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Wed Apr 22, 2015, 04:45 PM

On Friday EU FMs Decide Whether to Release Emer Funds to Greece, or Risk Greece Default/WD from EU



Published on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

by Democracy Now!

Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis: The Medicine of Austerity Is Not Working, We Need a New Treatment
'It’s a question of establishing what needs to be done in order to return Greece to a sustainable path'

With the debt clock ticking, Greece is fast running out of money. The country has ordered all state bodies to place their cash reserves in the nation’s central bank, the Bank of Greece, as it struggles to stay afloat. Greece is supposed to receive the last installment of its bailout funds from European creditors, but the country’s new leftist, anti-austerity Syriza party has expressed concerns about its terms. The creditors are reportedly pressuring the country to restructure its labor market and curtail its pension system; Syriza has instead done the opposite by increasing pension payments to lower-wage workers. On Friday, eurozone finance ministers will decide whether to release emergency funds to Greece. Without the funds, Greece may default on its debt payments in coming weeks and put its membership in the eurozone at risk. We go to Athens to speak with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.


The official version, until we got elected, was that Greece was on the mend, that austerity was working. Our proposition to the Greek people—on which basis we were elected, were given a mandate—was the opposite, that the medicine wasn’t working. It wasn’t just that it was bitter and we didn’t want to take it; it was that it was toxic and it was making a bad thing worse. It was worse than the disease. So, this is what’s at stake here. You asked me, "How high are the stakes?" It’s a question of establishing what needs to be done in order to return Greece to a sustainable path. — Yanis Varoufakis
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/04/21/greeces-yanis-varoufakis-medicine-austerity-not-working-we-need-new-treatment

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Reply On Friday EU FMs Decide Whether to Release Emer Funds to Greece, or Risk Greece Default/WD from EU (Original post)
mother earth Apr 2015 OP
dixiegrrrrl Apr 2015 #1
mother earth Apr 2015 #2
golfguru Apr 2015 #4
mother earth Apr 2015 #3
mother earth Apr 2015 #5
mother earth Apr 2015 #6

Response to mother earth (Original post)

Wed Apr 22, 2015, 11:03 PM

1. Russia stepped in with a huge amount for Greece

and in turn Greece will support a pipeline from Russia, for Europe.

Greece has the IMF/ECB by the ...neck.
And Spain and Italy are watching very very very closely.
Greece default will mean leaving the EU, AND the Euro, but that won't/can't hurt them as much compared to what they have been feeling
all these years of late.
Hope Greece takes a page from Iceland.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:07 PM

2. That's my assessment and hope as well. TY for your comments, dixiegrrrrl.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 11:52 PM

4. My comment is off topic but...

 

having lurked here for years, IMHO you are the best poster on this economy forum, no offense intended to others.

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 02:36 PM

3. Today: 4/23/15 Alexis Tsipras seeks interim deal for Greece in talks with Angela Merkel

Excerpt:
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/23/alexis-tsipras-seeks-interim-deal-greece-talks-angela-merkel

A Greek official said the meeting between Tsipras and Merkel took place in a “positive and constructive atmosphere” and expressed confidence that a deal was close.

The official gave no details of the discussion but said: “During the meeting, the significant progress made since the Berlin meeting until today was noted. The prime minister asked that the procedures be speeded up so that the 20 Feb decision, which foresees a first interim agreement by the end of April, be implemented.”

An interim deal would give Greece some of the money it needs to meet its €2bn wages and pensions bill on 30 April, and to make two payments to the IMF totalling €970m in early May.

But the mood among European Commission officials was less upbeat, with Brussels sources saying that the refusal of Athens to provide information meant little real progress had been made.

It had been hoped that a meeting of finance ministers from the 18-strong eurozone would sign off a new package of help for Greece when it meets in Riga on Friday. That, though, has proved impossible, prompting speculation that Greece is moving closer to a debt default that could eventually lead to its departure from the eurozone.

The European Commission and the European Central Bank have been expressing confidence that there would be no serious consequences from a Greek exit from the single currency.

But the latest snapshot of the eurozone economy provided evidence of a slowdown in activity, which analysts blamed on the protracted Greek crisis.

Jessica Hinds, European economist at Capital Economics, said: “April’s fall in the eurozone composite PMI suggested that fears over Greece might already be starting to dampen economic growth in the region, offsetting any boost from loose monetary policy and the weakness of the euro.

“The decline in the headline economy-wide output index from 54.0 to 53.5 was in contrast to the consensus and our own expectation of a small rise. The fall reflected declines in both the manufacturing and services components.”

Failure to reach an agreement in Riga means the next meeting of the euro group of finance ministers on 11 May is now being seen as the make-or-break date. In Athens, some leading politicians expressed concern about the lack of progress.

Kostas Chrysogonos, the prominent Syriza MEP said a referendum may be the only way out, telling Mega TV that if the talks fail by the cut off date of 11 May, a plebiscite should be immediately put to the Greek people.

Athens’s leading negotiator, Nikos Theoharakis, expressed further pessimism telling reporters in Paris that “the distance between the two sides” was so great only a “political solution” could yield results.

Meanwhile, Antonis Samaras, Tsipras’s predecessor as prime minister, warned that Greece had reached a “dead end” and urged the government to reach a deal with its creditors.

“The government has fooled society. At this point it has to clash either with our creditors, or with itself ... The country is isolated. If the government does not pay, Grexit returns. There must be a deal.”

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 11:00 AM

5. Greek Fin. Min: Greece Is not Bluffing About Exiting Euro if it Had to Accept More Austerity 4-24-15

Greek Fin. Min: Greece Is not Bluffing About Exiting Euro if it Had to Accept More Austerity economyPolitics by A. Makris - Apr 24, 2015
-The risk of Greece leaving the euro if it has to accept more austerity is no bluff, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told a French philosophy magazine, adding that no one could predict what the consequences of such an exit would be. In a conversation with Norwegian philosopher Jon Elster conducted at the end of March and published in Philosophie Magazine, Varoufakis said this was not the time to bluff over Greece’s debt negotiations. “We cannot bluff anymore. When I say that we’ll end up leaving the euro, if we have to accept more unsustainable austerity, this is no bluff,” Varoufakis is quoted by Reuters as saying. Asked what would happen if Greece was to leave the eurozone, Varoufakis referred to comments made by European policymakers who say any contagion effect could be avoided. He added, however, that he believed the consequences would be unpredictable. “Anyone who pretends they know what would happen the day we’ll be pushed over the cliff is talking nonsense and is working against Europe,” he said. - See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/04/24/greek-fin-min-greece-is-not-bluffing-about-exiting-euro-if-it-had-to-accept-more-austerity/#sthash.k7wUr4Lj.dpuf

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Fri Apr 24, 2015, 11:07 AM

6. Greece bailout deal still needs ‘significant’ work 4-24-15 (EU FM next meeting 5-11-15)

http://www.sltrib.com/home/2438192-155/greece-bailout-deal-still-needs-significant
Excerpt:

Just two months ago, Greece secured an agreement from the eurozone to get the remaining money in its bailout fund — $7.7 billion — but only if it came up with a mutually agreed set of reforms. An end-of-April deadline was considered achievable and markets breathed a sigh of relief that the threat of bankruptcy and a Greek exit from the euro had been averted.

But with days to go until that self-imposed deadline, Athens hasn't even presented a full list as it haggles with representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

European officials are now talking of a new deadline of the end of June, when the European part of Greece's bailout program officially ends. How the country can continue to pay wages and salaries and meet its debt commitments, notably to the IMF, in that period remains sketchy.

The decision this week by the Greek government to scrape together spare cash from municipalities and state enterprises like hospitals and the national gallery is likely to buy it some time. The move could, according to independent estimates, rake in $2.14 billion, which would cover its debt payments in May.

Dijsselbloem conceded there had been a step-change in Athens' appetite for discussion over the past few days but that "significantly more progress" was required from Athens. He spoke of "wide differences" between the sides, without specifying where the problems lay. He also ruled out that the creditors might consider a half-way deal that could give Greece part of the pending rescue loans.

Greece's Varoufakis sought to portray the discussions in a more positive light.

"We look at the last few weeks and what we see is convergence," he said, noting progress on issues such as privatization, reforming the tax system, the judiciary, the bureaucracy and product markets. A deal will happen, he added, "and will happen quickly as it's the only option we have."

Varoufakis said the main sticking points related to pensions and the level of the budget surplus Athens has to post after debt and interest payments are stripped out — a higher level means less money would effectively mean the government has less money spending on its priorities.

"This is a European family that needs to work out its difference in a collegiate manner," said Varoufakis.

All sides agree that the clock is ticking — a notion expressed repeatedly by officials at the meeting here.

The next possible date for a deal could be May 11, when eurozone finance ministers will meet next and just one day before Greece owes a big payment to the IMF.

Greece has relied on 240 billion euros-worth of bailout funds since May 2010 after it was effectively locked out of international bond markets when investors thought a default was on the cards.

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