WHERE IS GREECE HEADING NOW?
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
On Monday, July 13, the main Eurozone creditors, with Germany leading, bent the resistance of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his team, and obtained important concessions that will leave Greece subject to external monitoring in exchange for an agreement to start negotiations on a new rescue package of 86 billion Euros over three years to enable Greece to remain in that monetary area.
George Katrougalos, Greek Reforms Minister, said to the BBC: “Clearly, the Europe of austerity won. We either accept these draconian measures or face the sudden death of our economy. The banks are closed –about to collapse– and with the prospect of having to print a parallel currency, and then exit the Euro monetary union”.
The terms of the agreement indicate that many Greek public policies will have to be agreed upon, first, with rescue financiers. The agreement itself is subject to Athens fulfilling a precise timetable and adopting unpopular reforms such as the value added tax (VAT), the pensions, and almost-automatic budget cuts when Greece defaults on its fiscal targets.
In addition, they include bankruptcy rules and a certain European banking law that could be used for large depositors to absorb the losses. However, at the end of the Euro-zone Summit –where it was agreed to start negotiations for a third rescue—Tsipras defended the agreement and said that it will allow for the safeguarding of the financial stability of the country. He said his government fought a tough battle for six months and fought to the end to achieve an agreement that would allow the country to recover.
He added that Greece faces serious dilemmas and had to make
concessions to avoid the application of the plans against their country laid out by some European ultra-conservative circles.
Furthermore, the Greek politician expressed his hope that some of the agreed-upon measures such as the investment package, the debt renegotiation, and the end to the debate on the exit from the Euro currency system, would help calm investors and counter the recession measures. He insisted that he and his team fought a hard battle, but in the end –forced to make very difficult decisions– they managed to achieve both the restructuring of the debt and to secure a mid-term safe financing
For her part, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she would only recommend to the Bundestag authorizing the opening of
negotiations to grant the loan to Athens after the Greek Parliament had approved the program and enacted the first laws.
The meeting of the Greek Parliament took place in the evening of Wednesday, July 14, and concluded with the adoption after midnight.
On July 10th, at the Plenary Session of Parliament, Alexis Tsipras had requested authorization to negotiate a third package of unpopular measures, stating that their dilemma was to continue the unpopular policy to regain the confidence of investors and markets, or lead the country to bankruptcy and out of the Euro zone.
At 5 a.m., 251 deputies voted in favor of the government’s proposal, while the parliamentary group of the Communist Party voted unanimously against it. In total there were 32 votes against, 8 blank, and 9 absences.
Two days after the agreement with the Troika –(International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and European Union (EU)– the Syriza government presented a new package of adjustments, cuts and other unpopular measures that would constitute a new memorandum offered as an alternative to the government to find an agreement to serve the people.
The Communist Party from the beginning had rejected both the proposal of the European Union and that of the government because it considered them equally unpopular, and harmful to the interests of the workers.
In the end, it turned out that many of the people who voted “No” to reject the EU proposal, now see that the “No” they voted for was turned into a “Yes” the following day with the signing of a new unpopular package.
Dimitris Karagiannis, member of the Editorial Board of daily newspaper “Rizospastis”, of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), said: “It is very important that the people, the workers, see that all this has to do with the same system of exploitation of capitalism; and that there is no possibility that within that system, within imperialist alliances such as the EU, a path can be open that would suit the interests of the workers. It is now very clear that this possibility does not exist. ”
July 16, 2015.