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.