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Friday, 13 February 2015

Greece: The Language-Change Spin Doctors; OECD Role; Dijsselbloem Pessimism; Greek Cabinet Decisions - No Troika; Varoufakis - No Plan B

On euphemisms and "face-saving phraseology"

"The Troika" is apparently now to be called "The Institutions". Extend existing programme? "Replace" with new programme, i.e. not extended, but amended

  Jeroen Dijsselbloem @J_Dijsselbloem
PM Tsipras and PEG Dijsselbloem agreed today to ask the institutions to engage with the Greek authorities to start work on a technical assessment of the common ground between the current program and the Greek government's plans in order to facilitate 16/2 EG discussions

Troika like the CIA?

«Από σεβασμό» προς την Ελλάδα, η τρόικα δεν θα ονομάζεται πλέον τρόικα, αλλά οι θεσμοί θα διατηρήσουν τον ρόλο τους, δήλωσε ο εκπρόσωπος του γερμανικού υπουργείου Οικονομικών Μάρτιν Γιέγκερ, ο οποίος, ωστόσο, διευκρίνισε ότι ο ΟΟΣΑ δεν μπορεί να αναλάβει τον ρόλο της τρόικας ή να ενταχθεί σε αυτό το σχήμα και επανέλαβε ότι η μόνη επιλογή είναι η επέκταση του προγράμματος.

«Από σεβασμό προς του Έλληνες φίλους μας, στο εξής η τρόικα δεν θα λέγεται τρόικα» δήλωσε ο κ. Γιέγκερ, κατά την τακτική ενημέρωση των συντακτών, ενώ σε ό,τι αφορά το ενδεχόμενο να αναλάβει ο ΟΟΣΑ τον έλεγχο της υλοποίησης της συμφωνίας που θα προκύψει μεταξύ της Ελλάδας και των εταίρων της τόνισε ότι η Γερμανία δεν μπορεί να δει τέτοιον ρόλο για τον Οργανισμό.

«Έχουμε εδώ συμβατικούς κανόνες, οι οποίοι προβλέπουν ξεκάθαρα ποιοι θεσμοί ελέγχουν την εκπλήρωση, την υλοποίηση του προγράμματος. Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο δεν προβλέπεται κανένας ρόλος για τον ΟΟΣΑ» δήλωσε.

Google Translation:

"Out of respect" toward Greece, the Troika will no longer be called troika, but institutions will maintain their role, said the representative of the German Ministry of Finance Martin Giegker, who however explained that the OECD can not assume the role of the Troika or to join in this scheme and reiterated that the only option is to extend the programme".

Germany cannot see a role for OECD; the rules dictate which institutions supervise the performance and implementation of programmes.

Reuters report

Talks on reform, common ground

Pessimism (Kathimerini)  - Dijsselbloem 'pessimistic' about a quick deal with Greece

"The Greeks have sky-high ambitions. The possibilities, given the state of the Greek economy, are limited," said Dijsselbloem, who is the Dutch finance minister, ahead of a cabinet meeting on Friday.
"I don't know if we'll get there by Monday." "It really is up to the Greek government to take the firsts steps," he said. Failure to reach a deal on an extension of the bailout or a credit line for Greece by the end of the month means Athens would quickly default and almost inevitably crash out of the eurozone. European sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Wednesday's eurozone ministers' meeting had descended into a "total mess", making a reconciliation between Dijsselbloem and Tsipras necessary to prepare the talks for Monday. Dijsselbloem said: "The Greek government has made it clear that they don't want to carry on with the programme as it currently stands." "The Eurogroup has made it clear that there are only possibilities for change as long as the programme remains on the rails." Kathimerini/AFP

Greek version (with some omissions from the English original)

Gulf News


Efthimia Efthimiou ‏@EfiEfthimiou RT @lemasabachthani: *EU OFFICIAL SAYS ECB, IMF, EU ALL REPRESENTED IN #Greece TALKS

Peter Spiegel has updated his FT blog posting:

Peter Spiegel ‏@SpiegelPeter We've updated our post on last night's #eurogroup to reflect #Greece denial. Plus, more shenanigans!

“At no point in time did the Greek delegation give consent to the text that has been published,” said Nikos Pappas, the prime minister’s chief of staff. Our account is based on several sources from multiple delegations, so we stand by our story". From Peter Spiegel tweet

Nektaria Stamouli ‏@nstamouli Senior #EU official says it is not crucial to extend current #Greek program at end February, it could be replaced with new program

See also, my 5 February posting

TV Coverage (thanks to June Samaras for the link)

Update, Greek Government Internal Discussions and Decisions

Note, in particular, items 5 and 9:

5. Η τρόικα έχει τελειώσει ως μοντέλο εποπτείας, επιτήρησης και επιβολής πολιτικών. Το ρολόι για την τρόικα σταμάτησε στις 25 Ιανουαρίου. Ο χρόνος δεν γυρνάει πίσω.

9. Η κυβέρνηση αντιλαμβάνεται ότι υπάρχουν σημεία όπου δεν υπάρχει κοινή αντίληψη. Όπως για παράδειγμα η «μεταρρύθμιση» στην υγεία, οι απολύσεις των δημοσίων υπαλλήλων, το συνταξιοδοτικό σύστημα, κ.ά.

Ta Nea, on the deliberations of the Governing Council

The Guardian, Helena Smith, Yanis Varoufakis

YV: “Lets find a face-saving phraseology, a face-saving [way out]. We are good in Europe at that. Euphemisms are our strength … alas, the answer is ‘no, there is a process and if you don’t sign on the dotted line, all hell will break lose.’  “We constantly hear, ‘if you don’t sign on the dotted line there is going to be Armageddon’. My answer is ‘let it happen!’ There is no fall-back plan. That is my plan B.”

Update Kathimerini Not extended but amended

"Wednesday’s Eurogroup ended without agreement as Greece objected to the wording of a common statement that suggested the current program would be extended. Athens wanted it to be clear that the bailout was being amended".

Richard Pine, Irish Times, on PM Tsipras

Discussions continue (Kathimerini), Greece and lenders meet to explore their options

"While the new program would come with conditionality, it would not have to be called a memorandum of understanding and could help the government in its effort to present it as something new".

Sakellaridis, Kathimerini

"(Greece) will not continue with a program which has the characteristics of the programs of previous governments,» Gabriel Sakellaridis told Greek TV. Sakellaridis also said that Greece has agreed with its European partners that there needs to be a «national reform plan» to deal with decades-long issues of the economy.

Debt and Austerity in Greece, The Economist

John Psaropoulos, The New Athenian

Avgi UPDATE 15 February

Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση διαμήνυσε εξ αρχής σε όλους τους τόνους ότι δεν πρόκειται να υποκύψει στις πιέσεις για επέκταση του μνημονιακού προγράμματος. Η διαφωνία αυτή δεν είναι φραστική ή τεχνικού χαρακτήρα, είναι διαφωνία θεμελιώδης. Το μνημονιακό πρόγραμμα απέτυχε παταγωδώς, "σκότωσε" το ΑΕΠ, συνέθλιψε τους πολίτες, βύθισε εισοδήματα, περιουσιακές αξίες και κοινωνικά δικαιώματα, ευτέλισε δημοκρατικές αξίες. Κατά συνέπεια, η Ελλάδα δεν μπορεί να δεχθεί παράταση του Μνημονίου και στο αυριανό Eurogroup

Update EU Observer

'Institutions' instead of troika

"What Tsipras and his team have so far managed to obtain from their EU partners is a ban on the word "troika" - in reference to the inspectors of the three international creditors - the EU commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. Instead, EU leaders and the Eurogroup now refer to "institutions" and "technical talks" between the representatives of these institutions and the Greek government. The Troika has become synonymous with austerity in Greece, with over 10,000 people on Sunday taking to the streets to support the government in its upcoming negotiations with the Eurogroup".

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