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Such a hard rock with the West…. while @atsipras departs to Russia

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Athens, metro area, Monastiraki square

(The Endgame in Greece..?)

PARIS – After months of wrangling, the showdown between Greece and its European creditors has come down to a standoff over pensions and taxes. Greece is refusing to acquiesce to demands by its creditors that it cut payments to the elderly and raise the value-added tax on their medicine and electricity.

Europe’s demands – ostensibly aimed at ensuring that Greece can service its foreign debt – are petulant, naive, and fundamentally self-destructive. In rejecting them, the Greeks are not playing games; they are trying to stay alive.

Greece’s GDP, moreover, has shrunk by 25% since the start of the crisis in 2009. Its government is insolvent. Many of its citizens are hungry. Conditions in Greece today are reminiscent of those in Germany in 1933. Of course, the European Union need not fear the rise of a Greek Hitler, not only because it could easily crush such a regime, but also – and more important – because Greece’s democracy has proved impressively mature throughout the crisis wrote on June 16 the Projet Syndicate

by @jodigraphics15 Greece’s GDP, moreover, has shrunk by 25% since the start of the crisis in 2009. Its government is insolvent. Many of its citizens are hungry, wrote the same day the Project Syndicate

Conditions in Greece today are reminiscent of those in Germany in 1933. Of course, the European Union need not fear the rise of a Greek Hitler, not only because it could easily crush such a regime, but also – and more important – because Greece’s democracy has proved impressively mature throughout the crisis wrote on June 16 the Projet Syndicate

Jack Lew called Athens : US urged compromise after Tsipras “attack” to IMF

Cover Page Greece by Guardian June 17, 2015

Cover Page Greece by Guardian June 17, 2015

By his personal intervention in the mountaining Greek crisis Tuesday night, and after Alexis Tsipras speech , US Treasury secretary Jack Lew called the Greek Prime Minister to urge him to reach a realistic compromise, under urgent time, the Guardian reported

In a statement, the Treasury revealed that Lew told Tsipras that the Greek people, and the global economy, would suffer if Athens can’t reach a deal with creditors, wrote Guardian

It added:

“Lew underscored the urgency of Greece making a serious move to reach a pragmatic compromise with its creditors.”

Last month, Lew told an audience in London that all sides should “double down” their efforts to get a deal fast.

(L-R) Luxembourg's Prime Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF President Christine Lagarde, Germany's Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble talk at the start of an Euro zone finance ministers' meeting in Brussels October 21, 2011. The European Union has agreed that around 100 billion euros (87 billion pounds) is needed to recapitalise the European banking system, but splits remain before a high-profile summit Sunday over how to strengthen the euro zone's bailout fund.       REUTERS/Thierry Roge (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF President Christine Lagarde, Germany’s Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble talk at the start of an Euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels October 21, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

 “Responsibility, criminal, has the IMF…”

It was just hours earlier, on Tuesday that the Greek PM, talking on the Parliamentary Commitee of of his party, had said that the International Monetary Fund  has “criminal responsibility” for Greece’s debt crisis and called on the country’s European creditors to assess the IMF’s policies.

“The time has come for the IMF’s proposals to be judged not just by us but especially by Europe,” Tsipras told his parliamentary group, two days after the failure of debt talks of the Greek delegation in Brussles with the IMF and the European Union

“Right now, what dominates is the IMF’s harsh views on tough measures, and Europe’s on denying any discussion over debt viability,”

Tsipras said, adding:

“The fixation on cuts… is most likely part of a political plan… to humiliate an entire people that has suffered in the past five years through no fault of its own,”

“The time has come for the IMF’s proposals to be judged in public.. .by Europe,” he told the MPs of his radical left Syriza party, the Guardian had commented

greek-bailouts

PM Tsipras: ‘We submitted a sustainable proposal. Creditors want to humiliate Greece’

  By the ANA/MPA update:  Tuesday June 16, 2015 17:25
After four months of intensive negotiations, Greece had submitted a proposal that could have been the basis for a sustainable and socially acceptable agreement, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told SYRIZA’s Parliamentary group on Tuesday.
Instead of a reply, the creditors responded with a five-page document that ignored the preceding negotiations, he added.
He said the institutions were demanding high fiscal targets and refusing to accept the equivalent measures proposed by the Greek side. “This insistence on a programme of cuts that has failed and measures that cannot be accepted is not only wrong, it most likely serves political ends and a plan to humiliate not just the government but the Greek people,” he said.
He also accused the previous New Democracy-PASOK government of setting up “a minefield” to sabotage the present government’s efforts. “We knew that it would not be a walk in the park and that there would be no grace period for us. We threw ourselves into the battle when we were up against a minefield, from the previous government that was seeking a ‘left parenthesis’.”
In a brief review of the government’s work, the prime minister stressed that every decision was a great battle against the memorandum regime. “We intend to continue along these lines so that at the end of our four years we will dismantle the memorandum regime,” he said. Tsipras said the Greek side had repeatedly made clear that the agreement reached could not be a continuation of memorandum policies, of austerity and recession that brought only problems to the country.
Noting that the government would complete its fifth month in power within a few days, he said the party had faced an extremely difficult situation from the start and had managed to get the country to stand on its feet, in spite of the difficulties, taking measures to address the humanitarian crisis and to help those with overdue debts.
He also said the mandate given to the Greek government from the people was not one of “creative ambiguity” but a clear mandate to end policies of austerity in the country after five years of harsh measures that had hugely increased social inequality. 
 
“We will continue to the end with the same calmness and sobriety and determination to find a solution, not just an agreement. We will continue, therefore, to work for a solution,” he said. He stressed that the final agreement must include specific and binding clauses for dealing with the country’s financing problem, which became worse during the five-year memorandum period, with exclusive responsibility on the part of the institutions for this outcome.
 
Tsipras said that the government was obliged to strive for an agreement that will have clear redistributive elements, will not burden wager earners and pensioners further and will place part of the burden on those that had not paid their share for the exit from the crisis.
 
At the same time, he added, it must be an agreement that did not extend the uncertainty but ended the discussion on the notorious Grexit once and for all.
“Who pays taxes in this country is exclusively the Greek government’s job. The time has come at last for the oligarchy and not working people to pay for the crisis. Not wage earners, not pensioners. Not the self-employed,” he said.
 
Despite a clamour of hostile statements in recent days, there are still forces in Europe that recognise the mistakes and understand how critical the situation is, forces working to find a just solution, and these are the forces that must prevail, Tsipras said.
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White House on the same day, (June 16) urged Greece and lenders to close a deal quickly

  Tuesday June16, 2016 ANA/MPA
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, also, on Tuesday 16/06, expressed his optimism that Greece and its creditors will reach a deal and market instability will be avoided.
Asked on the course of the negotiations between Athens and the EU institutions, Earnest said that Washington is optimistic over a positive outcome because all partners participating in the negotiations are aware of the importance of reaching a deal.
“We have clear positions, namely that the Greek people have faced prolonged difficulties and have taken difficult but important steps to pave the way for a sustainable economic recovery.
The Greek government and its international partners need to work quickly to finalize a credible reform program that can lay the groundwork for long-term growth within the eurozone,” he underlined.
Asked to comment on US president’s statement last week that the Greek people will have to proceed to tougher policy choices and that the burden will be borne by the Greek government, Earnest replied that
both sides should engage in talks that will lead to a compromise deal.
“We have stressed the importance for the Greek government to move forward on critical structural reforms. And I know that this is what Greece’s creditors are waiting for. And I think, any final agreement will require a commitment on this basis. But ultimately this is something that all sides need to work on.”

CHI6QKxW8AAToDoτσιπραςWho is the liar?

Juncker accused Alexis Tsipras’s administration of misleading voters about proposals he had made to help solve the country’s debt crisis.

As Reuters announced,  just after Prime Minister’s speech on Parliamentary commitee on Tusday, the president of the European Commission declared

“I don’t care about the Greek government, I do care about the Greek people,” he said noting that many “are suffering more than others in the European Union” from efforts to reduce debts.

“The debate in Greece and outside Greece would be easier if the Greek government would tell exactly what the Commission … is really proposing. I am blaming the Greeks (for telling) things to the Greek public which are not consistent with what I’ve told the Greek prime minister.”

The Greek govt  answered acutely, and published, later, the lenders’ proposal script

On that , it is obvious indeed, as the Greek media comment during the last 24h, that the institutions, had asked for pensions cuts and higher electricity bills, as the Greek PM had said. Besides, Greeks voted Tsipras for talking clearly to the people, after five ( at least constant years of lies nad communication chaos .

164693_600“We never said it was the view of the Commission, or of Mr Juncker personally,” said the statement referring to the cash-for-reforms proposal that Juncker handed prime minister Alexis Tsipras last week.

The proposal was made by the three institutions (and was handed by Jean Claude Juncker)

The govt statement- that came as an answer, to Jean Claude Junckers’ accusations of misinterprenting the proposal or misinterprenting him-, characterised  “positive” the fact that the EU chief had made, even by that way, clear, that he, too, disagrees with several of the proposal’s aspects.

“The Greek government has submitted proposals with measures that fully cover the fiscal gap, transferring the burden from the weakest social classes as well as suggesting a reduction in defense spending.”

Departure Ready to St. Petesburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other foreign leaders in the framework of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, the president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. “A working meeting has been scheduled with Alexis Tsipras on Friday, June 19, on the sidelines of the Forum,” he stated. The Kremlin’s spokesman, according to ITAR-TASS, said that Putin will also have working meetings with other foreign leaders who will attend the Forum, including Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yang, President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev, Prime Minister of Mongolia Chimed Saikhanbileg.

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#Greece did sign a #memorandum with #Russia, indeed

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What the two leaders singed

  • Greece and Russia signed the Memorandum of   “2016: Year of Greece-Russia relations,” a program of bilateral actions for 2015-2016, which President Putin described right after.

“The program will include cultural events, which will encourage the dissemination of the Russian language in Greece and the Greek language in Russia”

Also, events will take place, dedicated to the 1000 years of Russian presence in the Holy Mountain. With the Government of Greece, we agreed to jointly contribute to the celebration of this anniversary. It is gratifying that our regional cooperation is  strengthened

Enhanced will be the contacts in the tourism sector also. Greece is a holiday destination for Russian tourists. Last year more than 900,000 Russian citizens visited Greece,  said on the Press interview Vladim Putin.

  • The two leaders also, singed also a common official announcement for the 70 years since the end of World War II that will be celebrated in Moscow next month. Alexis Tsipras  was invited to be present on that celebration, earlier before his trip , so this (second) visit of the Greek leader to Moscow on May 9,  is sealed now with the signatures of the two.

 What did Tsipras make clear

  • E753999834B7819364B3A860BB8B97EB

    Hours before Alexis Tsipras meeting with Vladimi Putin, this is how Claus Stuttmann pictured “Greece in Moscow” in the German Paper Tagesspiege.

    Let me make it clear, Part one

” We are not beggers, ‘Greece is not a beggar’ we did not come to Moscow to ask for Financial aid”

Putin also, confirmed after the meeting that Greece did not ask for help.

  •  let me make it clear, part two

ΡΩΣΕΛ   “Greece is a sovereign state”

greece-money

  • let me make it clear , part three
“Yes,we do seek economic alliances wherever Greece’s interests lie”
  We respect our commitments to the international organizations we’re a part of, but seek to explore all international opportunities.

Let our ties bloom, this is a new Spring of the Greek-  Russian  Relations

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras characterised a “Spring’s new blooming”  the restart of the Greek -Russian relations on his first official visit to Moscow on Wednesday, the so controversially commented visit of the Greek leader to Kremlin, that comes amid the peak point of agony on Athens’s talks with the European Union for  the urgently wanted funding for Greece  .

Welcome Comrade, “just on time”

Welcoming Mr. Tsipras to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the trip “comes at exactly the right moment ” , while the Greek Prime Minister twitted just after

Alexis Tsipras@tsipras_eu

At this morning’s meeting w/ we created a new foundation for Greek-Russian relations.

 A tricky, though coincidental, timing that let the European finance ministers’  conference call for the aproval or not of Greece’s current list of promised reforms as to merit the rest of the bail-out funds available, coinciding on exactly the moments that Tspiras and Putin were posing for the global press….. Oh, yes.

Sancions revive the Cold war, lead to nowhere

Without mentioning either the EU or the US,  Alexis Tsipras repeated a position he has previously expressed that these sanctions lead to nowhere and do revive the Cold War climate.

He added that a common solution must be found on the basis of the Minsk peace summit, which has to involve Russia, this is obvious, Alexis said . The Greek Prime Minister talking on the Press conferrence  empahsised that  Russia cannot be out of the Minsk peace summit

To EU partners’ concerns of closer Russian ties

“I want to assure you that we do not aim to use any internal European Union situations to improve ties with the European bloc as a whole. We want to work with the whole of united Europe,” Putin said.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras replied to the warnings of EU leaders against stronger ties with Russia by saying that Greece is a sovereign state.

Germany has no reason to believe Greece has changed its stance on supporting Russian sanctions, a German foreign ministry spokeswoman had said while the meeting in Moscow was taking place .

On Wednesday April 9, morning, the Times had written  “Tsipras Plays Russian Roulette on the Greek Debt.”

Putin : We cannot exempt Greece from the food  embargo

Russian president Vladimir Putin defined during the  joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras,  that Russia cannot exempt Greek agricultural products from the embargo it has imposed on such products from the EU and other countries.

“We understand that…half of Greek exports to Russia involve farm products, but we cannot make an exemption for those,” Putin said in response to a question.

Earlier, Tsipras had said that one of the major goals of his visit to Russia was about a more balanced trade relationship, which currently is heavily in Russia’s favor.

Russia was a Greece’s leading trade partner before the sanctions , while now the trade activity has dropped by 40%.

A partial lift , may be?

A day prior to the two leaders’ meeting, on Tuesday April 7,  Russia’s Agriculture Minister had said that Moscow could consider removing Greece, Hungary and Cyprus from its ban

After the meeting of the two leaders, the Independent, indeed, wrote :

There are also predictions that Russia could at least partially lift Russia’s ban on EU food imports for Greece in return for a part in the privatisation of Greek assets. Greek fruit, vegetables and cheese might be allowed into Russia while Russia might get to bid on Greek infrastructure

Putin also said Russian companies are in talks to takeover Russian ports in Thessaloniki.

Trade balance Yes, by Projects for energy. Greece’s own Greek stream

Mr Putin called for trade relations to be restored to their previous level, and said the two leaders discussed “various ways of cooperating, including major projects in energy”.

“Under these plans, we could provide loans for certain projects. This is not about aid but about financial cooperation in major projects,” Mr Putin said.

One of those plans is for a pipeline called “Turkish Stream”. The aim of Greece part os to build its own pipeline as  to channel natural gas from the Turkish-Greek border into Greece.

” On the Greek territory, this would not be called the Turkish stream. It wil be the Greek stream, let’s make it clear from the outset”,

Tsipras emphatically underlined  to the international press, and especially to the greek press representatives, who kept asking the provocative questions their greek media ususally adopt, still, while  being in the Kremlin Press room …..

greece-has-not-asked-russia-for-aid-official-says.w_l

John Kerry called to express support, White House standing by Greece’s efforts, step-by-step

On the peak of the negotiations for the poor Greece, while Greece was trying to position itself on a fair play on the euro table,  the Obama administration has leapt to the defence of Greece, warning Germany and European creditors.

wh Obama 1

The US deputy-national security adviser said the eurozone authorities had imposed the main burden of adjustment on the weaker deficit states and should do more to accept their share of responsibility for the euro crisis.

Mrs Atkinson described Europe’s insistence on structural reform rather than stimulus as a false dichotomy since one compliments the other. “You need both,” she said, arguing that a culture of “reverse fiscal dominance” had taken hold as countries become overly alarmed by debt burdens

“They have asymmetric rules. They need to make it socially fairer,” she said.

The US administration does not share the widespread view in Europe that there is little risk of contagion if the European Central Bank cuts off liquidity support for the Greek banking system and forces the country out of the euro, the Telegraph underlines in its recent article .

hqdefaultκατάλογος

Late Saturday night, on February 14th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called  the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs in Athens, Nikos Kotzias in light of the recent Minsk agreement, but to openly express also the support of the U.S. for the success of the efforts of Greece with its European partners, to find a mutually acceptable programme for exiting the crisis.

Since the early moments of Tsipras election, there has been a buzz on the “mediator role” the White house had announced its intention to play. The   Washington-based Greek journalist Michalis Ignatiou had wrote: “The White House intents to assume the role of mediator in order to solve the differences between Greece and its European partners.

B8R7bb2CQAAl5u7.jpg large

The White House representative received the following question, Ignatiou’s article wrote: “This week, the Greek government is holding talks with the Europeans. Yesterday, the White House issued a statement regarding the United States President’s conversation with the new Greek Prime Minister. What is the White House reaction to the new Greek government’s statement that it will not work with the IMF and the European lenders to lengthen the repayment?”

The White House spokesperson replied as follows:

“I have no particular reaction to that statement. In general, I can say that the President telephoned Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier this week, because as you know, the US is working closely with the EU and the Greeks for many years in an attempt to resolve the economic and financial instability we have seen in Europe. And therein, this instability has implications and consequences on both the United States and the global economy. Therefore, we will continue to work closely with the European Union, and that means working with the new Greek government, trying to resolve these differences and restore Greece, Europe and the global economy to growth and prosperity, because ultimately this will be to the best interest of the US economy.”

Concering the recent Greece’s position on the sanctions to Russia,   State Department spokesperson Jennifer had said on January 30:

“I do not think we’re at the point of concerns” when she was questioned whether there is any concern of the US government about the Greek new government ‘s posistion for Ukraine, regarding the “unity of the EU, especially in relation to the penalties for Ukraine “.
“The new Greek government, I would say, is only a few days old, and obviously”, she said, we expect to have talks with a number of countries. There have been as you know in the past, talks and discussions about what is beneficial or not for the decisions taken with regard to the EU sanctions. So, this is not unusual, “added the spokesman of the US FM. Ms. Psaki, “However”, she stated, “the discussions on the European Union sanctions against Russia ‘are made within the EU “.

                          obama call

The head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde last week , after her first meeting with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis praised the knowledge and competency of the Greek officials. She said they had an excellent talk with the Finance Minister.

“They are competent, intelligent, they’ve thought about their issues. We have to listen to them. We are starting to work together and it is a process that is starting and is going to last a certain time,” Lagarde told reporters on entering the  meeting of euro zone finance ministers devoted to Greece, Wednesday February 11th

B9lRSGSIQAAkigX B9lQF8RCIAAFIAe

Greece’s intervention to EU Council for Ukraine “constructive” says EU representative. Greece has stabilising role in the region, says Foreign Minister

Germany and France supported Greek positions, wrote the neurope.eu, considering, explains the article, that Greece is right, and submitted an amended resolution on Ukraine, while the UK, taking the opposite side, threatened with a veto for more than one hour demanding additional sanction against Russia, Greece’s Foreign Minister said Speaking after the end of the Foreign Minister’s extraordinary meeting, Nikos Kotzias, at the head of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs for only two days, also praised the negotiating ability of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, noting that yesterdays seriously amended resolution was a result of diplomatic efforts that took place the last few days.

He noted that the Resolution was amended so that Greece is satisfied with it, mostly because it does not contain new sanctions but only extends existing ones and this only until September and not until December as was originally planned.

Russia new sanctions

Minister also underlined that Greece no longer simply accepts what others in the European Union are preparing but has it’s own opinion and ideas in order to better promote the interests of both Greece and the European Union.

EU Foreign Affairs rep: Greece kept a ‘constructive and positive stance’ at Council meeting

Greece kept a constructive and positive stance, EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said in Brussels on Thursday following the extraordinary session of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
Mogherini said that two days ago she had called newly-installed Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to congratulate him and discuss the agenda of today’s Council. She also expressed her satisfaction over the speedy formation of the Greek government. She also said that at the Council, Greece’s stance was constructive and focused on retaining the EU’s unity.

She said that the “particularly positive stance” of Greece allowed the reaching of a compromise solution that was substantial and credible.

The foreign minsiters decided to extend to September the first group of sanctions on Russians and pro-Russia separatists in the Ukraine. See our Earlier story

Embargo, visas and Russian travel to Greece : a crisis, “diplomatizkaya” by all means…

Originally posted on moodhackerblog: Expectations for exclusion of the Greek exports from the Russian embargo expressed by […]

sources: Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, New Europe, sofokleous.gr

Embargo, visas and Russian travel to Greece : a crisis, “diplomatizkaya” by all means…

moodhackerblog

  • Expectations for exclusion of the Greek exports from the Russian embargo expressed by the Greek government 
  • Greek Government spokesperson: “Our Relations with Russia are good”
  • Greek Minister of Tourism: Extensive talks with the Russian side, diplomats involved also

Near half a billion Euros is the bill for Greece, from the Russian embargo on imports, a loss unbearable for Greece and Greeks, on this moment, by the farmers of fresh fruits to appear as the most desperate, since the announcement of the news . The Greek authorities and politicians remain, though, impressively optimistic till now, expressing their estimate, that due to the progress of the two countries’ diplomatic relations, Greece would be excluded from the embargo of Russia’s countries’ list. “Our Relations with Russia are good”,commented on Real Radio Thursday morning the government’s spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi .

Meanwhile, Greece had to face the Russian Travel Agencies’ tsounami which unfolded just the…

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