Well that didn’t go well:
Greece’s attempt to salvage its place in the eurozone got off a rocky start when its finance minister arrived at a meeting of counterparts without a fresh rescue proposal.
Athens has been given a final chance to present a new reform plan to its eurozone partners — even though their willingness to accommodate it has all but evaporated following Greece’s emphatic rejection of previous bailout terms in Sunday’s referendum.
But Greece’s new finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos turned up with no written proposal. Instead, he outlined verbally what a Greek official said was the same plan Athens submitted to its creditors on June 30.
The lack of a new plan shocked the assembled finance ministers and angered several, officials said. Their meeting was supposed to set the parameters of a make-or-break summit of eurozone leaders on Tuesday evening.
The real shocker isn’t that the Greeks didn’t have a new proposal, but rather that the assembled eurocrats were themselves surprised at this fact. Perhaps many of them were celebrating the departure of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis yesterday. If so, that was foolish: by all accounts, the new FM is a staunch Marxist who, while still sympathetic to the European project, is unlikely to represent some kind of huge break with his predecessor’s views.
Indeed, there’s more than a strong likelihood that an important group in Syriza really does want a break with Europe. There’s a familiar kind of leftist out there that sees “crisis” as a necessary element in the construction of socialism. A Greece that is cut off from world markets, united by nationalist passion, with its economy shattered and bitterness ruling its politics—that’s exactly the kind of situation you would want to create in order to start building your neo-communist project.
It’s impossible to judge from the outside how strong this faction actually is. But as the economic situation gets grimmer—many are now estimating that Greek banks will run out of money by the end of the week—the center of gravity in Syriza could well start to shift further towards the hardliners. Tsipras, Varoufakis, and now Tsakatolos could end up being Greek Kerenskys.
If that happens, expect more “shock” from Brussels officials (and from the MSM analysts). Their ideological blinkers often prevent them from even conceiving that there are people who see the world well outside the confines of their accepted ways.