Fear of Greek default now driving EU towards ‘stop at nothing’
Rehn Drachma decree an ominous clue
The Slog has been posting for over a week now about Greek PASOK Party leader Evangelo Venizelos’s talk of ‘only inclusive Coalitions will have authority’ and ‘the consequences of not having a majority Coalition in power’. Yesterday, I ran a piece about Brussels and Berlin fearing a win for the anti-Troika Parties. Now the body responsible for organising the legal side of the General Election says the necessary preparations have not been put in place. Politically involved Greeks are starting to fear the worst.
While the geopolitical factors in play concerning Greece’s elections and eurozone membership continue to be confusing, what has been emerging over the last 72 hours is that the Franco-German axis has returned to a very hard line on Greece: that Greece must be saved from itself…and above all, kept in the eurozone. (It is, in short, the diametric opposite of Washington’s desire to see Greece ‘amputated’ as a risk to the world banking system).
The key factor here seems, once again, to be the sharper clarity among Government circles in Brussels, Paris and Berlin that the major EU (especially French) banks are still too weak in many cases to survive a messy Greek default.
Although many in the MSM missed it, this was evidenced dramatically yesterday when Commissioner Rehn of Finland (right) autocratically revoked the decision of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to insert a standard ‘drachma clause’ into all new loan agreements with Greek companies. The clauses aimed to protect the EIB by hedging against a possible Greek exit from the eurozone or the collapse of the euro area in general.
This now clearly represents Thought Crime in the EU. The Finnish commissioner branded the terms “bureaucratic” and the EIB’s intention to impose them “unfortunate and incomprehensible.” Reluctantly, the EIB has caved in. But other disturbing signs are being totted up in Greece itself.
reported late yesterday (Thursday) that, for some as yet unexplained reason, the ‘joint ministerial decisions’ required to organise judicial representatives and set up election teams at courts throughout Greece had not been issued. The organisation involved – the Greek judicial employees Federation – said there was now a ‘visible possibility of problems in the preparation and holding of the elections.’
“Even in Greece,” said one exasperated Leftist informant this morning, “this has never happened before – at least, not in my lifetime. Obviously we have our doubts about why this unbelievably important process has not been put in place. No excuse is too blatant for these people. They will do anything to retain the power they have over us.”
32 Parties have now been approved as ‘democratic’ enough to take part in the elections, scheduled for May 6th…..a week tomorrow. It is the unusually high number of Parties and undecided voters that have together spooked Brussels and Berlin
into wondering if the result might be (as the EU would say) “a mistake”. Some Greek wannabe politicians fear that Brussels is at work behind the scenes, ready to sabotage any result that doesn’t go their way. (The situation in the Fiscal Pact referendum in Ireland is causing similar concern: the pro-Group is losing ground, and fully 37% of the electorate are undecided).
Once again, a majority of Greek Sloggers point the finger of accusation at Troika puppet Venizelos. Yesterday evening I also received emailed information from observers on the spot in Athens:
‘First of all there is an ongoing fear, now officially discussed by more parties, for fraud in the upcoming ellections. Parties like Syriza (left), Independent Greeks (Right) as well others are openly speak for such a scenario. Specifically Syriza has doubts about the validity of the election process, as far as the Papandreou government ministers remain in the ministries of Citizen Protection, Interior, Justice and State, while customarily they have to be replaced by commonly accepted persons at every election. It is also very important and maybe it derives from the same fears, that Russia has officially asked for the presence of Russian observers during the election process. I’m 45 years old and I don’t remember such a case before.’ (Name withheld for obvious reasons)
‘Yesterday a newspaper called Eleftheros Typos (Free Press), presented an article, where they claimed that a candidate of Independent Greeks, were in the payrol of the National Information Service (EYP). This proved to be forgeries of the data from the news paper side and now they will face lawsuit probably (the newspaper)….All are signs that it might be a surprise in the night of May 6, since there is a big number of undecided people.’
One can sense across the spectrum of such comments that Athenians in particular fear there will be dirty tricks and tampering as regards the election result. The Russian request is particularly baffling – and may be a red herring – but the close eye being kept on things by the eurocrats continues to give cause for concern.
“Of course the deficit must be cut,” New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said last week, “but by clamping down on wasteful public spending, not with across-the-board cuts in pensions that deepen the recession.” He vowed to “right the wrongs” of austerity measures that have contributed to Greece’s catastrophic economic performance: unemployment this year is set to hit 20%, and over 50% of citizens under 25 are unemployed.
I know from Brussels sources that Samaras represents an epicentre of EU suspicion. But their fear remains – and you read it here first – that his Party New Democracy will form an anti-Troika Coalition with the help of unexpectedly successful Hard-Right Nationalist Parties.
All those opposed to the creeping fascism of the Sprouts should keep a wary eye on these developing events.