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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Eurogroup Meeting - Everything Went According to Plan!

Having spent my career in banking, my career was also one of negotiating. In the early years, my employer made us attend a number of negotiating seminars. Not even once did we deal with Game Theory. My employer was a large Mid-Western American bank and in the American Mid-West people don't have much patience for theories.

My interpretation of yesterday's Eurogroup meeting is as follows: certainly from the Greek side, everything followed a previously agreed-upon plan. That plan was to surprise and confuse people. If the EU Finance Ministers (plus top-level people like Mario Draghi and Christine Lagarde) perhaps expect a serious-looking, respectful Greek in a business suit, then come in your sports outfit. Since they have seen your sports outfit before, carry a scarf because that they haven't seen before. If they assume that, this being your first time in this high-caliber group, you might be a bit nervous or bashful, walk in like you own the place, like your are feeling like a million dollars (or Euros). If Schäuble is your greatest antagonist, walk over to him, pad him on his shoulder and smile like he was your best friend. If nothing else, Schäuble will get an embarrased look on his face.

Then, when the greetings are over and all the others excpect you to start with your PowerPoint presentation summarizing the details of your proposal, you simply...talk. You talk about the big picture of the Eurozone. You lecture about all those things which the others have heard from you ad nauseum before. You throw ideas in the air to demonstrate that Greeks are always about ideas. So, after a few hours, everybody has said to everyone else what he has said on numerous occasions before and it's time to put together a joint statement.

Now you have obviously agreed about the choreography with your boss in Athens before. You would haggle with hands and fists forever and only when the others are about to show you the door, you grudgingly accept the final draft which they are proposing. You create the impression that there has been full agreement and that you have been negotiating in good faith. Everyone is quite pleased with the achievement and some (including Mr. Schäuble) even leave the meeting. And then you think it's about time to pull the punchline.

While the secretaries are busy making the final changes to the joint statement, you demonstratively call your boss to inform him about the results of the meeting. And then you feign shock! What? The boss doesn't agreee with you? With the signs of shock in your face, you come back to the others and inform him that there will not be a deal after all. You show helplessness because you really thought it was an acceptable deal but your boss in Athens overruled you.

Of course, the remaining others are all mad at you but you don't give a damn about that and you let them feel it. However, as soon as you run into the journalists outside the meeting room, you tell them what a wonderful meeting it has been; how happy you are that you could present your and Greece's views; how much you learned and benefited from the others. And, finally: that you really looked forward to next Monday's meeting and that you felt sure that there would be an agreement then.

Outside the building, when no one can hear you any longer, you then call your boss in Athens and tell him: "Everything went according to plan".

60 comments:

  1. Klaus, not so sure it was scripted. My experience negotiating with Greeks is that they are weaker than most other Europeans. But I guess we are essentially talking about a showman here,,not a diplomat or even financial expert.

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  2. "Everything went according to plan" And what's the plan?

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    Replies
    1. In my view the plan was to surprise and confuse. Whether or not that is a good plan remains to be seen.

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    2. OK, so they surprised and confused. Now what?

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    3. Mr. Pseudogreek (Jim Slip)

      Now they get a better deal than the one Samaras got, who didn't surprise nor confused.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the Article and making me laugh. I needed it.

    V

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  4. Wonderful review of the meeting yesterday in Brussels! Excellent observations! Excellent interpretations!
    One step more forward from our home "group" here: This is the scenario he, the one you are talking about, uses to prepare his resignation from the Syriza party and as a minister of finances.
    He is understanding that he cannot do his "job", that he is losing credibility as a professor of economy, and in this way only the "boss" can be blamed after.
    This is a part of his game.
    With you, me, Europe, Greece.

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  5. Alcibiades or Nicias?

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  6. Mr. Kastner,

    Does it really matter? What matters is that a deal will be made. What is the most important value in western societies? I mean, the real one, not the declared ones for the facade. Money. So, there are are 240 billion reasons on why there will be an agreement.

    Tsipras will call the new memorandum "program", the troika will be renamed in "our man in Brussels" and then the real trouble will begin, with Tsipras having to keep in line his more radical ministers who will be struggling with the OECD guidelines.

    From my perspective, yes, everything went according to plan too. What is happening, is that prof. Varoufakis is the only one who is having initiative. The others are more or less entrenched in the original idea of "you simply continue your previously program". But nobody ever won a war while staying in his trench. This effectively leaves the initiative to the man who does have a plan, because we all know that in the end, there will be a compromise. Between the one who is having a plan on what he is doing and those who still don't have an idea of what's happening, the one with the plan, will manage to get his "impossible deal", out those who were sayin "we don't care if you default":

    In medicine, Mr. Kastner, one of the first rules, is to "interview" (medical history or anamnesis) the patient. A good interview, is worth "half the diagnosis". But, the difficult part, is not have the patient carry you away. It is you, who must lead the patient to tell you what you want. The patient always tries to do it his way, to tell you irrelevant things or confuse you with his anxiety, while you have to bring him back to your path. And one other important issue, is... you mustn't believe everything he says, but you must pretend you do.
    Doctors, to help themselves, since this is an art that can't be taught nor everyone is cut for it, go into this with a structured interview. The patient doesn't. In other words, the doctor goes in with a plan on how this will end, the patient doesn't. This is what allows you to be the doctor and get the job done.

    Time gets short and if you are the only one with a plan, chances are, several elements of your plan, will be accepted. Of course, it may be true that the others don't care if you default, so time isn't important. But then we go back on what's the most important value, don't we.

    Prof. Varoufakis is playing alone against 18. Not quite your usual bargain. When Ulysses met Polyphemus, the valiant thing to do for a king and war veteran, would be to challenge him to a duel. But it wouldn't be the smart thing. So he confused Polyphemus. He let him eat his comrades, he gave him wine, to the point Polyphemus started socializing with him and promiced to eat him for last! And when Polyphemus felt too cosy for his own good, he got a spear in his eye.

    Prof. Varoufakis' will be textbook tactic in Game Theory, on how to play while vastly outnumbered and 2 weeks away from bankruptcy.

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    Replies
    1. Typically delusional. Comparing Mr Varoufakis to a fictional character. Is this a serious way of assessing the current situation?

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    2. Yes, it's called making an analogy. That the character is fictional doesn't mean anything.

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  7. Sometimes ... when truth and description touches ... and a self-predestined (Greek) tragedy flash of energy makes its way toward the inevitable end ... so arises infinite poetry in a poetic motion of many layers - in one simple blog post ...

    ekathimerini.com | Greece, where everyone's a winner

    If Lou Reed had been alive - his music had suited well for this text.
    http://youtu.be/QYEC4TZsy-Y
    Lou Reed - Perfect Day

    Just a perfect day
    drink sangria in a park
    And Then lateralis
    When it gets dark we go home
    Just a perfect day
    Feed animals in the zoo
    And Then later a movie, too
    And Then home

    refrain:

    Oh ITS Such a Perfect Day
    I'm glad I spent it with you
    Oh Such a perfect day you just keep me hanging on
    you just keep me hanging on

    Just a perfect day
    [. From: http: //www.elyrics.net/read/l/lou-ree ....]
    problems all Left Alone
    Weekenders on our own
    it's Such fun
    Just a perfect day
    you make me forget myself
    I thought I was Someone Else
    someone good

    You're going to reap just what you sow
    You're going to reap just what you sow
    You're going to reap just what you sow
    You're going to reap just what you sow

    Thanks for all the great posts Mr. kleingut - let them come ..;)

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  8. I don't think it was game theory from Varoufakis, but it does not matter who it was. The Greek side is making it more and more difficult for themselves by showing their disdain for negotiation partners. Nobody ever got a good deal out of that. Ms Merkel may very politely ask Tsipras what news he has for her, if he does not have any, to call her when he has. She may ad that she has had a strenuous night and still has important unfinished business to attend to.
    Lennard

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  9. In your brilliant fairy tale you have not mentioned the Greek FM saying "...Wolfgang Schäuble ist vermutlich der einzige europäische Politiker mit intellektueller Substanz...". (Literally translated: Wolfgang Schäuble most probably is the only european politician with intellectual substance).

    Imho this style of communications puts the final nail in the coffin - even before negotiations have started.

    H.Trickler

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    Replies
    1. Having lived in Greece for a while, I find that they navel gaze a hell of a lot. They are completely unaware of the impact to others of what they say. It is amazing but it is like they can't see beyond two seconds ahead in time. They also seem to be always reactionary. Possible as a symptom of they having foresight. They react and rarely are they pro-active to prepare for future crisis.

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  10. Nice story, exactly the same as leaked by Bloomberg. Minus one significant detail. Did a final agreement was reached for a reduction in the primary surpluses figure down to 1,5% in that eurogroup meeting? Because that is the issue here. It's not about an insistence on the technicality of the continuance of the previous program. The previous program called for tough budget reductions and tax hikes in order to reach an impossible 4,5% per GDP primary surplus in 2015. Unless a deal can be reached on that there is no point in discussing details is there? This is the heart of the matter and not mere technicalities or a few words in the statement. It’s not about a negotiation strategy either or game theory implementation. We know what the Greek government is going for and why. An insistence by the troika authorities on the completion of the previous impossible to complete program is basically a head for the door sign and as far as the blame game goes, everyone can play it.

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    1. This discussion about reducing the primary surplus requirement from 4,5% to 1,5% is really quite amazing when considering that Greece, in 2014, didn't even have a surplus of 1% (quite a bit below that). Let's wait for the January figures. I would be surprised if January showed a surplus. I find it really optimistic to assume that there will be a primary surplus for 2015 with all the new expenses which the government is planning.

      I think everybody would be quite happy if Greece could deliver a surplus of 1,5% on a sustained bases and if Greece implemented the structures for that to happen.

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    2. Mr. Kastner,

      The surplus for January is 443 meur.

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    3. Mr. Kastner,

      What did you expect? 2 days ago, minister Mrs Valavani, from parliament, called the people to "go pay their taxes". Since SYRIZA has still not specified the new taxes, there are many who still hope that they will not have to pay previous taxes. Until the goverment comes to a "normal operation" and people understand what changes and what not, this isn't going to change.

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    4. @kleingut

      I don't wanna play Syriza's advocate but the objection with the 4,5% primary surplus is to not take the harsh measures that would lead to this goal (i.e. if you aim for a 1,5% primary surplus there are gonna be less tax hikes). In other words, the bigger the primary surplus you aim for, the more contractionary the measures you're gonna take.

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    5. Exactly. This is the real issue. Greece closed fiscal 2014 with something like 1,4% surplus so if a deal would be struck for 1,5% instead of 4,5% that would mean that very few deflationary measures would need to be implemented. The trouble is that for that to happen a debt restructuring is needed and the main players are the ECB and the IMF since bilateral loans come into play later on. Both these entities consider their super seniority sacred so the only way a debt restructuring could take place is probably for a new vehicle to purchase whatever new bonds issued by Greece will be used in said debt restructuring (perpetual or tied to growth rates) and then Greece in turn would pay the IMF and the ECB back. So it comes down to where the money is going to come from. The EMS is one possible source, or private investors if the new bonds could be rated investment grade and be legible for QE purchase participation. There are legal issues of course but since we are now in a post QE era of state financing where for example the ECB will come to purchase close to 50% of all eurozone periphery issued bonds in 2015 any protests that this will be a case against its non direct state financing restriction will be more than moot.

      Delete
  11. Dear Klaus,
    I am afraid that your interpretation of the events sounds very plausible. Unfortunately one cannot exclude that similar tactics are successful for a while. But I also think one should take into account that the other participants in such meetings are not totally stupid; they will notice tat they are being cheated, and, like most people, they will resent being cheated.
    So, if you have to deal with a group just once, such tactics may be useful; in the longer term I would expect that they damage your reputation and destroy the good will that you may have had. Unless one assumes that the reputation of Greece as a country was beyond repair anyway, Mr Varoufakis is not helping his country, in my opinion.

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    Replies
    1. Since Greek media have told for years how incredibly silly the EU and especially Germany represented by Merkel and Schäuble behave, your correct interpretation is shared only by a small minority.

      H.Trickler

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  12. What would such a plan ultimate target i.e surprise and confuse people?
    Greece is the one who desperately running out of time...

    For sure does not lead to a resolution either via agreement or escalation/climax towards a future compromise (say on Monday).. Rather kicks the ball out of the stadium or better on the opponents side.

    On the other hand, as was in advance reported, Schaeuble had not made any arrangements for staying overnight.

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    Replies
    1. Depending on standpoint one will conclude that Schäuble once more was realistic enough not to waste his time - OR - once more was silly enough not to have seized the opportunity :O

      H.Trickler

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  13. That does sound just about right. Whenever nothing happens in a meeting (here in Greece), always be prepared for the surprise that follows you out of the door. It does seem (according to Paul Mason) that Schäuble had blocked an agreement. But this could mean that the plan may have "went even better" - particularly if he was the only one to block it. And it does leave the press muddled.

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  14. To me, the most important event yesterday evening were the thousands of peaceful people on the streets in Greece and Spain. It reminds me of some economists' prediction of some time ago that the problem would ultimately be decided on the streets. Tsipras put something in motion which is going to be hard to stop. If anything, I would expect it to grow larger. And that I think is excellent because it seems that a very large majority of Greeks now truly feel that it is time for change "whatever it takes". I did take note of one of Varoufakis' statements where he said "we will have to get used to living within our means, maybe have less than in the past". And the way I have gotten to know Greeks, I could see how they would rise to such an occasion.

    If the ultimate goal of the government were to return to the drachma, I would say they are pursuing an outstanding strategy. They are gathering emotional support from all corners of the world. Greece would never be blamed for having caused the Grexit. Instead, the EU would be blamed for it which would position Greece very nicely to negotiate good alimonies (and still leave the rest of the EU with a guilty conscience for the remainder of its existence).

    If the goal were to keep the Euro, the strategy is very hard to understand. I am still waiting for the grand surprise which will reveal how brilliantly Greece negotiated that. My recommendation to Tsipras/Varoufakis would be to spend the next few days practicing how to write the world "extension". And then figure out how it can be sold to those thousands of people on the streets who expect change.

    It seems to me that the Greek people are literally begging for a return to self-determination "whatever it takes". How that could work with a Euro is unknown to me.

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    1. It is impossible to properly negotiate unless Greece keeps the option of defaulting and exiting the euro zone open. The previous governments on their own gave up that option and subsequently they had absolutely no leverage. Indeed Tsipras and co has played the dignity and sovereignty card masterfully thus far. This was necessary and I am glad it happened now.

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    2. Interesting thoughts, Klaus. Unfortunately the older generation of Greeks, people who used to hard work and a simple material life, is dead or retired now. Younger Greeks also want the latest iPhone and a credit card and a nice car and holidays etc., and they do not seem to be used to hard or dirty and tedious labor.

      During the last summers I have always been on the south coast of Crete. You might think that young Greeks now wood flood the tourist labor market, and work in the restaurants, pensions, shops, cleaning the dishes and rooms etc., but no, work like this is still done by Bulgarians, Romanians, Albanians, Georgians, and other immigrants.

      The young Greeks you see in the area on the other hand are living lazy hippie lives like in the sixties, camping on the beaches with tents, guitars, dogs and sometimes even kids. The small islet of Gavdos to the south of Crete is swamped by these Greek hippies. Of course that might be the kind of simple life Varoufakis is thinking about, but in the long run it doesn't put food on the table.

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    3. Mr. Kastner,

      The more i read your thoughts, the more i am convinced that prof. Varoufakis will make a deal, without entering "stage 2" of his plan (= default within the euro).

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    4. The only realistic solution for a return to the drachma is a consensual divorce and a redenomination of the debt into drachmas. Therefore all the cards are in the hands of the Europeans. Syriza has no negotiating power. Furthermore, considering how Greek politicians did next to nothing when it came to structural reforms, I seriously doubt they would ever choose to return to the drachma (something which would require some serious structural reforms in order to strengthen domestic production). What the Greeks really want is more borrowed euros, hence asking for a haircut, rejection of austerity etc.

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    5. Klaus, you make a valid point by saying " that the problem would ultimately be decided on the streets".

      But I do not see it as an "outstanding strategy" of the two rambos, because in those street events too many people will dye.

      My 5 cents:
      Syriza always knew that within the Euro Greece can not recover because necessary reforms are not possible.

      They said that they would not be shy of Grexit because they thought that this threat would give them an advantage.

      Germany nonofficially also preferred Grexit, but officially denied it and the media made it necessary for Syriza to pretend they intended to stay within Euro.

      Now, the hard facts of life still require Grexit, but nobody want's to be blamed having pulled that trigger. Only after a few years that culprit will become a hero ;)

      H.Trickler



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    6. Dear Mr. Kastner,

      I liked your above geneal (Comment) conclusion.

      I have advocated for month that everything has been staged. Ok how things turned out in details is not staged but the general concept has been planned. Greece will remain in the euro. Regardless of the theatrics and the negotiations. With this a new change (hopefully substantial change) will come about. A new revised program will be agreed and hopefully in the near future with the changes in the political seen in France and Spain, an end to austerity politics.

      I completely agree with Mr. Varoufakisi's statement on frugality as i always lived this way.

      Overall i find them quite capable governement something Greece has lacked in many years. (Regardless of what many commentators say.) They have made mistakes but not critical ones and in time they will prove to be worthy. Even as we speak, changed stance on specific privatizations have commenced. And their initial negative stances have resulted in improved economical agreements with those privatizations.
      I will not get into detail in other issues. The biggest bet which i pray for is the jailing & confiscating large tax evaders. From a source inside there are some lined up. From another source alot of the money is gone. GAP and ND governements gave 5 years for all those on the Lagarde list to disappear. I am hopeful for otheriwse.

      Mr. Kastner, as a banker, can you elaborate with an article on the laundry of "black money." Can traces of the legality of non taxed moneys be erased?

      @ Seukel
      My friend please don't generalize. It is not up to your level. Younger generation 20-30, have grown up in the boom. They are modern and suddenly have been ripped from being provalaged with a future and a job. Tell me if you have finished a colleague education plus masters, would you go mix cement by hand, or flip burgers? Yes they are a bit spoiled but they are seeking work in upper levels of the workforce. And to be completely honest I personally do not want to see fresh minds being wasted in lower levels of workforce. It is INEFFICIENT. Most of these kids leave and go to other countries and bring the added value they can give. As for 30-40 and 40-50. Which i am in these groups (41). private and some public sectors are VERY hard workers. Many work 2-3 jobs because getting paid 400 euro cleared enough does not pay 50% of the bills. The 50-70 generation fcked us all.

      @ Jim: You really like bashing Greeks and the Greek system.

      Change has occured in Greece and in the government it is simply is not portrayed. ND did an extremely bad job of publically showing the changes it made in the public because the change internally is seen as a bad change.

      "Change" change is seen by all peopl as something bad even if it is good for you. The greeks have changed and evolved. The system has changed and evolved and will continue to do so. Sometimes the changes are small sometimes big, but this is a different discussion. Let me ask you has the Eu changed?

      Sincerely,

      V

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    7. Mr. V

      Jim Slip is the blog's resident pseudo-greek (foreigner living in Greece). He has posed for long time as greek, but only recently did he lose his temper (for obvious reasons) and let himself slip, if you pardon my game of words. Consider it a helpful information that may explain you behaviours.

      Delete
  15. Things are much simpler. Have you seen an amateur team playing against professionals in soccer? After conceding few goals you know that there is no plan and that the goals will keep coming. Looking at Varoufakis' tweets a lot of them are own goals.

    Peace.

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    Replies
    1. To anonymous February 12, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      Dear sir,

      Do you know why there is no German/Austrian gambler that can match these two in (even temporary) earnings?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Karas
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Dandolos

      Because they value their money too much, are too much attached to them and can't bluff well. This isn't a soccer match here, it's a poker game.

      Delete
    2. So it is. Tsipras and Varoufakis have not shown convincing capabilities in international negotiations. Imho they behaved exactly the opposite way.

      H.Trickler

      Delete
    3. Mr. Trickler,

      What counts, is the result. The Europeans, for 5 years, have averted any serious attempt of renegotiation from consecutive greek goverments. Their main weapon each time, was what Mrs Merkel was repeating this week: "As fas as i know, the majority of the Greeks want to stay in the euro". George Papandreou was blackmailed in less than 3 hours to take back his referendum. Venizelos tried once to play hardball with the troika and phoned back as soon as the troika left Greece. Samaras thought that the pats on his back and passing the troika evaluations would worth him a better deal. They all failed.

      Tsipras, will succeed where they all failed. Mr. Trickler, you, as a good Swiss, should be the first to understand, that money is king in the EU. It doesn't matter how you behave, as long as you don't present a risk. If moral values were the priority in EU, Tsipras would have seen a door slamming at his face, just for the way he behaved. But you see, moral values isn't the priority. Money is. It's easy to say that "they have not shown capabilities", if one forgets what the results of their predecessors were. Mr. Venizelos, Stournaras, Samaras, were all very cordial, very polite, very diplomatic. Samaras asked kindly to be given the written agreement of Eurogroup about a debt relief once he had confirmed primary surplus. He even politely visited Mrs Merkel and left without making any negative remark.

      Andreas Papandreou, used to say one thing that Tsipras recently repeated: "The Yesman, isn't respected by anyone in foreign affairs". Once again, Papandreou, the master, is proven right by the pupil.

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    4. A. Papandreou, was a well known and respected professor in top universities (Minnesota, Northwestern, Berkeley), with a PhD also from a top university (Harvard). He was a charlatan that destroyed Greece, but a smart one. Comparing him with a semi-retarded perennial student is sacrilegious.

      Even at electing charlatans Greece has gone backwards. Thirty years ago, you at least needed to be smart.

      Peace.

      Delete
  16. It's difficult to take Tsipras seriously after you see this.

    http://www.bild.de/politik/ausland/alexis-tsipras/trifft-der-griechen-premier-merkel-beim-eu-gipfel-39740432.bild.html

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    1. I guess they will have a cosy night!

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  17. According to this article written by a researcher at the London School of Economics, what happened last night might not be part of a clever stratagem made up by the good Professor, but rather an expression of Syrizas internal "opposition" who is anti-Euro and pro-drachma:

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/greeceatlse/2015/02/12/syrizas-internal-opposition-may-risk-greeces-future-into-the-eurozone/#more-1190

    One might add perhaps that also ANEL is probably leaning towards this position, pushing Tsipras from the right. Who knows what he himself stands for?
    .

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    1. Mr. Seukel,

      There will be an agreement. "In money we trust". SYRIZA's internal opposition has manifested itself timidly in the last days, but not to the point that would appear to be hindering Tsipras. They can eat alive Tsipras once he is back. Minister Lafazanis has remained satisfied so far, by coming out pubblically to say categorically which state enterprises won't be privatized, just to send a message to Tsipras, that "you can go negotiate all you like, but this is my turf, you don't touch that". For now, that's it.
      That many in SYRIZA are pro-drachma is true. Tsipras himself, was saying a few years ago "I wish we had become Argentina" and "euro is not a fetish". He became more "pro-euro" in his more recent turn towards the center. ANEL is pretty much happy running the defense ministry, they 've left the rest to SYRIZA.

      Delete
  18. "Until government comes to a normal operation". Do you mean going from coma to paralyzed? Hibernating? Lethargic? Or actually to a normal operation as in a developed country? A developed country function perfectly well with its institutions and civil service, even without politicians.

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  19. Here an intriguing text:
    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/syriza-greece-austerity-myth-by-daniel-gros-2015-02

    H.Trickler

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  20. Mr. Kastner,

    In case you remember our exchange of views about geopolitics and whether the Europeans are ready to see a Russia-dependent Greece:

    "Italy minister sees less risk of Greece moving towards Russia.
    After yesterday's political accord, which I hope will be consolidated on Monday, the risk of a Greece outside Europe and in the orbit of Russia is moving further away," Padoan said on news radio station Radio 24."

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/13/eurozone-greece-italy-idUSR1N0TH01X20150213

    Note the word "risk".

    You see, when Cyprus turned to Russia for help, although, it was a very peculiar situation, because many Russians were involved in the case and Russia didn't want to clash with the EU (it was the good days), Russia at the end, did offer some help to Cyprus, but the reports of the time, said that the exchange would be to be given the right to use one airforce and one naval base that the Cypriots have. It is not hard to imagine that they would ask something similar for Greece. And the first country to find itself russian aircrafts on its doorstep, would be Italy. Similarly, the italian gas supply, would have to pass from a Russia-dependent Greece.

    It is remarkable, how shortsighted the northern commentators of the blog are, but also proves the "northern uniformity" that i have been talking on various occasions. Everyone is deluded, outraged with the despicable prof. Varoufakis and Tsipras (and i can understand why!), still, they can't see how come they aren't simply shown the exit...

    At the end, the press in Berlin will be celebrating on how Tsipras was taught a lesson. And same the pro-SYRIZA press in Greece. After all, Tsipras went in with nothing and no allies and will come out with something. Let the press guide the masses... Tsipras, in 1 month, will have accomplished what George Papandreou, Venizelos and Samaras couldn't do using the more orthodox approach, for 5 years.

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  21. So, all euphoria after yesterdays meeting. Merkel comes out and tell the press that Greece has to ask for an extension or demonstrate that the conditions for the program can be implemented before Feb. 28.
    Tsipras come out and is all Pip, "Great Expectations".
    The only common ground is that they have agreed that the ex. Troika and a Greek technical team will try to find possible changes to the program that are mutually acceptable, that will take ages. It will not happen before Monday's meeting, it will not happen before the deadline for applying for an extension, it will not happen before 28 Feb. Up to that we shall have an intelligent economy professor lecturing the ex. Troika, Europe and the world at large, at how the economy and politics in Europe should be conducted and structured. Like Klaus says "this is no way to run a railroad".
    Have a nice weekend and let's have some suggestions what to call the ex. Troika and the Memorandums in the future.
    Lennard

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  22. Yet one more link found in the internet. (In case Klaus does not agree to publish this, I fully understand).
    How do other readers of this blog see that?

    http://media0.faz.net/ppmedia/aktuell/2774127042/1.3426952/article_multimedia_overview/aus-der-syriza-parteizeitung.jpg

    H. Trickler

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    1. I think that image really expresses the evil soul of Syria.

      Delete
  23. I read somewhere now that there is a solution. The Troika is dead, long live the TIFKAT*. Do you think Alexis could live with that? If FYROM did the trick, why not this?

    *The Institutions Formerly Know As Troika

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    Replies
    1. Mr. Seukel,

      Do you have a lawyer you can trust and answer honestly to you? If yes, ask him this question: "When you want to obtain 10 things from an adversary, do you ask for 10 things or for 20?".

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  24. No. All I know is that this lawyering-up, all the smart-ass game-theory negotiating in order to surprise and confuse, all the antagonism created by the new Greek government in less then two weeks, demanding war-reparations, "wanting to obtain things from an adversary", depicting Merkel as Hitler, and Schäuble as Reichsarmé officer .... goes totally against the grain of the European idea in the spirit of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman:

    The Association of European nations requires the elimination, and not the digging up, of age-old conflicts

    Unfortunately, beginning with Andreas Papandreou, Greece has only seen the EU as a cow to milk, something to get funds from (more than 105 BEUR over the years), something one never really felt to be a part of, never ever honestly contributed to, something one could drop as a bag of dirt and then start flirting with the Russians and Chinese.

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    1. I once made an inquiry at the EU and was informed that from joining the EU until 2012, total EU subsidies (including agricultural subsidies) for Greece were 170 BEUR.

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    2. Mr. Seukel,

      Unfortunately, both you and the Greeks, each know their side of the story and have a very short and selective memory of anything else. The war reparations are being asked via diplomatic channels for decades. That you only get to know about it now, is something you should wonder why.

      A lawyer that tries to win a case, has always the other part as adversary. In case you don't know, the greek goverment has hired Lazard, a famous french law firm. I am sorry if i sound cynical, but when you have a debt, the two parts are adversaries, because they have opposite interests.

      The European idea exists only for romantics, Mr. Seukel, when money comes in the middle. In 2010 german newspapers were already having articles about the "greek beggars" and the "bankrupt Greeks that should sell Acropolis and their islands".
      You correctly now protest about the cartoons for Schauble or Merkel. In case you don't know, these circulate in a newspaper that has a circulation of 1200 copies. The latest, is from SYRIZA's newspaper, who in the past had Samaras in german uniform too...

      How many copies do these have?

      http://i61.tinypic.com/nprzw2.png
      http://i59.tinypic.com/2qxqq8w.png
      http://i61.tinypic.com/24f9u7l.png
      http://i60.tinypic.com/10yevmf.jpg
      http://i61.tinypic.com/4r25xk.jpg

      I am just using front covers, i don't have the patience to search for cartoons or find the various german TV shows that like to denigrate Greeks. I wonder, if Greece was called Israel, would there be the same? If not, why...

      Andreas Papandreou saw everything with opportunism, but, there is also something else to consider here. It was known to everyone, but the high consumption of foreign products was rather acceptable. After all, EU countries, did have embassies in Greece reporting what was happening. It isn't that everyone woke up in 2010 and discovered the wheel! If anything, every procurement scandal you dig, a german company is under it (Siemens, Krauss Maffei, Thyssen, MAN, Mercedes). They were 30 years were things were running well for everyone. Now, nobody knew!

      A last note. The romanticism era, has passed, together with the various european philosophers and poets. This is the era of realpolitik (Goethe would be horrified). Countries aren't really in the EU for the "european idea". What is it apart the euro? Most people in the street don't even know how many EZ members exist. What is Europe, other than some non elected bureaucrats in Brussels, that make policy based on relative power of countries and alliances? Since i have been blessed with a rather good memory, i will remind you what you don't remember:

      http://i62.tinypic.com/2mq9p1t.jpg
      http://i62.tinypic.com/10wqouf.png
      This is a book actually (the 4th reich)
      http://i58.tinypic.com/vqtdno.jpg

      By this gentleman:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vittorio_Feltri
      http://i59.tinypic.com/nownpt.jpg
      http://i61.tinypic.com/4r25xk.jpg

      All this happens, when the interests of individual countries clash. And they clash, because the monetary union, is all there is to the "european idea". The EU, was made, by the bigger countries, to serve better their interests, against other big competing powers. In this scheme, the small and poorer countries, became part of having " a bigger market". The small countries on their turn, didn't join so that they can give their sovereignty to the bigger countries, but to benefit from this too.
      This is the european idea to this day...

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  25. Apparently, this is what Syriza want from the negotiations. I think they're delusional but you may have another opinion.

    http://www.capital.gr/NewsTheme.asp?id=2229738

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  26. That's the most reasonable explanation indeed. The only other alternative is that Varoufakis is a total idiot who doesn't know what he's doing.

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  27. Perhaps it is time to re-read an article from June 2012 which, by far, has been the most-read article among the almost 1.000 articles I have published so far. Could it be that it is still valid today?

    http://klauskastner.blogspot.co.at/2012/06/hybris-of-prof-yanis-varoufakis.html

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  28. That is certainly more than valid today. "I have not read a single proposal [from Prof. Varoufakis] what Greece could do on its own to improve its economic situation." And that not only pertains to Varoufakis but to Syrizanel as a whole.

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