Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Greece: Loose-Loose agreement is now place, additional pain for all parties enduring

The never ending Greek saga is now adding a new chapter to its drama. And dramatic indeed is going to be the situation of the Greek citizen that after yet another round of bailout funds are bracing themselves for yet more of the same failed medicine: austerity measures, cuts to public services, forced privatization, etc.

7 years of austerity measures that didn't work and nobody is thinking about perhaps changing the medicine. It is fascinating to see how an irrational behavior gets perpetrated over and over in spite of the evidence just to be able to preserve special interests, banks and the needs of the powerful Germany industrial apparatus.

So let's analyze the high-level outcome to see how whatever has been agreed so far; mind much more needs to be agreed in the terms of the bailout that needs to come.
  1. the current government of Greece had to swallow an agreement that it didn't believe in. Selve preservation? perhaps... needless to say Mr. Tsipras agreed on punishing measures that are worse than the one offered before the referendum he called. Defeat? Yes. As much as this can be promoted otherwise, his strategy didn't yield any advantage. The only person coming out as a hero out of this is the ex Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that called himself out of the deal as soon as the referendum outcome was clear.
  2. The Troika forced terms onto Greece and the general feeling across Europe is that they were forced from the powerful and intransigent Germany, an abuse of power. This is bound to increase an anti European and anti German sentiment across Mediterranean Europe that will be used by anti Euro parties to gain vote at first opportunity. 
  3. The Troika came short of offering any haircut on the debt with the exception of vague allegation of the need of considering one from the IMF. 
So... 1, 2, 3... more of the same bailout in exchange for higher taxes, less social state, rampant cuts to education and health care, privatization of state assets to the benefit of foreign corporation. Mind that this recipe has failed over and over again over the next 7 years, it is therefore ludicrous to think how the new 80B EUR added to the overall Greek debt are even going to be repaid.

In the meantime, a weaker EUR is bound to help German export just for a little bit longer. With the US heading towards a rate increase in fall it is likely to see parity between EUR and USD in a short while.

This last round of negotiation represents a lost opportunity for both parties:
  • For Greece: an opportunity to start re-gaining sovereignty in the face of difficulties. It is clear that difficulties would lie down the road in case of a GrExit but with some proper policing there could also be a light at the end of the tunnel; I am sure that in case of a GreExit there would be new partners in the BRICS very interested in gaining access to the middle of the Mediterranean;
  • For the European leaders: the opportunity to re-evaluate the problem of the Mediterranean countries with a new set of measures. An alternative to austerity will require some debt haircut but it would also give confidence again in the European dream.

As pointed out before: there is no solution to the Euro problems without considering two fundamental steps:
A.  Issuing EuroBonds that would make the debt of European members: EUROPEAN;
B.  A system of significant transfers from richer states to poorer and less competitive states; this has been going on in the USA consistently;
C. A process leading towards a stronger political integration to limit fiscal discrepancies across all countries.

It is essential to point out that the differential in the interest rates applied in each country lies flooded certain less competitive countries with cheaper money from the most competitive one. These transfers in the private sector lead to a dysfunctional situation ONLY when during the fall out of the 2008 crisis we decided to bailout the banks with public money.

Since as it seems A-B-C remain something that is so far removed from the political elites in power in Europe we believe that the whole EURO experiment has failed already and it is just going to impoverish further not only Greece but also Italy, Spain & Portugal to begin with. Eventually the losers will outweigh the "winners" in the EURO game and the experiment will come to an end.

1 comment:

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