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Greek MP Lapavitsas on Grexit

by Upstate NY Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 03:03:23 AM EST

Greece: Phase Two | Costas Lapavitsas | Jacobin

Schäuble is on record, or at least Greek ministers are on record, stating that Schäuble offered an aided exit to the Greeks already back in 2011. I can see, from the perspective of the German power structure, why they might be tempted by this idea, and I can see it as an objective worth fighting for by a Greek left government, for obvious reasons.

Whether there are divisions within the German establishment on it, I don't really know, because I don't understand the details of the German political debate. But the argument can be so compelling at the general level that I can be reasonably optimistic.

If the Greek side fought for it, and indicated that they wished to accept it, I think that a compromise could be reached that would be in the interests of Greek working people as well, not just the Greek elite, because you would avoid the difficulties of the contested exit.

That is definitely worth fighting for. And I would argue that this is what the Syriza government should be gearing itself for in the coming period. But, I repeat, if that proves impossible, even contested exit is better than a continuation of the current program.

While I accept his implied criticism of Varoufakis and Tsipras is likely right on target (bad strategy, personality clash with EU), this critique and reading of Syriza's strategy is based on the very idea that the EU is at all amenable to a soft Grexit.

promoted by afew


Lapavitsas is reading the Greek clashes with Europe as a matter of different ideologies. Neoliberal versus whatever Greece is.

I think he fails to see that personality and general misanthropy is at the root of it, and that once Greece accedes or willingly asks for a Grexit, the anger leveled at it will not end. There will be no soft exit. And not only will the exit be contested, the eurozone will do everything in its power to cause Greece to fail--to discourage all others.

We are talking about enemies here. Lapavitsas is imagining a break based on differing ideologies.

Seen through another lens, Varoufakis' and Tsipras' strategy--though it may indeed be naive--becomes more explicable. Greece must be forced from the eurozone, and even then (the event of a default) it should adopt measures to keep inside the zone, until the pressure to kick it out becomes absolute. Only then can Greece negotiate the terms of a contested exit. To make preparations now or to cede willingly is essentially to abandon your leverage in the negotiations of a Grexit.

Lapavitsas imagines a much too nice interlocutor. He thinks the disagreements are based in ideology.

Display:
So, do you think they (Tsipras/Varoufakis) are being naive or playing this game?

I have to say I subscribe to your perspective here completely. So, if they are being naive (i.e. in practice that would mean even more naive than Lapavitsas) then they are taking Greece into a very bad place: either humiliation or catastrophe (in this case by not preparing for the forced exit).

OTOH if they are preparing for this, then they might be taking the only viable step to save Greece...

by cagatacos on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 12:23:20 PM EST
I don't know, it is impossible to say for certain.
by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 12:25:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Preparing for an exit" is not a yes/no question. It spans a continuum.

At one end you have "outside their frame of reference."

At the other end, you have "detailed implementation plan on file, with multiple contingency options at each critical stage gate, cadres already mobilized, key institutions suborned, and key stakeholders mapped and scheduled for subvertion or subjugation."

It is clear from Syriza's public record that they do not consider a Grexit unthinkable, so that's already a major improvement over the previous government. It is also clear from their negotiating stance that they do not have a plan that they can go out an execute tomorrow.

But beyond that, as Upstate NY notes, it is not possible to divine from the public record where on the continuum from idle speculation to detailed time table they are.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 06:00:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course they do not have a plan they can go out and execute tomorrow. They have beenin government for about 6 weeks and spent the first month in negotiations. They would have to put in place some structures using the levers of government in order to ready any plan other than "pull the pug come hell or high water".

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 06:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is not one of time (at least at this stage). It is one of their mindset.

One can only speculate (things like this would have to be kept secret until after the fact), but one can hope that at least they are at least considering being forced out (or even considering getting out by themselves).

If they only thing that they are doing is paying lip service to potential Grexit and are not preparing a plan C or D based on it, then they might be in a very complicated spot soon.

If they are bluffing and the bluff is called, it will be humiliating (the kind of humiliation that can bring lots of demons to the surface).

by cagatacos on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 07:02:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was sort of hoping that their plan would involve something like this but they don't seem to be moving on any of the legislation to implement the promised reforms that would enable rollout of an electronic parallel currency.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 07:27:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Honestly I don't think this plan is doable in the time frame. Even going the simple tax credit route may not be easy since they don't control the banks (At least I remember threatening noises from the ECB on them changing out management). What does that leave us with? Paper?
Whatever they try they need to keep tax collection as a permanent threat so 100 instalment payment plans and tax spies.
Also I think they underestimated ECB unreasonableness.
by generic on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 09:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they underestimated it. They have studies from London lawyers and even Citigroup on the ECBs responsibilities vis-a-vis the Bank of Greece. This is part of any contentious Grexit scenario. One might even say they are counting on the ECB's unreasonableness.
by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 09:31:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt the Greek state has the administrative capability to that.

Even if under more optimal circumstances they could do it, circumstances are not optimal. After any change of government a new government needs a few months to get a grip on the administrative apparatus. Syriza faces special problems in this regards.

by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:40:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the slow motion trainwreck continues, and a Greek default within the next 4 months is quite likely.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:47:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps. Possible, but I don't think likely. Too damaging to EZ and EU, as Juncker e. g. seems to understand.

But, as you said:

"They have beenin government for about 6 weeks and spent the first month in negotiations. They would have to put in place some structures using the levers of government in order to ready any plan other than "pull the pug come hell or high water"."

So Syriza simply needs time for any grand schemes. If they have grand schemes.

by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 11:07:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Juncker is a bit player in this. It only needs a minority in the Eurogroup or a majority in the ECB  to drive this train off the tracks and down a ditch.
by generic on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 11:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Juncker said as much today when Tsipras came to Brussels: the decisions are taken by the Eurogroup.

And that, the primacy of the Intergovernmental over the Community method, is one of the toxic legacies of Merkel's handling of the crisis.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 12:01:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True, technically that is none of Junckers business. He intervened anyway; somewhat successfully.
by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 12:28:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Commission President he is one of the European Union's appointed general purpose mediators. But he cannot force anything on anyone. And he oversees 1/3 of the Troika.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 05:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, apparently the Commission is now out of the Troika, replaced by the ESM. More intergovernmentalism and another insane German in charge (Klaus Regling).

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 05:37:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the plan is to create a scenario where Greece is forced to exit against it's will - and thereby maintain it's Grexit negotiating position - then Greece cannot simultaneously be seen to be planning for Grexit voluntarily. In other words, part of the plan may be to be seen not to have a plan for Grexit.  There is only so much "cadres already mobilized, key institutions suborned" you can do without everyone knowing about it.

Critical to game theory is managing your opponents expectations of your intentions - and keeping them in the dark as to your real intentions as much as possible. At one level Varoufakis et al are playing the game of negotiating the best deal they an for Greece within the EZ.  It would be surprising if they didn't have at least a contingency plan for what to do if that first route failed to produce a feasible result.  But equally that Plan B must not be so public and obvious as to undermined whatever slender chance they have of succeeding with plan A.

There is also the not insignificant matter that the majority of the electorate are not yet resigned to Grexit.  Syriza will take the full blame for all negative consequences if they are seen to have actively sought that outcome.  Less so if it is seen to have been forced on them.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 07:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the plan is to create a scenario where Greece is forced to exit against it's will - and thereby maintain it's Grexit negotiating position - then Greece cannot simultaneously be seen to be planning for Grexit voluntarily.

On the contrary. There is nothing wrong with saying "we desire a negotiated agreement, but we are building our portfolio of alternatives in case negotiated agreement turns out to be infeasible."

Greece does need to keep any mobilization it is doing under the radar. But the reason is that until a fairly advanced state of readiness their enemies can make them lose faster than they can mobilize the rest of the way.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 03:09:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 05:38:48 PM EST
Perhaps Jacobin just thought it was newsworty...
by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 12:36:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lapavitsas is pretty much like a guy in a group trapped in some underground cave surrounded by water. Everyone is considering various tough and improbable, but in principle feasible, modes of escape, yet he has a better plan ready, which is brilliant except for the fact that it requires everyone to hold their breaths for approximately half an hour underwater. When asked about this problem Lapavitsas retorts "well it will be difficult, but afterwards we'll all be safe!"

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 08:14:43 PM EST
I do agree with him completely however that anything is better than the continuation of austerity. In fact Varoufakis has said as much already

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 08:52:33 PM EST
After describing getting the Bundestag to pass the necessary legislation to move forward on negotiations with Greece Edward Harrison had some interesting thoughts while giving Schauble his due:

Wolfgang Schaeuble the Salesman

The takeaway here is that we are seeing serious bailout fatigue. It may seem like Wolfgang Schäuble is working against the Greeks by making inflammatory statements. The reality, however, is that he has domestic political issues to contend with. And he needs to make sure that whatever the German government does is seen in a favourable light given the domestic constraints. I think we are going to have a problem then if Greece wants more i.e. a reduction in the net present value of its debt via a derivatives structure like GDP-linked bonds or writedowns. It makes sense to get that reduction because the debt burden is unsustainable. But it is not politically viable in Germany right now, in my view. We could see a default as a result. And that does not necessarily mean Grexit. A politically acceptable outcome is Greece negotiating for NPV reduction, the Germans saying no and Greece defaulting and staying within the eurozone. Greece can say we fought for what was right and Germany can say they did not allow the Greeks to get off lightly; the Greeks simply reneged on their obligations. This is an outcome that is politically viable and one I think has a high likelihood of occurring.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 12th, 2015 at 11:33:35 PM EST
Except Merkel and Schaeuble created their own political problem here.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 04:02:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think so.  They are 'marshaling the mainstream' and trying to make sure they are seen to do the right thing by it. If Merkel has one strength above all, it is reading the political tea-leaves and acting within what mainstream (or manufactured, if you will) opinion will regard as "sensible" or the least damaging to her political fortunes... She will not go out on a limb, but for the problem to be seen as a "Greek problem" plays into chauvinistic and nationalist narratives.  The one thing she lust avoid is for it to come to be seen as a German problem - by the German electorate themselves - because then it is she who will be held responsible for solving it. And solving it, as we know, is going to cost someone a lot of money.  If it ends up being the German elite/banks, she had better have someone else to blame.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 07:19:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sure that there are plenty of instances where it is perfectly clear that she reenforce the whole 'feckless Greek/virtuous German' meme and it has been in use so long that neither she nor her party could not but be blamed, and, IMO, deservedly so. I must give her credit though for being the ONE conservative European leader to see that the situation is untenable and the results of 'austerity' are and will continue to be catastrophic. Legacy time for Merkel.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 07:57:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like Harrison's stuff BUT he's missing the fact that the German gov't agreed to a debt writedown in 2012 if Greece achieved a primary surplus.

Promsises must be kept. Political winds do not change the agreements.

ESPECIALLY when the gov't is the same!

by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 08:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"missing the fact that the German gov't agreed to a debt writedown in 2012 if Greece achieved a primary surplus."

They did?

by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/9ec817d8-cadf-11e3-9c6a-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3UH8U2Yfu

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9ec817d8-cadf-11e3-9c6a-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz3UH93JtAo

Since the crisis has abated, however, the political pressure for eurozone countries to carry out a major writedown of Greek debt has also eased. Still, the November 2012 agreement requires Greek creditors to begin getting the country's debt levels "substantially below" 110 per cent of GDP by 2022.

There are a lot of other promises for Greece in those agreements as well, which have not been upheld.

by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:21:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for the additional copy.
by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That 110% debt projection was completely unsupported by anything.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That 110% debt projection was completely unsupported by anything....

...except all of the hype and rhetoric surrounding Reinhart and Rogoff's carefully cooked data in their famous paper on debt sustainability.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 11:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tch. You're just naive.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 12:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean there was no way to get there from here. Not the infamous 90% Debt-to-GDP threshold.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 12:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it had been carefully cooked, it wouldn't have been so easy to point out the mistake.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 12:14:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. Carefully cooked in the era of Twitter means the mistakes are buried in the body of the text (which no one reads).

Here's another gem by R and R: "Greece has been in default for over 50% of its existence."

Is anyone really going to read the body of the text after that?

by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 03:58:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Worse yet. The errors were not detected until the U Mass. professor and grad students used the spreadsheet Reinhart and Rogoff claimed to have used and could not replicate the results. They then requested the original data sets. It was when they got these that they found out what had happened. It HAD been carefully cooked and the evidence deeply buried, but the stench rose to the surface after a while.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:15:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 a target that formally launches talks over additional debt relief.

Thought so. They did promise talks about debt relief, nothing more.

by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:57:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not exactly:
The Eurogroup is confident that, jointly, the above-mentioned initiatives by Greece and the other euro area Member States would bring Greece's public debt back on a sustainable path throughout this and the next decade and will facilitate a gradual return to market financing. Euro area Member States will consider further measures and assistance, including inter alia lower co-financing in structural funds and/or further interest rate reduction of the Greek Loan Facility, if necessary, for achieving a further credible and sustainable reduction of Greek debt-to-GDP ratio, when Greece reaches an annual primary surplus, as envisaged in the current MoU, conditional on full implementation of all conditions contained in the programme, in order to ensure that by the end of the IMF programme in 2016, Greece can reach a debt-to-GDP ratio in that year of 175% and in 2020 of 124% of GDP, and in 2022 a debt-to-GDP ratio substantially lower than 110%.
(Eurogroup Statement on Greece, 27 November 2012 [PDF])

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:44:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is contingent on Greece fulfilling the program, indeed. BUT, all I'm saying is that the now politically unacceptable restructuring is already envisaged in the agreement.
by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only "restructuring" envisaged is an interest rate reduction.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 11:00:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Grexident': Germany warns Greece could leave euro by accident - live updates | Business | The Guardian
Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's frank and outspoken finance minister, says the lack of progress is increasing the chances of an accidental Greek exit from the euro - a "Grexident".

Grexidus !  Movement of Jah people.

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

by eurogreen on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:27:29 AM EST


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 10:46:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Does Germany owe Greece wartime reparations money?

The Greek government has threatened to seize German property as compensation for World War Two.

But what does Germany owe Greece, if anything, and why?

When we discussed this earlier, I was of the opinion that, while the German MSM and thus German public opinion is a lost cause, bringing up the issue of war debts could at least start some discussions in other countries. Well, mid-week I was in Vienna on business, and the evening news on Austrian state TV brought this first. What's more, the commentator accused Germany of hypocrisy, and although they stopped short of speaking about mutual debt relief, they showed the part of Tsipras's parliament speech where he spoke about the need for mutual consideration.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 04:44:40 PM EST
"and the evening news on Austrian state TV brought this first. What's more, the commentator accused Germany of hypocrisy,"

the austrians. hypocrisy.

Fine. Time for an anecdote.

Early fifties. The german cabinet is discussing reparations claims and how to the deal with them. Finally the discussion moves to possible reparation austrian reparation. "Austria? Adenauer says - "we will send them the bones of Hitler."

On topic: I still think that is a very ill judged gambit.

Especially because the genius of justice minister talked about First (!) world war claims and threatened to expropriate private property.  

by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 05:50:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonder what you think of these two links?

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/greeks-still-waiting-for-war-reparations-1.2135701

He also uncovered a 1969 West German foreign ministry memo warning of the "virulent covetousness of our current partners and former enemies" on the reparations.
To date, the document said, repayments had been postponed thanks to the 1953 London debt agreement and the efforts of the US government. The recommendation: Germany's "opponents in the last war" are to be "put off ad kalendas Graecas" - effectively to the day when pigs fly.
"It has to be in our interest to preserve this in-between situation for as long as possible in light of the outstanding peace treaty," the memo concludes, "to then put off repayments [citing] forfeiture through time limitations."
Fleischer says this is precisely what happened. The West German ambassador to Athens said in 1988 that the forced loan was frozen because of ongoing German division, while the Bonn foreign ministry in 1990 issued a 26-page memo to embassies filled with arguments as to why the claim had expired.

Also, this:

http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/Kontraste/Griechenland-Deutschland-dr%C3%BCckt-sich-um/Das-Erste/Video ?documentId=27028052&bcastId=431796

Seems this is an argument which cannot be so handily dismissed.

by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 07:48:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what argument?

By the way, this treats - like anybody did - reparations and forced loans as the same issue. So the theory tat they are separate is a rather recent invention.

"It has to be in our interest to preserve this in-between situation for as long as possible in light of the outstanding peace treaty," the memo concludes, "to then put off repayments [citing] forfeiture through time limitations."

I mean, what did you expect? That they agree to pay? The claims of e. g. France alone would have ruined west germany.

by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 07:54:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, what did you expect? That they agree to pay? The claims of e. g. France alone would have ruined west germany.

So why should Greece pay now? The claims of the Bundesbank alone are ruining it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 08:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of the branch office?

Some people here should shed their Bundesbank obsession.

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 11:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the Bundesbank stops filing amicus briefs in support of private German lawsuits against the ECB of which the Bundesbank is a part (properly, of the Eurosystem, but anyway...).

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 05:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could point there no such thing in the german legal system, but ok. Still ECB or eurosystem, there is no debt of Greece to the Bundesbank or any other national branch. Just  the ECB.
by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 05:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they were called as a witness for the plaintiffs. And it was in the ECJ, if not also before the BVG.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BVG runs the public transport in Berlin. BVerfG is the court that decides on constitutionality.
by Katrin on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And it was before the BVerfG.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
expert witnesses
by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:32:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arguing against the Eurosystem of which they are a part.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:47:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And BVerwG ist the highest administrative court. See? all very easy. Can't understand that anybody - like 80% of germans - would use a wrong abbreviation.  

back teh ECB and its german branch: important isn't babbling to the press or even to courts but monetary policy/ lender of last resort. And there is no national policy anymore there.

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:30:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously buying covered bonds but not sovereign bonds in the secondary market isn't a policy mix deliberately discriminating against some members and in favor of others.

Clearly the ECB is a purely supranational institution, and it is merely a coincidence that its decisions happen to consistently promote German interests and atavistic German hard-money neuroses.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:36:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously buying covered bonds but not sovereign bonds in the secondary market isn't a policy mix deliberately discriminating against some members and in favor of others.

You missed the big program starting right now?

Somehow your view of the ECB is stuck in 2009.

"Clearly the ECB is a purely supranational institution,"

Yes, indeed. Weidmann hasn't won a vote since 2011 or so.

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:44:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I haven't missed any big program.

The ECB bought on the order of 1 % of all outstanding covered bonds over the course of less than two years. The piddling little Johnny-come-lately Securities Market Program amounted to less than a third of a percent of outstanding Treasury issues at its best, and was rolled out over two and a half years.

Size really does matter, and the ECB has been consistently undersizing its sovereign bond interventions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 07:18:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously buying covered bonds but not sovereign bonds in the secondary market isn't a policy mix deliberately discriminating against some members and in favor of others.
It's getting to the point where we should update your old dictum about bid-offer spreads to

"under German ideology public debt is toxic unless it's been sanitised by being repackaged by a Pfandbriefbank"

German rescue fund takes over Duesselhyp bank after Heta problems (Reuters, March 15, 2015)

The article, by the way, manages to avoid mentioning that preserving the sacrosanct risk-freeness of Pfandbriefe is the overarching policy objective here.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:46:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The German banking association BdB, which runs the fund, is, however, not planning to wind down the bank, but wants to continue its operations."

That is not the ECB. It is not even a public institution.

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
important isn't babbling to the press or even to courts but monetary policy/ lender of last resort
I beg to disagree. The recent European Court of Justice's Advocate General opinion on OMT defining that secondary market purchases must allow "sufficient time for market price discovery" is an example of how recourse to the courts is extremely important and increasingly constrains monetary policy, as a direct consequence of German pressure.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 05:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny when I first mentioned here that the ECb isn't totally with out checks, that there is the ECJ, you didn't wnated to accept that.

You are talking about the power of the ECJ here. Nothing to do with the Bundesbank.

by IM on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 10:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
when I first mentioned here that the ECb isn't totally with out checks, that there is the ECJ, you didn't wnated to accept that
Do you have a link? I don't remember that.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 10:07:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by IM on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 01:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's just say that 3 and a half years later the principle it has been demosntrated that the court can be used to enforce a restrictive interpretation of the prohibition of monetary financing.

And I say restrictive because the letter of the treaty says nothing about secondary market purchases and yet it is becoming solidified in legal precedent that the prohibition of primary purchases must be extended to secondary purchases unless "sufficient time" elapses for "market price formation".

Hayek has won.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 01:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As to
There is no substantial judicial review of ECB policy decisions.
observe:
The AG has interesting things to say on market speculation. The GCC, largely relying on the expertise of the Bundesbank, pushed a market fundamentalist line on the matter: whatever risk spreads may be, they reflect nothing but market fundamentals. Hence, the central bank should not mess with them as that would undermine market discipline, distort prices, provoke moral hazard, etc. The AG takes a candidly different view, on numerous occasions referring to market speculation as undermining economies and preventing fundamentals from asserting themselves. In such instances the ECB is justified to step in and correct destabilizing excesses and price distortions. The AG dodges the issue of how to determine "correct" market prices. The ECB should simply use its discretion. The AG goes out of its way to defend the ECB's independence (i.e., unchecked discretion), suggesting that no court should challenge its expertise or question its intentions:
_The ECB must accordingly be afforded a broad discretion for the purpose of framing and implementing the Union's monetary policy. The Courts, when reviewing the ECB's activity, must therefore avoid the risk of supplanting the Bank, by venturing into a highly technical terrain in which it is necessary to have an expertise and experience which, according to the Treaties, devolves solely upon the ECB. Therefore, the intensity of judicial review of the ECB's activity, its mandatory nature aside, must be characterised by a considerable degree of caution (AG 2015, No. 111).
It was of course always something of a curiosity that Germany, the world champion of central bank independence, should see its constitutional court challenge the ECB's independent judgment, and with the Bundesbank, the ECB's blueprint, as its "chief advisor" by its side. So much for the realities of today's intra-European power politics.
(Jörg Bibow, January 14, 2015)

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 01:24:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's jut say that was right about the power of the court.

Unrelated I was also right about the rapidly diminishing Bundesbank influence at the ECB.

by IM on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 01:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes you were.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 03:26:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a rule for how to compose acronyms in German?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:41:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that I know.

take BVG. actual name:

Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe

Now there is no "G" in there. I harkens back to the original name:

 Berliner Verkehrs-AktienGesellschaft

But even there they just dropped just the "A".

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:56:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, and there is not even a rule how to say (as opposed to write) them. "BVG" (Be Vau Ge) is used frequently in speaking, in discussions of rotting infrastructure or ticket prices, but never for constitutional matters. Don't try to say the acronym BVerfG, say "Karlsruhe". (A tourist in the Hamburg S-Bahn once asked me the way to station Aitch Bee Eff, and it took me a long while before I got where he wanted to go!) If you read on legal matters though, and decisions are quoted, the sources contain the "BVerfG".
by Katrin on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 05:00:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that the EC trains to Germany are run by DB-ÖBB (and not by Trenitalia that never cared what happened after the train left Italy), the announcements in Italian train stations try to announce the stops in Austria and Germany as well. So I now know that the train stops in something called Innsbruck acca-bi-effe.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 05:07:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not as funny or interesting as your examples, but I recently realised that I never heard the spoken version of "EBA" (for Eisenbahn-Bundesamt = Federal Rail Authority) despite reading it thousands of times. That is, "eba" (the way I read it in my mind) or "E-Be-A"? A German colleague confirmed that it's the first.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 04:21:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"In 2012, the international criminal court in the Hague dismissed a challenge by a private Greek group, saying the principle of state immunity left them unable to sue Germany.

Though the court urged Greece and Germany to engage in talks to resolve the matter, Athens says Berlin isn't interested in talking."

God, is that sloppy reporting. "criminal court". And I should this take seriously why?

by IM on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 08:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So a confusion of the two Hague courts is the basis for your complete dismissal?... I guess you'll accuse ARD (which reported all the same points and more) of sloppy reporting, too? Earlier, you were pretty quick to diss around accusations of nationalism, but perhaps you should look into the mirror.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 08:46:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that supposed to be some sort of argument? Who can't even see the difference between a criminal and a civil law court is hardly a good reporter.

Bit that is not the point. More important is that there is no new argument here. Of course they used the no peace treaty argument to avoid payments. That isn't new. And it has nothing to with Greece especially.

So if reparations can still be demanded, a dozen countries could join in. The case that Greece is somehow different has still not been made.    

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 11:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First, that was a blogger. He is not a journalist. But you seem to have disregarded the fact that he was quoting a German archivist who discovered documents in the German state archives. The important stuff was the actually document, not the blogger's interpretation.

Second, Germany isn't putting the thumbscrews to other EU nations. It is doing so to Greece. It is punishing Greece with intent. As Geithner has said, the whole strategy here is to punish Greece to discourage others.

Third, punishment as a form of discouragement is exactly what Greece suffered at the hands of Germany in the war, which is why the arguments are more than relevant in this case.

by Upstate NY on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 01:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/greeks-still-waiting-for-war-reparations-1.2135701

The Irish Times is only a blog now? Filed under news, too.

the document doesn't shows us anything new and more important, isn't greek-specific.

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 07:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought you were referring to the readinggreece.com link, not the Irish Times
by Upstate NY on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 02:49:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Third, punishment as a form of discouragement is exactly what Greece suffered at the hands of Germany in the war, which is why the arguments are more than relevant in this case."

And this argument isn't valid regarding Italy why?

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 07:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Italy is not currently repeating its war crimes.

Also, Italy isn't owed nearly as much as Germany.

Manufacturing a barely acceptable excuse to shaft the German creditors, official and private, and nationalize the assets bought by German oligarchs during the forced privatizations, would go much further toward making the Greek books balanced again than doing the same to Italy.

And Germany has the same number of votes as Italy in those institutions where it matters.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 01:44:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Italy is not currently repeating its war crimes.

You are simply nuts.

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 04:57:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

That's not the way how an argument is held at ET. Also to Jake: keep it civil. Your suggestion that Germany is currently engaged in "war crimes" is incendiary. To all: No more insulting claims which you can't back up.

by Bjinse on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 05:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy is not the country that wants to punish Greece to discourage the others.

In fact, I would argue that Italy is the country that is being discouraged.

I know Spain is very bad off with 26% unemployed, but Spain's finances are not so bad that it could not instantly rebound with proper policy.

Italy is a very different case. Half my family is Italian, I spent years living in Padova, and I am very worried.

by Upstate NY on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 02:51:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Italy is not the country that wants to punish Greece to discourage the others."

Italy is almost 18% of ESFS.

And the policy of the ESFS is in the end the policy of all.

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 04:56:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is, of course, in the German interest to pretend that this is so.

But whether it actually is so remains to be seen.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 05:01:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Earlier, you were pretty quick to diss around accusations of nationalism,

That was back then when you accused me of trolling, right?

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 12:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The response of the German Government to this whole issue of the essential justice of the claims of Germany and the counter claims of Greece, in the light of this history, is example A of the famous dictum: "When it is serious you have to lie"! or distract, or disinform, or evade, or attack the credibility of that being lied about, or all of the above, AS A MATTER OF HIGHEST PRIORITY. For most who engage in such denial, above all, it is important to deny that they are doing any such thing. After all, as Richard Nixon said: "That would be wrong!" It would clearly be a serious failing in one's character. Like racism in the US South.

It has long been my observation that the more any given person benefits from an obviously invidious and unequal relationship the longer it takes for them to even see the problem, much less admit the truth of it. However, at some point in the chain, we get to those who DO actually see what they are doing and yet still are convinced it is important to keep on denying. That is what is called 'leadership'.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 07:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
are to be "put off ad kalendas Graecas

The blue moons do rise
Black swans soar into the night
Unpredictable!


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 09:02:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The principal utility of these claims is not to make a coherent legal case, or even to make a political case that will actually convince anyone who isn't a recent victim of German aggression.

The principal utility of this kind of claims is to create (more or less artificial) dividing lines between different creditor pools. Because such lines of division can be used to cut deals piecemeal.

It is an argument of the same form as "we will honor all commitments to the Eurosystem central banks (but the private banks who priced in a substantial risk premium can go fuck themselves)," and "we'll pay back the Eurogroup (but it would hardly be the first time the IMF has taken losses on their engagements)."

Similarly, "we'll pay back everything owed to the Eurogroup (but we don't owe Germany jack shit because of the War)" may or may not be a convincing legal, political, or economic argument. But if you're sitting in Helsinki or the Hague it might mean the difference between getting back 80 cents on the Euro and getting back 20 cents on the Euro.

And the enemies of Greece have shown repeatedly that their votes can be bought.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 02:06:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
may or may not be a convincing legal, political, or economic argument.

If it isn't it isn't useful.

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 12:01:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, it does not need to be convincing on its merits as an argument.

It just needs to be introduced early enough in the discussion to provide a dividing line which can be said to have been on the table all the time.

Ultimately, this is not about morality, or legality, or even economics. It is about how Greece can sow division and disunity in the Troika. Setting the Belgians against the Germans and the Dutch against the Finnish and the Spanish against the Italians is a win for Greece. Which is why re-opening the postwar settlement is an excellent idea.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 01:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Setting the Belgians against the Germans and the Dutch against the Finnish and the Spanish against the Italians is a win for Greece."

Yes.

 "Which is why re-opening the postwar settlement is an excellent idea."

No. Is isn't achieving that.

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 01:43:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That remains to be seen. It's created a dividing line which can later be used as the "principle" to govern which creditors get shafted and which get paid.

It makes a great deal of sense to attempt to create the perception that Germany is unique and separate from the rest of the Troika - because of the Troika, Germany is by far the Troika member holding the most Greek debt per Eurogroup vote, German public opinion is by far the most insane, and the German government is by some distance the most psychotic.

Maybe this particular attempt will work. Maybe it will fail. But nothing of importance is lost in the attempt.

So it's a low-probability, high impact, low cost gambit. That's the kind of cheap gambits you tend to play a lot of when you need results fast and don't particularly care about the collateral damage.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 03:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure if you are talking about the Greek justice minister? WWI was mentioned in the context of Germany having been repaying a debt from that war up until the 1970s (and thus 60 years later). As for private property, I have seen no such proposal coming from the Greek government (as opposed to the Greek press)

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 05:18:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes,  I am.

I was talking about this guardian report:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/12/german-anger-over-greek-demand-for-war-reparations

"Seizures of property that could extend to holiday homes of private German citizens would be used to compensate victims of a second world war Nazi massacre of 218 Greek civilians in the village of Distomo, the government said."

and:

"The demands stem from a Greek finance ministry report published in December 2014 which calculated on the basis of expert assessment that Germany "owed" Greece €9.2bn for the first world war, €322bn for the second world war and €10bn for money Greece was forced to lend the Nazi regime in 1942."

by IM on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 06:44:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No this is completely wrong. The seizures might affect German public property in Greece (although it isn't clear that they can, and what property) and they are a result of a Greek High Court decision on a private lawsuit by the survivors of the Distomo massacre, and families of those slaughtered. This is about 29 million Euros awarded in damages to those survivors / families in 2000.

The issue of the loan and of reparations is a totally separate issue from Distomo and cannot involve the private properties of anybody. I don't know who suggested that, but it wasn't the Greek minister of justice.

In 2000 when the decision was first issued, there had been some first steps to implement it by the Distomo families' lawyers, attempting to confiscate the Goethe Institute building in Athens, but these were blocked by the then Greek government.

About the WWI claim I can't even find any mention, anywhere. This is absolutely a non-existent issue, and certainly not what this Parliamentary committee is about. Truly irresponsible reporting by the Guardian

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 09:45:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue of the loan and of reparations is a totally separate issue from Distomo and cannot involve the private properties of anybody.

Well, if Germany is unwilling to comply with Greek court rulings, or unwilling to enforce them, then surely Greece has the option to apply sanctions to Germany, including freezes of the assets of German residents.

That is pretty standard practice for dealing with rogue states.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 05:25:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As reported b the Guardian it is abuot more then Distomo.

 By the way, the lawyers of the Distomo families did not demand this.

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 05:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lawyers of Distomo demanded asset seizures.

Are you saying something else?

by Upstate NY on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 08:13:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I do.

At least this time, they didn't.

by IM on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 10:39:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Distomo peope have put a lot of pressure on the new gov't. Your information is incorrect. This is the second time in a month that Tsipras has even addressed reparations and the loan in Parliament. This is happening because of people like Glezos. The Distomo people are also seeing a more sympathetic gov't for the first time.
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 08:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The normal evening news? I haven't followed them closely but what I've seen was pretty anti - Greece e.g. Finding mostly Greeks who disapprove of their governments negotiation stand to quote when polls tell us that 80% are in favour, using "serious like Varoufakis' list" to disparage some tax proposals, a complete absence of macroeconomics from discussion the usual pro Troika lies like the return to growth going unchallenged...
by generic on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 06:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This was around 22h, so that makes it (checking) ZIB FLASH or ZIB 2.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 06:29:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assume the Syriza folks want to stop the "eating from garbage cans" life of a lot of Greeks. They recognize that Germany et al is an enemy as dangerous as any with guns to their heads. Sryiza wants to go down in the history books having stopped the bullshit, hell take the rest of you for not having the guts to do it first.

So ET, geniuses that you are, what would YOUR game plan be? And remember, the Syriza folks probably read ET regularly ... as do the bad guys.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2015 at 06:21:32 PM EST


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 09:05:17 AM EST
What is the reason why the target goal is increasing with time - as opposed to being stable? The (non-existing) inflation correction?
by Bjinse on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 10:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No; steady progress to the unrealistic target of 4.5% primary surplus.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 10:57:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reason is that officially a 3% surplus is still the target for this year. Which won't happen.

BTW the economy in February and early March is in sort of a rebound. Not only tax collection has recovered impressively (and expected to soar in March as the new tax installment plan is implemented, hopefully collecting arrears that were given up on, soon - the government is hoping for an extra 2 billion by this summer), but consumer confidence is soaring on expectations of an end to both austerity and the decline of incomes. According to Alpha Bank, The CCI jumped to levels not seen since October 2009. Exports and tourism are benefiting from the Euro's decline. This is obviously a metastable situation

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 09:12:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was not a fan of Tsipras selling tactical retreat as a great victory but has he actually managed to talk up a slight recovery? On the face of it the humanitarian measures announced don't sound nearly enough to push up consumer confidence. Still, if the situation is not deteriorating than plan B can probably wait a bit. They'll only get one shot at it.
by generic on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 10:03:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In much the same way that a bubble will violently deflate once it stops inflating, an economy that has been operating under a tightening sanctions regime for five years will rebound once the sanctions stop getting worse.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 01:48:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
bruegel
Revenues for the period January-February 2015 came in at 7.8bn compared to 8.8bn expected, 963 million still short of the target.

For the period of January-February 2015, state budget expenditures came in at 7.98bn against 8.8bn expected,  844 million below target, thus explaining the improvement in the primary balance(see Figure 2).

Of course the Greek government doesn't accept the target, but further cutting of expenditures is pretty worrying.

by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 08:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are cutting expenditures because Greece wants to get through the short term funding squeeze until August without borrowing any more money.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 09:32:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But don't shoiw this numbers that ND started this? or they had the same tactic.
by IM on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 09:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which numbers? The bruegel numbers from the link do not separate expenses for Samaras.
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 09:57:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He was prime minister until 26th january, so his decisions should still be in there.
by IM on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 10:00:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This needs to be a rallying cry to all those not profiting from the existence of the Euro, and those smart enough to stay out of its Zone.

The Noose Around Greece: How Central Banks Harness Governments | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Why would the ECB have to "interrupt liquidity provision" just because of a "clash with international lenders"? As Mark Weisbrot observed, the move was completely unnecessary. The central bank can flick the credit switch on or off at its whim. Any country that resists going along with the troika's austerity program may find that its banks have been cut off from this critical liquidity, because the government and the banks are no longer considered "good credit risks." And that damning judgment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as is happening in Greece.

"The Icing on the Cake"

Adding insult to injury, the ballooning Greek debt was incurred to save the very international banks to which it is now largely owed. Worse, those banks bought the debt with cheap loans from the ECB! Pepe Escobar writes:

The troika sold Greece an economic racket . . . . Essentially, Greece's public debt went from private to public hands when the ECB and the IMF `rescued' private (German, French, Spanish) banks. The debt, of course, ballooned. The troika intervened, not to save Greece, but to save private banking.

The ECB bought public debt from private banks for a fortune, because the ECB could not buy public debt directly from the Greek state. The icing on this layer cake is that private banks had found the cash to buy Greece's public debt exactly from...the ECB, profiting from ultra-friendly interest rates. This is outright theft. And it's the thieves that have been setting the rules of the game all along.

Dear Syriza, please use your voice given to you by your voters' response to your platform to point out that to name this racket for what it is, and that the Euro is just the DM in drag.

Change the Euro, or change from it.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2015 at 09:23:58 PM EST
ekathimerini.com | Technical talks to resume with lenders
An ECB official told Kathimerini that Greece's funding difficulties will only last until August, which means the pressure on the government to carry out reforms must be exercised now.
by generic on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 07:38:52 AM EST
Varoufakis has just been live on German TV, in the Jauch talk show. I watched it and I am happy to say that he didn't take any cues from ET threads. He successfully conveyed that his aim hasn't changed and still is European cooperation.

I wish Jauch (or any other TV journalist) would ever grill a German politician like he did with V. today. He was borderline rude. Varoufakis managed very well. Other guests were a Bild journalist who quickly ran out of ideas, Ulrike Herrmann, Taz, who summed up the situation well, and Söder, a CSU politician, compared to whom everyone sounds reasonable.

So far there is no link to the show. Should be up by tomorrow, I guess.

by Katrin on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 06:09:36 PM EST
Here's the link.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/GNPCqqpHQ9k?start=116

People like Lorcan Roche Kelly at Bloomberg are railing on Varoufakis for lying when he said the video is doctored.

Varoufakis is absolutely right that it is doctored.

Any time I hear voiceovers midsentence, my ears prick up.

The video makes it sound as though Varoufakis was counseling Greece.

But what preceded the sentence was the hypothetical about the potential collapse of the eurozone circa 2010 and Greece's response to its out of control budget in the same year. He was speaking retrospectively. Not counseling what is to be done now, especially not now as Greece's Athens-law based private debt (owned by private banks) has been converted to sovereign EU debt.

There are so many on Twitter calling Varoufakis a liar over this when it is clear to me he is right about the video.

by Upstate NY on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 08:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

((*youtube GNPCqqpHQ9k))

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 08:51:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone is excited about that finger instead of politics. So: the "finger-video" was quoted in an ARD-video (made by Jauch's team) on Varoufakis. This video gave the impression as if V. wanted to give Germany the finger and default in the case he became a member of a new government. In reality he was talking in 2013 about the past, 2010, and said Greece should have defaulted then. It is unclear which video of the two he means, and it is unclear what exactly he means by "doctored".

Here are two good blog posts on the finger affair: http://www.stefan-niggemeier.de/blog/20713/wie-guenther-jauch-die-aussagen-von-varoufakis-verfaelsch te/
http://pantelouris.de/2015/03/15/die-sache-mit-dem-finger-varoufakis-bei-jauch/

I liked Ulrike Herrmann's suggestion of resolving the forced loan affair: pay the money, but not to the Greek government, but to a foundation for German-Greek youth programmes. Very much needed after the Euro-crisis and accompanying nationalistic noise. At first I thought she is serving the anti-Greek sentiment: the Greeks can't be trusted with so much money and so.

Think it out. It would need a German-Greek treaty. Germany promises to provide the funds, aware of the responsibility for history and so on. Greece in exchange promises to treat the forced loan as re-paid. Both parties agree that focusing on debt and insisting on repayment is un-European and is destroying the very foundations of cooperation and understanding. This is the discussion we need.

by Katrin on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 04:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The finger comes from

Starting at 1'46". The finger comes at 1'59".

My proposal was that Greece should simply announce that it is defaulting, just like Argentina did, within the Euro in January 2010 and stick the finger to Germany and say "well, you can now solve this problem by yourself", right?.
That's a reply to a question from the audience, starting about 38'40" in this video:



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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 05:49:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, and the video is freely available, which makes Kelly's tweet a bit uninspired and lazy.

The question prompted V. to talk of a potential euro collapse in 2010.

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 08:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good reciprocal proposal. All the Greek debt repayments as well should not go to the banks. They should go directly to the taxpayers of Europe.
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 08:21:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After 5 years of undercover bank bailout, Greece is only indebted to the taxpayers any more, not to the banks.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 08:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I know, but I am like Varoufakis today, only commenting in retrospect, which also therefore kills Katrin's excellent proposal.
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 09:37:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? My (rather, Ulrike Herrmann's) proposal does not say that Greece will pay back debt to anyone. It won't.
by Katrin on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 12:01:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece is going to pay back a huge portion of that debt in any case.
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 12:56:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It always has, in every default.
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 12:57:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is quite possible that your tea leaves are better than my crystal ball, but how do you think they will do that? 320 billion Euros. How much is a "huge portion of that" and where will they take that money from? Or will they offer finance minister's fingers as payment? I have a hunch that debt that can't be paid won't be paid and that's that.
by Katrin on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 04:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All of them know pretty much they have to repay what they can. They will repay 100% debt to GDP on extended maturities that will make it look like they have paid it all.
by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 05:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My eyesight is no longer what it used to be, but it isn't that bad. I doubt very much that the Greeks can beautify their inability to re-pay their debt so much that it will look like you would like it to. And that is one reason more to stop this aggressive tone and claims of superior morality. We need a different narrative, a narrative of cooperation.
by Katrin on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 05:40:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In order for a country to pay 180% debt to GDP, many years of very high surpluses are required.

When your debt load is more manageable, you're not required to extract as much from the economy.

Greece has been paying a large debt load for many years prior to entering the eurozone, so there's no reason to think it can't do so again.

While Greece's per capita income skyrocketed in the eurozone, it is now down to simply 1k more a year than it was prior to entering. In other words, Greece lost 2 decades. Is there a reason to believe it can't get back to where it was prior to joining the euro?

by Upstate NY on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 07:28:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's debt is about 80% GDP.

And here is how it looks in absolute euros.

What will be the financial picture in 10 years?

by das monde on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 01:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better. Te 80% stillinclude two bad banks and thaht will be gone in ten years time.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:17:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt may never be repaid but the ratio will be reduced if nominal GDP growth is higher than the interest rate.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:22:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is if Greece can bring that about, and how quickly, and if a policy of confrontation helps. Varoufakis made a good impression in that TV show exactly because he did not play that game. Actually he made only one mistake during the show.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 09:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 
he made only one mistake during the show.

Which was? (The sound isn't working on my computer and I haven't felt like/had the time to fix it.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Denying the video.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:46:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He called the video doctored which is the perfect excuse for self described "journalists" to not engage with anything he said.
I mean he is right of course in the sense that he did not give the finger to anyone and the video as presented was a straight up lie.
Nonetheless the court press will go full attack mode, with Jauch starting immediately with "well if you believe that there are dark forces out there, fabricating videos we will of course check."
At least the Austrian state broadcaster mentioned that in the video he was talking about 2010 while it was presented as dealing with the situation now. Maybe the marching orders changed? One can hope.
by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While he should have said his quote was "out of context," the video was actually doctored.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:09:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the youtube or the video that Jauch put up?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:11:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Jauch video spliced Varoufakis's words with a voiceover to make it seem as though he was giving the Germans the finger.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:20:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
V or a surrogate should have put up a Youtube video showing the original and the doctored version, along with expert analysis.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ARD has in the meantime admitted that their accompanying text was misleading--which was V's point. But it was easy to "misunderstand" him, and he gave this opportunity to attack him by his unfortunate wording. Schäuble, the guy who forgot a suitcase with DM 100,000, calls Varoufakis a liar. Everything else V. said was good, easy to understand and had the right tone. Varoufakis and Herrmann made the others look like the inimical nitwits they are.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:13:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right... (via)

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:25:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What Greece has to do is figure out how to take the money its own oligarchs are extracting for themselves from the country and use a good part of it to pay down the debt. Of course that is not how 'reform' is supposed to work! And it is called 'socialism'.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 07:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When people speak of Greek oligarchs, we are talking about a conflation of issues.

  1. The political elite thought they had carte blanche to take bribes from oligarchs and international finance because of the law forbidding arrest for ministers and deputies (a law in place to correct the junta's habit of imprisoning political opponents).

  2. The shipping sector which cannot be taxed and will never be taxed beyond the ship tonnage it already pays.

  3. The banking sector which is largely an offshoot of shipping (i.e. shippers started the banks).

  4. Greece's distribution system for goods, which is organized vertically across sectors, by the same cabal. This needs to be broken up so that distributors from outside Greece can service retailers.

  5. The black market: cigarettes and fuel.

#1 is paramount and the one most easily addressed.
#3 controls #4 because you can't compete with the current distribution system unless you, ONE, reform regulations that prevent a challenge to the system, and TWO, fund that challenge through private banks.
#5 is just going to war with racketeers, which presents its own set of problems at the level of police and national security.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:08:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could end up like Mexico or Colombia...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or perhaps Italy, in which the likeliest version is a few show arrests, and beyond that, if anyone truly threatens, a prosecutor or judge fear for their lives.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:18:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Syriza's least bad option is to take a page from their opponents play book and hire their own private security forces to 'protect' their ministers. This would not create a new police force that could be subverted by the next conservative government. It could obviously lead to civil war, but that might be the only way any fundamental change will occur.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:46:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't believe the discussion is veering in this direction, to be honest.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:49:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know since you have this leg injury your commentary has gotten downright apocalyptic. We're still quite a way from civil war.
by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Six weeks on 60mg of prednisone and chronic sleep deprivation hasn't helped my mood, I agree. And I certainly would not advocate civil war for anyone. But effective preparations might be the best preventive. If Syriza does not push some initiatives to collect taxes and prosecute criminality out of fear of the assassination of the prosecutors, judges or even cabinet ministers that becomes a serious problem for the survival of the state. If this government is brought down by violence or the threat of violence from the right that would already be a de facto civil war that the government lost. The existing police and security apparatus seems highly problematic in their effectiveness and reliability in both protecting the new government and ensuring that its laws and actions are enforce as it is. Yet time is of the essence.

My preference has always been to try to think things through to their conclusions, however ugly that might get. Then, worse come to worst, you at least have considered, and perhaps made some preparation for such an eventuality. A small but highly capable group of security personnel whose loyalty, as a group, is highly likely could do a lot to prevent worse coming to worst. I have to wonder what Lloyds or other reinsurance companies would charge per million of coverage of top officials of the Syriza government against loss due to assassination or unexpalined disappearance over the next two years. I have never had much patience with the "I'd hate to think XXXXX" approach and my observation has too often been that that is exactly what should have been thought about. To wit, in the USA, JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcom X, for starters.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I share Migeru's concern that Greece could end up like Columbia. I would hate to see that. It would be a victory for fascism.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 10:09:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if Syrizia would win a civil war, talking about  a victory would be misplaced. So they put their right wing allies in charge of the military and the man in charge of reforming the police thought most of their leadership. If they instead tried to bypass the police with their own security force they'd instead fan  the flames. Saying that I'm not worried would be a lie, but in a lot of situations preparing for a war makes it more likely.
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 04:01:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
taught most of their leadership. I think I'll just give up on typing.
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 05:36:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then they should task him with addressing the problem effectively. In for a penny...

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 05:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, there is one more group, and a critical one: The construction, IT, and media (this is pertinent: these folks own all of the major private media in the country between them) moguls that oligopolize Greek state procurements and are involved in various privatizations. This includes but is not limited to, people from categories 2, 3 and 5. These are people like:
  • G.Bobolas, and his various construction and engineering companies, involved in almost every major public infrastructure (from highways to gold mining to garbage disposal),
  • S.Kokkalis (ditto for the telecom, informatics and network projects),
  • Kopelouzos and Mytilinaios in Energy and mining etc,
  • Melissanidis (a gangster and former petrol smuggler now shipping magnate, who bought the State Lottery and football pool company after it was privatized at the dictate of the troika)
these people and a few scores like them are powerful but controllable and vulnerable.
Then there are the Latsis and Vardinogiannis families (pretty much involved in everything) - who are almost like a shadow government in terms of real power

Hit these people (or most of these people) with fines and (where possible) criminal charges, along with categories 1,3, 4 and 5 and SYRIZA will be winning every election from now til 2020 with huge majorities

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 02:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a first step in that direction:

Businesses will have to pay a 26 pct tax on expenses made for supplies bought from countries with preferential tax regimes which will be returned within 12 months, after it is proved the transaction was real, according to a new provision which will be included in the draft bill on settling overdue debts towards the state.

The provision concerns article 21 of the finance ministry's bill which aims at blocking tax evasion through triangular transactions through tax havens and countries which impose very low taxes on business profits.

The ministry's 2014 list with countries that have preferential tax regimes or low taxes on business profits include, among others, Cyprus, Albania, Andorra, Bulgaria, Gibraltar, Ireland, FYROM, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

They're watering it down a bit, since it could kill legitimate business especuially with neighbouring countries, and the "business community" is furious, but it will be implemented.

Note that between the Latsis and Vardinogiannis oil companies the fines that were dismissed buy the previous administration [link in Greek] (going back a decade) were of the order of 1.2 billion Euros and had to do exactly with this "triangular" tax-avoidance schemes

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 02:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How will this impact Hellenic Bottling? They moved HQ but kept production in Greece. I wonder if they will think about moving production out of Greece now.
by Upstate NY on Sat Mar 21st, 2015 at 11:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I liked Ulrike Herrmann's suggestion of resolving the forced loan affair: pay the money, but not to the Greek government, but to a foundation for German-Greek youth programmes.

Is there anything more insulting than that?

by Euroliberal on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to whom?
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume you want to tell us that you find the suggestion insulting.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 08:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I do.
by Euroliberal on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 09:59:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And your reasons for thinking so are secret, I assume. Ot not? We can't know.
by Katrin on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 10:58:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It really is insulting.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:10:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You two really should explain why. I have already told you that that was my first thought too, but WHY on second thoughts I changed my mind. Obviously I haven't convinced you two, but you don't even try to give reasons.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 11:20:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because it is the gov'ts money, elected by the people of Greece, to decide what to do with it, in the same way that Greece does not dictate what the ECB or EFSM or IMF do with the proceeds of Greece's debt payments.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:14:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it isn't the Greek government's money. It is money they would like to have. Money they say they have a claim to. This claim is disputed, obviously. The dispute will make some experts for international law rich, but I am not sure if the courts we have can resolve it. If the money was so unequivocally Greece's, previous governments would probably pressed the matter too, and the German government would have chosen a different approach.  

So Greece can claim the money, insist it is a debt that must be paid and all that. That's not the kind of debate I want. It would be very damaging for Europe. Even if we say that Germany started it, that kindergarten: who started throwing sand. And don't count on too much understanding in Germany either. I am fairly sympathetic to the Greek claims, but this sort of debate inevitably brings the sort of "arguments" that make me flap my ears. So, if you want something divisive, that alienates the part of the German public that is on Greece's side, go ahead.

Herrmann's suggestion kills this divisive debate of claims and counter-claims. The question isn't if Greece or Germany owns the money, the question suddenly is if we can have a nice educational and cultural foundation that can do a lot of good. We are suddenly talking about spending money.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:54:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This claim is disputed, obviously. [...] If the money was so unequivocally Greece's, previous governments would probably pressed the matter too

Um, have you watched that ARD segment linked by Upstate NY?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 01:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't contradict me. Previous governments did not overly press the matter. Why not? If the claim was perfectly clear, AND there was a clear method of making Germany pay, surely previous governments would have pressed the claim. That would have been more than an occasional diplomatic letter. Personally I find the Greek claim convincing. I don't think it has a high chance of success though. So: it is not the Greek Government's money. It is not even likely that it will become the Greek government's money.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:03:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By adding "overly", you changed your previous claim, which is contradicted by the fact that previous governments kept bringing up the matter, only to be told that it's too soon to bring this up before Reunification and that it's too late after Reunification.

After adding "overly", perhaps you should consider the aspirations of Greek governments over the past few decades to join the EU and then the Euro rather than any legal ambiguity those governments might have recognised.

The lack of a clear method of making Germany pay (with no international court willing to take up the matter so far) is indeed a significant, though separate, issue. And if that remains the sole reason to term the money not Greece's, that sounds like blackmail, which would indeed be insulting.

However, I should have pointed out that I actually agree on the wisdom of Herrmann's suggestion: it would just be the kind of policy Varoufakis advocates, a growth-supporting measure that allows some face-saving on the creditor side. However, I don't see it coming any time soon.

The Jauch incident showed that any attempt to get through to the German public opinion was doomed from the start: in the current poisoned German MSM landscape (even with critical reports like the above discussed one on ARD), even if you win the debate on substance against the right-wingers and a supposedly impartial moderator acting as attack dog (and the model Bildungsbürger at that!), they will completely overshadow that with a superficial non-issue like Fingergate. And, alarmingly, with success, as shown by the latest polls on Greece. And I don't see Schäuble weakened at all. No one in the MSM or mainstream politics is confronting Schäuble's incendiary provocations, quite the contrary: for example, when Kammenos protested those in Bild, Martin Schmidt of the EP had no better idea than to cal on Tsipras to end his coalition with Kammenos who "insulted" Schäuble.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if that remains the sole reason to term the money not Greece's, that sounds like blackmail, which would indeed be insulting.

Who is blackmailing whom? The whole incident is basically an inept case of Greece trying to blackmail Germany with the german past. Won't work, as I pointed out.

"However, I should have pointed out that I actually agree on the wisdom of Herrmann's suggestion:"

I thought it ids too insulting?

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:12:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It isn't blackmail at all.

That's an insult, actually.

And secondly, it shows that only some loans and some debt are valid for you, but not others.

Given Germany's history with debt, this is absolutely astonishing.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"That's an insult, actually."

If only. Or the wouldn't bring it up in this context.

"And secondly, it shows that only some loans and some debt are valid for you, but not others."

You don't say. History is littered with unpaid debt.

"Given Germany's history with debt, this is absolutely astonishing."

I am not "Germany", you know. And if you think only Germany defaulted during the Great Recession I can point you to the direction of France and the UK.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:33:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 The Jauch incident showed that any attempt to get through to the German public opinion was doomed from the start:

Nonsense. Varoufakis had a very good hour.

for example, when Kammenos protested those in Bild, Martin Schmidt of the EP had no better idea than to cal on Tsipras to end his coalition with Kammenos who "insulted" Schäuble.

Kammenos, like the rest of Anel, is a nincompop and the earlier Tsipras can get rid of him and fools like the justice minister, the better.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know we might have less exploding threads if you wouldn't call statements you disagree with nonsense. I mean sure everybody who watched the show paid attention and isn't helplessly biased must admit that overall he did very well. But everyone who didn't will only hear about his finger.
by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:36:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And while I fully agree that Kammenos, like the rest of Anel, is a nincompop and the earlier Tsipras can get rid of him the better, that still doesn't invalidate Kammenos's criticism of Schäuble and doesn't validate Schnmidt's claim that this criticism is a reason to get rid of Kammenos. Nor does it invalidate my claim that there is no serious criticism of Schäuble in the German MSM and mainstream politics, rather the opposite.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
". Nor does it invalidate my claim that there is no serious criticism of Schäuble in the German MSM and mainstream politics, rather the opposite"

And that is wrong.And compared to Kammenos, even Schäuble is restrained.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that is wrong.

If you would care to substantiate that, that would improve the noise to signal ratio and actually do something against the ill winds blowing in this blog.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:54:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No: You made the extraordinary claim: That nobody in Germany opposes Schäuble. So should prove that.

And could you cease these personal attacks?

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 04:03:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you're demanding that DoDo proves a negative.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:19:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No I don't . His claim, his proof.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are demanding that DoDo proves that nobody in the German political mainstream opposes Stasi 2.0's Greece policy.

How is that not demanding that DoDo proves a negative?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then perhaps he shouldn't make such sweeping claims.

Here one example of critique. mainstream enough?

http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2015-02/wolfgang-schaeuble-eurokrise

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:39:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a criticism of Stasi 2.0's style, not of the substance.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:15:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's nice that SPD guys spoke out against Schäuble's veto a month ago (so did Merkel, in her way), and it is also nice that the Herdentrieb blogger (whom I also quoted earlier) spoke out against the Syriza-are-loons MSM consensus also a month ago (though considering him mainstream just because of the Die Zeit hosting is a bit of a stretch, same for Martin Wolf and Jakob Augstein at Spiegel-Online).

But what I wanted to see was criticism of Schäuble's incendiary provocations, now. Have you ran across ones like those? I didn't. (Well unless taz columnists count as MSM.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 07:29:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are just moving the goalposts. And if ZEIT is no longer mainstream, then that?  Schieritz is regular journalist there, by the way.

But here we are, Carsten Schneider of all people

- hardly a bolschevik

http://www.all-in.de/nachrichten/deutschland_welt/politik/SPD-Fraktionsvize-Schneider-kritisiert-Sch aeubles-Ton-gegenueber-Athen;art15808,1911970

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 07:39:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good, I was hoping for something like this. For the benefit of readers not speaking German:

Rheinische Post: SPD-Fraktionsvize Schneider kritisiert Schäubles Ton gegenüber Griechen | Pressemitteilung Rheinische Post Rheinische Post: SPD parliamentary group deputy leader Schneider criticizes Schäuble's tone towards Greeks | Rheinische Post press release
Düsseldorf (ots) - SPD-Fraktionsvize Carsten Schneider hat den Ton von Finanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) gegenüber der griechischen Regierung kritisiert. "Als Finanzminister hat man gegenüber den Finanzmärkten eine ganz besondere Funktion. Es ist immer besser, man sagt wenig oder gar nichts, als weiter zur Eskalation der Lage beizutragen", sagte Schneider der in Düsseldorf erscheinenden "Rheinischen Post" (Samstagausgabe). "Schweigen wäre für Schäuble jetzt besser", mahnte Schneider am Rande eines Besuchs in Athen. Dusseldorf (ots) - Carsten Schneider, deputy leader of the SPD's parliamentary group, criticized the tone of finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) towards the Greek government. "As finance minister, one has a special role towards financial markets. It is always better to say little or nothing than to contribute further to the escalation of the situation," Schneider the Dusseldorf-based "Rheinische Post" newspaper (Saturday edition). "It would be better for Schäuble now to stay silent," Schneider warned at the edge of a visit to Athens.

Now let's make some things clear. My concern is not being Right® in a debate on the internet, but with the apparent descent of public debate in Germany to the level of the US one during the Iraq War. I focus on the MSM and mainstream politicians because that's where normal non-political-junkie citizens (like the ones I met last week in Vienna) get their cues from. Mark Schieritz may sway followers of his blog (and he had a more on-topic missive than the one you linked here, also a month ago), but this is not what he gets printed in Die Welt. Martin Wolf may be allowed to ramble on at S.P.O.N., but that has zero effect on the editorial line which rather publishes shit like this narration of Schäuble. Even at taz, which defines itself outside the MSM (though they followed the Greens towards the mainstream), it makes Ulrike Herrmann's regular columns sound a voice in the wilderness when news reporting consists of pieces like the first two paragraphs of this one in which the editorial board allows with the gross bias of apparent wire reports left unchanged.

In fact, while I am happy to be dis-proven about the complete silence of mainstream critical voices and the indication that the SPD is not completely on-board with Schäuble's policy after all, concerns remain. I find that apart from the original source and Left-Party-aligned neues deutschland, only the East Berlin tabloid Berliner Kurier saw it newsworthy to report Carsten's criticism, which contrasts with the across-the-board reporting of Martin Schmidt's defence of Schäuble. Also, in the SPD, it would have been nicer if we heard this not from Carsten but foreign minister Steinmeier, who instead accused the Greek government (rather than his fellow minister) of making the conflict bilateral.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 03:56:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Now let's make some things clear. My concern is not being Right® in a debate on the internet,"

You could have fooled me.

" but with the apparent descent of public debate in Germany to the level of the US one during the Iraq War."

A strange narrative you build there. And you defend it by including a smaller and smaller part of they german media into your MSM Definition.

"but foreign minister Steinmeier, who instead accused the Greek government (rather than his fellow minister) of making the conflict bilateral."

Rightly. The greek government tries to make the cónflict bilateral and many e. g. on this blog think that is the cleverest strategy since Odysseus.  I am reminded of Pyrrhus.

by IM on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 09:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Kammenos isn't currently heading up the legalized murder of around fifty of Stasi 2.0's countrymen per business day. Which is somewhere in the ballpark of what the poverty-related excess mortality from the current sanctions regime comes to.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:56:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "I mean sure everybody who watched the show paid attention and isn't helplessly biased must admit that overall he did very well."

That is my point

 "But everyone who didn't will only hear about his finger."

Media coverage was more differentiated then that.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:42:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
e. g. here, where it is quite long explained what Varoufakis actually said, in what context he said it and so on:

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/griechenland-das-sagte-varoufakis-in-der-stinkefinger-rede-a-1 023977.html

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not a bad article, but my point was that, like Spiegel itself prints here, only the sequence with him raising his finger toward Germany stays in memory. And this article is like most others I've seen about what YV did or didn't say or do in 2013.
by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "And this article is like most others I've seen about what YV did or didn't say or do in 2013."

Then  don't see your problem. The media reaction seems to be correct.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:19:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that he doesn't get his message through. The best outcome he can get is a general realization that ARD treated him unfairly. While what he needs to get through is that he is much too reasonable for the Eurogroup/ECB to provoke a crisis over.
by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The video was doctored as they spliced his sentences together in a voiceover. Even ARD admitted it was doctored.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 08:31:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you concede that there are several reasons why previous governments did not pursue the matter with so much zeal. Or overly press it or whatever. Need we go further into semantics? Apparently we are not that far apart: the statement that it was undisputedly Greece's money simply is false.

"However, I should have pointed out that I actually agree on the wisdom of Herrmann's suggestion: it would just be the kind of policy Varoufakis advocates, a growth-supporting measure that allows some face-saving on the creditor side. However, I don't see it coming any time soon."

Varoufakis said that he liked the idea. It is not necessary to see it coming any time soon, the debate alone is important, and advances the agenda of the left.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:44:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That doesn't prove what you claim it proves.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What did I claim it proves? This is getting bizarre.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:21:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is when you started to treat some half hearted claim of Greece, uttered every two decades or so, as viable. If all this so clear, why did Greece never did it take to court?  

Let is rest. This is an ill wind that blows nobody good.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you can't identify my supposed claim the ARD report supposedly doesn't support. I do note, however, that the ARD report definitely treated more than one claim from Greece as viable, so, again, you should direct your criticism at them.

This is an ill wind that blows nobody good.

What about the ill wind blowing out of Schäuble's mouth, unopposed (or even implicitly supported as in the case of Martin Schmidt)?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:48:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Schäuble about the Second World War or making other claims out of history? As far I know he doesn't. And the unopposed is just your claim, without any substance. Do you really think Germany that monolithic?

And nobody is defending Schäuble here, while you and others defend the worts nationalistic nonsense from Greece.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 04:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Schäuble about the Second World War or making other claims out of history? As far I know he doesn't.
Greece's government bonds are history.

Stasi 2.0 is making quite a lot of hay over those.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"So you can't identify my supposed claim the ARD report supposedly doesn't support."

Your claim that it was a permanent and relevant greek government policy to pursue these claims and these claims are generally recognized.  

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 04:07:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They did press the matter previously. Have you even read all the links we have provided that proved this? There is heavy documentation that they have been pressing for the loan forever.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By "pressing" I mean recognisable pressure.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This has been an issue that has made international news repeatedly over the decades.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
like the Loch Ness monster.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Germany would have avoided it altogether by simply paying the loan.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not at all. Because this would have reopened all other WW II claims. The other countries would never have accepted the "Greece is special!" claim.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:35:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What other countries have pressed a war loan issue?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. But until recently I didn't knew about the lingering greek claim either. And "pressing" is an wild exaggeration.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:53:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tried to find sources on war loan issues with other occupied countries, but found absolutely nothing: it doesn't seem like any other countries brought that up. In contrast, I found additional details on the Greek forced loan issue before Syriza times. The first, in an interview with a historian from March 2013, is on the Red-Green period (and I also quote the part where the historian distinguishes the loan issue from reparations):

Historiker über Wehrmachtsmassaker: ,,Deutsche müssen Zeichen setzen" - taz.deHistorians on the Wehrmacht massacre: "Germans should make an example" - taz.de
[...] Dabei gab und gibt es Möglichkeiten für Entschädigungen, ohne dass die Deutschen ihre Position, keine Reparationen zu zahlen, aufgeben müssen. Etwa die Zwangsanleihe bei der griechischen Zentralbank [...] Schröder und Fischer signalisierten vor 1998 an Athen, sie wären ,,offen" für einen Kompromiss. Als Rot-Grün regierte, lehnte man Verhandlungen kategorisch ab. Der griechische Vertreter sagte mir damals: ,,Als wären wir gegen eine Glaswand geprallt."[...] Yet, there have been and are opportunities for compensation which wouldn't require the Germans to give up their position that they won't pay reparations. For example, the forced loan from the Central Bank of Greece [...] Before 1998, Schröder and Fischer signalled towards Athens that they are open for a compromise. Once Red-Green had came to govern, it rejected talks categorically. The Greek representative told me at the time: "It wads as if we hit a glass wall."

In December 2013, a study about the Greek loan issue was prepared for the German parliament. While the document basically details that none of the legal particulars are as clear-cut as the federal government claims (for example, the forced loans may have been legal under international law at the time and any statute of limitations would probably apply from 1990), it avoids definite claims for the most part, and the interesting part is only at the end: it explains that for Greece to make a legal claim before the ICJ, its own courts or the courts of a third country, it would need Germany's consent. For a 'hostile' lawsuit (that is, without the talks sought in Schröder's time), only German courts would be available.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:47:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"it explains that for Greece to make a legal claim before the ICJ, its own courts or the courts of a third country, it would need Germany's consent. For a 'hostile' lawsuit (that is, without the talks sought in Schröder's time), only German courts would be available. "

Yes, it is prettey clear the the ICJ has no jurisdiction, the Claim being to old. And in greek Courts there is state immunity (recently confirmed by the (ICJ)).

That leaves the german courts...

And then the german side could try to use the letter of the treaty: It is a no interest loan.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 07:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Essentially, you are saying Germany avoids its debts because they are way too big.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 04:50:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not debt. Nothing so solid exists. We are talking about potential reparation claim of an unknown size, surely unnumbered. And yes they are in all probability much to big. And always were.

What you are claiming is that Greece is special. Why Greece and not e. g. Serbia?

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 04:56:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not Serbia? Seems to me that Serbia could make a couple of excellent cases for reparations against Germany.

Wouldn't even have to go all the way back to the War, if you accept that Serbia is the primary successor state to Yugoslavia.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:22:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that Serbia could make a couple of excellent cases for reparations against Germany.

Yes, that is my point.

"Wouldn't even have to go all the way back to the War, if you accept that Serbia is the primary successor state to Yugoslavia."

We will talk about this as soon as Serbia has paid Croatia.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 05:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia isn't currently inflicting austerity on anyone.

Germany is.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:03:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
?

Ans o Serbia hasn't any riht zto rteparationd? the grecce isa special argumnts get more and more absurd.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:21:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We will talk about this as soon as Serbia has paid Croatia.
Serbia isn't currently inflicting austerity on anyone.

I don't see any possible way this exchange could be confusing.

Greece is not special, but Germany is. Germany should be reminded of all the reparations it is in arrears for its war crimes right back to fucking Bismarck, because Germany is not meeting the central social justification for giving legal closure: That it enables the perpetrator to go back to being a productive member of society.

Germany is staging the latest in a long string of abusive hissy fits that threaten to tear Europe apart. Bringing up the long string of abusive hissy fits is therefore perfectly appropriate.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 01:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" because Germany is not meeting the central social justification for giving legal closure: "

namely following yur policy preferences of the moment to the letter.

Silly.

And calling the Holocaust hissy fit - now that is special.

by IM on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 01:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By imposing policies on a sovereign country that flat up murder on the order of two hundred people per week.

If Merkel sent the Bundeswehr to Athens to shoot two hundred random Greeks on the Syntagma square every Saturday, she would be doing less damage than current policy.

Pretty sure having the Bundeswehr murder random foreigners for no reason is a crime that foreign governments could demand reparations over.

But apparently having the Bundesbank murder random foreigners for no reason is totally honky-dory.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 02:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Normally, 'hunky dory' would be the appropriate description, however, in this case 'honky-dory' does seem a significant improvement!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 11:13:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about we don't bring up the Balkan wars when there is no immediate need to do so? We are arguing in circles already, if we just add the Balkan wars, Mohammed caricatures and Pussy riot we'll be able to compete with a pressurized water reactor in heat output.

For what its worth, the only real merit in bringing up ww2 I see was as an illustration that yes, debts are renegotiated all the time. Since there is no real prospect of getting money out of it right now, pressing the forced loan issue at this point won't help.

Overall I must admit that I misread the general dynamic. No cans have been kicked, the Euro side is going for broke.

by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 07:29:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 08:24:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Greek government's strategy to talk to the decision-makers of the institutions rather than the technical experts only achieved that those decision-makers made clear that the technical experts do their bidding.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 03:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But we knew this and I can only assume they knew it too. So what happens now?
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 06:17:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read below however.

WHen the technocrats reject humanitarian laws, the decision makers take cover, as Moscovici has by disavowing the rejection.

No doubt they will come at the Greeks in other ways, but this electoral promise cannot be openly rejected in public now.

by Upstate NY on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 09:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's a fair way of putting it. Anything wrong with the principle? ;)
by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 04:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's your standard for "recognisable"?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
more noise.

It is nice to see that the only part of my post you all get excited over is the part where I found previous Greek governments lacking zeal in pressing the matter. (Would you really say "press" for a performance like that und normal circs?)

No disagreement about the main point then. Good.

And the proposal is getting more support: http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2015-03/griechenland-reparation-jugendwerk

by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
more noise.

Compared to what? Isn't your standard that you, personally, haven't heard of these Greek government protests via German media before (while Upstate NY's equally subjective standard is that she kept reading of those in Greek media)?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:28:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" haven't heard of these Greek government protests via German media before"

While you did read daily about these claims prior to 2008?

Are you kidding me?

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:37:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While you did read daily about these claims prior to 2008?

Where have you read me make such a claim? It would really do good for the debate if you wouldn't make up your own fantasy version of other people's opinions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:51:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you haven't made this claim, what is your point? That the greek government seriously pursued this claim but nobody ever noticed it?

I didn't notice, you didn't notice - how silent was the greek campaign?

The best kept secret in international politics, it seems.

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that you rfuse to recognise your subjectiveness. If you haven't noticed it, it doesn't mean that nobody noticed it. Upstate NY noticed it, so did the German historian in the Red-Green era I quoted above.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 06:53:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" If you haven't noticed it, it doesn't mean that nobody noticed it."

So all you have is a historian who specializes in german-greek after war relations. Hardly the general public, in any country.  So yes, nobody has brought this up publicly in decades. And nobody, really nobody make this claims besides Fleischer. Quite touching that he wants to prove his greek Soul or whatever. But if read the interview again, even he says that nobody talked about the second world war in Greece in decades.  

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 07:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin, I thought you might be interested in this:

http://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora.2371&itemId=2371

by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 11:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if I agreed now, for argument's sake, that there had always been "noise" on the Greek side, the rest of my post would still stand.
by Katrin on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 02:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not it isn't. That would be up for negotiation.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 01:03:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt is debt.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 01:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that you, Mr Schäuble?

Seriously. That is not the way to challenge the dominant narrative. It is the complete surrender of alternative policy.

by Katrin on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:06:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one said you have to pay the whole debt, just some of it.

I also believe Greece should pay most of the debt it owes, to the extent that it can.

This is Syriza's position as well. It is indeed almost everyone's position associated with Greece, including some of the radical left elements of the party.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 02:35:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Varoufakis also spoke about debt restructuring with growth-linked bonds, and also about a Merkel Plan, Herrmann's idea is not that far from those.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just some of it.

what happened to "debt is debt!"?

by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No it isn't and it never was.
by IM on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Link to the whole show.
by generic on Mon Mar 16th, 2015 at 06:01:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 12:04:14 PM EST
Jehu has a point in that there should be a better answer to the crisis then a more humane captitalism, but then  again it is not like he or she is presenting any alternative.
by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 12:19:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this conclusion
SYRIZA is in power today precisely because of the flaws in the European Union -- precisely because Keynesian policies don't work in the euro. Which means, the neoliberals have no way to exit from this crisis, folks. They are trapped and can be killed off.

Whatever happened to "Capitalism has suffered a major historical failure; so, let's try to kill it, starting in Greece."

begs the question of what exactly the Greek government should do to "kill off capitalism" in Greece. In any case, I think Jehu advocates the Abolition of Labor, starting with a reduction of working hours and an increase in wages.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 12:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abolition of labour looks like an interesting idea. Can't see how to get there from current Greece, unless one the first steps is to get some policy space for the government, leading back to Keynesianism.

In fact, I think real work hours went down in western economies during the heyday of Keynesianism, and then up some in most of them during the neoliberal decades. If so, then fewer work hours can best be pushed within a reformatist framework.

by fjallstrom on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 07:48:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you mention "abolition of labor" to undergraduates at a top American university, some of them will begin to cry. Some will drop the class. They have worked so hard to get there, they are prepping to become doctors or lawyers. And I found this to be true especially of immigrants or lower/middle class students who do not have Mommy or Daddy's spoils as a backup.

I am not exaggerating this. The opposition to such an idea is visceral.

by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 09:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds likely, abolishing a hierarchy looks bad not only for those on top, but for all those who have invested in their position in it.

The beauty of abolition of labour as a goal is that it can be approached step by step by shortening the work year/week/day, and while that is going on the relative position in the heirarchy are to a large extent kept while everybody who are employed benefits materially form the shorter time spent working. But that beauty is also its weakness, it does not work well as a rallying cry for revolution and is not suited for taking advantage of a crisis of capitalism.

by fjallstrom on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 10:55:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And 'undergraduates at a top American universitlies' are precisely those who, if they become largley in favor of radical changes to our social structure, will be best able to bring this about, along with those everywhere in whose interests it is to see and then to change the core drivers of the current economic disaster. I concluded back in the '60s that the society was going to HAVE to implement a minimum standard of living due to reduced demand for labor from automation, etc. It took me 20+ years to see that we could and would just disparage and dismiss those who couldn't find jobs and blame the victims. It is the American Way.

So, if we 'abolish labor' what, besides core human compassion, is to prevent a society that, today, sees a social safety net as an alternative, from seeing death camps as a superior alternative in a decade? And the higher you go the less compassion you see in this society, the top rungs of banking and business being the natural goal of such people? I find the idea to be very dangerous. We have seen and are seeing what time and conservative governments can do to social safety nets.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More from Jehu: Capitalism Without A Capitalist: Why SYRIZA probably will fail
Lebowitz explains why a close reading of Marx will show capital "produces a worker who looks upon its requirements as `self-evident natural laws'?
"When we think about the dependence of the worker on capital, is it difficult to grasp why capitalism keeps going? After all, Marx not only proposed that capitalism "breaks down all resistance" he also went on to say that capital can "rely on his [the worker's] dependence on capital, which springs from the conditions of production themselves, and is guaranteed in perpetuity by them" (899). Capitalism tends, in short, to produce the workers it needs."
Both essays go a long way toward explaining why SYRIZA, although it now has in its hands management of the largest single employer in Greece, likely will never consciously exploit this position to advance the emancipation of society from labor.


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:16:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it is at all impossible. It is primarily a problem of bringing the unconscious presumptions into consciousness where they can be discredited and dismissed. This is best accomplished by those who are already critical of the existing system because they identify more with the victims than the beneficiaries of that system.

But Jehu's analysis DOES coincide with that of Nitzan and Bichler in "Capital as Power" in that the essence of capitalism is the ability of the capitalist to creatively reorder society to meet the needs of capitalist production. There is no reason, other than the success of the 'Government can't do anything right!' mantra of the appologists for the current order along with the string of disasters THEY have themselves deliberately created to make their point, for Syriza leadership to think that they can not  creatively reorder that part of Greek society they need to change in order to help those people. The problems will come from the predictable, ruthless attempts to destroy Syriza and all it stands for by those serving those benefiting from the current order

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:28:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what we have to do is re-educate the high achievers?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:20:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only a significant portion thereof. And, in Greece, that appears to already have happened and they do have power. That is precisely why this government is viewed as being so dangerous. If they can create a serious counter example that works TPTB fear it will be game over. May it be so. Fiat justicia ruat caelum.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, my problem with "reeducate the high achievers" is that it is too close for comfort to Pol Pot's government program.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 12:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And decidedly not what I was thinking. But it might seem that current efforts to keep them in the neo-liberal mental box might be failing in many places. That is where I see opportunity. The Pol Pot approach is more likely from those dodo is describing in his No Students for politics diary.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 06:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

You can't have Greece collecting tax arrears to improve its budget. That would take the pressure off.

by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 01:15:47 PM EST


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 01:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be time to find out who takes whose orders in the Commission. Most positive noises have come from Moscovici and I assumed he speaks for Juncker since who else is there? Hollande? Heh. Now a betrayal was of course always in the cards but I don't see what he would get out of it now. I mean this is an obvious ratfucking if I ever saw one.
by generic on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 03:07:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Declan Costello is 3 rungs below Moscovici in the Commission.
Asked at a news conference about reports that a Commission official had tried to prevent the Greek government presenting a humanitarian crisis bill, Moscovici said: "There is no question of us putting any kind of veto on a humanitarian bill, as I saw reported in some media."


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 08:48:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what happens with the installments plan?
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 09:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Passed in parliament today

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 03:29:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the excuse that the tax arrears legislation would waive late payment surcharges if people pay soon, presumably.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2015 at 01:26:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 
by Katrin on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 06:15:56 PM EST
That is actually worth it. I'm in tears.
by generic on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 07:05:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Incredibly Twitter is exploding with idiots who take this stuff seriously. Even Varoufakis seems to have forgotten how many fingers he has. People have been fed with the idea that satire is the same as inciting hatered of minorities and can no longer understand it. Hey, the guy has a message on a media hype, not on fingers!

by Katrin on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 05:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meh, I choose to believe it is real and not a fake fake since it is a lot more fun that way. Of course in the end it doesn't matter.
by generic on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 08:38:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The last sentence of the "statement" is the real important one. And I see no one is commenting on the background photo, which is a doctored version of a rather infamous photo, with heads replaced and a middle finger in place of a Nazi salute. The original was made in Rostock-Lichtenhagen in August 1992 and the drunken local who pissed his pants made the salute to cheer on neo-Nazis attacking a refugee home.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 12:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last sentence of the "statement" is the real important one.

And, checking the quite extensive MSM reaction, the most ignored one... still, Böhmermann really up-ended the ruling Fingergate narrative.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 01:22:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like we found the German equivalent of John Oliver.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 03:25:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This John Oliver? Whom did he troll in a similar manner?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 03:48:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I Just used Oliver as a stand-in for fake-news satirist from English-language television (such as John Stewart).

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 04:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah. As a pop-cultural aside, in the late 1990s-early 2000s, there has been a quite successful German version of The Weekly Show (Die Wochenschow on Sat1, which made stars of people like Anke Engelke), and later comedy shows used its style at least in segments. But IMHO Böhmermann's trolling of the MSM was a different class.

What it reminded me of was a different piece of satire: the book Er ist wieder da (= "He Returned"), in which Hitler suddenly wakes up in late 2000s Berlin, and although modern Germany is a cultural shock for him, he aims to return to power by becoming a TV demagogue (with everyone believing he is an actor). The MSM and the media-obsessed political class of the Berlin republic only became worse since then.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 03:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh, he made me think of a German John Stewart! Encouraging...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2015 at 12:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find that earlier, Böhmermann was ordered by a court to pay a fine to the photographer who shot the Rostock-Lichterhagen photo, because he violated copyright by tweeting it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 02:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are no copyright exceptions for satire in Germany?
by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 04:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was having trouble understanding the last part of that last sentence, so I tried to transcribe it. Luckily, it's also in Spiegel: Böhmermann legt noch mal nach: Ein Fake ist ein Fake ist ein Fake
Niemals würden wir die notwendige journalistische Debatte über einen zwei Jahre alten, aus dem Zusammenhang gerissenen Stinkefinger und all diejenigen, die diese Debatte ernsthaft öffentlich führen, derart skrupellos der Lächerlichkeit preisgeben.
We would never so unscrupulously expose as laughable the necessary journalistic debate over a two-year-old, out-of-context middle finger and all those who have conducted this debate publicly in all seriousness.
The fact that in German the "expose the laughability thereof" naturally goes at the end of the sentence contributes significantly to the impact of the statement, of course.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 03:24:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think leaving most of it at the end works better in English, too:

We would never expose the necessary journalistic debate over a two-year-old, out-of-context middle finger as well as all those who have conducted this debate publicly in all seriousness to ridicule in such an unscrupulous fashion.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 03:54:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that this video already contained a passage where Böhmermann made the aim of his satire clear, beginning at around 7:49 in. Transscript of the original and edited English subtitles:

Es trifft aber wirklich ein Nerv. So sind wir Deutsche halt. In einem Jahrhundert zweimal Europa verwüstet, aber wenn man uns den Stinkefinger zeigt, dann FLIP-PEN WIR AUS. Dann kennen wir keine sachlichen Diskussionen mehr. Wenn uns ein Griche den Stinkefinger zeigt, dann FLIPPEN WIR AUS. Denn wir sind Deutsche.But it really strikes a chord. But that's how we Germans are. Devastating Europe two times within a century, but GOING NUTS when somebody's giving us the finger. Objective debate is then out of question. When a Greek gives us the finger, we totally freak out. Because we're Germans.
Lieber Redaktion von Günther Jauch. Yanis Varoufakis hat Unrecht, ihr habt den Video nicht gefälscht. Ihr habt den Video einfach aus dem Zusammenhang gerissen, und einen Griechischen Politiker am Stinkefinger durch den Studio gezogen, damit sich Mutti und Vati abends halt schön aufregen können: "Der Außländer. Raus aus Europa mit dem! Er ist arm und nimmt us Deutschen das Geld weg! Das gibts ja wohl gar nicht! Wir sind hier die Chefs!"Dear editorial staff of Günther Jauch, Yanis Varoufakis is wrong, you haven't doctored the footage. You simply took it out of context, and gave the Greek politician the runaround by pulling on his middle finger, so that in the evening Mom and Dad could pursue their passion of being outraged: "The Foreigner. Ot of Europe with him! He is poor and takes away the money from us Germans. That's just not possible! We are the bosses in here!"
So, that's what you did. Und der Rest ist von uns... [Lächeln] So, that's what you did. And the rest was our contribution... [smile]


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 21st, 2015 at 04:36:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How to talk about Syriza and Podemos without mentioning unemployment.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 01:17:34 PM EST


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 05:38:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Talks between Greece and key EU leaders unlikely to bring breakthrough | World news | The Guardian

Unsuccessful and bad-tempered meetings this week between the two sides in Athens have left Greece looking isolated. Tsipras pushed two bills through parliament on Wednesday granting relief in the form of food stamps and free electricity to those hardest hit by the savage austerity of the past five years.

Eurozone officials complained that this should not have happened without their blessing, accusing Tsipras of "unilateral" action. He responded robustly, arguing that the days of Greece taking orders from its creditors were over and that he was asserting Greece's economic and political sovereignty.

The decision to interrupt the summit to enable a smaller-format negotiation with Tsipras also ruffled feathers among eurozone creditors not taking part in the talks. "I'm angry," said Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister. He was joined by the Dutch and Luxembourg leaders who held up the beginning of the summit by almost an hour because of an "exchange of information" on the row with Tusk. They also insisted that the rest of the summit be briefed on the Tsipras talks, probably on Friday.

It seems like the Troika and the Greek government are having another who blinks first match.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 02:44:13 PM EST
Angela Merkel dashes hopes of Greek breakthrough at Brussels summit - live updates | Business | The Guardian

Athens faces €1.7bn euro in debt repayments this month alone. The lack of liquidity has begun to affect the real economy with officials blaming the Dutch finance minister and president of the Euro group Jeroen Dijsselbloem for massive withdrawals from banks yesterday.

"His statements about a Cyprus-style bail-in were totally irresponsible," said one. "They are the sort of thing that could spark the accident everyone is talking about," he added.

"If anything, an accident would take the form of a run on banks."

The "honourable compromise" [see earlier report] that Greece's leftist- led government is said to be seeking could take the form of Athens promising to enact immediate privatisations and maintain unpopular property taxes, insiders said, in return for rescue funds being unlocked.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 02:47:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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