The Euro-Summit ‘Agreement’ on Greece – annotated by Yanis Varoufakis

The Euro Summit statement (or Terms of Greece’s Surrender – as it will go down in history) follows, annotated by yours truly. The original text is untouched with my notes confined to square brackets (and in red). Read and weep… [For a pdf copy click here.]

Euro Summit Statement Brussels, 12 July 2015

The Euro Summit stresses the crucial need to rebuild trust with the Greek authorities [i.e. the Greek government must introduce new stringent austerity directed at the weakest Greeks that have already suffered grossly] as a pre- requisite for a possible future agreement on a new ESM programme [i.e. for a new extend-and-pretend loan].

In this context, the ownership by the Greek authorities is key [i.e. the Syriza government must sign a declaration of having defected to the troika’s ‘logic’], and successful implementation should follow policy commitments.

A euro area Member State requesting financial assistance from the ESM is expected to address, wherever possible, a similar request to the IMF This is a precondition for the Eurogroup to agree on a new ESM programme. Therefore Greece will request continued IMF support (monitoring and financing) from March 2016 [i.e. Berlin continues to believe that the Commission cannot be trusted to ‘police’ Europe’s own ‘bailout’ programs].

Given the need to rebuild trust with Greece, the Euro Summit welcomes the commitments of the Greek authorities to legislate without delay a first set of measures [i.e. Greece must subject itself to fiscal waterboarding, even before any financing is offered]. These measures, taken in full prior agreement with the Institutions, will include:

By 15 July

  • the streamlining of the VAT system [i.e. making it more regressive, through rate rises that encourage more VAT evasion]and the broadening of the tax base to increase revenue [i.e. dealing a major blow at the only Greek growth industry – tourism].
  • upfront measures to improve long-term sustainability of the pension system as part of a comprehensive pension reform programme [i.e. reducing the lowest of the low of pensions, while ignoring that the depletion of pension funds’ capital due to the 2012 troika-designed PSI and the ill effects of low employment & undeclared paid labour].
  • the safeguarding of the full legal independence of ELSTAT [i.e. the troika demands complete control of the way Greece’s budget balance is computed, with a view to controlling fully the magnitude of austerity it imposes on the government.]
  • full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, in particular by making the Fiscal Council operational before finalizing the MoU and introducing quasi-automatic spending cuts in case of deviations from ambitious primary surplus targets after seeking advice from the Fiscal Council and subject to prior approval of the Institutions [i.e. the Greek government, which knows that the imposed fiscal targets will never be achieved under the imposed austerity, must commit to further, automated austerity as a result of the troika’s newest failures.]

By 22 July

  • the adoption of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is a major overhaul of procedures and arrangements for the civil justice system and can significantly accelerate the judicial process and reduce costs [i.e. foreclosures, evictions and liquidation of thousands of homes and businesses who are not in a position to keep up with their mortgages/loans.]
  • the transposition of the BRRD with support from the European Commission.

Immediately, and only subsequent to legal implementation of the first four above-mentioned measures as well as endorsement of all the commitments included in this document by the Greek Parliament, verified by the Institutions and the Eurogroup, may a decision to mandate the Institutions to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) be taken [i.e. The Syriza government must be humiliated to the extent that it is asked to impose harsh austerity upon itself as a first step towards requesting another toxic bailout loan, of the sort that Syriza became internationally famous for opposing.]

This decision would be taken subject to national procedures having been completed and if the preconditions of Article 13 of the ESM Treaty are met on the basis of the assessment referred to in Article 13.1. In order to form the basis for a successful conclusion of the MoU, the Greek offer of reform measures needs to be seriously strengthened to take into account the strongly deteriorated economic and fiscal position of the country during the last year [i.e. the Syriza government must accept the lie that it, and not the asphyxiation tactics of the creditors, caused the sharp economic deterioration of the past six months – the victim is being asked to take the blame by the on behalf of the villain.]

The Greek government needs to formally commit to strengthening their proposals [i.e. to make them more regressive and more inhuman] in a number of areas identified by the Institutions, with a satisfactory clear timetable for legislation and implementation, including structural benchmarks, milestones and quantitative benchmarks, to have clarity on the direction of policies over the medium-run. They notably need, in agreement with the Institutions, to:

  • carry out ambitious pension reforms [i.e. cuts] and specify policies to fully compensate for the fiscal impact of the Constitutional Court ruling on the 2012 pension reform [i.e. cancel the Court’s decision in favour of pensioners] and to implement the zero deficit clause [i.e. cut by 85% the secondary pensions that the Syriza government fought tooth and nail to preserve over the past five months] or mutually agreeable alternative measures [i.e. find ‘equivalent’ victims] by October 2015;
  • adopt more ambitious product market reforms with a clear timetable for implementation of all OECD toolkit I recommendations [i.e. the recommendations that the OECD has now renounced after having re-designed these reforms in collaboration with the Syriza government], including Sunday trade, sales periods, pharmacy ownership, milk and bakeries, except over-the-counter pharmaceutical products, which will be implemented in a next step, as well as for the opening of macro-critical closed professions (e.g. ferry transportation). On the follow-up of the OECD toolkit-II, manufacturing needs to be included in the prior action;
  • on energy markets, proceed with the privatisation of the electricity transmission network operator (ADMIE), unless replacement measures can be found that have equivalent effect on competition, as agreed by the Institutions [i.e. ADMIE will be sold off to specific foreign vested interests at the behest of the Institutions.]
  • on labour markets, undertake rigorous reviews and modernisation of collective bargaining [i.e. to make sure that no collective bargaining is allowed], industrial action [i.e. that must be banned] and, in line with the relevant EU directive and best practice, collective dismissals [i.e. that should be allowed at the employers’ whim], along the timetable and the approach agreed with the Institutions [i.e. the Troika decides.]

On the basis of these reviews, labour market policies should be aligned with international and European best practices, and should not involve a return to past policy settings which are not compatible with the goals of promoting sustainable and inclusive growth [i.e. there should be no mechanisms that waged labour can use to extract better conditions from employers.]

  • adopt the necessary steps to strengthen the financial sector, including decisive action on non-performing loans [i.e. a tsunami of foreclosures is ante portas] and measures to strengthen governance of the HFSF and the banks [i.e. the Greek people who maintain the HFSF and the banks will have precisely zero control over the HFSF and the banks.], in particular by eliminating any possibility for political interference especially in appointment processes. [i.e. except the political interference of the Troika.] On top of that, the Greek authorities shall take the following actions:
  • to develop a significantly scaled up privatisation programme with improved governance; valuable Greek assets will be transferred to an independent fund that will monetize the assets through privatisations and other means [i.e. an East German-like Treuhand is envisaged to sell off all public property but without the equivalent large investments that W. Germany put into E. Germany in compensation for the Treuhand disaster.] The monetization of the assets will be one source to make the scheduled repayment of the new loan of ESM and generate over the life of the new loan a targeted total of EUR 50bn of which EUR 25bn will be used for the repayment of recapitalization of banks and other assets and 50 % of every remaining euro (i.e. 50% of EUR 25bn) will be used for decreasing the debt to GDP ratio and the remaining 50 % will be used for investments [i.e. public property will be sold off and the pitiful sums will go toward servicing an un-serviceable debt – with precisely nothing left over for public or private investments.] This fund would be established in Greece and be managed by the Greek authorities under the supervision of the relevant European Institutions [i.e. it will be nominally in Greece but, just like the HFSF or the Bank of Greece, it will be controlled fully by the creditors.] In agreement with Institutions and building on best international practices, a legislative framework should be adopted to ensure transparent procedures and adequate asset sale pricing, according to OECD principles and standards on the management of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) [i.e. the Troika will do what it likes.]
  • in line with the Greek government ambitions, to modernise and significantly strengthen the Greek administration, and to put in place a programme, under the auspices of the European Commission, for capacity-building and de-politicizing the Greek administration [i.e. Turning Greece into a democracy-free zone modelled on Brussels, a form of supposedly technocratic government, which is politically toxic and macro-economically inept] A first proposal should be provided by 20 July after discussions with the Institutions. The Greek government commits to reduce further the costs of the Greek administration [i.e. to reduce the lowest wages while increasing a little the wages some of the Troika-friendly apparatchiks], in line with a schedule agreed with the Institutions.
  • to fully normalize working methods with the Institutions, including the necessary work on the ground in Athens, to improve programme implementation and monitoring [i.e. The Troika strikes back and demands that the Greek government invite it to return to Athens as Conqueror – the Carthaginian Peace in all its glory.] The government needs to consult and agree with the Institutions on all draft legislation in relevant areas with adequate time before submitting it for public consultation or to Parliament [i.e. Greek Parliament must, again, after five months of short-lived independence, become an appendage of the Troika – passing translated legislation mechanistically.] The Euro Summit stresses again that implementation is key, and in that context welcomes the intention of the Greek authorities to request by 20 July support from the Institutions and Member States for technical assistance, and asks the European Commission to coordinate this support from Europe;
  • With the exception of the humanitarian crisis bill, the Greek government will reexamine with a view to amending legislations that were introduced counter to the February 20 agreement by backtracking on previous programme commitments or identify clear compensatory equivalents for the vested rights that were subsequently created [i.e. In addition to promising that it will no longer legislative autonomously, the Greek government will retrospectively annul all Bills it passed over the past five months.]

The above-listed commitments are minimum requirements to start the negotiations with the Greek authorities. However, the Euro Summit made it clear that the start of negotiations does not preclude any final possible agreement on a new ESM programme, which will have to be based on a decision on the whole package (including financing needs, debt sustainability and possible bridge financing) [i.e. self-flagellate, impose further austerity upon an economy crushed by austerity, and then we shall see whether the Eurogroup will grave you with another toxic, unsustainable loans.]

The Euro Summit takes note of the possible programme financing needs of between EUR 82 and 86bn, as assessed by the Institutions [i.e. the Eurogroup conjured up a huge number, well above what is necessary, in order to signal the debt restructuring is out and that debt bondage ad infinitum is the name of the game.] It invites the Institutions to explore possibilities to reduce the financing envelope, through an alternative fiscal path or higher privatisation proceeds [i.e. And, yes, it may possible that pigs will fly.] Restoring market access, which is an objective of any financial assistance programme, lowers the need to draw on the total financing envelope [i.e. which is something the creditors will do their utmost to avoid, e.g. by ensuring that Greece will only enter the ECB’s quantitative easing program in 2018, once quantitative easing is… over.]

The Euro Summit takes note of the urgent financing needs of Greece which underline the need for very swift progress in reaching a decision on a new MoU: these are estimated to amount to EUR 7bn by 20 July and an additional EUR 5bn by mid August [i.e. Extend and Pretend gets another spin.] The Euro Summit acknowledges the importance of ensuring that the Greek sovereign can clear its arrears to the IMF and to the Bank of Greece and honour its debt obligations in the coming weeks to create conditions which allow for an orderly conclusion of the negotiations. The risks of not concluding swiftly the negotiations remain fully with Greece [i.e. Once more, demanding that the victim takes all the blame in behalf of the villain.] The Euro Summit invites the Eurogroup to discuss these issues as a matter of urgency.

Given the acute challenges of the Greek financial sector, the total envelope of a possible new ESM programme would have to include the establishment of a buffer of EUR 10 to 25bn for the banking sector in order to address potential bank recapitalisation needs and resolution costs, of which EUR 10bn would be made available immediately in a segregated account at the ESM [i.e. the Troika admits that the 2013-14 recapitalisation of the banks, which would only need a top up of at most 10 billion, was insufficient – but, of course, blames it on… the Syriza government.]

The Euro Summit is aware that a rapid decision on a new programme is a condition to allow banks to reopen, thus avoiding an increase in the total financing envelope [i.e. The Troika closed Greece’s banks to force the Syriza government to capitulate and now cries out for their re-opening.] The ECB/SSM will conduct a comprehensive assessment after the summer. The overall buffer will cater for possible capital shortfalls following the comprehensive assessment after the legal framework is applied.

There are serious concerns regarding the sustainability of Greek debt [N.b. Really? Gosh!] This is due to the easing of policies during the last twelve months, which resulted in the recent deterioration in the domestic macroeconomic and financial environment [i.e. It is not the Extend and Pretend ‘bailout’ loans of 2010 and 2012 that, in conjunction with GDP-sapping austerity, caused the debt to scale immense heights – it was the prospect, and reality, of a government that criticized the the Extend and Pretend ‘bailout’ loans that… caused Debt’s Unustainability!]

The Euro Summit recalls that the euro area Member States have, throughout the last few years, adopted a remarkable set of measures supporting Greece’s debt sustainability, which have smoothed Greece’s debt servicing path and reduced costs significantly [i.e. The 1st & 2nd ‘bailout’ programs failed, the debt skyrocketing as it was always going to since the real purpose of the ‘bailout’ programs was to transfer banking losses to Europe’s taxpayers.] Against this background, in the context of a possible future ESM programme, and in line with the spirit of the Eurogroup statement of November 2012 [i.e. a promise of debt restructure to the previous Greek government was never kept by the creditors], the Eurogroup stands ready to consider, if necessary, possible additional measures (possible longer grace and payment periods) aiming at ensuring that gross financing needs remain at a sustainable level. These measures will be conditional upon full implementation of the measures to be agreed in a possible new programme and will be considered after the first positive completion of a review [i.e. Yet again, the Troika shall let the Greek government labour under un-payable debt and when, as a result, the program fails, poverty rises further and incomes collapse much more, then we may haircut some of the debt – as the Troika did in 2012.]

The Euro Summit stresses that nominal haircuts on the debt cannot be undertaken [N.b. The Syriza government has been suggesting, since January, a moderate debt restructure, with no haircuts, maximizing the expected net present value of Greece’s repayments to creditors’ – which was rejected by the Troika because their aim was, simply, to humiliate Syriza.] Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and in a timely manner [N.b. Which can only happen after a substantial debt restrucuture.] Provided that all the necessary conditions contained in this document are fulfilled, the Eurogroup and ESM Board of Governors may, in accordance with Article 13.2 of the ESM Treaty, mandate the Institutions to negotiate a new ESM programme, if the preconditions of Article 13 of the ESM Treaty are met on the basis of the assessment referred to in Article 13.1. To help support growth and job creation in Greece (in the next 3-5 years) [N.b. Having already destroyed growth and jobs for the past five years…] the Commission will work closely with the Greek authorities to mobilise up to EUR 35bn (under various EU programmes) to fund investment and economic activity, including in SMEs [i.e. Will use the same order of magnitude of structural funds, plus some fantasy money, as were available in 2010-2014.] As an exceptional measure and given the unique situation of Greece the Commission will propose to increase the level of pre-financing by EUR 1bn to give an immediate boost to investment to be dealt with by the EU co-legislators [i.e. Of the headline 35 billion, consider 1 billion as real money.] The Investment Plan for Europe will also provide funding opportunities for Greece [i.e. the same plan that most Eurozone ministers of finance refer to as a phantom program].


    • honestly, are you trying to improve your blog’s google ranking?

      on each post you give an link to your blog that no one cares about…

    • Dear vladh12,

      On the contrary, people do care about a counter-narrative to the one provided by Yani. There are lively debates going on in the comment sections of my blog. The idea is not to spam Yani, but to engage in a dialogue. I have been doing this because I am concerned that Yanis is great in talking to the media, and adoring fans, but less keen to debate with critics, especially from within Greece.

  • So now you know why Tsipras is brilliant. He has turned ND, Pasok & Potami into Syriza2. Every time Syriza needs votes the converted slaves provide. 🙂 Tsipras does not need a party anymore. The Yes people will do whatever it takes any time he wants because their euro-paranoia has no bounds!

    P.S. Just to stick it to Schauble and gang.

    • Of course, so is Merkel. When she wasn’t making a mess of it with Russia, she was screwing Greece.

      So, basically, the world witnessed these last few weeks two people who are brilliant at being both weak and indecisive. Hence the disastrous outcome.

    • And regarding ND et al, they had supported the YES side during the (bogus) referendum. And lest you have forgotten, Tsipras the NO side. Therefore, ND et al in the vote today were being consistent.

      So, if I may add … Tsipras is brilliant at being weak, indecisive and … inconsistent.

    • Sure, brilliant and genius basically means the same thing. And we all agree, for example, that Einstein was brilliant — a genius.

      Btw … here’s a pithy quote from the genius himself:

      Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

      Wow, tell me that that is not an accurate description of both the Greek team’s negotiating tactics and the Troika’s insistence of ever more austerity.

      Ok, let me revise once more:

      Tsipras and Merkel are two people who are both weak, indecisive and, according to Einstein’s definition, “insane” — except that Tsipras is also inconsistent.

  • Just gathered the info on tonight’s vote and I must say a big applause for you and the other 32 Syriza MPs who voted “no” (also 6 abstained and one was absent, not sure if they deserve praise). Also for the 109 members (majority) of Syriza’s Central Committee who signed against the surrender.

    As I see it: the Greek Parliament is not representative of the nation any more (it just cannot have more legitimacy than a direct popular vote), without elections there will be a vacuum, if not of power as such, at the very least of legitimacy. This did not happen even in the days of Samaras, when the country was every other day shattered by massive street battles but it was believed that they could still retain their majority. I believe that, as soon as Syriza solves its internal problems (i.e. terms of the split), elections must be called or the only ones able to claim legitimacy will be the Anarchists.

    • Just gathered the info on tonight’s vote and I must say a big applause for you and the other 32 Syriza MPs who voted “no’>…

      They voted NO to the austerity deal and yet still back the AUSTERITY government?

      How sick is that?!

      Please, save the applause for those who resign from this disgraceful government.

    • What?! If they voted “no” to the surrender they are obviously not backing the government any more. This is the end of Syriza as we knew it: a majority of the Central Committee itself asked for a no vote, Tsipras is in rebellion against the party, Tsipras is the Western Prachandra.

    • What?! If they voted “no” to the surrender they are obviously not backing the government any more.

      That is not what they’re saying to reporters. The Guardian reported that Energy Minister Lafazanis still supports. The Speaker Konstantopoulou same.

  • Dear Yani,

    If Alexis Tsipras was Emperor Justinian, you would be General Belisarius, and we have just witnessed history repeat itself. This is a clear case of the insecure emperor in flight from his top general.
    Tonight, by voting against this odious 3rd memorandum, you honorably fell on your political sword. In spite of what others think, I think that this is the most admirable choice. You will not leave unscathed, but it’s better to lose something to save something greater. Yanis, walk away, nay RUN. As I mentioned in my last post, there is nothing more base and animal than politicians.

    You are a brilliant scholar and economist, and now, (for a historian romantic like myself) the modern-day Belisarius, who fought to liberate the lands from the Teutonic invaders! In ancient times, this is exactly how legends were born!


    • Out of curiosity, what Belisarius a non-Greek Byzantine (aka East Roman Empire) general who mostly fought in North Africa and the part of the Italian peninsula dominated by Magna Graecia, have anything to do with Greece or Teutonic invaders?

      Don’t you know that Belisarius was of Gothic origin and as such a Teuton himself?

    • The East Roman Empire, AKA Byzantium, (a name that is really artificial), was comprised of multiple origins. Justinian, like Constantine the Great, was not Greek, and never even spoke a word of Greek. The understanding of ‘pure’ nation states did not exist prior to modernity. Belisarius was possibly of Germanic descent. He fought the Vandals (east German tribe) and the Ostrogoths (deriving from a nomadic Germanic branch of Visigoths), who all share the same Germanic roots.

    • That’s a totally side discussion but certainly Greek was the dominant language in the Eastern Roman Empire since “always” and in many senses Byzantium was a “Greek” (or Greek-dominated) state.

      More importantly nations and actually some nation-states too have existed since “always”. The very concept of “tribe” or “tribal confederation” is akin to a modern “nation state”. The Frankish Empire recognized semi-autonomous nation-states as “duchies” (leader-doms), such as Vasconia, Brittany (these two were independent at times), Swabia or Saxony (not all duchies were ethnic but many were and is the general original concept of what duchies were meant to be). Other nation-states of ancient times could include Wales for example or even dynastic Egypt. Of course when states become imperialist, they lose some of that national identity (until they can assimilate the conquered nations) but even Rome or Carthage were to some extent nation states, let alone Macedon (which besides belonging to the wider Greek ethnos, clearly spoused an ethnicity or sub-ethnicity of its own, very clear in how Antigonus was perceived by the other Macedonian generals in spite of his undeniable merits). Furthermore, many modern nation-states are in fact multiethnic and in that aspect not too dissimilar to the Roman Empire, where a particular ethnic identity was hegemonic but there were many others. Considering nation-states as something modern or bourgeois is pretty much a myth: the nation-people has always been there and all the bourgeoisie did was using it for its own purposes, much as other elites of the past did in their own way previously.

    • Nicholas,

      Belisarius was a brilliant tactician who was not averse to taking great risks.

    • The speaking of Greek language (use of) is completely irrelevant. Just like we speak English today and we send our children to the best schools in the world which undoubtedly reside in the Anglophoene world, the same way the Romans spoke Greek to show their sophistication and good education.

      The use of Greek language never made Byzantium to become Greek. The association with Greekness in Byzantium comes after the 4th crusade and the recapture of Constantinople when the clergy didn’t have anywhere to turn to in a rapidly diminishing empire other than a few Greek territorial pocessions. The myth that Byzantium has anything to do with being Greek is just that, a myth. The Byzantine church was and to some degree it continues to be the arch-enemy of all classical Greek ideals.

      As a result, I still don’t get the Justinian/Belisarius connections with Yanis. Yanis did not serve an empire; in fact the exact opposite – he fought against the evil Berlin empire. Anything having to do with empires is de facto non-Greek. Greeks by the very definition of the word are the anti-empire people.

    • Belisarius was neither a brilliant tactician nor of any particular set of skills worth mentioning.

      The Byzantine empire was lost the minute Egypt (bread basket of the empire) was brutalized by religious fanatics seeking a Constantinople supremacy over Egyptians whose sense of religion had something more deep and mystical than the insecurities of the Patriachate in Constantinople.

      And the whole thing is uber ridiculous because now we know (thanks to the Dead Seas scrolls) that Jesus and christianity was nothing more than a Roman invention to rule an empire.

  • Naomi Klein was right when she described ‘the rise of disaster capitalism’.
    Mr Schäuble said something similar to: “never let a good crisis go to waste” back in 2013 in believe. Now the masks have fallen. Germany and its allies are openly using the meltdown of the Greek economy to install a neoliberal minimal state (‘Nachtwächterstaat’) within the EU. Maybe that was the plan all along but now they have stopped pretending.
    This is pure ‘Shock Doctrine’ in full effect.

  • “the safeguarding of the full legal independence of ELSTAT [i.e. the troika demands complete control of the way Greece’s budget balance is computed, with a view to controlling fully the magnitude of austerity it imposes on the government.]”

    How does demanding that the Greek statistical service produce accurate data uncompromised by political interference equate to that? One would have thought that not having a national statistical service lie at the behest of elected politicians or civil servants alike would have been a good thing.

  • Indeed, what Hubert Marcks says is just right. I am so angry I can’t say it in so few words.
    After reading Naomi Klein’s “this changes everything, capitalism vs. the climate”, a very good book about the last 25 lost years and the future, I am,reading the “shock doctrine” now. The german “” who wonderfully collect the better voices and criticise the mainstream, write about this very post by Yanis. He shows the Orwell-like double speak, they state – quite right.

    To me it seemed to hurt and break Greece was the plan since years. Consequences are horrible, and we should not fall in their traps after Germany and its many allies you should not forget “won” again. Well, they call it victory, but it is none. It is the end of the EU, EU just survives in double-speak lies like from german “Bundespräsident” Gauck and hundreds more.

    To trust in what these double-speak-people who act brutally and just pretend to be democrats is to get trapped by the neoliberal forces in “Germany’s EU”.
    To always search for just one single brutal person (Merkel, Schäuble) means getting trapped. Even if Schäuble and Merkel of course are brutality with two faces, the most horribly smiling double-speak Angela Merkel and the grim outspoken hateful Wolfgang Schäuble. But brutality against people has a name. Economic neoliberal interests, praised and pressed through by people like Merkel as “market-conform democracy”. Another nightmare of words. These talkshow-rituals and dreams (“if he/she alone would be thrown out, it would be better”) just distract from the harsh realities.
    Schäuble, my guess, will be no minister after 2017. But he rightfully said he just shouted out what Merkel, Gabriel, the FDP and parts of the german green party always thought! His ideas were the german government’s ideas. Yes.

    After such a noble fight and such a horrible defeat there is nobody one can trust in the EU. There are Tusk, Dijsselbloem and hundreds more Yanis knows, hundreds and thousands of neoliberals in the EU. Behind them is a huge lobbyist-fraction, they prefer to not act in the foreground…

    The USA? The USA just want to “help” Greece because of geopolitical fights – for them and the IMF they control more or less it is more about “Russia is not allowed to help Greece” and other “we are exceptional”-fights. Yes, they treat Puerto Rico differently, true, but neoliberalism resides proudly in the USA too. People who in millions oppose health care for all and see even health as a market, like the EU treats greek ill people so horribly, are no real hope.

    There are so many traps. And our chances are so few, even a wonderful left government had no real chance. As I already tried to say in other comments – where is the european resistance? 25 postmodern years seem to have destroyed any european intellectual resistance that might have helped. Figures like Heinrich Boell, Theodorakis, the wonderful US-resistance were replaced by always so ironical, sarcastic, solipsist intellectuals who prefer not to think about countries and their troubles. This was a trap too, and so many did not even see it. Intellectuals who are quite satisfied with hopping from one postmodern congress to the next one, changing nothing, starting not one discussion where millions begin to partake. A trap more! An unbelievable case of stupidity also – they underrated neoliberals and austerity! They secretly liked everything as it was. Like people flying 10 times over weekend for another short holiday, but voting green…

    People are only very slowly waking up. No government alone, we see it now sadly enough, can stop the Merkel-Schäuble-Juncker-Tusk etc. “german-led EU”. Take Juncker! The “amazon-deal” man! Amazon and apple and Starbuck and so many more had to pay no taxes, while talk-shows always only blurb about “greek ship owners”; who indeed are brutal too. Juncker is just the same.
    There is even Spain, and lukewarm Italy! Countries in danger, and what was their help? Mister Rajoy is happy with the greek defeat! Because he fears Podemos. Not even Germany’s and Netherland’s and Finland’s etc ennemies did stick together.

    There are many old games played here, and they all lead to us getting trapped, while the cruel neoliberal minimal state (like you put it) wins again, with all consequences. This can’t change if we don’t start, like this very blog states, to find – again – new ideas, and new ways of resistance against the Germany-EU or however one calls this neoliberal atrocity that is hurting Greece. This leads to Naomi Klein again. In her latest book, “This changes everything”, she disregards, rightfully, the green way of fighting global climate changes by trying to overlook one of the huge reasons of climate change – neoliberal capitalism. This is where her 2 books find together, the “Shock doctrine” and “This changes everything” both describe neoliberalism and its ugly consequences. But see – not even here is a resistance that had one voice! Some who see the fatality of neoliberalism and austerity in economic spheres, towards Greece now, still believe the earth was flat and science had no clue concerning global climate changes… Don’t only shout Schäuble or Merkel or Juncker or Tusk – they had a good time since at least 1990. There is no working resistance, so Syriza was left alone. This must change. First step is avoiding further traps and being friendly with all those who in their intellectual double-speak talked a bit against neoliberalism, but lived rather happy within neoliberalism and the intellectual majorities of that era. KKE dreams of workers who would unite, but they are not, KKE won’t be a major force any time soon, so it seems for someone not living in Greece. We lived in 25 years of stagnation, but the right-wing-lobbyists and the neoliberals within conservative parties plus Pasok and all so-called “social democratic” parties too did win. Social democrats are dead. Just another double speak term today. We are, if we are honest, everywhere at the bottom and must wake up.

    • One could agree — or disagree — with all of the annotated comments. However, the issue today is no longer the criticism we offer — this is the easy part– but the alternative we offer to all of the above. I will submit that the main problem is two fold: first, we never, never, came up with a well thought out, internally consistent, economically efficient and socially just alternative to the measures suggested (and eventually for this reason imposed) by the troika. This is true of all Greek governments since 2009. All of them were full of nice highfaluting words and very poor in original and practical ideas which would be consistent with their ideology. This is why they all engaged in 180 degrees turns. Secondly, the only alternative — until till last night– that was offered in secret and by omission was the return to a national currency. As of last night this is more in the open. The old pro-MoU and anti-MoU divide has now transformed into a clearer — and more honest — divide “euro or drachma”. However, it will be interesting to see whether the proponents of the “alternative” are willing to talk openly and truthfully about the steps and implications of a return to the drachma.
      During one of Yanis’ recent interview he stated that he had prepared such a paper for the benefit of the PM/government. Is he willing to publish this paper and institute a public debate on it???
      The proponents of the “drachma” should at last come out and fully explain how they intend to proceed and what will be the results on the Greek people — by social/economic class.
      Anthony Kefalas

    • ‘During one of Yanis’ recent interview he stated that he had prepared such a paper for the benefit of the PM/government. Is he willing to publish this paper and institute a public debate on it???
      The proponents of the “drachma” should at last come out and fully explain how they intend to proceed and what will be the results on the Greek people — by social/economic class.”

      I agree 1OO%.
      I am sure you wiII aIso find that many business people prefer drachma.

      Euro or Drachma is the referendum that no government has dared to hoId. After poIIs showed support for euro at 52% in Iate ApriI and other poIIs 52% for drachma, this question is the singIe biggest debate in the country.

    • Personally I think that the “drachma option” implies massive inflation (devaluation) in order to recover competitivity and probably also pay the foreign debt in some reduced way (but wait: that debt is denominated in euros, not so simple). Instead the “euro outside the Eurozone” option needs of a preliminary default and then can proceed with surplus accountancy as in Ecuador.

      The main reason for the latter is that the transition to a new currency would be very painful, the main reason for the former is that the powers-that-be may unleash hell on Greece if it dares to produce a sovereign default.

  • This is one of the questions to be answered by Varoufakis and raised by A.Kafalas :
    “However, it will be interesting to see whether the proponents of the “alternative” are willing to talk openly and truthfully about the steps and implications of a return to the drachma.
    During one of Yanis’ recent interview he stated that he had prepared such a paper for the benefit of the PM/government. Is he willing to publish this paper and institute a public debate on it???
    The proponents of the “drachma” should at last come out and fully explain how they intend to proceed and what will be the results on the Greek people — by social/economic class

    • I believe that the model was never “returning to a drachma” but merely issuing IOUs as temporary measure and sticking to the euro no matter what. In this sense the model to follow is (with whatever variations) Ecuador, which has had a quite successful economic and social recent history in spite of using the US dollar. Its situation is largely comparable to that of Greece, including population (15 million vs 11 million) and economic weight (180 billion vs 300 billion USD as GDP-PPP).

      What Ecuador did after the election of Correa as President (which, as in Greece today, followed a series of bad governments) was to promote speculation about its imminent default and then secretly buy the debt at 20% of its previous value, what effectively meant an 80% reduction of it. Obviously something like that cannot be discussed openly beforehand but can be applauded afterwards. The IMF and rating agencies still considered this operation a default and rated Ecuador CCC or CCC- but Ecuador has managed to overcome that issue and recover so well that they have even implemented a program to help emigrants return. And all while remaining in the “dollar-zone”, i.e. while using a currency they do not mint nor have any control over.

      With the modifications that would correspond, I believe the same general model can be used in Greece. But it clearly needs a much more serious and determined government than the Tsipras one.

    • What Ecuador demonstrates particularly is that you can run a non-Keynesian budget-surplus social-capitalist (Reinische Kapitalism with a social facet) and succeed. But that you have to get rid of the burden of the debt first of all (default), and of course be ready to face the imperialist-orchestrated backslash.

      Ecuador has two advantages relative to Greece: oil and the solidarity of regional allies (notably the ALBA but also the ambiguous alignment of Brazil). In our European context the only thing comparable to this second element right now is Russia (even if we may not like Putin too much), what may also serve to neutralize the main external problem Greece could meet in case of rebellion vs EU and NATO: Turkey (because Turkey is part of the South Stream project that would be key to any cooperation with Russia). Regarding the first element, Greece surely enjoy other advantages such as greater GDP, greater industrial and tertiary development, that can no doubt be capitalized by a serious daring socialist government.

      I did think at first, and then again in the referendum week, that Tsipras was smarter and more daring and would eventually do something like that, after the initial need to buy some time. But I was obviously wrong.

  • Reblogged this on Ya,ya,ya and commented:
    Este comentario de Anthony Kefalas me parece de lo más pertinente ya que algunos pensábamos que era el plan B que tenían estudiado si la Troika nomentraba en razones|

    “However, it will be interesting to see whether the proponents of the “alternative” are willing to talk openly and truthfully about the steps and implications of a return to the drachma.
    During one of Yanis’ recent interview he stated that he had prepared such a paper for the benefit of the PM/government. Is he willing to publish this paper and institute a public debate on it???
    The proponents of the “drachma” should at last come out and fully explain how they intend to proceed and what will be the results on the Greek people — by social/economic class

  • If this veiled threat on Greece does not raise your ire ….

    During a pivotal meeting with Merkel, French President François Hollande and European Council President Donald Tusk, Tsipras at one point received a thinly veiled threat that if he walked away and left the euro, Greece risked going it alone geopolitically, too.

    According to two officials in Brussels with knowledge of the exchange, the specter was raised of aggression from Turkey — a neighboring nation viewed in Greece as a historic antagonist.

    Greek leader’s debt deal ignites revolt at home from austerity’s opponents

    • Lastgreek, Yes my ire is raised, but I am not surprised. Are you? Haven’t the seemingly quiet or sort of “invisible” geopolitical aspects (forces) of this “economic” situation always been there, waiting to assert (aggress) themselves at any moment as the “need arose”? Now let’s see how the IMF statements play out. Or….???

    • And to add to the madness….we have this: “But in negotiating a new deal this week to bail out Greece, Germany displayed what many Europeans saw as a harder, more selfish edge, demanding painful measures from Athens and resisting any firm commitment to granting Greece relief from its crippling debt. And that perception was fueled on Thursday when the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, suggested that Greece would get its best shot at a substantial cut in its debt only if it was willing to give up membership in the European common currency.”
      Given that the Greek gov’t received a “veiled threat” (see above article) and is simultaneously being offered the way out the door, what can we make of these contradictory, so-called communications? Or are they essentially one and the same message?

    • That’s the card we all imagined that was there from the start and a reason for Syriza not to raise the issue of NATO-membership (what would leave Greece in the situation of self-defense being turned into “aggression against NATO”). I can only imagine that a good Greek diplomacy could counter that via the South Stream deal, which needs of Turkey, but this state is probably too unpredictable so there’s indeed reason for concern.

      In any case that is a contingency that just must be planned for in the event of Greece independence as a matter of course.

    • A glimpse of what is in store for Greece:

      Six Turkish aircraft, two of them armed, violated the Greek airspace 20 times, defense officials said.

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Greece scrambled fighter jets to chase off six Turkish aircraft trespassing into Greek airspace, defense officials said.

      Turkish planes, flying in a formation, violated Greek airspace 20 times on Wednesday, officials said, cited by the local Kathimerini newspaper.

      Turkish aircraft reportedly crossed into Greece in the northeastern, central and southeastern Aegean Sea, the body of water dividing the two countries’ mainlands. At least two of the fighter jets

      Read more:

  • As a German I am deeply ashamed by the hostile actions of my government against Greece. It is a bitter irony that none of the main battle tanks and submarines delievered by Germany are of any use now to defend Greece. When readin through this “rescue program”, Greek politicians should seriously consider to join Turkey as a province.

  • Since the Greek parliament has now signed off on the Troika’s terms of surrender, and thus Greece is no longer a sovereign state, I guess it’s only a matter of time before the Greek parliament building undergoes renovations to increase seating capacity to make room for the Troika members . Or better yet, let it be added to the pool of public assets where it can “be sold off and the pitiful sums will go toward servicing an un-serviceable debt.” 🙁

    Not one shot fired.

    Not one bomb dropped.

    Not one foreign soldier invaded Greece.

    And the country surrendered.

    Just like that.


    • Yes Tsipras victory is complete. He has turned the opposition into a Yes voting machine in whatever he wishes. Total surrender by the Berlin clowns and their Greek collaborators. Tsipras is now becoming the new Napoleon Bonaparte.

    • Tsipras is now becoming the new Napoleon Bonaparte.

      Indeed. And Dean Plassaras his Josephine!

  • Maju, thanks so much for your clever explanation. Would want Varoufakis opine about this paragraph?:
    “With the modifications that would correspond, I believe the same general model can be used in Greece. But it clearly needs a much more serious and determined government than the Tsipras one.”