Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The problem is that Greece has been negotiating for 5 years already. And losing. They have never taken to the press.

Whereas the press has received thousands of leaks about the negotiations from the Eurogroup.

Also, the person who was most in charge in those years, Yanis Stournaras (though he belongs to another party) is actually close friends with people like Varoufakis. They are academic colleagues in the same department. Even better, Stournaras actually gave Varoufakis his first job out of his advanced degree.

In other words, Varoufakis had inside information about the actual fault lines.

Greece had played things under the vest for 5 years. Going public with your arguments was the exact thing that put fear into the Eurogroup, it was something out of their control.

I don't actually believe Schauble revels in his image, and his uncharacteristic schaudenfreude of the last week (which was weird, since the Greek public really approves of Syriza) was a sign that the public battles were evidently making a difference.

by Upstate NY on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 09:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that Schäuble is Merkel's designated attack dog. She called him off at the end, to enable an agreement to be signed. If that's the case, he has played the role with remarkable abnegation.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 09:28:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know the German political scene at all, but I could imagine there being acute embarrassment, even in conservative circles, at being seen as the enforcers of Greek impoverishment.  The whole point of austerenomics is to be at one remove from the real action - with local todies carrying the blame - and when Varoufakis went public, they knew that game was up.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 11:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Greek government has a huge advantage in that they are complete outsiders. Insurgents who have come from nowhere, ill-dressed and ill-mannered, and who don't feel constrained by the rules.

I feel that they have been remarkably disciplined in not publicly dissing previous governments who got Greece into its current pickle. This is no doubt important for the home audience, and of course because it won't get them any credit in negotiations. Still, it must be hard. However, their interlocutors have seemed surprised (or have faked surprise) at the fact that they should dare to repudiate elements contractualised with their predecessors.

A new generation of Euro politicians... let's hope there are more coming.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 12:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point about the EU elite being used to operating through leaks and being thrown off by Varoufakis going public was also made by Paul Mason last week: Leak and counter-leak: how not to achieve a Greek deal.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 at 09:47:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series