For the Greek government the deal at the Eurogroup is a success. The markets see it positive but with caution. The common people remain desperate and wonder how and whether the deal will improve their lives. And some simply feel confused about the agreement.
“Greece is turning a page with a decision that corresponds to the sacrifices of the Greek people,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said late on Thursday, after the Eurogroup agreed for a 8.5 billion euro bailout trance. “With unity and determination we move forward for fair growth and the healing of the wounds of the crisis,” he added.
Visiting the President of the Greek Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, on Friday morning, Tsipras said “there is no time to relax but to intensify our efforts for a dynamic recovery of the economy.”
The Greek prime minister added that the Eurogroup agreement contains “a clear commitment for the end of memoranda with the conclusion of the third bailout program.”
He praised the support Greece received at the Eurogroup saying “this time Greece has many supporters.”
“The Eurogroup decision on Greece provides much greater clarity for both Greeks and the financial markets is it as much clarity, but maybe not as much as Greeks deserved,” Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said after the Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg. In a press conference, Tsakalotos said also that “it is important to create a mechanism for growth.
All sides tried for a compromise. We are creating a road map so that Greece can turn a page.”
He added that it is important that the Eurogroup commits to helping Greece complete the program in 12-14 months.
As expected, the Greek opposition criticized the deal.
Athens Stock Exchange opened with positive +1.40%, Greece’s 2-year government bond yields fell to their lowest since 2014 at 4.81 percent and 10-year yields went down 15 bps at 5.71 percent.
Some analysts told Reuters, the agreement could open the door for the European Central Bank to start buying Greek government bonds under its stimulus scheme in the coming weeks, and possibly pave the way for a return to markets.
“The ECB needs more clarity on what kind of debt relief Greece will get from its international creditors if it is to buy Greek bonds as part of its stimulus programme,” a source close to the matter said.
“This is a major step forward, in our view, coming after many months of uncertainty,” HSBC European economist Fabio Balboni told Reuters. “The deal should pave the way for the ECB to include Greece in its QE (quantitative easing) programme, which in turn should unlock access to markets for Greece, putting the country on the right track towards exiting the bailout programme next year.”
As for the common Greek people… I talked to a couple of friends this morning, and I found out that they are rather confused about the deal itself and believe that it won’t change anything in their lives.
“Oh, we’ll get the money, that’s good, isn’t it?” one said. When I explained to her, that €6.9 billion from the €8.5 billion tranche will go for loan repayment to creditors, she asked “How will they create jobs? Nobody cares about us, the people,” she said. She is 52 and jobless since three years.
Another friend expressed concern about the future pension cuts contained in the latest legislated package. “I will end up getting 250 euro, then I won’t be able to survive” the 70-year-old retired nurse. Her pension is at 500 euros.
When asked to comment on the Eurgroup deal, another friend said “I have no idea. The government says we got what we wanted, the opposition says you lost, and the media don’t give me a clue.”
One of my nieces said she had finalized her decision to migrate. “Waiting for growth, I will have spent the best years of my life on a hunger wage, if at all.” She is 28 years old, economics graduate, unemployed again after a job that lasted 1.5 years. She got fired a few months ago, when her former employer replaced her by a work craft subsidized through the state programs.
“I heard, we’ll have austerity until 2060,” the old neighbor said and cheered “thank God, I will be dead by then.” Then he walked away coming out with a tough insult against everyone in and outside Greece. The man is 89 years old.
What do you think?