…as Lala Papademos sets Greek election for April 29th
One of either Manuelo Barroso or Lucas Papademos has allowed the date of the Greek election to leak following their meeting last Friday. It’s going to be April 29th. Whether this will make Berlin, the bondholders, Brussels or anything else beginning with B more or less happy is anyone’s guess. In the now pretty obvious countdown to default, EU reality is in another place never imagined by George Orwell. We have the eurozone spinners, for example, pushing a new oxymoron to explain their utter confusion and economic illiteracy: growth-friendly fiscal consolidation. About the kindest thing I can say about that phrase is that it sounds like something Hazel Blears might have said.
“Well you see,” began Brussels commissioner Luigi Pistacchio, “it’s mainly a case of taking what we cut because it was more than what we had to spend and investing it in growth. We do this by the ingenious process of leveraging, whereby something we never had is borrowed and thus becomes something to which we add some newly printed currency and create a verruca. So, like a bazooka rams worthless money up your ass, a verruca creates growth in your foot, just above the grass roots. This allows the body of the economy to expand on a stable footing.”
So anyway, there’s going to be ‘an election’ in Greece on April 29th. Now for those of you either way about calendric stuff, let me explain that, between March 23rd when Greece finally goes pop (or the 20th if you prefer Felix Salmon’s critical path) and the election, Greece in general and the Athens Government in particular are going to be in what we senior economists call Haetus the Headless Hellenic Chicken goes Imploding. And our old friend Recep Erdogan has spotted this. You can always rely on a politician to steal from the other guy in the middle of his nervous breakdown, and Recep has no desire to be an exception to that general rule.
Yesterday, Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bağış, told Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs, that unless the Cyprus dispute negotiations get a whole lot better very soon, Northern Cyprus could be annexed by peaceloving, non-expansionist Turkey. You can imagine how that played in Athens when Greek newspaper Kathemerini spotted the story this morning, and ran it.
The paper quotes Bağış as quite specifically using the words “annexation to the Turkish Republic”; and while he is only talking about the predominantly Turkish bit, why hell, if your army gets there and the other side seem to be all over the place, then…what’s a guy to do?
It is of course merely Erdogan being mischievous, but it does highlight yet again the broader geopolitical factors that surround the fate of Greece, and why the Americans want to keep a very firm hand on this tiller. Fine, Turkey is a NATO ally, but then Pakistan is a US ally and behaves like a suburb of Tehran: Washington is slowly realising that when an Islamist says he’s an ally, he doesn’t necessarily mean your ally.
Now, all those idiots like David Cameron just busting to get Turkey into the EU should think on this announcement very carefully, because it gives an indication of what might be down the road were that to happen. Here we have a sovereign State allegedly tumsescing about the thought of being a good European (even though it isn’t) threatening to annex an island which, in theory, is part of that very same EU.
Lest anyone’s in any doubt about this, the EU is quite clear about the fact that the whole of the island of Cyprus is in the EU.
So that’ll be a fun one for the FCO’s dunderheads to deal with, will it not?