Following close study of the Athens Government’s austerity proposals, Jean-Claude Juncker, Eurogroup president, had this to say in the last hour:
“The Eurogroup took note of the progress made towards a full staff level agreement between Greece and the Troika on updated programme conditionality, including ambitious and wide-ranging measures in the areas of fiscal consolidation, structural reforms, privatisation and financial sector stabilisation. We called on the Greek authorities to solve remaining issues so as to swiftly finalise the negotiations with the Troika institutions.
The Eurogroup expects to further discuss the Greek adjustment programme at its next regular meeting on 12 November on the basis of the relevant programme documentation and seek to conclude on the programme, subject to the completion of prior actions by the Greek authorities and of national procedures in Member States, in line with the established practice.“
Basically, JCJ is batting the ball back at Samaras…..even though he knows the New Democracy leader has staked his political reputation on the Troika and FinMins accepting what Athens has achieved in terms of cuts and reforms. This is what Prime Minister Samaras said yesterday:
“Today we concluded negotiations over the measures and the budget. We did everything we could. We exhausted all the limits of pressure and time. We achieved significant improvements even in the final hour…..What would happen if the deal isn’t passed and the country is led to chaos? Such dangers must be avoided. That is the responsibility of each party and every lawmaker individually. Provided that the deal is approved and the budget is voted through, Greece will remain in the euro”.
But without that approval, the Prime Minister asserted, Greece would be forced out of the eurozone and into complete economic collapse.
Well, the agreement isn’t forthcoming. More measures are being demanded. So Antonis Samaras is left dangling over a sheer drop somewhere near the top of the Matterhorn.
It is really difficult in all this not to reach the conclusion that Berlin-am-Brussels intends quite simply to reduce Greece to the status of a socio-political basket case….the easier thereafter to neuter its sovereignty, and impose upon it economic demands that will leave the country little more than a slave satellite.
Having said that, there is absolutely no reason why the Greek Establishment has to go along with any of this bollocks. Athens has several other options – from Israel via America to Russia via Cyprus – and the EU itself knows only too well that, the last time a German delegation was in Beijing, the Chinese leadership made it abundantly clear that Grexit was an option upon which they would frown mightily.
Berlin-am-Brussels is bluffing. Alexis Tsipras seems the only leader capable of grasping this. Why can’t the others?