After the smashing NO of the Greek referendum, Greece’s people have much more than before an established belief that the country’s euro-“partners” have no intention of helping this Greece. Or, at least, this Greece by this (leftist) governmenet , which the eurolenders definitely dislike.
“There is no base of new negotiations, and solidarity is needed from both sides” Angela Merkel said today, on the greferendum-after euro-summit
But is this a joke?
It is almost half a year now, that the hope for which Alexis Tsipras was elected on January, has been unstopably canceled by the European creditors’ side, multiple times a day, every single day, since Alexis was elected . Today, it is true, Greeks have been left with no traces of hope for a more altruistic, humanitarian, or at least, fair stance form the European side.
And it is almost proved , that there hasn’t been any such intention from Euro creditors ever.
Here is how this was unveiled recently
It was just two days before the referendum in Greece , while the Greek’s agony, mass mind torture and mass despair, were rising on the peak, by closed banks frightening as never before the daily life in every single Greek household, and while the armed missinformation propaganda was chocking any thought of democratic freedom , when NYT decided to publish the true story, word-by-word, that led Greece to its worst No-way-out.
It was exactly just on time, two days before the referendum, that the Greek heart had started to overcome the foggy laid set up of misleading information , the scary blackmailing quotes of European aders and Greek exleaders claiming that a no would be a Grexit d nothing else, and also, it was the moment that Greeks, and especially the veterans Greeks had found the courage to stand on the line for 50 euros daily, -the most lucky of them-, or 120 weekly the pensioners-, but not minding at all for these moments, since the brave Greek heart had awakened Greek mind and had let them see beyond that presend foggy shade. Greeks looking straight to the clear blue sky and Greece’s horizon decided to say a brave NO to the world.
None could deny, of course, that the shock of the banks’ closure , which was scheduled to last throughout the pre-referendum week , and after, was not of the best sufficient tools to scare the Greek public on real terms, picturing a humble tomorrow, for all the Greek families in case they would vote for the NO, as the Euro creditors would see it, while they were keeping reassuring that this was it: You vote NO, that’s what your life is going to be, and worst….
But the NYT article, on July 3, surprisingly revealed on its article 48hs before the 5th of July referendum, that this was what W.Schaublhad suggested on the last nightmarish- for Greece eurogroup, when also, the “Take it or reave it” ultimatum was said straightly to Yianis Varoufakis, shamelesssly, in forn of all the Euro finance ministers in a supposted to be United Europe financila summit.
..Yanis, if you keep talking about the debt, a deal will be impossible, Mr. Dijsselbloem said, according to people who were briefed on the exchange between the two men.
Mr. Schäuble began criticizing Mr. Moscovici, the senior European Commission official, over his positive comments regarding the Greek offer.
Even the latest proposal from the creditors was too lenient toward the Greeks, Mr. Schäuble argued, saying that he saw little chance that he could get it past the German Bundestag, the national parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The only solution here is capital controls, he said, his voice rising.
But Mr. Varoufakis persisted on the issue of Greece’s staggering debt load, ignoring the admonitions of Mr. Dijsselbloem and others.
Then Mr. Varoufakis turned on Christine Lagarde, the French director of the I.M.F.
Five years ago, the fund had given its blessing to the first bailout, doling out loans alongside Europe despite internal misgivings that Greece would be in no position to repay them.
Now the I.M.F. was pushing Greece to sign up to yet another austerity program to access more loans even though the fund had now concluded that their initial misgivings were correct: Greece’s debt was unsustainable.
I have a question for Christine, Mr. Varoufakis said to the packed hall: Can the I.M.F. formally state in this meeting that this proposal we are being asked to sign will make the Greek debt sustainable?
Yanis has a point, Ms. Lagarde responded — the question of the debt needs to be addressed. (A spokesman for the fund later said that this was not an accurate description of the exchange.)
But before she could explain, she was interrupted by Mr. Dijsselbloem.
It’s a take it or leave it offer, Yanis, the Dutch official said, peering at him through rimless spectacles.
In the end, Greece would leave it.
And not only.
Greek bravery would win , though Yianis would have become, 10 days later, a “Minister No More”.
But it was not only this part of the harsh european manner towards Greece, of these latest words to Yianis Varoufis that set fire on the Greece- and- its -creditros relationships that led to the referendum. 0n the same article of the NYT , the whole proceedure, and intention, of a non agreement is unveiled
…That Monday, June 22, Greece’s technical team in Brussels submitted an eight-page proposal to their counterparts. The paper was an effort to bridge a six-month divide on how Greece planned to sort out its future finances.
For political reasons, the Tsipras government had said it would not cut pensions or do away with tax breaks that favored businesses serving tourists on the Greek islands. Instead, the new Greek plan envisaged a series of tax increases and increases in pension contributions to be borne by corporations.
The initial response seemed positive. Both Pierre Moscovici, a senior finance official at the European Commission who is known to be sympathetic toward Greece, and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of Europe’s working group of finance ministers who is one of Greece’s harshest critics, said on Tuesday that the plan was promising.
The Greek team was elated. For the first time, the Greek numbers were adding up.
The next morning, though, that optimism evaporated.
Greece’s creditors — the I.M.F., the other eurozone nations and the European Central Bank — sent the Greek paper back and marked it in red where there were disagreements.
The criticisms were everywhere: too many tax increases, unifying value-added taxes, not enough spending cuts and more cuts needed on pension reforms.
The Greek team couldn’t believe it. The creditors had seemed to dial everything back to where the talks were six months ago….
The specific NYT’s article, indeed, reading it back again, -from today’s point of reality, where Europeans find Again Greece’s negotiation role as inadequate-, is sheding light to thuth behind the Eurogroup closed doors, which Europeans, probably, never wanted to be unveiled.
Apart from that, it was also around those days of 3-5 of July that IMF decided to publishize officialy its report that had assesed the Greek dept as non susstainable, early enouph, and of which the Euroleaders had been fully aware. A publication of which, the Reuters had wrote that
the report could distract attention from a view they share with the IMF that the Tsipras government, in the five months since it was elected, has wrecked a fragile economy that was just starting to recover.
It was the dept reduction, restructure or reform, that had made Yianis Varoufas sying, while he was Finance minister that he would better cut his hand than sign an agreement without debt reform.
Finally , Yianis sacrifised himself on the altar of a deal for Greece, but debt reform still remains as priority on the table .
This is Yianis Varoufakis’ resignation statement as he released it on Monday July 6.
The referendum of 5 July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt bondage.
Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25 June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid no vote be invested immediately into a yes to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted “partners”, for my … “absence” from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today.
I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
We of the left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office.
I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new minister of finance, and our government.
The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous oxi (no) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.
Some leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of holding a referendum in Greece, wrote UN experts on June 30, 2015
Why? they ask, adding that “Referenda are in the best traditions of democratic governance.”
It is disappointing that the IMF and the EU have failed to reach a solution that does not require additional retrogressive austerity measures
Any agreement that would require such a violation of human rights and customary international law is contra bonos mores and hence null and void pursuant to Art. 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
30 June 2015
GENEVA ( (Issued as received) –– Two United Nations human rights experts today welcomed the holding of a referendum in Greece to decide by democratic process the path to follow to solve the Greek economic crisis without deterioration in the human rights situation.
The UN Independent Experts on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, and on human rights and international solidarity, Virginia Dandan, stressed that there is much more at stake than debt repayment obligations, echoing a warning* issued earlier this month by the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky.
“All human rights institutions and mechanisms should welcome the Greek referendum as an eloquent expression of the self-determination of the Greek people in conformity with article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in pursuance of article 25 ICCPR on public participation. Indeed, a democratic and equitable international order requires participation by all concerned stakeholders in decision-making and respect for due process, which can best be achieved through international solidarity and a human rights approach to the solution of all problems, including financial crises.
It is disappointing that the IMF and the EU have failed to reach a solution that does not require additional retrogressive austerity measures. Some leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of holding a referendum in Greece. Why? Referenda are in the best traditions of democratic governance.
No one can expect the Prime Minister of Greece to renounce the commitments he made to the people who elected him with a clear mandate to negotiate a fair solution that does not dismantle Greek democracy and lead to further unemployment and social misery. Capitulating to an ultimatum imposing further austerity measures on the Greek population would be incompatible with the democratic trust placed on the Greek Prime Minister by the electorate.
By nature, every State has the responsibility to protect the welfare of all persons living under its jurisdiction. This encompasses fiscal and budgetary sovereignty and regulatory space which cannot be trumped by outside actors, whether States, inter-governmental organizations or creditors.
Article 103 of the UN Charter stipulates that the Charter provisions prevail over all other treaties, therefore no treaty or loan agreement can force a country to violate the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights of its population, nor can a loan agreement negate the sovereignty of a State. Any agreement that would require such a violation of human rights and customary international law is contra bonos mores and hence null and void pursuant to Art. 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
A democratic and equitable international order requires a commercial and financial regime that facilitates the realization of all human rights. Inter-governmental organizations must foster and under no conditions hinder the achievement of the plenitude of human rights.
Foreign debt is no excuse to derogate from or violate human rights or to cause retrogression in contravention of articles 2 and 5 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In 2013, the Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights stated that the policy austerity measures adopted to secure additional financing from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank had pushed the Greek economy into recession and generally undermined the enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.
This is the moment for the international community to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Greece, to respect their democratic will as expressed in a referendum, to proactively help them out of this financial crisis, which finds a major cause in the financial meltdown of 2007-08, for which Greece bears no responsibility.
Indeed, democracy means self-determination, and self-determination often calls for referenda – also in Greece.”
Europe’s helping hand to Greece for five years, wroteJoseph Stiglitz the same critical day, June 30,in Huffington Post has been far different from what one might have expected if there was even a bit of humanity, of European solidarity.
“There was sometimes an element of neo-colonialism: the old White Europeans once again telling their former colonies what to do. More often than not, the policies didn’t work as they were supposed to. There were huge discrepancies between what the Western experts expected and what actually happened.
Somehow, one expected something better of Greece’s Eurozone “partner.” But the demands were every bit as intrusive, and the policies and models were every bit as flawed. The disparity between what the Troika thought would happen and what has emerged has been striking — and not because Greece didn’t do what it was supposed to, but because it did, and the models were very, very flawed. ”
On Sunday’s Referrendum in Greece , conludes Nobelist Stiglitz, both choices could lead to even worse social disruptions, calling, though, the Yes, “austerity and depression without end”. But while with one of them there is some hope, he says, with the other there is not.
(*) Read the statement by the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights (2 June 2015) – “Greek crisis: Human rights should not stop at doors of international institutions, says UN expert”:
A big smile, a face relieved , three main sentences, in Greek, and a thank you to reporters was Alexis Tsipras close up after an all-or-nothing fight form the Greek side on the eurotalks table, that sent smiles to Greece, and a hopeful message to the world. Europe, finally, is a solidatrity continent as it comes out, and justice, social justice, has not left this continent yet .
The talks were in very good and positive climate as always,
said to the Press the Greek PM at 1.00 early morning time of Thursday June 11, obviously exhausted, but apparently relieved.
We decided to intensify the efforts, the remaining differences to be bridged, as to move further in the coming period to a solution. The political leadership of Europe seems to understand that we have to get to a viable solution, and give the opportunity to Greece to return by social cohesion and security to development by a sustainable dept.
To a perspective that would bring security and stability back, not only for Greece but for the whole Europe
Few minutes earlier, sources of Maximos Mansion commented:
“The three leaders agreed to intensify the process of bridging the remaining differences in order to early achieve an agreement allowing Greece to return to growth with social cohesion and sustainable debt ”
A German government spokesman said after Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande reviewed the state of the talks with Tsipras that the meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere.
The spokesman said in a statement:
“It was agreed unanimously that the talks between the Greek government and the institutions (IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank) should be pursued with great intensity,”
Tsipras left the building without commenting. International media reporters asked him for a que in English. But it was obvious that the Greek Prime, after a non-stop augmenting stress exhausting day, could barely stand more pf the world’s lights on his face .
The talks have been deadlocked over Greece’s rejection of the creditors’ demands for cuts in pensions and unpopular labour market reforms as conditions for releasing frozen bailout funds.
Agreement comes within a few days, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced today to the Greeks a day after the Riga summit, where the French the German leaders agreed on the significant progress achieved so far by the new government and the negotiations’ team, as was announced, and focused more, concentrated, to the open issues of the negotiation.
Alexis recieved a friendship attack in Riga, where they greeted him with smiles, hugs, flowers and silk . “Climate was so friendly” , as Greek PM stated in Riga to the press. Hugs from Eurogroup President , sweet smiles from the Chancellor, flowers to host his presence, and also … “silk for the seal “.
In a more than warm, hearty welcome that was waiting the Greek leader on the Eurogroup summit this time, Alexis Tsipras definitely took a breath from the unstoppable four months’ soul-and-mind daily attacks a whole nation recieved since the very first day of Alexis’ governance.
Surrounded by the cute-and-teasing mood of the Euro leaders who seemed much more familiar this time, the PM stated openly optimistic and confident about Greee’s luck, feeling obviously relaxed after the critical meetings . And sure it was a relaxing breath for the tensed Greek feeling, which acted like an antidote to the “emergency-operational ” style of this specific PM trip to Riga, where to he flew on a Greek Airforces’ C130 plane, instead of the PM’s airplane that lies immobilised on the ground, having run out of fuel, consequently to the country’s out of cash.
But the “special -effect” that sealed the Riga summit, came, unexpectedly to the world’s eyes, by the cute semiology gesture of Jean Claude Juncker, when he probed his tie on Alexis when the camera flashes lighted up .
It was not the first time that “tieless Alexis”,- who has swore to wear a tie only when the dept Greece’s problem will be resolved-, made headlines. Earlier attempt to “tie him with tie” was made by the PM of our “Master in Style” neighbor, Italy, Prime Minister Mateo Renzi, on Februry 3, when he offered in Rome Alexis a black tie, as a diplomatic visit etiquette “We want to give a hand to Greece,” Renzi had said. “But we also want the moment to come for Greece to be out of the crisis, and when that moment comes, Alexis will use an Italian tie”
Indeed, the talks in Riga this time on top European political level, were about the exiting crisis prospect of Greece, as was officaly stated, and Jean Claude Juncker probably took the chance in front of the cameras to show it to the world. Greece is definitely in a rush to reach an agreement, since national liquidity problem has “freeze- framed” the daily life all around the country, with cash being missing almost nowhere.
And here comes “the most harsh phrase this gov has heard till now”, as many politicians commented today, the President of IMF Chrisitne Laggarde’s phrase from overseas on Greece’s agreement to come. Warning Greece and the eurolenders’ side, Christine Laggarde asked for a carefull, in detail work on the terms of the agreement, using though, -may be accidentally- a negative expression to say it , which Greeks, understood as a negative comment on the proceedure of the negotiations, and also understood it word-by- word and not as an expression
“It has to be a comprehensive approach, not a quick and dirty job,” Ms Lagarde told an audience in Rio.
“I know there is a lot of work to be done. Parties are now working, receiving proposals, working in cooperation and we will continue to do so as fast as we can.”
“Quick and dirty”? Enough is enough, immediately everybody said .The statement was playing on tv over and over again, by the comments of Greek media insisting that Christine Laggarde had a negative view on the negotiations’ matters, even though the Prime Minister said clearly Saturday morning that agreement will be made within the next days. By the exhaustion of a whole country for five+ years, and the torture of no cash nationwide for a four+months, suspicions arose once again. The public feeling turned again against a proposed by the lenders’ side agreement, if this would be, once again, going to be unfair .
“The Greek people support our government on this hard try for an agreement for the country, because they know, all of them , that for the first time on the negotiations’ table there is not only one side. There are two sides, and one of them is doing its best to bring Greeks their life back,” Alexis Tsipras said on his speech to the Central Comittee of SYRIZA party today .
The Greek prime minister set the issue of the country’s perspective for exiting the crisis if a long term deal is reached, on the trilateral meeting with President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel in Riga, according to top Greek governmental sources, the ANA-MPA Friday wrote .The Athens News Agency also said that on the meeting the the terms of the agreement were discussed, as was also and the next day after the agreement , which let Alexis Tsipras express his optimism to the journalists in Riga.
On their part, Merkel and Hollande noted that they understand the need for such a deal, and expressed their willingness to help, even on personal level, as to reach soon to the agreement. But the same moment Angela underlined that “A conclusion needs to be found with the three institutions and there needs to be very, very intensive work”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande leaders
“I am optimistic that we can soon reach a stable, long-term and viable solution, without the mistakes of the past – and Greece will return to growth with cohesion.
The government is seeking for a comprehensive deal within the next ten days, government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis also said from Riga on Friday talking on Greek tv. Sakellaridis noted that the agreement will cover all issues, including labour and social security ones.
Asked whether Greece will retreat to the IMF’ harsh demands, he said that Athens has set its red lines and does not intend to take a step back on all those issues “in this manner.”
He confirmed that Greece’s creditors are asking for two VAT rates – 11 percent and 23 percent – adding that they have proposed the imposition of a 23 percent VAT on the energy sector. Greece has proposed three VAT rates – 7 percent, 14 percent and 22 percent.
Asked on debt issue and whether it will be included in the agreement, Sakellaridis told live on air that the Greek government has raised the issue from the very beginning. “It is an objective problem … and by no means can we say that it does not exist,” PM spokesman said, and added that whether it will be included in the agreement “will depend on how mature conditions are.”
One is for sure: Mature for the tie , Alexis will only then be…
Alexis Tsipras’ commitment to the Greeks that Greece is seeking a new deal with its bailout creditors that would not condemn Greeks battered by five bitter years of income cuts, tax hikes and record job losses “to a lifetime of misery”, seems to remain unsheakable.
“We didn’t come to Brussels like the bad student who didn’t do his homework. We came here as Euro-partners, asking for a more fair solution , you have to hear us, and we will hear you, too ” If we come up with a technicla solution, ther will be a political one, said Tsipras .
Alexis said on his press briefing after the eurogroup Thursday . It was the first time he met Angela Merkel, who expecting that meeting, as she had said . She smiled to him repeatedly
The markets, smiled on Friday , as well
Even though a compromise on Greece has not been secured, investors feel more confident that an agreement will be reached. Greek bonds and stocks are continuing yesterday’s strong recovery, reports the Forex market Friday 13th,
explaining that with Greek bonds and stocks continuing to recover, investor sentiment is positive for an agreement to be reached between Greece and the EU.
“Technical discussions are under way between Greece and the official creditors (ECB, IMF, and EU), but the fact that they are not called the Troika illustrates the face-saving efforts underway.”
“Previously, the Eurogroup head indicated that February 16 was the deadline for an agreement on the grounds that some national parliaments need to approve any new deal.”
“However, the pendulum of market sentiment has swung away from Grexit, and even if a new agreement is not fully agreed to, progress will likely be reported that will keep sentiment intact.”
The top story remains Greece
The New York Times couches the Greece-eurogroup talks in terms of game theory, with the Greek FinMin Varoufakis reputedly an expert on this subject. His stance is to insist on a new plan until the oth-er guys blink. Sometimes, in game theory, it’s rational to act irrationally. This is also like a 4-year old having discovered the word “no.”
As the NYT describes the game, Mr. Dijsselbloem is a puritanical guy and Schaeuble is a hard-ass. (That pretty much leaves Draghi as the last guy who can talk to the Greeks, although he has already cut off the banks from all but emergency funding—and has legitimate worries about contagion, despite no sign of it yet.)
On the eurogroup side, “The thinking goes like this. Say “no” politely, but repeatedly, to Greece’s request for a financial rescue package. As conditions deteriorate, cut off access to emergency loans for the bank’s troubled financial institutions. If that happens, Greece would have to impose capital controls to help prop up the banks, leading to economic disarray and prompting a public outcry. The Greek government would then be forced to accommodate Europe.”, just wrote Friday 13,Feb 13 2015, 13:3 8 GMT , Barbara Rockefeller at the the Forex Market website
“Europe — and this is Europe’s success — is always about finding a compromise,”Angela Merkel said as first words when she arrived in Brussels on Thursday 12 of February
“You make compromises when the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Germany is ready for that, but you also have to say that Europe’s credibility depends on us sticking to the rules and that we deal with each other in a reliable way.”
Behind-the-scenes negotiations resumed in Brussels hours after euro-area finance ministers failed to reach a joint conclusion. The Greek side and euro-area experts are due to meet in Brussels tomorrow to discuss the way ahead as they try to reach a common point.
The Greek side totally rejects any term of extension to the Program, for which Angela Merkel said she is ooking forward in her statements after meeting with Tsipra, while the Reuters wrote early Friday , February the13th that the two parts “struggle to decide whether to call the arrangement an extension, a new program or a bridge deal, officials said.
Merkel had come to the table ready to compromise, after her meeting with Obama ,as one can guess .Again , we do not know what the exact discussion of the two leaders, Obama and Merkel behid the scenes might have been,
Over in Washington DC, Angela Merkel has told reporters that “what counts” is the plan that Greece brings to the eurogroup meeting on Wednesday night.
But Merkel did- definitely- notice inbetween the two days, the key word growth , that kept popping up latest , both from the US Presidents’ message for Greece and the Greek Prime ministers’ message some hours before she exchanged with the young Greek leader smiles and her first handshake
“Europe can bridge differences and bridge the solutions In Greece we feel it’s time to change the message of politics, to slap corruption of the oligarchans and bring back the growth agenda and return to the path of social unity and solidarity.”
had said Alexis Tsipras some hours before, after his meeting in Brussels with the Belgian Prime Minister
“The Belgian Prime Minister is younger than me I would like to thank him , he have so much in commons , and return to our common house in Europe , the house of social justice and growth”, he added
Yanis VaroufakIS had said on earlier days that it is Greece’s Fate to say the No to Greece’s austerity , and actually, it fell to him to say the first NO, when holding talks with Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, by rejecting , on the fifth day of Alexis’ government the extension of Greece’s €240bn (£180bn) bail-out programme, which came with tough austerity measures.