Tuesday, January 6, 2015

German And Austrian Hysterics About Greece

Ever since Der Spiegel reported that Merkel/Schäuble allegedly now felt that a Grexit wouldn't be much of a problem, the German and Austrian media have gone literally berserk about Greece. The various outcome scenarios of the upcoming election are being discussed as though the election were in Germany or Austria, and not in Greece. Well known journalists discuss the pro's and con's of expelling Greece from the Eurozone without informing the public that treaties make such an expulsion next to impossible. Socalled experts seem to know exactly what SYRIZA will and will not do. How a SYRIZA government would be a 'suicide mission' for the Greek economy. Etc., etc.

The more I see and hear about this nonsense, the more I develop sympathies for Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA. It will be interesting to see if Greeks will react the same way.


  1. I despise Tsipras (you have read several of my anti-SYRIZA rants in your blog for a long period of time), but each threat that comes from Germany, is a gift to Tsipras. The more they threaten, the less likely that Tsipras will lose. I vote for Dimiourgia Xana/Gephyres, but for my own machiavellian reasons, i hope Tsipras wins. Tsipras knows well only one thing. How to blackmail. SYRIZA does that for years inside Greece and has mastered the art. So, the good part: If Tsipras doesn't go with maximalistic positions, he will get a new debt deal that Samaras doesn't have the stomach to do. Worst case scenario? Greece goes to drachma, but at this point, continuing with Samaras and the huge primary surpluses for 10 years, wouldn't work anyway, so we may as well go down fighting.

    The other bright side, is that when SYRIZA will be over with the debt negotiation, he will make a blunder of ordinary administration and certainly won't be the plentiful paradise that his voters think it will be.

    1. Everything you say sounds logical and, after all, you are the man/woman on the spot. But I've got news for you!

      I notice in the international media, above all the Anglo-Saxon media, a huge wave of support into the direction of Alexis Tsipras. It seems that every civilized person on Earth feels that he must support Tsipras so that some dignity can be returned to Greeks. And Tsipras does his own part, too. I read an article of his published in today's HuffingtonPost and I must say, those are some of the most beautiful soundbites I have heard of late.

      I think the worst thing to happen at election time would be a SYRIZA loss by a minute margin. I think all hell could break loose in such a case because the SYRIZA emotions are so high.

    2. I agree with you, Mr. Kastner. There would not be political stability if SYRIZA loses with say, 1%. Because the people who vote ND, don't vote for Samaras. Samaras, to be honest, made many tough reforms, which will be recognized by history some day. But, since he was opposition, he was promicing many things that turned out lies, has used more promices that turned out lies while in goverment and all these have caught up with him. You can't hope to effectively govern the country for another 4 years like that and with a SYRIZA that will lose with 1%, as you say.
      We MUST give the left the historical responsibility to show how goverment is.
      The best scenario for Greece is:
      1)SYRIZA wins (will need probably the River to form goverment), makes a deal with Germany.
      2) This leads to major change in personnel in New Democracy, since only about 75 ND MPs are expected to be in the next parliament. This means 50% of current ND MPs, go home, which is an opportunity to revamp the party. Samaras is also likely to go home. Even better, it is possible, that the next leader of ND, will be liberal. The favourites are Mitsotakis (he introduced the evaluation of public employees as well as thinning down their numbers, both of which were fought by SYRIZA), Georgiades, Voridis.
      - The ND loss may even present the opportunity for lesser parties to gain more traction (like Dimiourgia Xana). Because, as long as the elections are between "SYRIZA or no SYRIZA", the polarization doesn't let voters "escape" to lesser parties.
      - Sooner or later SYRIZA will suffer the attrition all goverments suffer and voters will become more disechanted with the left promices of rivers or honey and mountains of candies and will turn again to a -hopefully- improved right wing, to carry on.
      Because, let's be honest. In Greece, the left has never done anything to improve public finances. Never. And has never done anything to attract private investments either. But it's time to do so.

      For instance, SYRIZA already said that will abolish Mitsotakis' law on the evaluation of public employees. But, since this is wanted by many, they said they will make a more "fair" one, based on "objective criteria". Whatever these may be. Fact is, some reforms, even SYRIZA won't be able to undo them.

      If things go the other way and somehow ND manages to win, then yes, things will worsen, political instability will rise, SYRIZA will be rainning fire daily on the goverment, which on its part will act defensively and will freeze into inaction. ND's big problem, is that it has very poor comunication, contrary to the left. Samaras never managed to lay down a comunicative campaign on what he is doing, why and where this is going. He has been limited in an apologetic, defensive posture to the attacks from the antimemorandum left and right parties and to a scare tactic, of "either us or the chaos". But, i have written it in past years too, it comes a point, where the fear is overcome by either hope or anger or simply tiredness. And this is what is happening now with SYRIZA. There are even many ND voters that vote SYRIZA out of revenge for Samaras' lies...

  2. "Socalled experts seem to know exactly what SYRIZA will and will not do. How a SYRIZA government would be a 'suicide mission' for the Greek economy. "

    I can assure you, that even SYRIZA doesn't know what exactly it will do. SYRIZA isn't even 1 party. It's a coalition of 12 lesser parties, some of which very different to the others. Generally speaking, you have the more moderate camp, with Tsipras, that wants to become more like PASOK (penetrate the big vote pool of the center) and there is the more radical camp, that seeks ideological purity and wants nothing to do with center voters.
    Tsipras, prefers power and glory than ideological purity. Which is why it is more likely that he will be able to do a compromise with the Europeans, on the condition that the debt will change to a manner that will accomodate Tsipras' more loose economic policy. Tsirpas doesn't want to get a deal, where he returns to Greece and he has to anounce new pension cuts like Samaras is about to do. If Germany gives him that, Tsipras will compromise. If not, Tsipras will start an attrition war, go to referendum or try to be kicked out of euro and rally the population behind him against "evil Merkel".

    Tsipras can show flexibility. The so called german experts would have much easier life if instead of Tsipras it was Lafazanis. Alas, Tsipras aspires to becoming new Andreas Papandreou, not Che Guevarra like Lafazanis.

  3. Samaras' main problem, is that he has "cried wolf" too many times in the past and he has take attrition, which is inevitable when you have to rule under such circumstances. Worst of all, his tale has collapsed. Samaras used to hold things together in the past 2 years, clinging to the promice of debt relief. His spokesman, Adonis Georgiadis, was going from one tv channel to another, all day long, repeating that the EU functions on the basis of "pacta sunt servanda": We agreed to follow the fiscal targets, and once we get primary surplus, there will be debt relief.

    This narration has collapsed, because as Klaus Regling recently told to Kathimerini: "why debt relief? Greece does better that we anticipated, so there is no reason for debt relief"!. Imagine Samaras' face... He went to meet Merkel in Berlin, to no avail. More or less since then, Samaras stopped mentioning the "debt relief" and starting using the new tale of "our debt is sustainable as it is", boosted with the rhetoric about "primary surplus higher than expected". But, when the voter sees that despite Samaras' enthusiasm about the primary surplus or return to growth, he has in store more income cuts for 2015 and even more for 2016, it doesn't take a political giant to steal votes from Samaras.

    At some point, the voter gets exhausted. Greece is a success story, but Samaras is about to put his hands further deeper in the voters' wallets. At some point the narration doesn't add up and even Tsipras starts looking an alternative worth while.

  4. The non economical impact of Grexit:

    The first page of italian newspaper "Il Manifesto", entitled "No fear, we are (all) Greeks".


    It is also promoting the so called "Kalimera Brigade", a brigade of Italians to travel to Greece to support SYRIZA in the election day. The website is called "Greece changes, Europe changes".


    Il Foglio (right wing, Berlusconi's son has 38% of shares), Main title "Berlin is flirting with euro brake up"



  5. Is it true that Tsipras & Syriza is against TTIP, CETA and, TISA? What would be a great plus for Greeks to vote for him.