal basis for currency union”

A couple of interesting reports in the Irish Times with relevance to the ongoing euro crisis.  First, from Derek Scally in Berlin …Mr Asmussen, a member of the ECB governing council, said growth measures – agreed without reopening the fiscal treaty – could help drive European integration. “The benefits of a currency union are so outstanding that they should be stabilised by deepening, which means a fiscal union and banking union as well as a democratic legitimised political union,” said … Read more

Euro crisis: “Tis agoreuein bouletai?”

At the Guardian’s Comment is Free, Tim Garton Ash is still a believer in the European Project but, probably, not an optimistic one.  As well as mentioning a familiar quote from Luxembourg’s Prime Minister he makes an important point, as Greece faces a democratic choice, again, that applies to the wider euro crisis.  From the Comment is Free article Greece’s untold, or only half-told, home truth is that its only alternatives now are bad, worse or worst. Worst is clearly an unplanned, chaotic exit from the … Read more

Euro crisis: “Hold your sides and laugh out loud, otherwise you’ll have to cry.”

Despite some optimistic noises overnight, it still seems more likely than not that Limbo Greece will face new elections.  As the Guardian live-blog noted earlier today The Democratic left party in Greece has said it will not back a pro-bailout government. That almost certainly means that Venizelos’s attempts to form a government coalition around agreement on the bailout terms are dashed and that the country will face fresh elections In the meantime, there are still a few days left to catch eurosceptic Michael Portillo’s … Read more