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Greek Default: Lost in ‘Selective’ Translation

The stance of Greek government is clear: Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou didn’t not talk about ‘selective default’ (επιλεκτική χρεοκοπία) or  “teilweiser Zahlungsausfall” (μερική αδυναμία πληρωμών). Papandreou’s interview in Financial Times/Germany  set the political scene on fire and created new uncertainty. The interview was done in English, published in German and translated in Greek. And there it was a mistake in the German translation?

I only wish there was a audio release of the controversial sentences …

Anyway, the government spokesman issued a statement last night to correct things, most probably some officials spoke to radio and television networks this morning under a common slogan: OM didn;t speak of selective default. Which after all it’s just a rating agencies term and has nothing to do with the real world.

Virtual Default?

If we consider that the real Greek debt of 350 billion euro does not exist in real, printed banknotes, then I propose we could consider ‘selective default’ as a virtual credit event too. Greek PM might not be wrong after all to say something like terminology here, reality there.

Speaking at the Parliament on Thursday morning George Papandreou attacked all those ‘playing with words, confusing with purpose the terminology of rating agencies with painful conditions for the real economy”

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos went even further and urged “citizens to listen only to what the government says!” (state TV NET, )

Can someone, please, explain how we call a debt buy back with a powerful reduction on the nominal value?

Until the answer arrives, I rush to the nearest church and pray for the sanity of our leaders….

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  1. Good plan. Let us all light a candle. “Selective virtuality?!”
    But I propose one change: Let’s all WALK SLOWLY to the nearest church. We are, after all, in Greece and in a heatwave of sorts. 😉

  2. keeptalkinggreece

    true, we can wait for the midnight mass mess