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Debt Restructuring: A Deal or Not a Deal? Greece already served the Amuse-Gueule…

Let’s put two things clear right away: Greece’s SYRIZA-led coalition government insists on debt-restructuring,  negotiations with the country’s creditors and a “new European deal” in general. In contrast, Greece’ creditors, mainly the European Union with the lead of Germany warn the Greek government that it should forget debt-restructuring and it should rather stick to the bailout austerity commitments … signed by the … previous government/governments.

Schaeuble sticks to warnings

As Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis meets with Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem in Athens, a loud warning came from Berlin. Spokesman (name not mentioned in Greek media lol) of Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said:

“Germany’s generosity has reached its absolute limits on the Greek bailout” and described as “blackmail” the Greek positions.

“Germany is read to talk with Greece however without changing the basis of these talks.

“Agreements make sense only when one can rely upon them. Solidarity is essential in the European Union, but Germany and the EU cannot bee blackmailed.

A haircut is not on the table, there is no even information about a debt summit.”(Mega TV via here)

While Germany is adamant on its position, European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen signaled Athens could be offered more time to reach certain goals, but at the same time he urged Greeks to stick to strict austerity that is euphemistically described as “reforms”.

EU’s Katainen urges Greece to stick to reforms, signals some flexibility

“We expect them to fulfill all the commitments they have promised to do,” Katainen told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk in English, adding that the European Commission had to make sure all member states were treated equally and agreements were respected.

But Katainen did not rule out extending the deadline for carrying out reforms. “I have not said that the deadlines should not be extended. I simply said that the sooner Greece implements reforms, the sooner new jobs will be created.” (Reuters)

Dinner for 33

In a dinner tonight, European Parliament President Martin Schulz will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Strasbourg  and brief them about his contacts with the  Wild New Europeans in Athens on Thursday.

According to KTG’s exclusive information, the dinner will consist of three courses:

Starter:  German consomme with Greek alphabet pasta

Main course: Greece a la Euro-cream with freshly cut Debt salad

Dessert:  Europe’s future a la Napoleon

Merkel & Co will dine in the company of a selective circle of  30 advisers, consultants and other important persons, the bill will be paid by the European Parliament. The total bill is estimated to be equal to at least 1,000 Greek and Portuguese bailout-pensions.

All possible and impossible options and opinions

As the SYRIZA elections win and debt positions brought up again all kinds of possible and impossible opinions, approaches, editorials and analyses, with features, reports, op-eds, graphs and diagrams flooding print, digital, electronic, televisions and radio networks and social media. With Pros and Contras, offering thousands of options.

An analysis on How to reduce the Greek debt burden without incurring losses for creditors you can read here. The article has been posted on Bruegel-org, a European think tank specialized in economics.

Those who favor a Greek debt restructure, those who oppose, those who love to see Greece exiting the euro, those who simply get scared to death if the eurozone proves to be standing on fragile and sand-made feet.

As the poisonous arrows of words and warnings are flying from all directions to all directions, many wonder if at the end of the SYRIZA-EU-Germany war there will be a deal or not a deal. It is a political decision, after all.

Ratings Agency FITCH, for example, sees  a deal still possible but still with a high risk
Greece-Troika Deal Still Possible but Risks Are High
The Greek election result does not change Fitch Ratings’ view that the country will reach an agreement with its official creditors. But there is a high risk that protracted and difficult negotiations will sap confidence and liquidity from the Greek economy
Our baseline assumption reflects strong incentives for a settlement on both sides. A deal would unlock EUR7.2bn for Greece under its outstanding programme review. Greece’s official lenders (the EU, ECB, and IMF – the Troika) will want to avoid damage to the wider European project, and losses on their existing Greek exposures, should failure precipitate Greece’s exit from the single currency (a risk that we think is lower than in 2012).But the path of negotiations is highly uncertain. Syriza’s choice of the Independent Greeks as a coalition partner signals a confrontational approach, due to both parties’ strong anti-austerity and pro-debt restructuring stances. The new government’s proposals to partially unwind or delay previously agreed reforms, although limited in scope, could alienate the Troika. And while senior members of the government have made conciliatory comments, political posturing on both sides risks further damaging investor and depositor confidence. (full article FitchRatings.com)

Of course, a debt restructuring, the second for Greece,  would also expose once again the grave mistakes in International Monetary Funds’ calculations. Not to mention the option, that other bailouted countries may also start to demand their own share.

Nevertheless, no matter what Greece’s EU- and Troika’ partners want to believe and reject, the new Greek government has already served the amuse gueule: bite-sized hors d’œuvres of  steaming negotiations

And as we all, the gourmets around the world know, the Amuse-Gueule (or Amuse-Bouches in plural) is different from starters as it is not ordered from a menu  but it is offered by the kitchen chef  on his own choice and for free of charge.

We’re just in the beginning.

PS and you know what? I’ve seen people smiling again and have hope in this debt-ridden, austerity-plagued and misery-hit country.

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One comment

  1. That restaurant will shut down soon when the chef runs out of money, kt! Enjoy the amusement while it lasts. So far, it looks like Grexit will start on February 28th. Varoufakis outrightly rejected to make the obligatory repayments then. That’s default, with all the consequences! So, who knows what will be on the menu in march.