The Greek Plan for Growth & Recovery: Two documents the Ministry of Finance tabled in May and June 2015

Now that Greece’s Third Memorandum of Understanding has passed (see here for my annotated version), after the SYRIZA government surrendered on 12th July 2015, it is perhaps of interest to compare the ‘Reform Agenda’ in that agreement with the agenda the Ministry of Finance had presented to the institutions on two occasions, in May and June 2015.

During the five months of negotiations that I was involved in, and prior to our government’s cave-in following the 5th July referendum, the press was accusing our government in general and me in particular that “we had no plan for reforming Greece”. When talking to the press, Eurogroup colleagues and troika representatives kept repeating, ad nauseum, that they “did not know what the Greeks were proposing”.

The truth is that they knew perfectly well what we were proposing. And that they never paid any attention to our proposals.

Was that because our proposals were worthless, as they kept “leaking” to the press?

Or was it because our proposals’ substance made it hard for them to admit that the real reason they refused to engage with our sensible, sophisticated proposals was that they only cared about humiliating our government and derailing the negotiations?

I let the readers decide which of the two explanation is more believable.

The first document was tabled on 11th May 2015. It was entitled: “A Policy Framework for Greece’s Fiscal Consolidation, Recover and Growth“. Work on it began in my ministry after the 20th February Eurogroup agreement. Teams of experts from various ministries, as well as SYRIZA activists, submitted their views on a variety of policy areas. My team, at the Ministry of Finance, set about the task of putting together a succinct document, of no more than 60 pages, which would allow the reader to get the gist of the Greek government’s Reform Agenda. Then, after I returned from the IMF Spring Meetings, in Washington DC, I worked on the document myself and, with great help from Prpfessor Jeffrey Sachs, of Columbia University, the final document was compiled and presented to many of my Eurogroup colleagues. It was met with deafening silence.

During the month that followed, our government made concessions significant concessions to the troika on fiscal matters; concessions I had disagreed with but which, as a team player, I accepted. In a bid to integrate these proposals within a revised Reform Plan for Greece, I put together a second comprehensive program on 11th June, entitled “Ending the Greek Crisis: Structural reforms, investment-led growth and debt management“. It too was sent to key Eurogroup members. It too was ignored.

Below the reader can download both documents:

11 Comments

  • Yani, I was a great supporter of you as FM, both offline and online, I promoted your views about Greece’s recovery and the new government’s agenda. But no more, its pointless. You are no longer FM, which is sad but not surprising. Your views are now irrelevant, your “comrades” made sure of this. What is surprising is the lack of effort in overthrowing Tsipras, a political charlatan which can now only be compared to A.Papandreou.

    This government is a huge sham, a fraudulent government that lied and misrepresented its people, the epitome of political betrayal and democratic disdain. Tsipras embraced the oligarchs, is currently ruling with the votes of ND, PASOK, Potami and the rest of the dregs of Greek politics, his staff is flirting daily with the reporters of the greek media propaganda machine, and has shunned the only democratic decision ever made these past 41 years, the vote of the 62% of the electorate, the referendum. The old PASOK is alive, Syriza made sure of it when it used its members to form this emetic government staff, sucking the oxygen of the “first time left”.

    Again we are saved! This time for those who would protect us against the self-proclaimed “saviors”.

    Yani, your fight now is not with our creditors, your fight now is (or rather, should be) with your fellow “comrades” at Syriza, the ones who conveniently translated the Greek NO, to a YES, foreclosing the country’s future.

    • I said they are “now” irrelevant, and they were made irrelevant by Tsipras and the Troika, not that they are. Too quick on the Reply button Dean :]

    • The bottom line is that the vast majority of Greeks (roughly 2/3rds) voted No during the last referendum. A slim minority of 1/3rd voted Yes.

      Therefore one would expect a new coalition of anti-memorandum forces to sweep this new upcoming elections in September. I hope that ND and Pasok are totally destroyed or damaged for life. I truly don’t care about the details of the prevailing parties; I simply want to see ND to collapse.

    • I fully agree with you. Ultimately, Yanni’s voice has been muffled. I do not think he could do more, and suspect that there is much more than politics behind his decision not to attempt to overthrow the betrayers of democracy. Let’s not forget. The coupe was not against a government but against a quasi democracy and the people of Greece. The entire political establishment is a joke, and this is why there is absolutely no reason why anyone should go out and vote. The mass media has created the new normal, and defined the new reality which the people o Hellas, and later, all European member states will be conditioned to accept.

      In my mind, this almost neurotic fixation with being a European does not equate with being part of this so-called Europe. Yanni is a Europeanist, because he is a proud Hellene, but the Europe he has in mind still never happened. It is very much an idea which is rapidly dissolving. I do not see how being part of an artificial -imposter- Europe makes Modern Greece European. If Europe means economy and reason, where is the reason in the eco-nomics in this present, almost ghoulish, Europe?

    • No Yanis is not running either w/ Syriza or Lafazanis.

      If he did, everything he had said in the past would be discredited.

      Therefore he has no dog in this fight. This is an internal Greek matter.

      If Yanis as a Europeanist wants to do something outside Greek borders he could.

  • This explains far better the mess Greece is in, compared to any other framed reference to economic or political alternatives.

    I truly wished Yanis and Syriza understood this part better because ideology is only a reference point manifesting weakness. You need strength in resolving issues currently affecting Greece.

    • Dean, thank you for that link.
      The Stratfor insight that when a people sees that under its present regime [in our case the 3rd Memorandum] there is no future for their children the result will be political instability and rebellion is exactly right for Greece now.

      Despite the apologias and partial explanations, how Tsipras / Tsokalotos could ever have made this choice – even without the YES/NO referendum – continues to mystify and defeat me. Their justifications following the event and rushed election to minimise opposition only confirms for me personally that this was indeed their preference. Neo-greeks! as opposed to real Greeks…