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Greece, Ireland and the EU June 23, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics.
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Pat Leahy has a good overview of the Greek crisis, at least in regards to its political complexion in the SBP this weekend. Not least where he draws the clear political implications for this state in all the machinations of the past week and longer. He notes that:

The rhetoric on either side has hardened in recent days. Perhaps that is in anticipation of a deal at the last minute. Or perhaps it is a sign that no deal is possible. If that is the case, the eurozone is on the brink of fracture.

And he makes this point which I think is crucial.

That would be an historic event, and one which could lead to all sorts of unforeseen consequences, many of them nasty for Ireland. The German-inspired hard line is a consequence of the determination in Berlin to protect the parties of the democratic centre from populist insurgents in the rest of Europe: in Spain, in Italy, in France – and in Ireland. I think this is a mistake. Those parties will have to make the case for themselves. And remember it is the centre that has failed to govern Greece properly, not the radicals.

This is something that is far too under considered in the orthodox analyses. It was the supposed ‘moderates’ and respectable parties which oversaw the cooking of books prior to and during Greek accession to the eurozone and subsequently allowed for fiscal processes which intrinsically favoured those outside the Greek equivalent of PAYE. It was their approaches which Syriza was elected to remedy and yet – as is the way of such things – it is Syriza which is being blamed at this point.

Leahy suggests that Ireland may have taken a better course. We shall see. A lot depends on whether and if a ‘deal’ is done and what the terms are. No wonder Noonan is getting antsy. Something better than was delivered to this state – even if logically the Greek situation is much much more difficult – will have inevitable political implications.

He writes:

At the very least, the trials of Greece demonstrate that the “to hell with the ECB” approach is not without cost. And, possibly, ruinous cost.

It seems clear to me that events in Greece look like bolstering the government’s position, and severely undermining the case of the radical left and Sinn Féin. That may be horribly unfair on the minnows of the world, like ourselves. But that does not mean it is not true.

This seems to me to be a somewhat dubious proposition. Greece cannot make a deal which doesn’t have some give in it for them. Comparisons with our ‘deals’ will be educative.

But even if Greece leaves the eurozone, perhaps particularly if it does, and subsequently the EU, it is at the very least arguable that the ramifications, for all that we’re told they are going to be limited to us and others, may prove equally ruinous which would suggest that from the off the ECB/IMF line was utterly inappropriate for the sort of ‘union’ that we and others supposedly enjoy.

And that being the case…

Comments»

1. CL - June 23, 2015

“According to Mujtaba Rahman, head of the Eurasia Group’s European practice, the Greek prime minister’s flirtation with Putin was enough to break Europe’s collective will…
it appears as if Tsipras got what he wanted: a political deal with Europe that keeps Brussels out of Greek retirement funds.

“They’ve absolutely won. This is a massive victory,” Rahman told FP Monday.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/22/with-an-assist-from-putin-greece-for-now-wins/

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2. Gewerkschaftler - June 23, 2015

I’ve given up trying to follow every twist and turn of the negotiations – it’s too much even for a European-politics wonk like me, and most of it is smoke an mirrors refracted through a partisan MSM.

I’m waiting, first to see if a deal is done, then I’d like to see what’s in it.

Then we’ll see what the parliamentary and wider Syriza party and the Greek electorate makes of it.

These last two steps are utterly foreign now to the parties or the extreme centre. The procedure with them (see the Obahma campaigns) is to trick activists into working for them and then ditch the activists, then ignore the needs and wishes of the electorate. The current SPD junior partners of the German government are a prime example of this – they have rammed through a highly unpopular surveillance bill and are aggressively championing TTIP, CETA etc.

On the specifics of Healy’s claims:

The position of Syriza was, as far as I can tell ‘to hell with the ECB’ but that the ECB should start behaving like a real central bank, if the Euro is to survive. That would mean a fiscal union with common taxation and transfers and investment between regions.

If there is a deal let’s see if that can be used as a stick to beat the ‘roll over and play dead’ negotiating style that locked us in Ireland into taking on €40bn of private debt and its servicing and fees for fund managers / accountants / corrupt deals with the politically well connected etc. onto the shoulders of Irish citizens.

That, at least, shouldn’t be hard.

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3. Ed - June 23, 2015

‘Parties of the democratic centre’ – like Spain’s PP, which has passed a law banning all forms of effective protest and making it a crime to document police brutality.

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4. 6to5against - June 23, 2015

I don’t know enough about the details of the whole thing to say whether its a bad deal or a not-great deal, but I think we can take it for granted that Noonan et al will sell it as the Greeks finally accepting economic realities.

There will be no acknowedgement of the fact that this is entirely a politcally motivated deal, designed to crush left wing opposition across europe, and that the mainstream parties were quite happy to ignore economic realities to do that.

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5. irishelectionliterature - June 23, 2015

Either way a Greek deal will be portrayed as a loss for Greece, it can’t be described in any other way as it would show up Noonan et al who took what they were given rather than actually bargained properly with the Troika.
Has the Greek negotiations damaged the Irish government or do the general public subscribe to the line of markets etc that Greece was irresponsible.

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6. lcox - June 23, 2015

This is what will be politically crucial here and elsewhere – if it is seen to be the case that resisting austerity has won a better deal than not doing so would have done, it puts a lot of wind in the sails of anti-austerity movements and parties across Europe. Of course this will work in different ways for different parts of the population in Ireland, Spain etc. – where we have our own means of communication (be that social media networks connecting the anti-water charges movement or the more formal alternative media on the left, in trade unions etc.) part of the question is how local and issue-specific, or how big picture they are. Fair play to everyone who has been making the links between the battle the Greeks are fighting and our own situation over the last months.

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WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2015

“part of the question is how local and issue-specific, or how big picture they are.”

That’s it exactly, isn’t it?

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7. fergal - June 23, 2015

Mary Wilson has just asked Pearse Doherty if Syriza’s proposed ‘austerity measure’ will work- will they turn the economy around. Has the same question ever been asked about asuterity here and elsewhere by the msm?

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8. CL - June 23, 2015

“I believe that this program as we see it … is difficult to pass by us,” deputy parliament speaker and Syriza lawmaker Alexis Mitropoulos told Greek Mega TV

“The prime minister first has to inform our people on why we failed in the negotiation and ended up with this result,” he said. “I believe (the measures) are not in line with the principles of the left. This social carnage … they cannot accept it.”
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/06/greece_caves_in_completely_to_eu_austerity_demands_parliament_revolts.html

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9. CL - June 23, 2015

-Yannis Micheloyannakis, another hard left lawmaker, agreed: “A deal on the basis of the government’s new proposals would amount to a gravestone for Greece.”-
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/963f92c4-19be-11e5-8201-cbdb03d71480.html#axzz3duLfipjD

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10. Jolly Red Giant - June 23, 2015

Comment from Xekinima (sister party of the Socialist Party in Greece) on the cave in by Tsipras and the right-wing of SYRIZA to the troika and calling on the left in SYRIZA to oppose the deal.

http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/7251

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Gewerkschaftler - June 24, 2015

I had to look Xekinima up – it is presumably strictly not be confused with ANTARSYA-MARS (or are the CWI entryist in both parties?)

Kudos for getting what appears to be a copy and paste from the party newspaper uncontested into English Wikipedia.!

Thunderous denunciation by the ICFI of them as pseudo-leftists here. You’ve gotta respect the sheer splintery persistence of Trotskyist groups.

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Jolly Red Giant - June 24, 2015

Just wondering – do you have anything constructive to add?

Maybe it would have been better if you had ignored all the Greek ‘dramatics’ ( a comment which says it all really.

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Gewerkschaftler - June 24, 2015

Come now JRG – just an aside – no need to get riled up. As it happens I work constructively with several members of the CWI.

But remain bemused and amused by the Byzantine intricacies of the scene.

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Mark P - June 24, 2015

Personally, I rather admire your persistence in talking up the left wing credentials of the leaderships of various new social democratic parties in Europe.

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WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2015

The very definition of humourlessness has to be to take offence at a light-hearted comment which implicitly is supportive of one’s own formation as against a rather silly denunciation of it by the ICFI.

As to then using that as the spring board for a back handed compliment. Particularly when the commenter gives critical support for a formation which one’s own counterparts in Greece also gave critical support for as well!

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WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2015

BTW, I’m not giving out, just slightly entertained.

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Mark P - June 24, 2015

Who do you imagine is offended?

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WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2015

I don’t imagine anything about JRGs comment which was testy, as for yours it was just gratuitously pointless.

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WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2015

Or pointlessly gratuitous – either or.

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Mark P - June 24, 2015

As opposed to the deep importance of your last few comments, I suppose.

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WorldbyStorm - June 24, 2015

Is this childish riposte night or have I missed something?

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revolutionaryprogramme - June 24, 2015

“Personally, I rather admire your persistence in talking up the left wing credentials of the leaderships of various new social democratic parties in Europe.”

Like the AAA?

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11. Gewerkschaftler - June 24, 2015

Despite my determination to wean myself off the Greek dramatics – I find myself scrying the cracked, fogged and distorting ball of the MSM and better informed commentators for signs this lunchtime.

I’m a hopeless case, I confess it.

So I’d give the chances of an agreement being reached that will satisfy the Schäublistas (and the neolib true believers rightwards of him among EU governments), the IMF and the Syriza Parliamentary Party at less than 30%.

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lcox - June 24, 2015

It will be really interesting if a deal is agreed in Brussels but it turns out that there is no majority for it in the Greek govt or parliament – particularly if the pressure is there from the streets to resist it. Which would be particularly important in view of what’s often noted on this site wrt the likely difficulties of forming a majority govt in this state post the next election.

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Gewerkschaftler - June 24, 2015

What makes the situation even more complex is that that is the outcome that some of the (let’s call them Troika) ruling parties want to achieve. Others appear to be afraid of the financial and political fallout. That’s reflected in the chaotic nature of the process. Whether Syriza can use that chaos to their advantage I rather doubt.

Merkel (first and foremost a party and nationalist politician, whatever her desire not to start the breakup of the Yoyo zone) is going to have major difficulties getting any sort of agreement accepted in the CDU/CSU and it’s extensive networks of influence. Many of these are, with varying degrees of sophistication, gagging to rid themselves of their ‘Greek problem’ once and for all.

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dilettante - June 25, 2015

Does anyone get the impression that the right across the EU are positioning themselves to scupper any deal and to blame the left of SYRIZA (and by implication the left everywhere) for it?

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12. 6to5against - June 25, 2015

Quick thought: having a right wing army-connected member of government could become quite significant for Greece over the next few weeks.
It both protects against a coup, and helps to have the army on side if they are needed for practicalities -like distributing food – as things develop.

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WorldbyStorm - June 25, 2015

It has to have been part of Syriza thinking

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