Tag Archives: Eurozone

Greece debt crisis: Greek voters reject bailout offer

With almost all the ballots counted, results from the Greek referendum show voters decisively rejecting the terms of an international bailout.

Figures published by the interior ministry showed 61% of those whose ballots had been counted voting “No”, against 39% voting “Yes”.

Greece’s governing Syriza party had campaigned for a “No”, saying the bailout terms were humiliating.

Their opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33403665

Is Greece close to Grexit?

The Greek government is running out of time and money.

If it fails to come to a deal with eurozone partners to secure the final tranche of its bailout, there is a real chance it could default on its loans.

That could push the Greek government towards leaving the single currency, otherwise known as Grexit.

How bare are Greece’s coffers?

Without an urgent cash-for-fiscal reforms deal, the leftist Syriza government will run out of cash. And that deal needs to be agreed by the end of June, when Greece’s bailout deal with its eurozone creditors runs out.
Somehow, the money was scraped together to survive €1bn (£730m; $1.1bn) in debt payments to the International Monetary Fund in May, but Greece has already postponed June payments to the IMF and further hefty bills are due, to the IMF, European Central Bank and holders of short-term treasury bills.

The government in Athens has called on public sector bodies including hospitals to surrender any cash reserves they have.
The mayor of Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki, has already handed over millions.
Without at least part of the final €7.2bn slice of its giant EU-IMF bailout, Greece would almost certainly default on its debts.
Greeks see cash run out in undeclared default.

Can it stay afloat?

The message from Greece’s government is a resounding no. Quite simply it has too many debts to pay in too short a period.
At the start of June, Mr Tsipras’s government announced it would roll its four June payments to the IMF into one, giving it until the end of the month to find the necessary €1.5bn.
But it also needs to find another €2.2bn in June for public sector salaries, pensions and social security payments.

For a populist, left-wing party like Syriza, it would be unthinkable to pay its debts to creditors ahead of funding pensions for 2.6 million Greeks and some 600,000 civil servant salaries. It has already moved to re-employ 4,000 civil servants whom the previous government got rid of.
Greece’s last cash injection from its international creditors was in August, so the final €7.2bn instalment from its two EU-IMF bailouts, worth €240bn in total, is now seen as vital.
Even then Greece is likely to need a third bailout worth tens of billions. But if Greece’s reform package fails to satisfy its creditors, there will be no new cash.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32332221

‘No deal’ with Greece as talks in Brussels fail

The latest round of talks between Greek and EU officials in Brussels has failed to reach an agreement.

A European Commission spokesman said while that progress was made on Sunday, “significant gaps” remained.

Europe wants Greece to make spending cuts worth €2bn (£1.44bn), to secure a deal that will unlock bailout funds.

Greek deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis said that Athens was still ready to negotiate with its lenders.

He said Greek government proposals submitted on Sunday had fully covered the fiscal deficit as demanded.

However, Mr Dragasakis added that the EU and IMF still wanted Greece to cut pensions – something Athens has said it would never accept.

The cash-strapped nation is trying to agree a funding deal with the European Union and IMF before the end of June to avoid a default.

Eurozone finance ministers will discuss Greece when they meet on Thursday. The gathering is regarded as Greece’s last chance to strike a deal.

The Commission spokesman said: “President [Jean-Claude] Juncker remains convinced that with stronger reform efforts on the Greek side and political will on all sides, a solution can still be found before the end of the month.”

‘Losing patience’

The talks come as Germany ramps up pressure on Greece. Vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that European nations were losing patience with Greece.

Germany wanted to keep Greece in the eurozone, but writing in Bild he warned that “not only is time running out, but so too is patience across Europe”.

Mr Sigmar is also economy minister and head of junior coalition partners the Social Democrats.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33125801

Germany Rejects Loan Request Saying Greece Must Meet Conditions

(Bloomberg) — Germany rejected Greece’s request for an extension of its aid program, saying its offer doesn’t meet the euro region’s conditions for continuing aid.

The Greek government is trying to agree bridge-financing without meeting the conditions of its existing rescue program, German Finance Ministry Spokesman Martin Jaeger said in an e-mailed statement. European Commission Spokesman Margaritis Schinas moments earlier had said the Greek letter could be the basis for a “reasonable compromise.”

The euro dropped 0.3 percent to $1.1358.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-19/eu-says-greek-letter-may-pave-way-for-reasonable-compromise-i6c3go5j

The pro-worker, pro-growth experiment in Greece is under threat

By 

While the wealthiest 85 individuals on the planet own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population – and when the top 1% will soon own more wealth than the bottom 99% – the people of Greece and the anti-austerity party, Syriza, they elected to lead them are struggling to rebuild their economy so that ordinary people there can live with a shred of dignity and security.

But powerful international interests are putting the pro-growth, pro-worker experiment in progressive democracy currently underway in grave danger.

Greece is on the verge of leaving the Eurozone rather than accept a continuation of the reduced government spending measures imposed on it by the union’s other 18 members in exchange for a credit package that expires at the end of February; talks in Brussels broke down on Monday after the Syriza negotiators refused to break the party’s promises to the Greek people by accepting more punishing austerity. The German government, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) all seem intent on bringing the new government to heel, regardless of the people for whom German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble claims to feel sorry.

The real concern, apparently, is that democracy may go too far for austerity advocates to continue imposing their economic ideology from a distance: in Spain, Portugal, Finland and elsewhere, the patience of citizens is wearing thin as a growing number of them awaken to the stark reality that, while the very rich get much richer, the austerity programs their governments dutifully implemented are the cause rather than the cure for what ails their economies.

If Syriza succeeds in rolling back the EU-mandated measures, it could encourage dissident political movements in other parts of Europe; the right-wing governments in Europe’s periphery are terrified of a Greek success at the negotiating table.

Syriza’s recent electoral success was a clear indictment of the budget-strangling policies that left Greece mired in a depression for the last five years. Back at the beginning, money that should have been used to protect Greek families and rebuild Greek communities was instead used to protect the holders of Greek government debt – mainly French and German banks.

Read more » The Guardian
Learn more » http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/17/the-pro-worker-pro-growth-experiment-in-greece-is-under-threat

 

‘Contingency plan’ needed for Greek eurozone exit – British govt

The UK is preparing for a possible Greek exit from the eurozone by taking measures to ensure British banks and companies are not exposed to risk.

Prime Minister David Cameron discussed plans to prepare the UK for a Greek exit from the eurozone with senior Treasury and Bank of England officials at a meeting on Monday.

They debated the possible impact an exit would have on markets and considered potential contingencies for the British businesses thought to be exposed to financial risk.

The meeting follows comments by the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, who told the BBC: “I believe [Greece] will eventually leave.”

Read more » http://rt.com/uk/230603-uk-begins-preparations-grexit/

Is Germany Already Signalling The Complete (Economic) Collapse Of The European Union?

by Sprout Money

In an attempt to try to divert a looming economic stagnation in the European Union, some leading German and French economists have launched some plans to try to revive (read: ‘resuscitate’) the economy of the Eurozone by tackling two issues which might have deteriorated the economic situation in the currency bloc.

Enderlein, an associate at a German school of Governance and Pisani, member of a French think thank have announced some ideas focusing on solving the issue of the rigid French labor market and the lack of government spending on infrastructure projects in Germany. This could be the perfect time to push some of these ideas through as the next elections in both countries are still 2.5 years away which means there’s plenty of time to implement new measures and restoring the popularity of the politicians before the next elections.

Read more » Zero Hedge
Learn more » http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-14/germany-already-signaling-complete-economic-collapse-european-union

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study In Culture

When many Americans think of Germany, images of WWII soldiers and Hitler often come to mind. But what many people don’t realize is that Germany is the industrial powerhouse of Europe, and is a leading manufacturer of goods for export to developing Asian nations. We don’t hear about the superiority of German engineering in Volkswagen commercials for nothing!

The economic engine of the EU, Germany single-handedly saved the Eurozone from collapse in 2012. At the same time, German workers enjoy unparalleled worker protections and shorter working hours than most of their global counterparts. How can a country that works an average of 35 hours per week (with an average 24 paid vacation days to boot) maintain such a high level of productivity?

Read more » KNOTE
http://knote.com/2014/11/10/why-germans-work-fewer-hours-but-produce-more-a-study-in-culture/

Democracies running on Stalinist lines!

The west’s crisis is one of democracy as much as finance

The spirit of dictators like Ceausescu is finding new life in the response of the European elite to pressures in the eurozone

By: Slavoj Žižek

In one of the last interviews before his fall, Nicolae Ceausescu was asked by a western journalist how he justified the fact that Romanian citizens could not travel freely abroad although freedom of movement was guaranteed by the constitution. His answer was in the best tradition of Stalinist sophistry: true, the constitution guarantees freedom of movement, but it also guarantees the right to a safe, prosperous home. So we have here a potential conflict of rights: if Romanian citizens were to be allowed to leave the country, the prosperity of their homeland would be threatened. In this conflict, one has to make a choice, and the right to a prosperous, safe homeland enjoys clear priority …

It seems that this same spirit is alive and well in Slovenia today. Last month the constitutional court found that a referendum on legislation to set up a “bad bank” and a sovereign holding would be unconstitutional – in effect banning a popular vote on the matter. The referendum was proposed by trade unions challenging the government’s neoliberal economic politics, and the proposal got enough signatures to make it obligatory.

Continue reading Democracies running on Stalinist lines!

Left-wing Greek politician Alexis Tsipras says that austerity will send Europe “directly to the hell”

Alexis Tsipras: Austerity will send us ‘directly to the hell’

By Lucky Gold

Going directly to the hell

Alexis Tsipras, head of Syriza, Greece’s extreme left-wing political party, appeared on Amanpour Wednesday.

Speaking from Athens, where he currently leads in the presidential polls, Mr. Tsipras responded to German Chancellor Merkel’s ultimatum – either Greece seeks economic reform and embraces austerity, or it will be shown the door of the European Union.

“I don’t know what Madame Merkel wants to do but I know what we want to do,” said Tsipras. “We don’t want outside the Eurozone. But we believe that Madame Merkel put the euro and the Eurozone in big danger by keeping these austerity measures.”

He added, “We want to change the austerity measures in Greece, also in Europe. We want to do this with the incorporation of other forces and people of Europe, the people who want a big change. Because everybody now understands that with this policy we are going directly to the hell. And we want to change this way.”

Rich people to buy everything with euros

He was asked the consequences if Greece abandons the euro and returns to the drachma as its currency: “If Greece goes back to the drachma, the second day the other countries in Europe will have the same problem,” said Tsipras. ….

Read more » CNN