The smiles and hugs and optimism in Brussels on Wednesday. The next day.. the bomb. The International Monetary Fund delegation left the Greek negotiations “upon a decision of IMF Europe director Poul Thomsen” as Skai TV reported this morning. A little later IMF‘s spokesman Gerry Rice was telling media in Washington that:
“There are major differences between us in most key areas. There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently and thus we are well away from an agreement.”
Gerry Rice had also stressed that the “major differences” were in the key areas pensions, taxes and financing. He refrained from mentioning the difference between the IMF and Germany concerning the debt-restructuring though.
The surprise IMF move came after President of European Council Donald Tusk had made an statement calling on the Greek government “to stop gambling.”
“There’s no more space for gambling, there is no more time for gambling. The day is coming I’m afraid that someone says that the game is over,” Donald Tusk warned the Greeks in a truly unacceptable way for an EU official.
The IMF delegation left and so did the Greek team that packed things and flew to Athens. Was was left behind was: a huge stunning. What would be next? An unbridgeable gap between Greece and its creditors? A rift? A Greek default by end of June because no “deal for cash agreement”, the debt-ridden country could be unable to repay the IMF with 1.5 billion euro?
In Athens, government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis commented with reference to Tsipras – Merkel- Holland meeting on Wednesday night, that “Greece had agreed to intensify deliberations in order to conclude a deal soon, even in the coming days.”
So, before the next Eurogroup scheduled for June 18th?
On Friday, European officials continued the old litany of pressure and warnings to Greece. Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem may have stressed that Greece was a sovereign state responsible for its own decisions and at the same time, he ruled out any option for Greece to reject creditors’ proposals.
“If the Greek government can’t accept the fact that there are no easy solutions and that the difficult decisions just must be made, it is alone. We can’t help Greece if Greece doesn’t want to help itself.”
Dijsselbloem added that there would be no deal without the IMF, however he did not rule out a Greek deal even tomorrow. “The political decision could be made even tomorrow as long as it is credible and secures Greece’s financial independence,” Dijsselbloem sai in an interview with a Finnish newspaper.
“Greece rejecting proposals is not an option!”
As for EC President Jean-Claude Juncker... well… he called Greece a …cow! and said that Greece has to present a new Reforms Plan as soon as possible. “Within 24 hours,” as some international media claim.
Jean-Claude Juncker before meeting PM Alexis Tsipras on Thursday:
“When a cow is on the ice you have to push it off'”
Friday morning, Jean-Claude almost burst into tears for the plight of the Greek cows… Sorry! …of the Greek people. He told France Culture radio:
“I feel very close to the Greek people who suffer.”
Juncker said also some other nice platitudes like “ball is in Greece’s court”, “populism rises, because…”, “Greek deal is necessary in the coming days”, “Greek PM must give a fight with his own parliamentary majority”, “I call 3 times a week to see what is going on on the streets” [of Athens, I suppose] and other cliche sentences of the same moral content but with no substance to the spot. Oh wait! He said that “negotiations have to restart on technical level first,” then they turn political.
While pressure on Greece has reached its peak for one more time with unprecedented arrogance displayed by EU officials lips like Tusk and Juncker, negotiations on the technical level – Brussels Group – are on hold and everybody is wondering “What’s now?”
The ghost of GREXIT appeared over the negotiations grave and German tabloid Bild uploaded a nice headline saying “Merkels is taking into consideration Grexit.”
When everybody knows that the closest option is a Greek default on its IMF repayment failure and that Grexit is not an option for eurozone technical and legal reasons.
Cows reject Junckers’ help for obvious reasons! Photo credit to @R0lf Dahl
PS At the end of the last 36 hours, we learned that top officials in our little EU Animal Farm officially think that Greece is a “cow” and a “gambler”.
Small correction: Donald Tusk is President of the European Council (head of the EU).
No. Tusk — the neoliberal former PM of Poland — was appointed chair of the European Council only in December 2014. The European Council is merely the body that convenes representatives of the 28 EU countries’ governments. He is a bureaucrat with instructions from the more powerful governments of the EU: in other words, a paid stooge.
There is no head of the EU. There is a tryptych of the European Commission, which proposes legislation, the Council which passes legislation and the European Parliament which has a complex but weak role in approving and debating, sometimes rejecting, legislation that the Council is trying to pass.
Gerry Rice “we are well away from any agreement”
* To my mind this is great P.R. that shows the failure that the EU – but also the IMF are.
* In my opinion Donald Tusk it is already over – look around you man & see reality.
Well his government just got voted out under his feet 2 weeks for war-mongering and neo-liberalism, so I bet he’s counting his lucky stars he landed on his feet in the EU bureaucracy lol
no luck involved: this is neoliberal collusion and corruption. His job is to engage in right wing propaganda, of course.
Just to clarify: the bureaucrats in the Council are not EU bureaucrats, like the Commission. They are accountable to governments alone.
If all you have learned from this clear lesson is that – top officials in our little EU Animal Farm officially think that Greece is a “cow” and a “gambler”, then you really do not understand your stuation.
This is the most clear language diplomats can use (they can not use words like idiots e.t.c.). But OK, let’s open a radio station and celebrate this huge victory over imperialists.
or TV 🙂
When all other governments call Greek government to get serious and stop gambling on the future of Greece, what other proof do you need that the Greek government is indeed a gambler?
It reminds me of the joke:
Jorikas drives on the highway, and is listening to the radio. Suddenly, there is an interruption and a police spokesman says:
“Please be careful, there is a madman driving in the opposite direction on the highway”
Jorikas looks around him, sees all cars around him go in the opposite direction he is going, and says to the radio:
“You kidding me? Everybody is going the opposite direction in this highway!”
Because there is a history in calling them gamblers – since some idiot who thinks he’s Pulitzer figured that Varoufakis was working for a computer game company all the other investigative idiots and mouthpieces were “discovering” him playing chicken game while Dieselboom tried shell game with false drafted papers to trick Varoufakis name on it while yelling in his ear.
Sorry, but your are misquoting Juncker. He is using a German saying “die Kuh muss vom Eis”, which is literally “the cow has to get off the ice” which means: We need to solve a difficult problem. And then he continues “but it keeps slipping” meaning: What woulb be a hard job anyway (to push a cow off an icy spot) is even more difficult.
HE NEVER CALLED GREECE A COW
Tusk also never called Greece a gambler
Gaby, You are perfectly right. Junker was referring to the problematic situation & not the Greeks. This definitely is a misinterpretation.
If you’d watch more than just the title …. or is the cow yet skateboarding?
Hey Gaby, do not go into details. It does not make sense.
The Greek strategy they use today against Germans was already used by Britain in WWII as you can see in this documentary film
Wow, Bomber Harris is Greek
The link was twice deleted by censor – so next try – see killer joke, Monty Python on YouTube
I agree. But I think it reflects the peasant origins of Juncker, because few in Europe would talk about the problem of their cows being out on the ice. It’s more the sort of thing that Americans would relate to, along with cow-tipping and suchlike — really rural and anti-cosmopolitan.
It is that the show is over.
But the cameras are still there
And so the curtain calls continue.
A ham is a ham afterall.
And the media never know when to go home.
The dynamics of the structure of the EU are slowly changing.
*Merkel wants to quit ahead of the 2017 elections.
Q: Is she being pushed because the party will certainly lose with her as leader.
*Dijsselbloem was elected President of Eurogroup 21/1/2013 for the term of 2 & 1/2 years – his term is up.
*Largarde will go soon.
*The minimal corporate tax rate that the EU want to introduce across Europe will not go down well with the global corporate world across the board, because it will have the flow on effect.
Ouch, ouch, bad move on the part of the EU.
The EU is like a blind person unknowingly & with gusto of conviction walking towards a cliffside.
Quit frankly there has been a lot of moralizing and outright racism been shown since the beginning of this crisis.
First all the western-south periphery were called PIGS. Than the reason for the crisis was the “laziness/corruption” of the PIGS people (no mention to the financial market piracy/mafia acting). I mean millions of persons that are not an inch responsible for the crisis were all bundled up and insulted with common insults because of where they live… If this is not racism than what is? And of course that any honest and informed person knows that these insults are all lies to cover up the real problems with the financial policies and to keep ruling for the 1%.
IMF pointed the lack of reforms as the reason to quit (technical) negotiations. It’s all upside down. IMF is not a political board, not to mention an elected one and even less by Greek citizens. So, the specific way Greece has to follow to meet financial targets is certainly not of IMF concern, neither a technical detail to be decided by other than the government in charge.
Greek financial trouble will stop in the precise moment a suitable political decision will come up. But how can Merkel and Holland explain the mismanagement of Deutsche Bank and ParisBas is the true reason of the current “crisis”?
I hope Greece can hold his ground. That is a lot in stake, not only for the Greeks.