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Friday, 20 February 2015

Eurogroup, Greece, Germany etc: Re-building Trust, Outcome of Extraordinary Eurogroup Meeting; Varoufakis Press Briefing

Building Trust

Cartoon posted on Facebook

"Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement - or Death"
N. Poyiatzis, from Phileleftheros, Cyprus

The Guardian report


And that's the final agreement...

Four Month Extension

The Greek authorities have expressed their strong commitment to broaden and deepen structural reform process aimed at durably improving growth and employment prospects, ensuring stability and resilience of the financial sector and enhancing social fairness. The authorities commit to implementing long overdue reforms to tackle corruption and tax evasion, and improving the efficiency of the public sector. In this context, the Greek authorities undertake to make best use of the continued provision of technical assistance. The Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour financial obligations to all their creditors fully and timely...The Greek authorities have also committed to ensure the appropriate primary surpluses...We remain committed to long as it honours its commitments within the framework.

Varoufakis, National Briefing (my notes): "We combined Logic and Ideology. We combined respect for the rules and respect for democracy...Be patient - it's a virtue! From today we are going to be co-authors of our destiny, of the reforms that we want to implement, weapons against the deep malignancy of the Greek social economy for decades, if not a century. Today isolation is broken".

"Constructive ambiguity: appropriate primary surpluses" - choice of word "appropriate" used to secure an adequate degree of flexibility.

(An impressive, intelligent performance, in spite of considerable fatigue and length of question and answer session. Watch 8 minute video of Varoufakis briefing).

"The end of scaremongering" "The Memorandum, the MoU is finished- it's there, but in abeyance; or, a dialectical answer, "we've progressed and evolved". Not committed to reducing pensions (during next four months) or increasing VAT. No longer following a script given to us by external agencies. If our fresh list of reforms is not agreed by the Institutions, or if we fail to implement them, in trouble - the new agreement would be dead and buried. We are absolutely determined that tax evasion and other malignancies will be crushed in Greece. We will rebuild trust with our partners.  We do not endorse a fire sale of state assets to put a few pennies towards an unsustainable debt. Minimum wages to be increased -  to enhance competitiveness. A new framework for growth. A good contract for the future, for stabilisation and growth"

From Eurogroup/Institutions:

Jeroen DIJSSELBLOEM: "We have established common ground again". Extension for 4, not 6, months requested. Possible follow up- IMF will remain involved"

Christine Lagarde: Greek side to submit a first list of reforms by close of play Monday. The institutions will deliver a view on whether the list of reforms is considered comprehensive enough.

Wolfgang Schaueble, 33 minute video of National Press Briefing (and the role of the Three Institutions -formerly so-called "Troika"), not looking very happy; wording of statement 'gives no room for misinterpretation - So ist es , but reality isn't always beautiful' - Quotes: "The Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rolling back and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms..." Wolfgang SCHÄUBLE, German Minister for Finance





Deutsche Welle

Avgi (video)

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