Alexis Tsipras reportedly told the parliamentarians of his party: "We got a mandate to bring a better deal than the ultimatum that the Eurogroup gave us, but certainly not a mandate to take Greece out of the eurozone." And furthermore he said: "This isn't simply Grexit, this would cause the state to explode." The latest proposal which Greece submitted to the Institutions seems to confirm that reality has set in with Alexis Tsipras. And his Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos even praised the ECB for its support during the last couple of weeks!
Letting the developments of today pass before my eyes one more time, I wonder whether this is the same Greek government as the one of only a couple of days ago. No threats? No blame for humiliation? Perhaps even honestly seeking a compromise?
Suddenly, the chances of saving Greece from the precipe, the chances of a deal seem as high as they haven't seen in quite some time. Judging from the analyses I have read, it now boils down to two women agreeing with each other: Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel. Lagarde allegedly wants a haircut; Merkel definitely does not. Both are said to be in the camp of favoring Grexit. And then there are those small EZ countries who have gotten so tired with Greece that they seem to want out; regardless.
Lagarde now has made noises that what she really wants is debt relief and Merkel is beginning to make noises that debt relief does not at all equal a haircut. Do I see them pointing into the same direction? The direction of stretching maturity dates, lowering interest rates and perhaps even grant a moratorium? I hope that's what they are moving towards.
Which leaves the subject of what happens if some countries refuse to go along with any new deal. That may sound very dangerous but in actual facts it's very simple: at issue is money. If countries whose combined share of the new bail-out deal would be, say, 10 BEUR and they bail out from the bail-out, then someone else will have to assume that load. Who?
If I were in a position to advise the German government, I would advise them to assume the full load all by themselves to set a signal of German solidarity with Greece once and for all. A few billion more or less won't matter all that much to Germany but it would make a world's difference in the context of Germany's reputation in the Eurozone (and in the EU, for that matter) and particularly in the context of German-Greek animosities.
And behind closed doors in a soundproof room where she is alone with Alexis Tsipras, Angela Merkel could put her arm around his shoulders and say to him: "Please do me a personal favor. I know you can make sure that the issue of German war reparations is put to rest once and for all. Would really appreciate it if you made sure of that!"