Sunday, July 12, 2015

Decision on Greece soon is unavoidable

The European Union and Greece will need to arrive at a deal soon.  Unlike the negotiations with Iran about their hoped for nuclear arsenal and the related economic sanctions, there are real deadlines for Greece. Significant debt payments will need to be made near term and if the European Union can't agree to some plan, then creditors will begin to act.

Tsipras has come back with a proposed agreement to do most of what Germany and the European Union have requested, but EU leaders are unsure about how to interpret his ability to deliver given last week's overwhelming vote against any austerity.  Tsipras and his fellow Greek leaders should also be worried as well, worried about their ability to get approval from the Greek legislature.  One can be almost certain that without that, there will be no funds forthcoming.  The Greeks may think that only the leaders accepting the EU terms will lead some initial advance of funds, but the guess here is that Germany would not agree to that.

Many people in Europe and around the world would like for there to be a positive outcome to this crisis.  Then again, as happened here today, people read things that are so disheartening that it is almost impossible to see how Greece can escape the results of many long term established habits.  It's not just the unwillingness to pay taxes that is shared broadly, but activities like paying "fakelakis" for almost any service.  They are apparently small envelopes of money passed on to doctors at hospitals to get treatment, tax collectors, their version of the DMV for driver's licenses, or bureaucrats in general.  In general, a non-taxable bribe seems to be necessary in Greece to get any important service. From the point of view of a rule based country like Germany, this is reprehensible.

The EU does not trust Greece and Greece has suffered because of it.  Some agreement needs to be reached, and if it is not the leaders of Greece, the wealthy, or successful business owners will not be truly hurt.  It will be ordinary citizens of modest to little wealth who have already been severely impacted by austerity.

This could be sad to watch. In fact, it already is.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home