Tag Archives: Greek debt crisis

What does the eurozone deal really mean for Greece?

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

The European Commission announced this week that it’s prepared to provide 95 percent of the funding for structural projects in Greece. Members of an EC task force are due to arrive in Athens later this month to oversee the implementation of reforms. Ministers, meanwhile, are trying to put together legislation that will convince Greece’s lenders that it is taking its role seriously.

In one way or another, these actions all stem from the deal agreed between the eurozone and Greece in Brussels last month. Even though the agreement has set in motion such a wide-ranging process, there is still great uncertainty about what the agreement on July 21 actually means for all those involved and how it will benefit Greeks. There is a sense that Greece and its eurozone partners are trying to navigate through a storm with a patchwork map and some untested instruments to help them.

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From the debt ceiling to the debt crisis

In conversation with Jeff Santos of AM 1510 Revolution Boston:

http://www.revolutionboston.com/podcast/2011-08/2712

The secret of our success

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

 As far as cringeworthy moments go, it was right up there: Prime Minister George Papandreou being given a standing ovation by his Cabinet last Friday, just a few hours after the eurozone agreed on a new support package for Greece. That’s not to say that Papandreou — or indeed Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos — doesn’t deserve some credit for the energy and purpose he brought to those marathon negotiations, but with everything still at stake and so many questions about the deal unanswered, a triumphant welcome for a conquering hero hardly seems appropriate.

To be fair, Papandreou tried to play down his moment of glory last Friday — and continued to do so over the ensuing days — by arguing that securing the second package, worth 159 billion euros, had been a “success that belongs to all Greeks.” Nevertheless, painting the deal as a success at a time when the effects of the debt crisis are being felt far and wide and when the worst is still to come seems not just premature but immature. Greece is still tiptoeing along the precipice — it’s no time to break out into song and dance.

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One giant leap for Europe, one small step for Greece

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

A general rule emerged from the financial crisis that originated in the USA a few years ago: If a financial instrument is too complicated to understand, then you’d better start worrying about how safe it is. So, when one of the world’s leading economists, Paul Krugman, writes of the deal for Greece agreed by eurozone leaders on Thursday, “If you aren’t confused, you aren’t paying attention,” then perhaps we need to put the champagne on ice.

Thursday was undoubtedly a landmark moment for the European Union and the single currency. It was never an inevitability that eurozone leaders would arrive at a deal. When you have 17 leaders with 17 different electorates and myriad domestic concerns to juggle along with worries about the future of the euro, there can never be a guaranteed outcome. Nevertheless, the eurozone chose on Thursday the road to a possible solution rather than the path to an almost certain dissolution. The danger has not been dispelled but more time has been bought.

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Tribal politics

The booing rose and died again as Piggy lifted the white, magic shell.
“Which is better — to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?”
A great clamor rose among the savages. Piggy shouted again.
“Which is better — to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”
Again the clamor and again — “Zup!”
Ralph shouted against the noise.
“Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?”
Now Jack was yelling too and Ralph could no longer make himself heard. Jack had backed right against the tribe and they were a solid mass of menace that bristled with spears.

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies,” a tale of stranded English schoolboys who veer between camaraderie and savagery as they try to survive on an uninhabited island, is a story you don’t forget very easily. Nevertheless, we should be thankful to Greece’s politicians for regularly reminding us of its key themes such as clashing impulses, moral quandaries and the desperate pursuit of power.

Even more than usual, the country’s political scene has closely resembled for the last few weeks the unforgiving and unnegotiable terrain of the island where Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Roger, Simon and the others were cast adrift. We are used to the mundane barbs from George, Antonis, Aleka, Giorgos, Alexis and the others being punctuated by the odd dose of vitriol but the political language recently has utterly caustic. Grave accusations such as those of betrayal, lying and inciting violence are now being thrown about in Parliament like backgammon dice in a kafeneio.

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In euro’s moment of destiny, bold may not be bold enough for Greece

Graffiti by Absent

Eurozone leaders will meet in Brussels on Thursday for an emergency summit whose main aim will be to agree on a second bailout package for debt-burdened Greece as it becomes increasingly obvious that the current system of providing interest-bearing loans to Athens in return for austerity measures and structural reforms is not viable for much longer.

The summit is shaping up as a pivotal moment in the single currency’s history because in attempting to address the Greek situation, eurozone leaders are set to adopt unprecedented measures that could pave the way for a much more radical and comprehensive approach to the debt crisis.

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Diaspora MPs propose launching ‘Greek Davos’ and campaign to promote local products

A group of foreign parliamentarians of Greek descent wants to help Greece recover from its debt crisis by creating an annual event to bring together leading businessmen and thinkers, similar to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

More than 200 MPs from around the world are members of the World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association (WHIA), which concluded its general assembly in Athens on Saturday.

The group, which adopted a motion calling on “the forces of Hellenism all over the world to unite in this time of need and demonstrate solidarity with Greece” and on Greeks abroad to “help and support Greece to improve its economy” will now begin efforts to initiate a Davos-style event in Greece.

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