Posts Tagged: austerity

 

Although the details of Greece’s third bailout program have yet to be finalized, Monday marked the beginning of a new dawn for Greeks. Last week, PM Alexis Tsipras forced a set of draconian “reforms” through parliament and sacked political rivals, effectively legislating away the country’s sovereignty while condemning the Greek people to a fate of even tougher austerity and ensuring that despite rhetoric out of Athens, “normality” will not return to Greece for a very long time. 

Greek banks reopened and as expected there were long lines. On the bright side, the queues were described as “orderly.” From AP:  

In downtown Athens, people lined up in an orderly fashion as the banks unlocked their doors at 8 a.m., taking a number and reading the paper as they waited for their turn at the till.

 

Many restrictions on transactions, including cash withdrawals, remained, however.

 

The Greek government kept the daily cash withdrawal limit at 60 euros ($65) but added a weekly limit of 420 euros ($455) that will be available beginning Sunday. This means depositors who don’t make it to the bank on Monday to withdraw cash could pull out 120 euros ($130) on Tuesday instead, and so on, so Greeks don’t have to feel they need to visit an ATM every day.

 

Bank customers will still not be able to cash checks, only deposit them into their accounts, and they will not be able to get cash abroad with their credit or cash cards, only make purchases. There are also restrictions on opening new accounts or activating dormant ones.

 

 

 

 

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Equity markets roared higher Thursday and Friday as they ‘knew’ a deal was imminent in Greece because Tsipras appeared to backpedal. However, after someone told Merkel the truth, and “everyone knows you can’t believe” the Greeks, The Eurorgoup Meeting ends with zero agreement after 9 hours of rumor-mongering and escalating tensions. Local reporters noted the leaders could not even agree on what to disagree about as an increasing number of EU member states pushed for either a Grexit or considerably toughersanctions austerity on the Greeks

From the man himself…

  • *DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS TALKS ARE STILL VERY DIFFICULT
  • *DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS ISSUE OF GREEK TRUST VERY DIFFICULT
  • *DIJSSELBLOEM: `WE DON’T HAVE A SOLUTION YET’
  • *DIJSSELBLOEM SAYS `HUGE PROBLEMS’ REMAIN IN GREEK TALKS
  • *DIJSSELBLOEM: `FOR SURE IT WAS A DIFFICULT MEEETING’

Summing up the meeting perfectly…

;

As Reuters reports (rather more hopefully than many),

Euro zone finance ministers were trying to draft a joint statement on Saturday listing further measures they want Greece to take in order to launch negotiations on a bailout Athens has requested, an EU source said.

 

The Greek government has put forward a set of reform plans to meet conditions for a three-year loan from euro zone partners but finance ministers said they did not go far enough and several sources said the other 18 euro zone states want Athens to offer additional actions and guarantees of implementation.

*  *  *

Don’t worry though:

  • *MOSCOVICI SAYS THERE’S `ALWAYS HOPE’ AND TALKS RESUME SUNDAY

Do these look like faces of hope?

There is no press conference and the meeting will resume tomorrow at 11am… shortly before FX markets open.

 

What most people believe — especially in Germany — is that Greeks are lazy and corrupt. That they need ever-harsher doses of economic reality and austerity to jolt them towards competitiveness.

The government overspent, was given handouts by Northern Europe and has learned nothing.

Merkel has made the country her personal economic punching bag in order to position herself at home as a pragmatic economic manager.

Suddenly, people are starting to have another look. >> Read More

9 myths about the Greek crisis

03 July 2015 - 5:19 am
 

The citizens of Greece face a referendum Sunday that could decide the survival of their elected government and the fate of the country in the Eurozone and Europe. Narrowly, they’re voting on whether to accept or reject the terms dictated by their creditors last week. But what’s really at stake? The answers aren’t what you’d think.

I have had a close view of the process, both from the US and Athens, after working for the past four years with Yanis Varoufakis, now the Greek finance minister. I’ve come to realize that there are many myths in circulation about this crisis; here are nine that Americans should see through.

1. The referendum is about the Euro. As soon as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the referendum, François Hollande, David Cameron, Matteo Renzi, and the German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told the Greeks that a “no” vote would amount to Greece leaving the Euro. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, went further: he said “no” means leaving the European Union. In fact the Greek government has stated many times that – yes or no – it is irrevocably committed to the Union and the Euro. And legally, according to the treaties, Greece cannot be expelled from either. 

2. The IMF has been flexible. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde claims that her institution has shown “flexibility” in negotiations with the Greeks. In fact, the IMF has conceded almost nothing over four months: not on taxes, pensions, wages, collective bargaining or the amount of Greece’s debt. Greek chief negotiator Euclid Tsakalatos circulated a briefing on the breakdown that gives details, and concludes: “So what does the Greek government think of the proposed flexibility of the Institutions? It would be a great idea.”

3. The creditors have been generous. Angela Merkel has called the terms offered by the creditors “very generous” to Greece. But in fact the creditors have continued to insist on a crushing austerity program, predicated on a target for a budget surplus that Greece cannot possibly meet, and on the continuation of draconian policies that have already cost the Greeks more than a quarter of their income and plunged the country into depression. Debt restructuring, which is obviously necessary, has also been refused.

4. The European Central Bank has protected Greek financial stability. A central bank is supposed to protect the financial stability of solvent banks. But from early February, the ECB cut off direct financing of Greek banks, instead drip-feeding them expensive liquidity on special “emergency” terms. This promoted a slow run on the banks and paralyzed economic activity. When the negotiations broke down, the ECB capped the assistance, prompting a fast bank run and giving them an excuse to impose capital controls and effectively shut them down.  >> Read More

 

Presented with little comment aside to ask if someone is off-script?

  • *NOONAN: THE CRISIS HAS COMMENCED
  • *SCHAEUBLE SAYS `HELLISH DIFFICULT TASK’ ON GREECE
  • *NOONAN: I HAVE SYMPATHY FOR THE GREEK PEOPLE

“Financial arrangement with Greece, without immediate prospects of a follow-up arrangement, will require measures by the Greek authorities, with the technical assistance of the institutions, to safeguard the stability of the Greek financial system,” ministers from 18 euro area member-states say today.

 

“The Eurogroup will monitor very closely the economic and financial situation in Greece and the Eurogroup stands ready to reconvene to take appropriate decisions where needed, in the interest of Greece as euro area member” ministers say in statement after informal meeting in Brussels

Translationyou are on your own, f##kers >> Read More

 

 

Greece, the birthplace of civilization is divided over its deal with Europe. The European Central Bank has approved more emergency bailout money for Greek banks in return for a rise in taxes and pension and health contributions.

 The European Commission has promised an extra $39 billion (€35 bn) of funding if a Greek deal is reached by Wednesday. However, members of Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party have warned the Greek Prime Minister against betraying the Greek people by reaching bailout compromises with Brussels.

Meanwhile, EU leaders continue to push for a deal to prevent the country from exiting the European Union. And a deal appears to be on the cards — but at what cost?

In what’s become a Greek ritual, thousands of people gather each night in Syntagma Square in Athens. Rival groups meet outside the Greek parliament. One side are demanding an end to austerity and more bailout deals with Europe. Another side are calling for continued membership with the European Union.

>> Read More

 

Greece’s international creditors are aiming to strike a deal to stop Athens defaulting on its debt and possibly tumbling out of the euro by extending its bailout by six months and supplying up to €18bn (£12.9bn) in rescue funds.

The negotiators representing Greece’s lenders are also proposing to pledge debt relief for the austerity-battered country – but officials stressed that a breakthrough hinged on a positive response from the Greek prime minister,Alexis Tsipras.

Negotiations were continuing on Sunday night, hours ahead of crucial gatherings of eurozone finance minsters and leaders in Brussels, which Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, François Hollande, the French president, and Tsipras are expected to attend. All three leaders spoke over the weekend, with contributions from European commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.

The crisis meeting was convened in an attempt to ease Greece’s debt crisis before a critical €1.6bn payment to the International Monetary Fund falls due next Tuesday. >> Read More

 

A report from the Hellenic Parliament that says Greece should not pay the Troika

A truth committee was set up to look at whether the debts imposed on Greece were valid and their findings have been released today

“All the evidence we present in this report shows that Greece not only does not have the ability to pay this debt, but also should not pay this debt first and foremost because the debt emerging from the Troika‘s arrangements is a direct infringement on the fundamental human rights of the residents of Greece. Hence, we came to the conclusion that Greece should not pay this debt because it is illegal, illegitimate, and odious.”

“Having concluded a preliminary investigation, the Committee considers that Greece has been and still is the victim of an attack premeditated and organized by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission. This violent, illegal, and immoral mission aimed exclusively at shifting private debt onto the public sector.”

Athens, June 17, 2015

Hellenic Parliament’s Debt Truth Committee Preliminary Findings – Executive Summary of the report

>> Read More

 

Greek premier Alexis Tsipras warned Greece on Saturday to prepare for a “difficult compromise” with its EU-IMF creditors as his closest advisors delivered a last-chance proposal to avert a catastrophic default by Athens.

Cash-starved Greece is under huge pressure to strike an agreement to unlock vital bailout funds in the coming days, if not hours, after top eurozone officials turned the screws Friday and said they were preparing the ground for an Athens default.

The Tsipras envoys brought his latest bid to end a five-month standoff with the EU and IMF, who are demanding tough reforms in exchange for giving Athens 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) still remaining in its international rescue package.

“If we arrive at a viable accord, even if it is a difficult compromise, we will take up the challenge because our only criteria is to get out of the crisis,” Tsipras was quoted as telling Greek officials late Friday in a government statement.

Whatever needs to be done “needs to be done quickly”, deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas told Skai TV in Athens. He predicted there would be a deal. >> Read More

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Team ASR,
Baroda, India.