Public Affairs Networking
29/07 – Things can only get Feta?
Most European media report that the technical teams of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism resumed negotiations with Athens yesterday on a third bailout programme. Yesterday, technical teams of the creditors began their inspection at the Bank of Greece and the General Accounting Office, to evaluate the current Greek banking system as well as the consequences of the recession on budget revenues, the deficit and GDP, Naftemporiki and Kathimerini write. Libé notes that the creditors’ technical teams should complete their audit by Friday.
According to Greek media, an EC spokeswoman claimed that there is a possibility that the agreement with Greece will be achieved by the second fortnight of August. B1 TV and Greek media report that, in order to ensure the proper evolution of the negotiations, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras organised a meeting at Syriza headquarters during which he called for collaboration with the creditors. While Cerstin Gammelin, writing in SZ, predicts a failure of the negotiations, Hugo Dixon argues in The Telegraph that Greece cannot avoid more austerity to recover from the crisis. Meanwhile, Gaspard Koenig and Rafaël Biosse Duplan write in LeFigaro that Greece is under tutelage, just as it was in the mid-19th Century when France and Great Britain designated “control commissions” charged with managing the young nation’s public budgets.
Several media comment on former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’s latest statement accusing creditors of monitoring the country, and revealing his “plan B.” Replying to the charges that the creditors had control over the Greek Public Revenue DG thanks to an IT programme, the European Commission said yesterday, through Mina Andreeva, that the claims were “false and unfounded.” Mina Andreeva added that “The European Commission and the IMF only provide technical assistance, they certainly do not control,” The Daily Telegraph and report. In an article published in The Financial Times and Expansion, Mr Varoufakis referred again to his plan to highjack the tax codes of Greek citizens and the operation of a parallel payment system stressing that there is a heinous limitation of national sovereignty imposed by the Troika. These revelations created an outcry in Greece. As a consequence, Supreme Court Prosecutor General Efterpi Koutzamani called for the suspension of Mr Varoufakis’s parliamentary immunity, Sole 24 Ore and Kathimerini report. Ms Koutzamani sent the Hellenic Parliament two lawsuits that were filed the previous days against Mr Varoufakis. Moreover, she ordered an investigation in order to determine whether non-political personalities should face criminal charges in relation to this case.
Many op-ed articles also continue to comment on the possible scenario that could result from the negotiations. For the German Finance Minister, referred to in Het Financieele Dagblad, there are two options: Greece can leave the eurozone or it can accept a programme which turns the country into a European protectorate, without any hope of economic improvement. Latvian economist Jānis Ošlejs writes in Diena that “two potential long-term scenarios are possible – either the debts will be written off, or Greece will exit the euro area.” The economic daily Äripäev writes that while the market’s reaction to the confirmation of the last reform package in Greece was positive, new episodes of instability and volatility cannot be ruled out and the ECB must be prepared to use its whole arsenal to prevent the crisis from spreading to other countries.
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