Between beer and sausages – at a picturesque village in Germany where the G7 leaders convened – the leaders of the U.S. and Germany, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel, discussed an issue of common concern: Greece.
The result was that the United States made a major shift in its position. A change that portends much. Unlike the hitherto generally supportive statements President Obama has been making about Greece, he is now on board with Ms. Merkel’s position.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that, “There was unanimity of opinion in the room that it was important for Greece and their partners to chart a way forward that builds on crucial structural reforms and returns Greece to sustainable, long-term growth. We’re pleased that we have seen similar indications from the Greek government. And there obviously is a deadline that’s looming, and the President is certainly hopeful that Greece and their partners will be able to chart this path without causing undue volatility in the global financial markets.”
In other words, first, the key to “long-term development” is “structural reforms”: exactly what Greece has been trying to avoid for years now.
Second, “the hope” is that Greece will remain in the euro.
Please note: they are talking about “hope,” not about decisions they have made. What is going on, then? Do they want to punish the leftist government in Athens? Do they want to overthrow it?
It is now clear that the confidence and patience of Greece’s partners is vanishing rapidly. The regular complaints from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are revealing – and methodical.
So, if they reach the conclusion that Mr. Tsipras is unable to cope with the situation, then to protect their investments and to avoid disturbances in the markets they will want to undermine him politically.
Can they? Easily. It is not very difficult to force Tsipras into resorting to restrictions on capital movements. They toppled George Papandreou, and undermined Antonis Samaras. Would they really leave Tsipras alone?
Nevertheless, although time is galloping toward the end of this crucial month, it is encouraging that the Greek government is reconsidering its plans for a solution – the so-called realistic plan, according to Tsipras; the dishonest one, in the words of a Financial Times commentator who cited Tsipras’ June 5 speech in Parliament.
The plans Greece submits must include structural changes that this time Greece will have to implement. It is the only way to solve the impasse; the only way for economic development in Greece.