Shortly after the Eurogroup meeting, the Greek government released a non-paper (labeled as an “Informal Briefing”) imprinting the atmosphere of the Eurogroup talks, as well as the steps forward with the new ESM agreement. The nonpaper is interesting, as it shows an evident change in rhetoric from the one utilized up until now by the Syriza-led government.
You can find the original (in Greek), here. Below, you can read my own (quick) translation of the non-paper.
Earlier today, the Greek government issued a nonpaper targetted towards the institutions. The nonpaper provides, once again, the well-established (by now) red lines of the Greek government, as well as a scathing attack towards IMF representative Gerry Rice, and an attempt to portray the institutions as having vast differences between them. You can find a copy of the original here. Below, read the translated version.
Non paper of the Greek government on the current state of the negotiations.
May 5, 2015
- The serious disagreements and contradictions between the IMF and the EU are creating obstacles in the negotiations, as well as high risks. While until recently the main argument of the institutions was that the Greek side did not submit complete proposals, now it is clear that proposals have indeed been submitted and that there have been substantial concessions towards the direction of an “honorable compromise.”
- The difference of strategy, however, between the institutions is creating obstacles.
- The IMF puts its red lines on the reforms, especially on pension and labour reforms, while it has loose lines on the topic of the primary surplus. On the back of the mind of the IMF lies the thought of debt write off, so that this can be rendered sustainable.
- On the contrary, the European Commission has red lines on the topic of the primary surplus, and consequently, on the issue of not cutting the debt, and loose lines on tough reforms, such as those regarding pensions and labour relations.
- As a result, the totality of the institutions has red lines everywhere: pension reforms, labour reforms (IMF), and primary surplus (EC). Under these circumstances there can be no compromise. The responsibility belongs exclusively to the institutions and their weakness of communicating with each other.
- The Greek government, having realized the glaring contradiction, decided to take the initiative:
- not to bring [for a vote] in the Parliament the multi-bill before there is potential for an agreement.
- to put on the table of discussion the ‘next day,’ that is, the exit plan [of the country] towards the markets and the financing of growth in the post-June era.
- Today’s FT [Financial Times] fully reveal the contradictory strategies utilized between the Eurozone and the IMF (see the article of Peter Spiegel). The FT reveal that the head of the European department of the IMF, Paul Thomsen, has warned the Finance Ministers of the Eurozone that “perhaps the IMF will not provide its share of the tranche of 7.2bn euros” if “they do not write-off a significant part of Greece’s debt.” At the same time, P. Spiegel notes that “the Eurozone, which owns the biggest part of the Greek debt, is firmly opposed to the [idea of] debt relief.”
- At the same time, the European Commissioner for Economic & Financial Affairs, Taxation & Customs, Pierre Moscovisi, confirmed the contradiction between the EC and the IMF, saying that the issue of the debt “can be discussed only after an agreement on a reform program.” A strategic disagreement, which has Greece at its epicenter, between the EC and the IMF, and works to the detriment of the country.
Addendum: You can find a version of the nonpaper in Greek, here.
So, it’s been a long time since I have run any update on the blog. I return with the pro-rupture, uncompromising OP-ED article published today in Greek CRASH magazine by Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Greek Minister of Reconstruction of Production, Environment & Energy. Bear in mind that Lafazanis is one of the most hardcore members of Syriza’s Leftist platform. He is also one of the most influential. Once again, I translated the whole thing, leaving all judgment to you. The Greek version can be found in the website of the Ministry, here. In what follows, you can read my English translation.
WE SHOULD ISOLATE THE “FIFTH COLUMN”
Article of the Minister of Reconstruction of Production, Environment & Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis, published in today’s Crash magazine
Here are the top articles on the political economy of Greece to read today:
- Greece: The gathering storm, by Nick Malkoutzis | Macropolis.gr, Mar 5 2015
- Eurozone QE is here. What could possibly go wrong?, by Alen Mattich | The Wall Street Journal (Moneybeat), Mar 5 2015
- Greece Struggles to Make Debt Math Work in Bailout Standoff, by Nikolaos Chrysoloras, Rebecca Christie and Vassilis Karamanis | Bloomberg, Mar 5 2015
- Greece outlines radical immigration reforms, by Preethi Nallu | Al Jazeera, Mar 5 2015
- 5 questions ECB boss Draghi will face at Thursday’s meeting, by Sara Sjolin | MarketWatch, Mar 5 2015
- Spain insists Greece will need a third bailout – as it happened, by Angela Monaghan | The Guardian, Mar 4 2015
- Germany says third Greek aid package not on Eurogroup agenda, by Andreas Rinke and Madeline Chambers | Reuters, Mar 4 2015
- Can Greece avoid going bankrupt this month?, by Mehreen Khan | The Telegraph, Mar 4 2015
- Greece’s survival depends on more than debt agreements, by Peter Foster | Financial Post, Mar 3 2015
- Austerity is not Greece’s problem, by Ricardo Hausmann | Project Syndicate, Mar 3 2015
- Syriza’s about-face, by Stathis N. Kalyvas | Foreign Affairs, Mar 2 2015
Photo: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 01/03/2015)
While Friday’s Eurogroup storm seems to have passed, today is an equally (if not more) important date for the fate of Greece. Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Minister of Finance, is expected to send a list of proposed reforms to TIFKAT (The ‘Institutions’ Formerly Known As Troika) for approval. Analysts, markets, and entire governments might have sighed in relief on Friday, but it is today actually that will illuminate whether a substantial compromise has been reached in the last Eurogroup meeting.
There is not much to say at this point, other than to wait and see what Varoufakis has planned. The list of reforms is expected to be quite short (no longer than 3-5 pages) and concise. Hopefully, it will also include meaningful proposals that speak more of a “compromise,” rather than the hardcore Left platform of Syriza or ANEL. “Wait, what?,” you may ask. “Who cares about those hardcore Lefties and the few ultra-nationalist crazies of ANEL? They are a fringe part anyways, right? And they wouldn’t jeopardize their ascent to power so soon, would they? As long as the moderate part of Syriza is willing to compromise, then there is no problem!” Well… I would love to share your optimism, but I am quite wary of the influence of the anti-austerity and anti-reform hardliners. I am also quite confident that we will witness some important schisms in the next couple of weeks – iff (if and only if) Varoufakis and Tsipras are true to Friday’s deal. Some senior Syriza officials and important figures of the Left have already begun speaking up (Manolis Glezos, John Milios, Sofia Sakorafa, and even Mikis Theodorakis). I suspect that more voices will soon follow in tune. Will that be enough to bring the government down? This is extremely early to say. But don’t be surprised if the inter-governmental dynamics change drastically in the upcoming weeks.
In any case, happy Lent Monday everybody! Here is the list of the top articles to read on the political economy of Greece today:
- Greece: Four more months of hope and risks, by Frederik Ducrozet | Credit Agricole CIB, Feb 23 2015
- Greek bailout: Athens submits economic reform plan today (Live updates), by Graeme Wearden | The Guardian, Feb 23 2015
- Tsipras tamed as economists declare Greece loses austerity fight, by Simon Kennedy & Jennifer Ryan | Bloomberg, Feb 23 2015
- Greece scrambles to send draft reforms to EU institutions, by Peter Spiegel & Kerin Hope | The Financial Times, Feb 23 2015
- In defence of can-kicking, by Duncan Weldon | Medium, Feb 23 2015
- A hard week ahead for Greece after a last-minute deal, by Max Ehrenfreund | The Washington Post, Feb 23 2015
- Greece’s future is its past, by Rebecca Harding | Pieria, Feb 23 2015
- Greece: A debt colony with a bit of “home rule”, by Paul Mason | Channel4 News, Feb 23 2015
- Varoufakis ‘absolutely certain’ Greek reforms will meet approval | Deutsche Welle, Feb 22 2015
- Spain said to lead EU push to force terms on Greece, by Nikolaos Chrysoloras & Karl Stagno Navarra | Bloomberg, Feb 22 2015
- Ten days that shook the euro; how Greece came to the brink, by Alastair MacDonald & Jan Strupczewski | Reuters, Feb 22 2015
- Greece readies reform promises, by George Georgiopoulos | Reuters, Feb 22 2015
Photo Credits: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 22.02.2015)
The Greek government is called to make some major decisions in terms of its economic program in the next few weeks. There is very little time available to Alexis Tsipras’s coalition, not much leeway, and yet too much to do. Although both the Greek Prime Minister and his Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, have softened their tone with their international counterparts, the negotiations are far from over yet. The month of February will be decisive for the future of the Greek economy, but also for the longevity of Tsipras’s shaky coalition. Whoever thought that the most difficult times are past us is in for a newsflash. February will not be a sprint, but a marathon.
Here are the top articles you need to read today on the Greek political economy:
- “I’m the finance minister of a bankrupt country”, Interview with Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis| Zeit Online, Feb 4 2015
- Greece has started debt-swap talks with IMF, minister tells paper | Reuters, Feb 4 2015
- Greece leaders hold key talks with ECB and EU chiefs | BBC News, Feb 4 2015
- It’s not just Greece and Spain that need their debt restructuring, by Jonathan Glennie | The Guardian, Feb 4 2015
- Greece is facing three massive tests of its debt plans today, by Mike Bird | Business Insider, Feb 4 2015
- Crunch time: Greece takes pleas to a hostile Europe, by Holly Ellyatt | CNBC, Feb 4 2015
- Not so strange bedfellows: making sense of the coalition between Syriza and the Independent Greeks, by Takis Pappas | Open Democracy, Feb 3 2015
- For Greece, GDP-linked debt may be more curiosity than cure, by Greg Ip | The Wall Street Journal (Real Time Economics Blog), Feb 3 2015
- Eurozone Should Give Greek Leader Some Time to Reach Compromise, by Hugo Dixon | The New York Times, Feb 3 2015
- Spain keeps hawkish eye on Greece as southern solidarity crumbles, by Tobias Buck | The Financial Times, Feb 3 2015
- Tsipras’ Greek balancing act begins, by Harris Mylonas and Akis Georgakellos | The Washington Post, Feb 3 2015
- A Greek Morality Tale, by Nobel Prize Winner Joseph E. Stiglitz | Project Syndicate, Feb 3 2015
- Greece’s rock-star finance minister Yanis Varoufakis defies ECB’s drachma threats, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | The Telegraph, Feb 3 2015
- Five questions about the ECB’s complicated relationship with Greece, by Brian Blackstone | The Wall Street Journal, Feb 2 2015