The people of
Greece have gone through some
pretty hard times, more than they should have endured as a member of the EU.
They faced what was savage austerity year in, year out, this led to the Greek
people getting rid of their government.
It has to be said that the previous government was paralysed by indecision and made bad choices. The rest of the EU stood back and watched as Greek assets were sold off as part of the arrangements to get financial loans to keep the country solvent.
This should have never been allowed to happen.
One story I came across related how Greek pensioners were looking for food in bins. This isn’t the European dream of how the EU should operate. The Euro, although a decent idea on the drawing in a generalised concept was a nightmare in practical operation, the Euro works well if countries are doing well. In times of trouble, it is an anchor round the neck of a country helping pull it under.
The Greeks went to the polls because they had enough of the previous government, so in came a new lot, who were going to stand up for
were going to fix the problems and set the country back on the road to
recovery. That promise came a cropper rather quickly, under the government of Greek
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipiras.
Tspiras has played a really bad political game with other European countries, something which suits no one. At one stage we had the ridiculous spectacle of the Greek Prime Minister waffling on about damages he says is owed to the Greeks from World War 2 when the German Army invade the country.
Part of the Greek problem is that country’s economy could compete with the German powerhouse.
Germany has a good mixed economy
and decent manufacturing base producing high quality products like cars etc.
So, the Greeks are in limbo, Greek negotiations have failed again as
calls for 'realism' from its creditors. In two weeks, the country has to ante
up and made a crucial IMF payment; rather then get their affairs in order, we
are seeing a rather long winded drawn out play being enacted. To try and appear
as a victim of sorts, Tsipiras is calling on European institutions to be
realistic in their demands.
Realistic means, we don’t have the money, we can’t or won’t do cuts and we want talks which are meaningless in order to look like there is a dialogue happening when there is actually nothing. Talks between
Athens and its creditors
collapsed at the weekend, and looking at the passed record, it is likely they
will collapse again, leaving the country at heightened risk of a default.
does do a default, it would also have to put in place measures to bring back
the Greek currency and then do an abrupt exit from the Eurozone. Although the
lenders do have legitimate concerns, their position on demanding new cuts in
pensions is simply untenable for the Greek Prime Minister to do. In fact, this
would lead to crisis upon crisis and a lurch towards more extreme parties.
When you continually strip a people of their sovereignty, dignity and nationhood, you can expect at some point a backlash.
‘We will await patiently until the institutions accede to realism.’
This is a sign of a bad leader.
‘We are shouldering the dignity of our people, as well as the hopes of the people of
Europe. We cannot
ignore this responsibility. This is not a matter of ideological stubbornness.
This is about democracy.’
You may have heard of the word ‘troika’, Max Keiser uses it a lot in his RT programme, the Keiser Report, a mix of political and financial news co host by his wife Stacy. The show is quite good as it gets in some very interesting people such as Reggie Middleton, Jim Rickards and Steve Keen. The ‘troika’ is the Washington-based IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank. You could make the case for Commission and the ECB being involved but not the IMF.
Tsipras is right when he says that years of cuts have only made
situation worse by shrinking the economy, making it harder to pay off debt. If
he follows the demands of the ‘troika’, the Greek people will be permanently
trapped in austerity. When you are in a hole, the rule of thumb is to stop
digging, in Greece’s
case, it is stop paying.
Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt said the euro zone's credibility would be damaged if agreements with
changed, so is face saving more important than preventing people suffering?
Jens Weidmann, the head of
Germany's central bank, said:
‘Time is running out for
Greece. The willingness to do a
deal and act is lacking.’
I would say that depends on what kind of a ‘deal’ Herr Weidmann, thinks is on offer, it rather looks like demands instead of negotiations. The fact that talks collapsed in less than an hour shows there is no common ground. This problem also highlights another concern, EU enlargement and access to the Euro without proper checks,
joined the Euro even although it should have been excluded based on it finances
which some say were ‘cooked’ to meet the criteria.
The best thing for
Greece but not the EU is a default,
a lot of talk in European Capitals of late regarding the reform agenda, pushed
along by David Cameron, who has his own domestic troubles, mostly sitting
behind him on the back benches of the Commons. The Euro needs to be part of the
reform agenda, and also a convention or commission for a new European Union
with a view to capping membership for a minimum of two decades.
Other issues which should be placed on the agenda is the internal EU immigration policy and creation of a multi national EU border force, with nations seconding military vessels to deal with the illegal migration in the Med area.
The Greek tragedy currently playing out at the moment benefits no one, the ‘troika’ is being unreasonable especially in their demands to the Greek government to cut pensions. Tsipras doesn’t need to wait till ‘institutions accede to realism’, he needs to pull
Greece out now or he won’t have a
country worth saving.
The Campaign for Human Rights at