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Greeks Bearing Debts
Syriza: Failing for the Future?

Greek negotiators and their eurozone counterparts failed yesterday even to agree on a framework for negotiations. As Open Europe summarizes:

Reports suggest that a joint statement had been agreed, but that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis made a last-minute call to Athens to get final approval and was denied. The statement was therefore scrapped. The disagreement is thought to have centred on the potential extension of the current bailout programme, which Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has categorically ruled out. The change came so late that some ministers, including Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble, had already left assuming that a deal was done. However, the Greek government has denied ever giving its approval to the draft statement.

Varoufakis has a reputation as something of a radical, but it seems Athens took even a harder line than he did. This might not be entirely the result of over-confidence on Tsirpas’ part or a misplayed hand: a Grexit seems to be exactly what some in Syriza are aiming for.

The protest party is a new one, and contains many elements of the hard left. Some of them have openly dreamed about establishing a true socialist republic along Venezuelan lines. That will never happen while Greece is a euro country; therefore, a Grexit might be more to their liking.

This is not to say that this is what a majority of Greeks—or even a majority of Syriza—wants. But combined with the poor handling of negotiations so far, and pride and overconfidence on both sides, this has the makings of a toxic brew.

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  • JR

    “Some of them have openly dreamed about establishing a true socialist republic along Venezuelan lines.” And this is a bad thing, because…??? I don’t mean it in a sense why it will be a bad thing for the Greeks (unless standing in line for toilet paper is Syriza’s idea of building communinites), but why is this a bad thing for anyone outside Greece? Collapse of Venezuela is doing a better job of promoting capitalism than 1000 Koch brothers can hope for. Greeks want to become examples of what not do? Let ’em at it!!!

  • Corlyss

    All of the eurozone is playing not to win or to cure their problems but to delay delay delay the point at which they must deal with the inevitable consequences of their collective stupidity across a wide range of issues, most related to their naive misjudgments about their history. As long as they can delay, the current pols can fatuously burnish their meaningless memoirs and flatter themselves that the deluge didn’t happen on their watch.

  • FriendlyGoat

    The right answer is for Greece to remain a euro country and drag the whole thing slightly left, not either jump out or be pushed out due to troubles. The nearer they all come to really being the “united states” of Europe, the better.

    • JR

      I don’t think that would work. Given the debt to GDP ratios of a lot of countries in Europe’s South, they are already at the point of running out of somebody else’s money. Latest Greek deal seems like another exercise of kicking the can down the road and hoping that THIS time it will be different.

  • Curious Mayhem

    Greece will have no socialist republic inside or outside the eurozone. There’s no money to pay for it.

    Greece’s best hope at this point is that Greece’s exit from the eurozone (which is now a matter of time, and not much time) will lead to such a shock that Syriza’s government will fall and get replaced with something that can succesfully guide Greece out of the toxic prison called the euro. The exit is inevitable, the fall is very likely — only getting a better government that can lead properly is in doubt.

    If the rest of the eurozone wants to do the right thing — and not the (self-)righteous thing — it will gladly show Greece the door and grant a few years of “bon voyage” aid.

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