12 Jul '15     home | previous

Crunch Time for Greece

Today the meeting of the 18 eurozone ministers and Greece's finance minister is cancelled. Yesterday the meeting began and went into the evening, but for Greece nothing was accomplished. Finland rejected any more funding for Greece, saying that Greece's new proposals are simply not enough, and Germany is reported as having called for Greece to leave the euro currency for at least five years. An unnamed European official, quoted by the Associated Press, describes a general feeling that the Greek proposals are "too little, too late" and as such "more specific and binding commitments" are needed from Greece.

Greece's Prime Minister Tsipras was looking for a comprise that Greece could live and prosper with – the economic growth he says Greece needs. A couple of days ago, members of Greece's parliament voted in favor of the proposals now rejected. In the referendum a week ago the Greek people rejected austerity, but Tsipras said: "It is our national duty to keep our people alive and in the eurozone." He was pursuing the impossible. The BBC's Mark Lowen has written that Tsipras was elected on the basis of ending austerity and "tearing up the hated bailout," that he had called on the Greek people to say 'no' to ultimatums, 'no' to blackmail and to turn their backs on "those who would terrorise you." Lowen describes Tsipras as having now "signed off on some of the most austere measures in months?" Lowen asks, "What was the point of the referendum?" Tsipras' duality has not produced for him. The compromise that would free Greece from the austerity that is crippling Greece's economy does not exist. That's the reality that Tsipras is now forced to respond to.

Philosophical significance — In politics, duplicity and kicking the can down the road can be a waste of time and money and is not always better than up front straight talk, tough-mindedness and action. Also, the crisis is about the difference between the US dollar zone and the euro zone. Both the EU and the US are a variety of states, and both have a common currency, but the EU doesn't have the political cohesiveness that the US has regarding money. A state like Alabama can mess up in handling its finances and be rescued by people from more wealthy states, in other words the federal government. There will be nothing like Alabama leaving the dollar zone so it can go its own way financially.

Post Script — Later today the world was told that the summit meeting cancelation was just temporary. Right now the ministers are talking again. Nothing new is discernible. They are said to have 72 hours to make a deal that would include emergency cash to Greece. See you in 72 hours.

Also in the news today, something like 1,000 refugees have been arriving on Greece's islands daily and the Greeks with their own economic crisis can hardly help them.

The world population clock so far today has 251,043 births and 103,586 deaths.

Cheers!

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.