Eurogroup: Dirty Games with Greek Bailout Tranche

Posted by in Economy, Editor, Politics

Greek Parliament adopted the inhuman austerity bill and the sharp-cuts budget 2013. Two main preconditions for the debt-ridden country to receive the 31-billion-euro bailout tranche. Just recently, Prime minister Antonis Samaras had claimed, that the state has money until November 16th 2012.

However Greece’s lenders do not seem willing to turn on the green light. At least not yet. Not today, during the Eurogroup meeting. Even though the Troika has completed its progress and fiscal adjustements report.

Jean Claude Juncker confirmed on Monday that the Troika report in in their hands. And stressed that there won’t be any decision about the tranche disbursement. However he underlined the necessity of a time-table for the release of the 31-billion euro.

A time table? something like 2 billion on Nov 18, 1.5 billion on Nov 26, 1.1 billion on Dec 24 and so on? Hardly.

Troika’s New Demands

From what I read in national and international press, the country’s lenders want to add more and even more preconditions. For example:

1) an escrow account where the tranche money would be away from the Greeks’ hands and under foreign control. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had even insist recently, that also part of state revenues should land into this account.

2) a clause that state spending will be automatically cut should the revenues miss targets.

3) Change of the law for privatizations, so that Greek Parliament won’t be able to stop the privatization deals.

4) private tax collector companies, sharper fines for tax evaders but also: scrapping regulations for debts to state, confiscation of assets, wages and pensions and actions for debts repayment starting of even 1 euro. [I read that tax office in Ileia, Peloponnese, started sending tax bills also to those owing to state 300 euro.]

These additional preconditions are being added to German demands for fixing the issue of sustainability of Greek debt and the question who will come up for the additional estimated 30 billion euro cost, should Greece be given a two-year extension of bailout program. 

Greek Government

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras is confident that the tranche will do arrive in Greece and told reporters that the money ‘some time in the near future, as the parliaments of EU member states must approve the new loan tranche. Because it is loan and not interest-rates-free financial aid.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to travel to Brussels and meet EU president Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday, at 11 o’ clock in the morning.

Samaras will have in his luggage the 167 YES to budget 2013 and the 153 YES to the austerity package.

But he is exposed in the eyes of the opposition parties and the eyes of the country’s citizens and ND’s voters. Neither did he keep his pre-elections promises not to proceed to further cuts in wages and pensions and raise new taxes, neither the Europeans give the green light for the tranche after both crucial bills passed by the Parliament. Even with losses for the coalition government. ND lost 2 seats in Parliament, PASOK lost 6 after both expelled lawmakers who refused to support the bills.

Samaras is exposed and the gvoernment has to pass a new taxation bill until the end of the year. Will the government manage to do so? Will he manage to keep his promise that these austerity measures are the last ones?

Nevertheless, Samaras goes to Brussels and ask for a strong political declaration of support for Greece and a two year extension.

What are leders up to?

Do Greece’s lenders push for the fall of Samaras’ government? Do they want a left-wing government with ‘revolutionary’ economy visions that may risk an exit from the eurozone? Do they want that Greece goes or that they force Greece to go? Do they want to establish an example for the other debt-ridden and weak countries of the european South?

From the many pieces of the puzzle called “Troika demands”, what I see are:

  •  attempts to abolish the legislative power of the country.
  • an army of foreign – preferably German - commissioners.
  • establishment of  special economic zones where Greeks will work for 2 euro net per hour.
  • the abolishion of social state, of health care, of education, the rash impoverishment of low and middle classes.
  • by February, when the new austerity bill will be already for some time in effect, the most violent ‘liberalization’ of a whole country and a society will be completed.

By my main question is this: Why does the Greek government let these things happening?

Do not get me wrong: I do not blame only the Troika for the delays, I would do agree with some loan agreement measures – even though tax evasion, corruption and protection of voters’ guilds are still the main sources of the decay of the Greek state.  

The decision for a bailout tranche is a political decision and I’m just sick of dirty games played by dirty minds.

PS I wonder, if the Troika has a Plan B for ruling over a country without government…