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BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?

GUEST,Buddy 23 Jul 15 - 06:41 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 15 - 06:46 AM
GUEST 18 Jul 15 - 04:50 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 15 - 01:03 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 15 - 07:54 AM
GUEST 17 Jul 15 - 02:36 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 03:19 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 15 - 02:59 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 15 - 02:57 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 15 - 02:56 PM
Thompson 16 Jul 15 - 12:43 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 12:30 PM
akenaton 16 Jul 15 - 12:19 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 12:02 PM
akenaton 16 Jul 15 - 11:34 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 11:27 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 11:25 AM
akenaton 16 Jul 15 - 10:48 AM
akenaton 16 Jul 15 - 10:42 AM
Thompson 16 Jul 15 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,McMusket 16 Jul 15 - 09:47 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 09:18 AM
akenaton 16 Jul 15 - 08:47 AM
Thompson 16 Jul 15 - 07:26 AM
Steve Shaw 16 Jul 15 - 07:05 AM
Thompson 16 Jul 15 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,JHW 16 Jul 15 - 06:13 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Jul 15 - 05:43 AM
DMcG 15 Jul 15 - 10:57 PM
DMcG 15 Jul 15 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,Greek Finance Minister Musket 15 Jul 15 - 06:40 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 15 - 11:22 AM
Richard Bridge 15 Jul 15 - 11:07 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jul 15 - 08:31 AM
DMcG 14 Jul 15 - 01:22 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 15 - 08:59 AM
skarpi 14 Jul 15 - 04:12 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jul 15 - 03:52 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jul 15 - 03:41 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 15 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,Musket sans mandate 14 Jul 15 - 02:20 AM
DMcG 13 Jul 15 - 11:34 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 15 - 08:01 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 04:53 PM
The Sandman 13 Jul 15 - 04:24 PM
The Sandman 13 Jul 15 - 04:02 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 15 - 03:22 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 02:49 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 15 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,JHW 13 Jul 15 - 02:47 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST,Buddy
Date: 23 Jul 15 - 06:41 AM

They ran out of other people's money.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 06:46 AM

Seems like the Irish are not to only ones having second thoughts on Europe
Angie appears to be having her own problems back home
Jim Carroll

Irish Times this morning
BUNDESTAG OPPOSITION TO BAILOUT GROWS
Sixty members of Merkel's CDU refuse to back her mandate request for bailout talks
Opposition parties say Berlin's threat to eject Greece from euro was 'a scandal'
DEREK SCALLY in Berlin
German opposition to further assistance to Greece is on the rise, after one in five members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) refused to back her mandate request for talks on a third bailout.
The rising opposition came despite Dr Merkel's warning that failure would bode ill for European cohesion and the continent's ability to address looming global challenges.
After a heated debate, some 439 deputies approved of the mandate, 119 voted against and 40 abstained. In the last vote on Greece, on extending the second EU-IMF programme, the number of rebels in her grand coalition was 45. Yesterday 60 CDU deputies opposed the motion while five abstained.
Opposition parties said it was a "scandal" that Berlin had threatened Greece with ejection from the euro should it re¬fuse a third programme, and that the terms it attached to €86 billion in loans were "destroying Europe".
Ahead of the vote, Dr Merkel warned would-be rebels it would be "grossly negligent" to reject further Greece aid, given consequences for EU cohesion on Russia and the fight against international terrorism - and Germany's own economic inter¬ests.
"We are doing this for people in Greece but just as much for people in Germany, " she told a heated Bundestag debate.
"This is a decision for a strong Europe and a strong euro zone. "
Dr Merkel said the bailout roadmap that had emerged from weekend talks was "tough, no question".
But after five years of failing to meet its promises, Greece would be watched closely this time to ensure reforms went be¬yond intent to implementation.
She defended a German proposal - eventually dropped - to offer Greece a "time-out" from the euro zone to restructure its debts, saying it could only be decided unanimously - with f>pek consent.
"Neither Greece nor the others were prepared for this, thus it was not considered, " she said.
Amid ongoing concerns on the sustainability of Greek debt, the German leader said debt writedowns - so-called haircuts - were "not to be done" because they would breach German constitutional court rulings that limit Berlin's bailout participation.
We are doing it this for people In Greece but just as much for people In Germany
Leading the attack, opposition leaders in Die Linke - an ally of Syriza - accused Dr Merkel and finance minister Wolf¬gang Schauble of "making the biggest mistake of your political careers".
"Mr Schauble, I'm sorry but you are destroying the European idea, " said Gregor Gysi, Linke floor leader.
Linke deputy floor leader
Sahra Wagenknecht said the root of the Greek tragedy lay in the 2010 decision to "load bank debt on the shoulders of taxpayers to prevent losses at German and French banks".
"And you call this solidarity, " she said.
After weeks of mixed messages on Greece, Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel, deputy chancellor in Berlin, urged support for a third package and warned of divisions should talks fail. "Greece has to change dramatically to get out of this crisis, " he said.
Mr Schauble made no mention of his own doubts about a third bailout programme for Greece in his Bundestag address.
A day after suggesting on radio that a Grexit and debt write down was the "best way" for Greece, he described a third bailout as "the last attempt to achieve this extremely difficult task".
But he conceded that talks would have to find a way to bring Greece's debt to a "realistic" level.
"I ask you to vote in favour, " he said. "We believe that there is a chance to bring these talks to a successful conclusion. "
The polarised Bundestag debate reflects public opinion: a German public television poll shows 49 per cent of Germans oppose further talks with Greece, with 46 per cent in favour.
According to the poll, some 68 per cent of respondents blame Athens for an escalation of the standoff with Greece, 24 per cent blame all sides equally and 4 per cent blame other euro countries. An overwhelming 85 percent believe Greece will be a long-term dependant of EU financing.
The Bild tabloid, a long-time opponent of Greek bailouts, presented seven reasons to vote no to third bailout talks, including that Greece had "exhausted European trust" and that "our grandchildren will pay".


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 04:50 AM

'euros to be printed on Greece proof paper'


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 01:03 PM

"Getting rid of Bridge would be tragic"
We'd all fall in the water!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 07:54 AM

The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble seems to have fallen out with his boss, Angie the Merkin, and said that Greece should leave the Euro as the loan will break Greece's economy and is unsustainable - more or less what Greece has been saying all along.
The feeling here (not yet among politicians) is that Ireland's position is dodgy 'there, but for the grace of god', and our membership should be re-examined.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 02:36 AM

Germans are demonstrating against the bullying of Greece: "We'd never call the German finance minister a Nazi," said Marlies Sommer, a spokeswoman for TOP Berlin, an anti-capitalist group. "But given the total domination the German government is trying to impose on Greece, the analogies are somewhat striking."


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 03:19 PM

"I think it's becoming clearer and clearer that the German position about Greece is more about regime change than anything else."
Suspected that from the beginning, as are does else (except the politicians - they already knew) it seems.
Nice, very well spoken mid-to elderly lady in the paper-shop this morning - "all we got out of Europe is slightly better feckin' roads".
You can't gainsay that one.   
"Christmas!"
Don't you start!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 02:59 PM

A bit like the Bitch Thatcher's annihilation of the GLC and Thames TV - a deliberate destruction of any base for opposition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 02:57 PM

I think it's becoming clearer and clearer that the German position about Greece is more about regime change than anything else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 02:56 PM

Rounds one, two, and three to Christmas!


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Thompson
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 12:43 PM

When did the ultimate adolescent insult - a withering "Grow up" - become an internet thing?


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 12:30 PM

"Do you sincerely believe that everyone you disagree with is automatically wrong"
No - I very seldom enter into arguments with no opinion - I'm happy to take in fresh information from where I can get it, but however other people feel - for or against, doesn't sway be in the least unless it comes with fresh information.
Rather than me grow up, I suggest you take on a bit of humanity - might help if you ever decide whether to become a Christian.
Now, please go away - you've shown what you're made of
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 12:19 PM

Do you sincerely believe that everyone you disagree with is automatically wrong?......grow up Jim.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 12:02 PM

" I am totally opposed to UKIP politically"
"UKIP and Mr Farage were right on the button."
Huh?
Don't ring us, we'll ring you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 11:34 AM

That's pathetic Jim, I am totally opposed to UKIP politically, but every other UK party now agrees with them over unregulated immigration from the EU and a growing number are now agreeing with their view that we should get out.....If something is undeniably true it doesn't matter a hoot who says it.

In saying that, Scotland is much better placed to succeed outside the EU than the UK is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 11:27 AM

".time you caught up."
You mean like the rest of the British people - what a wonderful victory at the last election - where are they going to seatr all the new MPs?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 11:25 AM

"Tell me they have not been warning us about the EU project."
Their attitude to the E.U. has far more to do with their Xenophobic nature than any economic analysis, as can be seen i any interview with any of their representatives.
"Tell me they were wrong about the effects of mass immigration"
Their attitude to immigration and foreigners in general is indistinguishable from that of Eunuch Powell and Fuehrer Mosely - a perfect example of why they should not be approached without protective clothing - they are a bunch of fascists.
"UKIP and Mr Farage were right on the button"
Out of the closet at last
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 10:48 AM

Why so Jim, Tell me they have not been warning us about the EU project. Tell me they were wrong about the effects of mass immigration.

Is making political points that you disagree with, racism?

UKIP and Mr Farage were right on the button....every political Party now grudgingly agrees .....time you caught up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 10:42 AM

Quite correct Thompson and Scotland can do very well on its own, it has huge advantages over the Greek economy.....there is absolutely no need for the SNP, of which I am a member, continuing to suck up to this corrupt organisation. We should be looking towards world markets, not European ones. Europe only exports cheap labour, but that labour will be at the price of our own people.

The people of Greece are in a trap....afraid to lose what little they have. If they don't jump they will be slaves for the next few generations.

I have never understood how any nation can be fully free without control of their borders and without sovereignty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Thompson
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 10:04 AM

However, Scottish support for being in the UK has plunged since that referendum.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST,McMusket
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 09:47 AM

Scotland voted to stay in The UK. Mainly because the good people of Scotland are too clever and sophisticated to risk leaving The EU.

The rest of The UK has similar fears.

Whilst Cameron is mandated to begin the discussions for a review of what The EU does for its members and ask the country if that is acceptable, nobody is expecting us to leave.

Scotland showed the common sense the rest of The UK will undoubtably show come the referendum the PM doesn't actually want.

Of course you get ignorant fools everywhere. UKIP and BNP have their supporters, which is a damning indictment of poor education but Middle England isn't as daft as bigots think.

Note how much Greece a) hates The EU and b) wishes to remain a member.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 09:18 AM

"forget scare stories about UKIP..."
Why on earth should we do that?
They are racist toerags
Whoops - mask slipped
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 08:47 AM

Well there is supposed to be a referendum coming up about continued UK membership....let's all vote "out", forget party loyalties, forget scare stories about UKIP....they have been telling us for a decade what is really going on and we just haven't listened.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Thompson
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 07:26 AM

Look at this disgusting tantrum by Belgium's Guy Verhofstadt in the European Parliament, screaming at Alexis Tsipras. He's saying Greece has to cut the public sector ("it's difficult for the leftists") - in fact, Greece has already cut 75,000 public sector jobs in one-and-a-half years, throwing all those people out of work, and cut the survivors' wages by a third. Europe screeches for pension cuts: Greece has cut pensions by 40% - and many families' only income is Grandma's pension now. And so on. He's talking about the Greek shipowners - Syriza last week offered tax income equal to what Europe was then requiring, but Syriza's taxes would have been on the rich, which was not acceptable to the EU.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 07:05 AM

I'm horrified. I feel exactly the same as DMcG. Germany, benefiting massively from the weak euro, trampling all over the little guy: when have we seen that before....


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Thompson
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 06:57 AM

The actions of Germany formed the beginning of the end of the European project. They have sown the seeds of the next war in Europe.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras was described as being "like a beaten dog" after 17 hours of harassment leading to the laughably described "bailout". "They crucified Tsipras in there," said one senior Eurozone official coming out of the "negotiations".

Many people I know who were for many years deeply committed to the EU have reversed their commitment now. Some are the last people you might expect to think like that. The Guardian yesterday had a big spread on how the Left is turning Eurosceptic as Europe ceases to be a meeting of equals and becomes the servant of a capitalist-ruled German-centred power élite.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST,JHW
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 06:13 AM

I've never looked at 'The Mother of all BS threads' as there are far too many posts.
Guess this one might gazump it in years to come when we're still all wondering "what's going to happen about Greece?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 05:43 AM

More good sense from The Irish Times
Jim Carroll

GREECE WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER OFF ESCAPING FROM THE EURO
Ray Kinseila Opinion
There is hardly a democrat in Europe not embarrassed by what has been perpetrated in their name on Greece
The crisis in the euro zone was fundamentally an ethical crisis triggered by corporate capitalism and detonated within a deeply corrupt business model in banking. Greece, for all its policy failings, is a victim of this same, essentially unreconstructed ideology.
The bailout "reforms" the eurogroup seeks to impose on Greece are now being discussed before the Greek parliament. They are based on the deeply destructive economics of austerity. This approach to correcting macroeconomic imbalances of the nature, and scale of, the post-2008 crisis is not supported by evidence - not in the euro zone generally and not in Greece. They are certainly not vindicated by the experience of countries that have been at the sharp end of its economic nihilism.
In Ireland, the casualties of the "re¬forms", in the form of broken lives and businesses, as well as sovereign and household indebtedness extending across three generations, have been swept under the bed. The room just seems tidy- unless you know where to look.

Mitigating austerity
The ECB's quantitative easing (QE) programme has been motivated by attempting to mitigate the entirely foreseeable consequences of austerity on vulnerable, over-indebted economies and on the wider euro zone, other than on Germany. The scale of the QE pro¬gramme, alongside unprecedentedly low interest rates, tells its own story of cata¬strophic policy failure.
The pernicious "bailout" imposed on Greece was ratified by busily nodding euro zone politicians, few of whom show any grasp of the realities of life outside of the perpetual circus of hugely expensive "crisis meetings". These are politicians who press the flesh and avert their eyes from the reality of what they are doing - then quickly escape into the comfort zone of their "briefing notes". History is full of them.
There is hardly a democrat worthy of the name in Europe who has not felt a flush of embarrassment at what has been perpetrated in their name on Greece. There is too much rigorous analysis - too much evidence of hardship - to prove that what is unfolding is not primarily the responsibility of feckless Greeks. The accountability lies elsewhere.
Germany's insistence on the imposition of vengeful "reforms" on Greece's broken- backed economy makes no economic sense. The argument that hardworking German people who pay the piper are entitled to call the tune is facile.
The greater the austerity imposed on Greece, the less its capacity to repay. It is already running a primary surplus, which highlights an unprecedented fiscal turnaround, reflecting the depth and scale of cuts in health and social solidarity. The economy has tanked.

Benefits to Germany
Conversely, Germany ran a trade surplus of €250 billion in 2014, equivalent to 7 per cent of its GDP. This reflects German competitiveness, but also the benefits to Germany and the German economy of the euro and of its depreciation. Indeed, the decline in the euro in recent months, as Greece slipped from crisis to chaos, has benefited German exports. Now, there is an irony.
All of this highlights the asymmetrical nature of adjustment in the euro zone, a feature to which economists have long pointed as a basic flaw in the design and workings of the system.
In any event, the idea that, as principal paymaster, Germany is entitled to set conditions does not extend to disenfranchising the Greek people or, effectively, evicting Greeks from their own parlia¬ment. The troika is shot through by serious policy divisions. For example, the stance embedded both in the measures themselves, and in the tone of the euro- group, does not reflect the position taken by the IMF.
This is important. It has been the case pretty well from the outset that the International Monetary Fund has allowed itself to be press-ganged into providing covering fire for the euro zone. This policy divide has been evident in Ireland, where the IMF's approach has sometimes been very different to that imposed by the ECB and former EU commissioner Olli Rehn.
There are deep divergences in terms of, for example, debt sustainability and the scale of debt relief required by Greece from the European institutions. Well, let's be clear: from Germany and the IMF.
Some questions arise: Whose analysis is correct, and to what extent has the
political animus of the troika infected the perspectives of fiscal adjustment and governance in a battered, dependent economy? This is relevant because, in the early stages of Greece's travails, there were reports (swiftly retracted) of sending in a "special commissioner" to take over the tattered remains of government decision-making in Athens. This talk has resurfaced with a vengeance.

Icy clarity
Moreover, in February Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's finance minister, set out with icy clarity what would follow if Greece's new government had the temerity to defy the conditions of the redundant 2012 programme. This animus has infected the whole wasted process of "negotiations" since February - a period that could and should have been used to build trust in a new programme and has, instead, imploded into visceral mistrust that is absorbed into the very bloodstream of Greek-German relations.
What, then, is one to make of Ireland's stance? Greece is, after all, a small(ish) country and one whose culture stretches back millennia. Like Ireland. It is a country that has known occupation, been knocked around and misused by domestic political forces and the dark powers of global financial markets, as Joe Stiglitz has so well chronicled in his book Freefall. Just like Ireland. And, like Ireland, Greece has been eviscerated by austerity, indebtedness and emigration. There is a shared strong strand of Christianity.
So, some empathy might have been expected. But we don't do empathy anymore - we are much better at cliches that have to do with "doors being open" and "tables" just waiting to be sat around.

De facto takeover
The anti-austerity economic analysis of the Greek left has been vindicated (in depressing contrast with the Irish Labour Party). The mainstream, resentful of the de facto takeover of "Europe" by German power and influence, has nowhere to turn at a time of existential crisis in European foreign policy, including migration.
Greece would have done better to have exited. The euro zone would have done better to have facilitated and supported such an exit. Now Greece is shackled by more oppressive debt without any of the benefits of using exchange-rate adjustment, alongside structural and supply- side policies, to facilitate adjustment. The Greeks were spooked - just as Ireland was spooked.
Globally, the banks are "returning to profitability". The Greek people are screwed. The vulture capitalists are already circling Athens.

Prof Ray Kinsella is an economist and author of the forthcoming Troikanomics


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: DMcG
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 10:57 PM

Sought for... Sigh


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: DMcG
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 10:54 PM

Are you sure that's what you told you people, though, Greek finance minister? Bringing and end to austerity is a bit of an ambiguous phrase: ithere is a difference between applying the brakes and stopping dead, and there was certainly scope for applying brakes using the sort of things Richard Bridges mentioned above, as apposed to pressing the accelator into chaos that even the IMF thought crazy.

I don't think iit accurate to describe this as the Greek government promising what could not be delivered, or at least no more than many governments have done many times. In fact, every time there is another government, country, or big business involved. Every UK budget, for example, necessarily makes assumptions about how people and organisations will behave and can be blown out of the water if those are wrong.

Greece was certainly naive in assuming the EU and its member countries which claim to be thoroughly democratic would take note of the Greek vote and at least pause to ask if there was any way to help apply the brakes rather than accelerator and achieve the sort for economic goals. But that is not the same as knowingly promising what could never be delivered.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST,Greek Finance Minister Musket
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 06:40 PM

Greece can't afford 200. Any chance of you accepting 23?

Oh and do you have 23 you can loan us to give you?

We told our people you can so you must.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 11:22 AM

Damn!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 11:07 AM

200


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 08:31 AM

From this morning's Financial Times.
Jim Carroll

The International Monetary Fund has warned that it might not be able to participate in Greece's bailout if the programme does not include substantial debt relief, setting itself on a collision course with the country's eurozone creditors.
The move particularly raises the pressure on Germany, which has opposed any debt relief, just as it prepares to seek the approval of its parliament to negotiate the details of a new bailout hashed out in a summit at the weekend.
The Bundestag is expected to be summoned for an emergency session on Friday if the Greek parliament on Wednesday passes austerity measures demanded by creditors in return for up to €86bn in fresh financial support.
Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, is struggling to contain a rebellion within his leftwing, anti-austerity Syriza party ahead of the votes on the legislation, which is being backed by the opposition.
In the three-page memo, sent to EU authorities at the weekend and obtained by the Financial Times, the IMF said recent turmoil in the Greek economy would lead debt to peak at close to 200 per cent of economic output over the next two years. At the start of the eurozone crisis, Athens' debt stood at 127 per cent.
The memo, prepared for EU leaders ahead of the summit on Greece, argues that only through large-scale debt relief — something eurozone officials have fiercely resisted — could Greece see its debt fall to levels where it would be able to return to the financial markets.
"Greece's debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far," the memo reads.
That view was reinforced by the IMF on Tuesday when it said it would not be able to disburse €16.4bn of its own funds that European officials are counting on unless an agreement on debt relief was concluded.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: DMcG
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 01:22 PM

Interesting letters. There is a referendum due in the UK for continued membership of Europe. Until a very short while ago, I was a definite 'yes'. As the first letter suggests, I am far from certain today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 08:59 AM

Several excellent letters in The Irish Times today showing that not all Irish people accept the Government appeasement to Europe's right.

GREECE AND A EUROPEAN CRISIS
Sir, I used to believe in Europe. No longer. I used to campaign for closer union in Europe. Never again. And never again will I give my vote, in another referendum, for "more Europe".
Across large swathes of the continent, the dream is dying. The "project" is now a monster out of control- owned and oper¬ated by zealots and illiterates whose sole concern is the ritual humiliation of a nation, since there is no credible economic rationale for saddling a bank¬rupt state with more loans it cannot ever repay.
Syriza has made many mistakes: its slow pace in tackling a fossilised state, its naivete in negotiations, and its naivete about the real meaning of solidarity in the institutions of the European Union.
Yes, the EU has paid over enormous sums of money to keep the show on the road, but for whom and to what end? Whatever Greece's errors, its ritual humiliation by hawks led and coordinated by Germany is shameful. Among them I include the Government, whose antics at the EU Council and Euro Group in recent months offend the innate decency of many Irish people and, I suspect, that of very many Europeans, too.
This would not, could not, have happened when Europe was a genuine community of nations. It is, however, par for the course when the project and its institutional underpinnings morph into a utopia for big business, big banks and big politics - none of which can be seen to fail, when it is self-evident they all have.
The Greek parliament may or may not buckle when it considers this bailout. While the outcome of the approval procedure in other EU states is less clear, it is a foregone conclusion here, where the nodding dogs in the Dail will approve without bothering to think it through.
What is certain is that Euro¬pean governments are intent on continuing with the same failed policy, in the hope that draining the last blood from a dying patient, and transfusing the economic equivalent of formaldehyde, will somehow re¬vive the victim and make it well again.
Whether this deal can, or will, be implemented in full or at all, or for how long it might avert a Grexit, nobody knows. What we can be sure of is that while Europe this week may appear infinitely stronger in the eyes of its rulers, its legitimacy in the eyes of millions of citizens is infinitely weaker.
If the founders were alive today, would they even recognise it? -Yours, etc,
KEALAN FLYNN,
Galway.

Sir, - It really is a bit much that various EU leaders talk about Greece having to "rebuild" trust. What about the trust those leaders have to rebuild with the Greek people and the people of Europe? Still the EU elite refuses to face responsibility for its own mistake in 2010, and the mess that led to in the euro zone, when the Euro Group forced Greece - then Ireland, then Spain, Portugal and Cyprus - to link its banking debt to its national debt.
The consequences of that stupid decision, presumably made at the behest of the banks like Goldman Sachs, which have open-door access to European People's Party leaders and finance ministers, has led to the current mess in the euro zone. Their failure to lead properly, not how badly Greece is run, directly led to the breaking of the bond of trust the EU had with the citizens of its member states, who can no longer be under any illusions that there is any notion of European solidarity-
Greece could have walked away from the euro zone, on the quite legitimate reason that its debt burden was simply too much and enough was enough and no amount of reform was ever going to make the debt sus¬tainable.
The irony is that if it had, this would have meant all the debts of the German and French banks that the leaders of those countries had tried so hard to avoid being paid would immedi¬ately fall back on the taxpayers of Germany and France, mean¬ing all the damage done to the EU and euro zone would have been for nothing anyway.
But instead Greece faced the music of its own dysfunction and is continuing to shoulder not only the debt incurred in running Greece itself, which is the price it pays for that dysfunc¬tion, but also the debts of the euro zone banks operating in Greece.
If Greece had walked away, the whole euro edifice would have crumbled, as why would anyone in any other country put themselves through what the Greek people have endured, and for what? So their great-great-grandchildren will still be repaying the losses incurred by reckless investment bank lending in France and Germany that had nothing to do with the Greek economy, no matter how dysfunctional it was. -Yours, etc,
DESMOND FITZGERALD, Canary Wharf, London.

And my particular favourite

Sir, - An old Irish proverb might be well applied to the EU approach to the Greek conundrum - "An awful lot of noise for very little wool, said the devil as he was shearing the pig. " Yours, etc,
DENIS KENNY, Wellingtonbridge, Wexford.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: skarpi
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 04:12 AM

Iceland have fast growing economy ? Ok hmm well living in Iceland, im not seeing it grow yet , it is just money made in a computer. ...more later


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 03:52 AM

The obvious answers run counter to the IMF's preferences.

1. Stop all capital flight.
2. Exchange control - only proper payments for goods and services to be allowed out.
3. Haircut a high proportion of all high net worths.
4. Tax all people and corporations with a Greek presence on a realistic but substantial part of worldwide income and assets (notably shipowners too). Tax on all assets in Greece. Trusts to be fully transparent or ALL assets confiscated.
5. Charges to foreign businesses to use Greek national assetts like ports and airports.
6. Progressive tax structure. Tax the church. Tax collection with the power of the inquisition and an anti-avoidance policy worthy of the Jesuits. 100% penalties on tax avoidance and evasion - amnesty for teh penalty part (but not the tax avoided or evaded) if voluntary disclosure and payment made NOW.
7. End early retirement.
8. Eye-watering import tax on anything for which there is a non-imported equivalent.
9. Sell off military weapons - the army is useless anyway and it would reduce the threat from fascist colonels.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 03:41 AM

Thanks Dick
It seems that Greece is in a lose-lose situation as things stand
A Government comes in and attempts to put right some of the wrongs brought about by a series of indifferent right wing administrations.
The right wing of Europe in the form of The Merkin Mob decide to do what they are there for and whip them into line by foreclosing on the debt (with a past of debts of their own going back to the Versailles Treaty, half written off, with sixty years to pay the rest), the government holds a "dishonest betrayal" of a referendum and the people give them their blessing, The Merkin Mob says, "pay up or we'll shoot the kid", the Government are forced to ignore the democratic decision and raise the money, the German right gets to decide Greek internal policy and Hitler and Papandreou get to sleep easy in their bunkers.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 03:21 AM

Jim, lynne h said in effect that greece only exported olives, just correcting this mis conception.
I am whole heartedly in agreement with you, Jim.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST,Musket sans mandate
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 02:20 AM

In years to come, students will be studying the art of offering your people alternatives it isn't in your gift to offer. The only way Greek banks can reopen and liquidity restored is if he pushes through his parliament measures he told the people to reject, not only in an election but a referendum too.

Politicians of all countries and persuasions should take note of the next 48 hours in Athens.

My money is on a lynching. Although you can get 3/1 on a military coup on Paddy Power.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 11:34 PM

So the story moves on. At the time of posting a new deal has been proposed, under which Greqece will lose control of more of its assets but the deal has to be approved by the Greek parliament ...

It is hard to see how the deal will do anything other than prolong the agony. As expected, nothing is being proposed to assist Greece be stronger economically; it is all cutting expenditure and ignoring any consequences.

However, the approach taken adds one further twist of the knife. Will a party elected precisely to oppose the austerity and with this goal reinforced with a "no" vote a few days ago vote to accept the deal and demonstrate that the democratic voice is simply irrelevant, and if so whence democracy? Or will they reject it and risk finding themselves overpowered by the economic consequences and demonstrating democratic irrelevance though a different path?


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 08:01 PM

"as he calls anyone who doesn't accept his something for nothing approach to life."
More thatcher poodlism
Those who get something for nothing have ruined our country - those who have driven Greece in to the ground are the wealthiest peopel who pay no taxes, just as in Britain, the poorest are supporting those with offshore accounts
"Carroll"
Can't reciprocate with your name ans you skulk behind anonynity.
One of the most comforting aspects of arguing with people like you is the fact that, universally, you really aren't very bright.
After five minutes of argument, you could scribble all you responses in advance.
If you have anything to say on what I have put forward, please feel free to offer it - I won't hold my breath though!
Sorry Dick - really don't understand the points you are making with your somewhat impenetrable cut-'n-pastes - put it down to my "privileged" Secondary Modern education.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:53 PM

Looks like Carroll knows what it is like now to be called a Thatcher poodle, as he calls anyone who doesn't accept his something for nothing approach to life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:24 PM

Greece has finally reached an agreement with its creditors. The specifics have not yet been published, but it is clear that the deal signed is more punitive and demanding than the one that its government has spent the past five months desperately trying to resist.

The accord follows 48 hours in which Germany demanded control of Greece's finances or its withdrawal from the euro. Many observers across Europe were stunned by the move. Yanis Varoufakis was not. When I spoke with Greece's former finance minister last week, I asked him whether any deal struck in the days ahead would be good for his country.

"If anything it will be worse," he said. "I trust and hope that our government will insist on debt restructuring, but I can't see how the German finance minister [Wolfgang Schäuble] is ever going to sign up to this. If he does, it will be a miracle."

It's a miracle the Greek people are likely to be waiting for a long time for. On Friday night, when Greece's parliament agreed to an austerity programme that voters had overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum five days earlier, a deal seemed imminent. A partial write-off of its debt owed to the so-called "Troika" – the IMF, the European Central bank and the European Commission – was unlikely but possible. Now, despite its government's capitulation, Greece has no debt relief and may yet be thrown out of the Eurozone.

Varoufakis, who resigned a week ago, has been criticised for not signing an agreement sooner, but he said the deal that Greece was offered was not made in good faith – or even one that the Troika wanted completed. In an hour-long telephone interview with the New Statesman, he called the creditors' proposals – those agreed to by the Athens government on Friday night, which now seem somehow generous – "absolutely impossible, totally non-viable and toxic …[they were] the kind of proposals you present to another side when you don't want an agreement."

Varoufakis added: "This country must stop extending and pretending, we must stop taking on new loans pretending that we've solved the problem, when we haven't; when we have made our debt even less sustainable on condition of further austerity that even further shrinks the economy; and shifts the burden further onto the have-nots, creating a humanitarian crisis."

In Varoufakis's account, the Troika never genuinely negotiated during his five months as finance minister. He argued that Alexis Tsipras's Syriza government was elected to renegotiate an austerity programme that had clearly failed; over the past five years it has put a quarter of Greeks out of work, and created the worst depression anywhere in the developed world since the 1930s. But he thinks that Greece's creditors simply led him on.

A short-term deal could, Varoufakis said, have been struck soon after Syriza came to power in late January. "Three or four reforms" could have been agreed, and restrictions on liquidity eased by the ECB in return.

Instead, "The other side insisted on a 'comprehensive agreement', which meant they wanted to talk about everything. My interpretation is that when you want to talk about everything, you don't want to talk about anything." But a comprehensive agreement was impossible. "There were absolutely no [new] positions put forward on anything by them."

Varoufakis said that Schäuble, Germany's finance minister and the architect of the deals Greece signed in 2010 and 2012, was "consistent throughout". "His view was 'I'm not discussing the programme – this was accepted by the previous [Greek] government and we can't possibly allow an election to change anything.

"So at that point I said 'Well perhaps we should simply not hold elections anymore for indebted countries', and there was no answer. The only interpretation I can give [of their view] is, 'Yes, that would be a good idea, but it would be difficult. So you either sign on the dotted line or you are out.'"

It is well known that Varoufakis was taken off Greece's negotiating team shortly after Syriza took office; he was still in charge of the country's finances but no longer in the room. It's long been unclear why. In April, he said vaguely that it was because "I try and talk economics in the Eurogroup" – the club of 19 finance ministers whose countries use the Euro – "which nobody does." I asked him what happened when he did.

"It's not that it didn't go down well – there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. You put forward an argument that you've really worked on, to make sure it's logically coherent, and you're just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven't spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you'd have got the same reply."

This weekend divisions surfaced within the Eurogroup, with countries split between those who seemed to want a "Grexit" and those demanding a deal. But Varoufakis said they were always been united in one respect: their refusal to renegotiate.

"There were people who were sympathetic at a personal level, behind closed doors, especially from the IMF." He confirmed that he was referring to Christine Lagarde, the IMF director. "But then inside the Eurogroup [there were] a few kind words and that was it: back behind the parapet of the official version. … Very powerful figures look at you in the eye and say 'You're right in what you're saying, but we're going to crunch you anyway'."

Varoufakis was reluctant to name individuals, but added that the governments that might have been expected to be the most sympathetic towards Greece were actually their "most energetic enemies". He said that the "greatest nightmare" of those with large debts – the governments of countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland – "was our success". "Were we to succeed in negotiating a better deal, that would obliterate them politically: they would have to answer to their own people why they didn't negotiate like we were doing."

He suggested that Greece's creditors had a strategy to keep his government busy and hopeful of a compromise, but in reality they were slowly suffering and eventually desperate.

"They would say we need all your data on the fiscal path on which Greek finds itself, all the data on state-owned enterprises. So we spent a lot of time trying to provide them with it and answering questionnaires and having countless meetings.

"So that would be the first phase. The second phase was they'd ask us what we intended to do on VAT. They would then reject our proposal but wouldn't come up with a proposal of their own. And then, before we would get a chance to agree on VAT, they would shift to another issue, like privatisation. They would ask what we want to do about privatisation: we put something forward, they would reject it. Then they'd move onto another topic, like pensions, from there to product markets, from there to labour relations. … It was like a cat chasing its own tail."

His conclusion was succinct. "We were set up."

And he was adamant about who is responsible. I asked whether German attitudes control the outlook of the Eurogroup. Varoufakis went further. "Oh completely and utterly. Not attitudes – the finance minister of Germany. It is all like a very well-tuned orchestra and he is the director.

"Only the French minister [Michel Sapin] made noises that were different from the German line, and those noises were very subtle. You could sense he had to use very judicious language, to be seen not to oppose. And in the final analysis, when Dr Schäuble responded and effectively determined the official line, the French minister would always fold."

If Schäuble was the unrelenting enforcer, the German chancellor Angela Merkel presented a different face. While Varoufakis never dealt with her, he said, "From my understanding, she was very different. She tried to placate the Prime Minister [Tsipras] – she said 'We'll find a solution, don't worry about it, I won't let anything awful happen, just do your homework and work with the institutions, work with the Troika; there can be no dead end here.'"

The divide seems to have been brief, and perhaps even deliberate. Varoufakis thinks that Merkel and Schäuble's control over the Eurogroup is absolute, and that the group itself is beyond the law.

Days before Varoufakis's resignation on 6 July, when Tsipras called the referendum on the Eurogroup's belated and effectively unchanged offer, the Eurogroup issued a communiqué without Greek consent. This was against Eurozone convention. The move was quietly criticised by some in the press before being overshadowed by the build-up to the referendum, but Varoufakis considered it pivotal.

WhenJeroen Dijsselbloem, the European Council President, tried to issue the communiqué without him, Varoufakis consulted Eurogroup clerks – could Dijsselbloem exclude a member state? The meeting was briefly halted. After a handful of calls, a lawyer turned to him and said, "Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group."

"So," Varoufakis said, "What we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It's not answerable to anyone, given it doesn't exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it's confidential. No citizen ever knows what is said within . . . These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody."

Events this weekend seem to support Varoufakis' account. On Saturday evening, a memo leaked that showed Germany was suggesting Greece should take a "timeout" from the Eurozone. By the end of the day, Schäuble's recommendation was the conclusion of the Eurogroup's statement. It's unclear how that happened; the body operates in secret. While Greeks hung on reports of their fate this weekend, no minutes were released from any meetings.

The referendum of 5 July has also been rapidly forgotten. It was preemptively dismissed by the Eurozone, and many people saw it as a farce – a sideshow that offered a false choice and created false hope, and was only going to ruin Tsipras when he later signed the deal he was campaigning against. As Schäuble supposedly said, elections cannot be allowed to change anything. But Varoufakis believes that it could have changed everything. On the night of the referendum he had a plan, Tsipras just never quite agreed to it.

The Eurozone can dictate terms to Greece because it is no longer fearful of a Grexit. It is convinced that its banks are now protected if Greek banks default. But Varoufakis thought that he still had some leverage: once the ECB forced Greece's banks to close, he could act unilaterally.

He said he spent the past month warning the Greek cabinet that the ECB would close Greece's banks to force a deal. When they did, he was prepared to do three things: issue euro-denominated IOUs; apply a "haircut" to the bonds Greek issued to the ECB in 2012, reducing Greece's debt; and seize control of the Bank of Greece from the ECB.

None of the moves would constitute a Grexit but they would have threatened it. Varoufakis was confident that Greece could not be expelled by the Eurogroup; there is no legal provision for such a move. But only by making Grexit possible could Greece win a better deal. And Varoufakis thought the referendum offered Syriza the mandate they needed to strike with such bold moves – or at least to announce them.

He hinted at this plan on the eve of the referendum, and reports later suggested this was what cost him his job. He offered a clearer explanation.

As the crowds were celebrating on Sunday night in Syntagma Square, Syriza's six-strong inner cabinet held a critical vote. By four votes to two, Varoufakis failed to win support for his plan, and couldn't convince Tsipras. He had wanted to enact his "triptych" of measures earlier in the week, when the ECB first forced Greek banks to shut. Sunday night was his final attempt. When he lost his departure was inevitable.

"That very night the government decided that the will of the people, this resounding 'No', should not be what energised the energetic approach [his plan]. Instead it should lead to major concessions to the other side: the meeting of the council of political leaders, with our Prime Minister accepting the premise that whatever happens, whatever the other side does, we will never respond in any way that challenges them. And essentially that means folding. … You cease to negotiate."

Varoufakis's resignation brought an end to a four-and-a-half year partnership with Tsipras, a man he met for the first time in late 2010. An aide to Tsipras had sought him out after his criticisms of George Papandreou's government, which accepted the first Troika bailout in 2010.

"He [Tsipras] wasn't clear back then what his views were, on the drachma versus the euro, on the causes of the crises, and I had very, well shall I say, 'set views' on what was going on. A dialogue begun … I believe that I helped shape his views of what should be done."

And yet Tsipras diverged from him at the last. He understands why. Varoufakis could not guarantee that a Grexit would work. After Syriza took power in January, a small team had, "in theory, on paper," been thinking through how it might. But he said that, "I'm not sure we would manage it, because managing the collapse of a monetary union takes a great deal of expertise, and I'm not sure we have it here in Greece without the help of outsiders." More years of austerity lie ahead, but he knows Tsipras has an obligation to "not let this country become a failed state".

Their relationship remains "extremely amicable", he said, although when we spoke on Thursday, they hadn't talked all week.

Despite failing to strike a new deal, Varoufakis does not seem disappointed. He told me he is "on top of the world."

"I no longer have to live through this hectic timetable," he said, "which was absolutely inhuman, just unbelievable. I was on two hours sleep every day for five months. … I'm also relieved I don't have to sustain any longer this incredible pressure to negotiate for a position I find difficult to defend."

His relief is unsurprising. Varoufakis was appointed to negotiate with a Europe that didn't want to talk, no longer feared a "Grexit" and effectively controlled the Greek treasury's bank accounts. Many commentators think he was foolish, and the local and foreign journalists I met last week in Athens spoke of him as if he was a criminal. Some people will never forgive him for strangling a nascent recovery by reopening negotiations. And others will blame him for whichever harsh fate awaits Greece this week.

But Varoufakis seemed unconcerned. Throughout our conversation he never raised his voice. He came across as imperturbably calm, and often chuckled. His conservation wasn't tinged with regret; he appears to be treating the loss of power as ambivalently as he treated its acquisition.

Now he will remain an MP and continue to play a role in Syriza. He will also return to a half-finished book on the crisis, mull the new offers publishers have already begun to send him, and may return to the University of Athens in some capacity after two years teaching in Texas.

By resigning and not signing a deal he abhorred, he has kept both his conscience free and his reputation intact. His country remains locked in a trap he spent years opposing and months fighting, but he has escaped.

Harry Lambert (@harrylambert1) ran the New Statesman's UK election site, May2015.com.

This article was corrected at 14.18 on 13/7/15 to say it was Jeroen Dijsselbloem, not Tusk, who issued the communique, and was also changed to reflect the fact that Varoufakis wishes to continue being in politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:02 PM

Greece exports other fruit apart from olives, peaches and
In 2010, Greece was the European Union's largest producer of cotton (183,800 tons) and pistachios (8,000 tons)[163] and ranked second in the production of rice (229,500 tons)[163] and olives (147,500 tons),[164] third in the production of figs (11,000 tons) and [164] almonds (44,000 tons),[164] tomatoes (1,400,000 tons),[164] and watermelons (578,400 tons)[164] and fourth in the production of tobacco (22,000 tons).[163] Agriculture contributes 3.8% of the country's GDP and employs 12.4% of the country's labor force.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 03:22 PM

"Your support for Sin Feinn IRA is noted."
What a nasty little individual you are - who on earth said I supported Sinn Fein ot the IRA? - get somebody to read what I wrote for you (they might be able to advise you on your spelling of the organisation too).
"Your mammy pays for the fuckers"
My mammy had been dead for about fifty years, though such niceties as that, i'm sure, don't mean much to you.
"Santa Claus doesn't bring your pressies"
Neither do the benefactors you seem too imagine give me my pension - I earned every penny of the £137.47p I get each week through my paying into my national insurance stamp.
Go away and don't bite anybody and infect them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 02:49 PM

By the way Carroll. Nice to see your true colours. Your support for Sin Feinn IRA is noted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 02:47 PM

What are you going to do then Carroll?

Rob a bank?

Steal from others?

Santa Claus doesn't bring your pressies. Your mammy pays for the fuckers


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Subject: RE: BS: Greece in meltdown? What do you think?
From: GUEST,JHW
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 02:47 PM

So the ministers have agreed a deal of more austerity than the nation voted in a referendum Not to accept!


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