Germany Refuses Greece Honorable Surrender
The Guardian – Larry Elliott
Athens’ decision to accept a Eurozone loan extension shows the Troika did not really want to negotiate with Syriza – it wanted capitulation.
There is a phrase for what Germany is seeking to do to Greece: a Carthaginian peace. It dates back to the Punic wars when Rome emerged victorious in its long struggle with Carthage but refused to allow its opponent the chance of an honourable surrender. Instead, it enforced a brutal settlement, burning Carthage to the ground and enslaving those inhabitants it did not massacre.
A Carthaginian peace is what is being offered to Alexis Tsipras. On Thursday, the Greek prime minister made it clear that he was willing to see the white flag of surrender flutter over Athens. He accepted that he would have to swallow most of the conditions demanded of him by Greece’s eurozone partners but asked for a few concessions to sugar the pill.
Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, immediately slapped Tsipras down. What Greece was proposing was unacceptable, Schaeuble said. Unless the Germans are bluffing, and there’s nothing to suggest that they are, it leaves Greece with a binary choice: abject surrender or going nuclear.
One Last Chance For Greece
Deutsche Welle – Bernd Riegert
Better an end with terror than terror without end. Despite requesting further assistance, the Syriza government in Greece should compromise soon or step down to avert a Greek euro exit,
Germany’s rejection of Greece’s request to extend its current aid program has surprised and even worried many in Brussels. The radical left-right coalition in Athens had finally deigned to lodge its vital application to request the extension – and thus ensured there would be some hope for an agreement with its creditors.
But conservative German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble immediately pounded the table with his fist. He exposed the application as sham: Greece said it was committed, at least in principle, to meeting many demands of the Eurogroup, but Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis remained too vague about the details. Too many loopholes. Rejected!
The radical coalition led by Alexis Tsipras has probably the last chance to come to its senses. And the tough guys in the Eurogroup have probably their last chance to find common ground with the Greeks and do something to protect the cohesion of the euro, which is still the heart of European integration.
The fact that the Greek side has ruled out making changes to its application suggests that negotiations will be protracted and difficult. Results are by no means guaranteed. Greek insolvency is moving inexorably closer.
The Syriza-ANEL team should fail as soon as possible on the basis of their own campaign promises. Their magic should disappear and they should be voted out democratically. That too would be hard for Greece, but still better than being ruled by a left-wing radical bigmouth, an economic dilettante and a nationalist switch-hitter and being ejected from the EU.
Has Greece’s “Lehman Moment” Finally Arrived?
CNBC – Matt Clinch
Greek economist Elena Panaritis, former member of the Greek Parliament and the World Bank, drew comparisons with the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008. As with the fall of the big U.S. bank, market-watchers feel euro zone policymakers want to show the world they will only be pushed so far — with the result being Greece would be allowed to exit the euro zone.
Panaritis thought there was a “political statement as well as economic statement” being made during the negotiations. Randy Kroszner, a former U.S. Federal Reserve governor and the professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, agreed that there were comparisons between the two events.
“I think there a parallel, but the tools exist if the European Union wants to keep Greece in and if Greece is willing to stay in,” he told CNBC Friday. “Even though it may be quite ugly, the likelihood of complete chaos is much lower. So that gives policymakers more willingness to say ‘Hey, we’ll take that risk’.”
Greece Should Not Give In To Germany’s Bullying
Foreign Policy – Phillippe Legrain
Ever since the initial bargain in the 1950s between post-Nazi West Germany and its wartime victims, European integration has been built on compromise. So there is huge pressure on Greece’s new Syriza government to be “good Europeans” and compromise on their demands for debt justice from their European partners — also known as creditors. But sometimes compromise is the wrong course of action. Sometimes you need to take a stand.
While Greece alone may not be able to change the entire monetary union, it could act as a catalyst for the growing political backlash against the Eurozone’s stagnation policies. For the first time in years, there is hope that the dead hand of Merkelism can be unclasped, not just fear of the consequences and nationalist loathing.
More immediately, Greece can save itself. Left in the clutches of its EU creditors, it is not destined for the sunlit uplands of recovery, but for the enduring misery of debt bondage.