Sunday, June 28, 2015

Alexis Tsipras Lost His Cool!

Ever since Alexis Tsipras became Prime Minister, I had been impressed by how he handled himself outside Greece's borders: cool, calm and collected. No intellectual arrogance; no moralizing from the high ground; not provocative. Actually, a nice fellow with the innocent charme of a newcomer. Sometimes I literally got the impression that Chancellor Merkel had developed a personal liking to this handsome young man. And Jean-Claude Juncker, of course, couldn't hold his affection back.

Friday evening, upon return from Brussels, he seems to have lost his cool, and I regret that. As much as I can sympathize with a national referendum, the decision seems to have come without due deliberation of the timing and ill prepared. To top it off: Tsipras' TV announcement was anyting but statesmanlike. He sounded more like a rebel with a cause.

I do not share the opinion that a representative democracy essentially outrules referenda because the voters select their leaders and those are charged with the responsibility of taking decisions. When Switzerland has to decide on matters of national importance, they often ask the people to decide via a referendum. Sometimes the people are smarter than their elected leaders. The government of a welfare state might decide on an additional week of annual vacation just to get votes. The Swiss people decided in a referendum that an additional week would cause economic damage.

But in addition to insufficient deliberation and preparation, there is another problem which one of my anonymous readers commented as follows:

"The referendum will backfire on Tsipras. On June 17, Tsipras was saying during Austrian PM Faymann's visit: 'I am not the type of man that who, when in difficulties, throws the ball back to the people. If there is an agreement, it will be the goverment that will lift the weight of the decision and the same in case of non-agreement'. In 2011, Tsipras was accusing George Papandreou that his referendum would be like 'playing dice with the country'."

There have been so many reports that it becomes difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction. FinMin Varoufakis allegedly commented in the Eurogroup that he expected a 'yes' victory at the referendum. This raises the question of how he could possibly not have struck a deal, any deal almost, if he knew that that's what the Greek people wanted?

This strikes me a bit like a cup final where the game is in overtime and neither side wants to take chances. Then there is a small mishap in the penalty area. The forward from the attacking team could just let it go by but, instead, he jumps on the chance to obtain a penalty kick and he gets it. 

Tsipras lost his cool for a short period of time. The creditors could have shown sympathy and helped him get out of the bind into which he had gotten himself. Instead, the creditors jumped on the chance to get a penalty kick and it now looks like they will successfully score.

Too bad. Really too bad!


  1. I do not share your interpretation of the contemporary history. It is very clear that the Troika tried to engineer a collapse of the Greek government in order to impose their own choice of government on the Greek people. They have done this before, and put their own servant there -- Papademos -- to do the bidding of the Troika.

    Tsipras has outwitted them, and (for the moment) remained in power. It will be up to the Greek people to decide -- quite correctly, whether they support the decision to quit pointless negotiations about how bad the austerity in perpetuity will be. If in the referendum there is a YES vote, then doubtless Syriza will call a general election. If there is a NO vote, it is less clear what course of action will be pursued. I presume that this will be determined on an ad hoc basis, and may involve further negotiations if the eurozone is being damaged.

    Tsipras has behaved extremely adroitly, and outwitted the European and IMF mafia. What is worrying is the impact on Greece and the Greek people -- but this problem arose from the illegal actions of the eurozone criminals in trying to undermine a government whose political colour they dislike.

    On my part, I wish Greece every success, and I will not be unhappy to see the eurozone collapse. Principles of democracy, accountability and legality are more important than banks and currencies. This is something that Europe needs to learn -- again. The Eurzone crooks need to be removed from power -- and preferably put on trial for their conduct.

    1. In what way has Tsipras 'outwitted' the European leaders and the IMF. Greece doesn't have a better deal and now the banks are being shut down for the week. Things are worse for Greece at the moment. What am I missing about Tsipras's negoatiating skills?

    2. The intention of the Troika was to do to Tsipras what they did to Papandreou, and remove him from power and damage the party. The resulting chaos is the outcome of the anti-democratic and thuggish style of the Troika in confrontation with the skills of Syriza. It is bad for Greece and bad for the eurozone. But there were never any negotiations in good faith by the Troika and no intention of allowing the Greek economy to recover. This is why Tsipras has put the decision in the hands of the Greek people: it's called democracy (something alien to the fascist mentality of the crooks in the Troika).

    3. The Troika wanted reforms put in place that would prevent Greece from continuing on its path and destabilizing the zone. Tsipras never negotiated in good faith regarding the necessary reforms. His position essentially is everyone should just keep loaning Greece money that can't be repaid. Workers in Germany should finance retirements at 50 in Greece. That isn't a viable solution. As for the referendum, I simply see that as Tsipras abdicating responsibility to lead rather than a grand gesture of democracy. He didn't want to make the hard choices and this is his way of passing off responsibility.
      The Troika is playing hardball with Greece, but given that the other countries on the financial edge are watching (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland) I don't see what other option they had. Capitulating with Greece would have lead to issues with those other countries.
      I think it is fair to say you and I have differing views on Tsipras. He, like many politicians before him across the world, promised easy solutions that were not in fact forthcoming and is now running for personal cover. That is not leadership. That is not political skill.

    4. @Anonymous. The principal thing that Tsipras promised was an end to austerity. Since he has failed to deliver this, he has gone back to the people to ask them to decide whether to continue supporting the Syriza government (with potentially very serious consequences, if continued negotiations with the pigheaded Troika criminals yield nothing) or to return to the misery that Samaras, Papademos, etc. managed to achieve for the Greek people.

      It is a logical thing to do, and it also protects his party from self-destruction (which is what the Troika hoped to do). Regardless of political viewpoint. no Greek should welcome the destruction of a respectable mainstream party. I dislike ND but I would not support its destruction; Pasok is a worse case, and maybe its demise is good for Greece.

      So yes, from a technical perspective Tsipras has shown political skills that are unrivalled since Andreas Papandreou. He is a class above the morons of the eurzone, and rather better than the upper class twits currently running my own country of the UK. It's a surprise that he is so competent.

    5. You and I agree on wishing Greece the best. The rest of it is something of an issue. When I judge whether the leadership of a country has done well, I simply ask if things are better off than what they inherited. I think Greece is worse off now than when Tsipras took over a short while ago. He inherited a bad situation and made it even worse. I don't see surprising the other parties with the zone with the referendum has won him much support or trust outside of Greece. Unfortunately support outside of Greece is what is needed. That is both bad leadership and bad negotiating, not skilled tactics.
      His party will not be undone by other non-Greek leaders but by its own inability to govern and negotiate. I fear more turbulent days are ahead for Greece. I truly wish the best for a quick resolution.

    6. @Anonymous. We do not disagree on short term outcomes, which is your criterion. What you write is 100% correct, and I suspect that even Syriza might agree with you. My own view is that history will be the judge; after 5 years of horrendous economic suffering by many, it is not so realistic to expect a resolution in 5 months. Tsipras and Varoufakis hoped for it, and promised it, but they are optimists. I am very sceptical about the goodwill of Europe, and consider that they are foolish bullies. Such people (I have met and worked with many) respond to only one thing: the brutal exercise of power. This is what Syriza is now trying to do with Europe, but it is also a terrible thing for the Greek people to suffer. Let us hope that the bullies are sufficiently scared, after looking into the abyss. (My fear is that they are stupid enough not to know what they are looking at.)

  2. Since i am the commentator you mention, i would like to add the following.

    1) Tsipras' success as political leader, started exactly as "handsome young man", attracting many young female voters. This when SYRIZA was fighting for 3%. Unfortunately, the making of a good politician goes beyond looks and good speechwriters.

    2) You can use google translator to verify yourself what he said during Faymann's visit here (video too):

    Here his 2011 statment (and video)

    3) You are mistaken that the referendum is insufficiently prepared. Or not in the way you think it is. Minister Voutsis said on television, that they have been contemplating the idea since Easter. So why now? My idea is because the negotiations didn't go the way they had thought they would. So the referendum, in all haste and betting on the psychological weight that a "NO" (while reminding the NO of 1940 to Mussolini), was the hope that would give an alibi to the drachma. See my post here:

    It is the hidden agenda of SYRIZA. SYRIZA today even changed the law about referenda, using an emergency procedure. The deliberation time is also practically nothing, so that the voters will go to the urns without knowing about what they vote, but with the emotional tantra of SYRIZA in their ears: "Vote NO like Metaxas in 1940! Like the Cypriots to the Annan plan". But, i think like always, SYRIZA can't execute a plan correctly, even when they contemplate it since Easter. Because they were never good in planning anything...

  3. This latest post strikes me as a bit odd. You obviously think that the other European leaders had come to like Mr Tsipras, that he has made just one little mistake at the last minute.
    Do you think they haven't taken notice of his nationalistic rhetoric at home? And Mr Juncker's cordiality was free of hypocrisy? Mrs Lagarde and Mr Schulz did not seem very amused. I hope you are right, but I am afraid that sympathies for Tsipras are rather limited by now - with negative repercussions for his country.

  4. "FinMin Varoufakis allegedly commented in the Eurogroup that he expected a 'yes' victory at the referendum. This raises the question of how he could possibly not have struck a deal, any deal almost, if he knew that that's what the Greek people wanted?"

    This is the first i hear of it. In Greece prof. Varoufakis said he is certain of victory of the goverment's proposal (which is NO). But a Yes, would allow Tsipras a heroic exit towards elections, return to opposition, while still being able to say "i never kneeled to the Germans" and try again later.

    1. See
      “The Eurogroup refused today to endorse our request for an extension of this agreement for a few days, for a couple of weeks, so as to allow the Greek people to deliver their verdict on the institutions’ proposal, especially given that there is a very high probability that Greeks will go against our recommendation, voting in favour of the institutions’ proposal," Varoufakis stated.

      Should Varoufakis be double-tongued? Anyone wonders he is not trusted by other european finance ministers?
      Nevertheless, he seems to likes the art of rabulism.

    2. To Roger,

      Well, if he did say that, i am sure he can deny it. In Greece the whole cabinet went on the television smiling and certain about a "NO", making historic references to 1940, national pride, etc.

      One thing is certain, there is something highly immoral is taking an exhausted population and putting it through the process of voting something under the disguise of something else, with no informative campaigns on what they vote for and no time to think.

      This referendum isn't done neither for democracy nor for the sake of people. It is done for the sake of SYRIZA's survival. But if they have half a brain left, they will either cancel it or find an excuse to save face, accept an agreement and make the sommersault and ask people to vote "YES". Because their plans were flawed once more and the referendum will backfire. But even a backfire, will allow SYRIZA to go to elections while being able to say "we didn't bend to the Germans" and throw the hot potato to someone else, after having destroyed the economy even more.

      Without referendum, SYRIZA is doomed: Accept a plan that will wear and tear them or deny and take the brunt of the default entirely. WIth the referendum, they can shift responsibility to the people and they can mitigate the damage to their party.

    3. A manipulative referendum with references to a historic referendum from 1940?

      That reminds me to a highly manipulative referendum we had in Germany 1938, regarding the annexation of Austria.
      The different sizes for "Yes" and "No" in the ballot paper tells all about the propagandistic effort and the desired result, even without understanding the question:
      The question was also a masterpiece of manipulative rhetorics: "Do you agree with the reunification of Austria with the German Reich that was enacted on 13 March 1938, and do you vote for the party of our leader Adolf Hitler?"
      (By the way: Annexiation was on March 13th, referendum on April 10th, so there was not much to really vote about.)

      I don't want to equate Syriza with Nazis, but when talking about manipulative referenda I intuitively think on that "election".

  5. In the meantime, taking advantage of the fact that all the population is absorbed by the referendum, the goverment took advantage of the diversion to have the husband of SYRIZA Attica periphery director, appointed as CEO of EYDAP (the state water company for Athens). He is also long time SYRIZA member.

  6. Merkel sang, Tsipras dance...
    Like Zorba - when he finds himself on the beach - after the lift crashed.
    He soon just will be able to laugh at it all.

    The referendum was and is a political ploy in a carefully planned game that have been played by team Tsipras and Varoufakis for about 5 months now.
    It is now the endgame and it will backfire bigtime (like Zorbas lift)
    There is no agreed proposition to vote on but still there is a referendum - just for show.
    The wet dream of the left - to have a real revolution will fail. The people will vote YES, there will be a snap election - and back to the old guard that will produce the EU deal.

    The solution to Greece real problems will have to wait - but not for long.
    It will come when the house of cards start falling in Europe in about a couple of years.
    First we take the Eurozone - then we take EU!

    It is not the loonatic left - always short for other peoples money - that is gonna do it - it is the innovative entrepreneurs that will gain power - sort out the mess - and transform the world.


  7. It is strange: While I do not know if the decision of Tsipras to propose leaving the Euro-zone was wise, I welcome that he left his calm and smiling attitude. I think it is good, not bad.

    In the last four months he and Varoufakis showed an "everybodies darling" attitude, always smiling and claiming everything is fine while playing highest brinkmanship with the future of Greece and quite obviously delaying all consultations. For me that was a strange and surreal contradiction between content and body language.
    Sometimes I started asking myself if their body language tell me that both, Tsipras and Varoufakis, are smoothly riding on their previously planned track, to sabotage any serious consultations (and by that way destroy the trust of common Greeks in the Euro) with the goal to finally present a Grexit as the only prudent way for Greece.
    I have the impression that with loosing his coolness he is loosing his mask and we can now meet a "real" Alexis Tsipras. And for judging the trustworthiness of people I prefer to see them without masks.
    Disclaimer 1: I know, most times when you think about conspiracy plots the reality is driven by incompetence, so take my impressions with many grains of salt.
    Disclaimer 2: I'm a German, and these days Germans instinctively distrust overly shining and charismatic people. We better trust people who present a quite serious and hard working (hence often humorless) attitude, as you can see with Merkel or Schäuble. I know that Germans and Greeks are quite different in their emotional communication. So I may be culturally biased and hence completely misread the attitude and body language from Tsipras and Varoufakis.

    By the way: I welcome the idea of a democratic referendum as I envoy Switzerland for their regularly referenda.
    And I suppose its best if all Greeks have their saying in such an important question. But the timing is simply awful, Syriza should have announced it last month when it was already in discussion. Now even with a Greek "Yes"-vote the way back to Euroland will get quite hard as any new program has to be accepted by 18 national governments or parliaments, among them the Finnish with "True Fins" in government and the Baltics and the Slovakians, who are quite critical toward the demands of the rich Greeks (in their perception).
    The late timing and the "vote no" proposal of Tsipras feels like a calculated final "burning bridges" toward Euroland, that will further aggravate the way for all Greeks interested in remaining part of Euroland.

    For Euroland I start seeing the probable Grexit like: "Better a terrible end than an unending terror".
    But is it the same for Greece? I really do not know it. I am glad Greeks will have to decide and not me. The way gets even harder, I wish you the best.

    1. Το Roger,

      Your assumption is mistaken. SYRIZA claims it doesn't propose to leave EZ! Not at all! They say that voting "NO" isn't exit from EZ, but a mandate for new, harsher negotiation. They have clarified this many times. It is of course a lie, but this is what they claim.

    2. Nice post Roger!;)
      As team Tsipras and Varoufakis are not core left radicals but rather populists they would go for any deal that would make them the working class heroes at the homefront - build a powerbase on that - and within the EZ.

      They will probably not get any more chances to burn all bridges.
      Greek people will probably vote YES in the show referendum
      and then Tsipras will find himself in an impossible situation and snap elections will follow and after that an EU deal.

      Like Schröder in Germany - Putin might have a nice job for Tsipras.

    3. Sorry, I have no more need for further delusions and knowingly false claims by Syriza.
      How could anyone negotiate even harsher and more insulting than Syriza did the last months (without real trump cards)? They already destroyed a lot of goodwill with their overly harsh and sometimes double-tongued behaviour, hence the quite harsh final offer.

      We all know a "No" vote means Grexit.
      And even a "Yes" would mean a much harder way to remain inside Euro than it would have been four months ago, so a Grexit is still possible with a "Yes" vote.

      The dream of Varoufakis, a unilateral debt defaulting, but remaining inside Euro-system, could perhaps (!) have worked if Syriza acted really fast after the election. Before wrecking greek economy and letting bleed out greek banking system, before paying billions of interests toward IWF.
      But in the last months the Greek economy has been weakened that much and the budget surplus has been reduced to budget deficit, today I don't see that Greece has the economic power to realize both.

    4. @ Roger,

      Your assumptions are very accurate and your conclusions are also quite right.

      To be honest, i believe that whether we vote yes or no, Greece being ejected by the euro is very real. (Although the legality of doing this is not possible as i have read as of late.)

      I think the whole time of the last months plus now is the catalyst and the psychological prepartion of Greeks that we will leave the euro. Likewise the European people to a lesser.

      I will further comment on this is later.



    5. Sorry Roger, but I never saw any goodwill or good faith negotiations from Germany, the Commision or the IMF. I saw political games from them; I saw manipulation and illegal behaviour; I saw pandering to their own electorates, while also lying to them. Of course Varoufakis and Tspiras were confronted with this massive power and tried every trick in the book to deal with it. The result is this mess.

      The lesson that Germany would like everyone to learn (especially in the South)? Do as you are told, and things will be easier. Argue with our political power, and we will destroy you.

      This message is redolent of the Nazi period, and is a disgrace to Europe and a humiliation for the German people. It shows that a cultural pattern that we thought had been exterminated is still there. I remember reading this in Mazower's excellent book on Europe, where he reminded us that dark fascist forces remain in Europe and will return. I was shocked at his certainty. Now we see the germ of its re-emergence. It is a sad time for Europe.

  8. Mr. Kastner,

    Another index where you can see Tsipras trying to manipulate the result, is the question itself. It's not "dracma or euro". It is postulated in a way where the question is : "Do you want more cuts and taxes?" It would be even more interesting, what KKE's leader said: "Why doesn't Tsipras add a second question to the referendum? The following: "Do you want the cuts and higher taxes that SYRIZA proposed?".

    Instead, SYRIZA is doing a bit like minister Stratoulis with the pensioner: "Do you want me to cut your pension?". But at the same time, he doesn't tell the pensioner, how much his pension will worth in drachmas.

    In Cyprus, for the Annan plan, they were debating with 2 campaigns for months before the referendum. In Greece, Tsipras is asking people to vote with a manipulative question in 6 days, while making appeal to "pride and history".

    In 1920, Eleftherios Venizelos, was bringing back to Greece the Sevres Treaty. This was the potential new Greece:

    But the greek population has been fighting unofficially from 1904-1908 in Macedonia, officially from 1912-1918 in the Balkan Wars and WWI and 1919-20 in Minor Asia. Venizelos was a politician that could see into the future and had bet in the right alliances, even going against the germanophile king. In 1920 elections, Venizelos, occupied with the Sevres Treaty, didn't have time to make proper campaign. He thought that his achievements alone, would allow him easy victory. But silvertongued politicians of the pro-royalist party, were caressing the ears of the exhausted population: "We will stop the war, bring our boys home!". "We don't want Venizelos' great Greece. We want a poor, but proud Greece". "Let's go back home! Back home!". The royalists won the elections preying on the exhaustion of many years of war. Venizelos didn't manage to get elected not even as simple MP and left in self-exile. The royalists, brought the king back, who being germanophile, alienated all greek allies, many of which turned pro-Turkey. Not only didn't the royalists keep their promices, but extended the war to a huge front, too deep into Minor Asia. The front collapsed in 1922 and followed the "Minor Asia disaster".

    This is what Hollywood hasn't shown yet, about pride being used by liars...

  9. Four years on, it's interesting to read Varoufakis' reaction to Papandreou's ill-fated referendum proposal.

    Seemingly, the future MinFin then thought it was unfair to impose such a hideous dilemma on the Greek people.

    I think, Mr Varoufakis, you have caused enough damage to the Greek nation; indeed, to Europe. It is time to dismantle your tent, pack it up, and steal gracefully into the night.

    /Stockholm observer

  10. No matter what the referendum question actually is, irrespective of what it means; and regardless of the result, the outcome will almost certainly be that Greece will need a third bailout from the Troika. That is, they will need to borrow more money from the taxpayers of other countries—more than a few of whom have lower per capita GDP than Greece does. If the loans are ever repaid, it will be so far into the future, that value of the USD and Euro will have been deflated to a fraction of their current worth.

    So my (rhetorical) question is this: why do the people of the lending countries never get a referendum? And surely, calling an ill-defined referendum at such short notice is not only reckless—it’s also undemocratic. If it happens, it will be interesting to see what the turnout is.

    It's also my opinion that Tsipras’ worst enemy is Varoufakis. I can't imagine that lecturing Troika ministers and officials as if they were dewy-eyed, left-leaning, undergraduate students at Sydney University would win many friends or much influence. This is especially so with BTS people such as Jens Weidmann and Sabine Lautenschläger—who I suspect have far more influence than most of the media realise. Surely, Tsipiras could have co-opted someone with real world experience as his FinFin, rather than a left wing ideologue theoretician with no institutional experience.

    If there is any disagreement between Tsipras and Varoufakis on the purpose of the referendum and its likely outcome, which I very much doubt, then it’s back to the future of the Venizelos/Papandreou games of 2011.

    BTW, my understanding is that Swiss referenda are initiated by petitions submitted to the legislature that must contain the draft text of the change and 50,000 voter signatures (100,000 for constitutional change). Similar schemes are also available in many US statea. To compare these citizen-initiated referenda with what is clearly a political-stunt referendum is preposterous.

    1. To June 29, 2015 at 2:05 AM

      Yes, it is preposterous. It is just a fig leaf for SYRIZA to cover its inability as a party to deal with the conseguences of their negotiations. You can say that they framed them, that they wanted to crush them, yes, everything. But this is what you wanted. Nobody forced Tsipras to bring down the previous goverment in December by violating the spirit of the Constitution about the presidential election. It was Tsipras' choice, because he was eager to become PM. Now that he has trapped himself, between a plan that he fears will demolish his goverment if implemented and a default for which he hasn't mandate, he throws the ball to the electorate, while changing the law about referenda 6 days before the referendum itself. Normally, there should be 2 committees formed, one for a "YES" and one for a "NO" campaign. Now this is a parody. What sort of campaign for YES or NO can you do in 6 days, with a question that is misleading and the people running to the gas stations and banks? Who will follow this campaign to get informed? This is parody of democracy at its best. Always fear parties that spout the word "democracy" every 30 seconds.

    2. To June 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      Thank you for saying what needed to be said. And for those who paint Europe as fascism in resurgence, I wonder if you've looked in the mirror and noted how reminiscent some of this type of rhetoric is of the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War?

  11. Why not ask the obvious question? "Do you want to balance your budgets inside the EU or outside?"

    1. Το Lennard

      Because SYRIZA wants to manipulate the question, in a way that turns out "NO". SYRIZA is asking in poor words "Do you want more cuts and taxes?" Normal human beings, would reply "NO". Add a sprinkle of 1940 and you have a smiling cabinet full of confidence. But as i said, even this simple plan, i believe will fail. Because the british have a proverb: "Too many cooks spoil the broth". In SYRIZA there are dozens of cooks. It takes months for them to realize the obvious.

      Months later, they realize that extending the program in February, was mistake. Months later they realize that in February they tied their own hands by acknowledging the debt. Now you have a goverment that acknowledges the debt and the president of the parliament, of the same goverment, saying that the debt is illegal and needs to be written off. It took them 5 months of "constructive ambiguity" to realize that their walk on the park plan of December, wouldn't work, because if the German goverments were able of accepting changes to a decided plan, they wouldn't have lost 2 World Wars. In October they will realize that if you want to default, July is the worst option. But by then, they may be opposition again, so even worse for their successors.

      Another mistake they make, is that they are delusional in thinking, like minister Stratoulis, that their party can successully plan a transition to the drachma.

    2. Good Lennard,

      As always quick and to the point.


  12. A glimpse on SYRIZA's planning capacity: They have been reassuring the greek pensioners since last week "that on Monday they will be regularly paid". While of course it was to be expected that on Monday after the referendum anouncement, the banks would close.
    There are thousand of pensioners that don't even have a credit or debit card from which to withdraw the 60 euros. Now the goverment says that the banks will convene to decide on how to open some banks with the sole purpose to give the pensions to the pensioners.

    At the same time, Tsipras expects said pensioners, who will be fainting at the bank queues, to go on Sunday and vote "NO". "Trust me, i know what i am doing". At the same time, yesterday Juncker went public to tell that when Tsipras anounced the referendum, SYRIZA's negotiator in Brussels was getting a better plan. Greek journalists say that Mr. Huliarakis, was negotiating with the troika and when he learnt about the referendum, his pen dropped from his hand. SYRIZA claims that they know nothing of better plan, because they were given ultimatum. Today, smiling minister Papas is showing the ultimatum:

    One thing is certain. Metaxas in 1940 didn't go to a referendum about whether or not to capitulate to the Italians and he certainly didn't have his man negotiating with the Italians while he was rejecting the ultimatum.

  13. If democracy and emotional appeals to 1940 fail, there is still the card of the international conspiracy:

    Minister Lafazanis: "In older times, blackmails towards small countries, were carried out through imperialistic cannons. Nowdays they have been substituted by credit strangling and forcing closed banks. The filthy, macchiavellian plans against the country and the greek people, must not pass! The strong "NO" of the greek people on Sunday, will be above all a "YES" to an independent Greece, which will be determined, despite any temporary difficulties, to defend its dignity, its democratic traditions and the future of our people".

    Yes, this is how blackmails are done. But the question, is, why did he expect something different? Also, the other side isn't the only one with machiavellian plans here.

  14. The latest example on SYRIZA's "planning ability". They anounced that the referendum will use the same procedures as the national elections. Now comes the interesting part. There are tens of thousands, if not hundreds, of Greeks, that vote in another municipality than their residential municipality. Normally, they take their families and drive to the city where they vote. A comment of a casual greek was : "We are 4 persons in the familty with voting right. To go to our voting district and back, we need about 1000 euros. With 60 euros daily limit from banks, we can't possibly go to vote. If Tsipras can somehow give me the expenses i need in order to travel to allow me to vote, please let him contact me".

    1. Where is your voting district? Paris?

  15. New Democracy shows how history will play out after the national elections on the 25th of January

    1. Quite. At the time New Democracy was accused of fear mongering and was scorned by Tsipras as "impossible".

  16. Prof. Varoufakis at Brookings Institute, April 17 2015.
    - There is speculation that there might be a referendum for the euro or snap elections. Is this an option?
    - Prof. Varoufakis: This is an easy question: Absolutely not!

    Prof. Varoufakis on twitter, 23 May 2013 about capital controls:
    "In deed, bleak the future outside Europe. But even bleaker inside, with a zombie situation with capital controls".

    Prof. Varoufakis again at Brookings, 16 April 2015:
    "It would be a foolishness to go to referendum, from the moment that we have a fresh mandate and huge popular acceptance".

    And since now all these pearls of wisdom are being meticulously collected by journalists and resurface, one may again question the real motive, aside the democratic pretext, behind SYRIZA's referendum.

    Of course, all these statements, are now becoming a media backlash for SYRIZA, much like minister Stratoulis promicing the drachma, while the rest of the goverment claims that a "NO" will simply mean "harder negotiations".

    1. All part of the greater game, thinks Prof. Varoufakis (Gamofakis)
      His big mistake was that others money can run dry and flashbacks do happen...
      The show must go on nevertheless - thinks Syriza - but not business as usual.

  17. Worthy of google translator. SYRIZA MEP Chrisogonos (professor of Constitutional Law), released to the press open letter to Tsipras and attaching his warning letter to the SYRIZA goverment of March 19 2013:

    Just to mention a few points:
    1) "It has already appeared that our electoral rhetoric, including the Thessaloniki program, is far away from the uncomfortable reality".
    2) "The "solution" of defaulting and eventually leaving the euro, for which so much talk has been made inside and outside SYRIZA, in practice doesn't exist. It would de fact bring us against not just Germany, but the whole planet.
    3) Verbal escalation is a trap of the other side in which we must not trap ourselves".

  18. Here's the view of Stiglitz, with which I concur 100%.

    1. Ty Xenos for posting.

      The proganda machine is already infultrating Greece.

      I am not happy with all sides but, i would prefer to vote for my liars vs their liars. At least with our liars we will be given a piece of bread, with them we will be no more than modern slaves.


    2. The difference between "your liars" and the other liars is that your liars are not committing criminal offences, perverting democratic process or trying to destroy another country. That's a good reason, morally speaking, to vote NO.

  19. And from Jeffrey Sachs. Again, 100% support from me. It's good to see that US economists have a far better grip on reality than the imbeciles and criminals in the Troika.

  20. Amazing article by Eleftherotypia's columnist and SYRIZA candidate for the parliament Mr. Papadopoulos:

    "Either in the goverment they are fools and irresponsible or they had planned the rupture". He ends the article by apologizing for helping SYRIZA.

    Some salient points:

    "For me the fairy tale of the victim is over. The only victim is the greek population that will pay dearly the cost of the lies that was promiced and that believed in."

    "Truth is, the referendum is the ultimate act of cowardice for a goverment. First, because you never ask a population to accept something that will be extremely painful... They painful decisions are taken by the goverment. That's why it's elected".

    "If you aim to go to the drachma (because that's the aim of the goverment), you say it directly and with bravery to the people since the beginning. And you tell it both the price that will pay and the benefits. You don't go by treachery to steal a majority of votes, so that you can afterwards say that you have the majority of the people with you (without elections!). Because this is what is happening right now. Attempt to steal a majority vote in order to exit the euro".

    "The goverment HAD the obbligation to be ready for any creditors' reaction. The goverment itself was calling them loan sharks, tricksters and godfathers (which they are). How did the goverment protect the people from their reactions and their claws?"

    "Fifth lie: On Monday morning, the proud NO of the people, will be triumphant and the creditos will realize that blackmails and ultimatums don't pass.But nobody explains us how this will happen, since nobody form the creditor side ever put in question the legitimacy of the greek govermerment. What difference will it make if the goverment instead of 42%, gets an approval of 52%? What difference will it make to her negotiating ability? None".

    "Seventh lie: The creditors want to humiliate the left goverment.From what we know, they were humiliating also the goverments of Samaras-Venizelos. We could arrive to say that they toppled George Papandreou from goverment":

  21. A couple of commentators have referred to SYRIZA's planning capability (or lack thereof) above. What surprises me is that nobody is commenting on the planning for the referendum. What I have read elsewhere suggests that organizing a referendum on such as short notice is a logistical nightmare. Not to mention that it allegedly costs 100 MEUR. Will the government be able to pull off that logistical feat?

    1. I'll Take the Bus, to the boat to the bus to my voting area. and come back. total total cost 40 euro.


    2. Mr. Kastner,

      SYRIZA has said that for simplicity's sake, the same procedure and structure of the national elections will be held. So same voting districts, same legal representatives, same everything. From SYRIZA's part, they have to print the paper. The diffference is that some Greeks will not be able to go to vote in other peripheries of the country due to lack of money. Is this a problem? It's a parody of referendum, so no. For the referendum to be legal it needs 40% of the voters to present to the ballots. So even if some thousands of Greeks are unable to travel to other regions of Greece, it will still be technically legal.

    3. Just a question: Is it uncommon to vote where you live? And why?

      "I'll Take the Bus, to the boat to the bus to my voting area. and come back." - sounds quite difficult and time-consuming for me. I am used to go voting by feet, as my polling station is usually in one of the next schools. When I moved in the last years, my place to vote moved as well.

    4. To Roger

      It is more an issue of sentimental ties. If you wish, you can transfer your voting rights to whatever city you like, but many Greeks prefer to leave their voting rights to their birth place, while they live elsewhere. So you can have someone who lives in Thessaloniki, having to go to vote to Crete for example.

    5. Sigh. You make a good point, Roger. This is a Mediterranean nonsense, derived from older internal migrations (urbanisation of the 1960s and 70s) and the emptying of villages across entire countries. The villages have been depopulated for decades, with mostly old people there; but families (in Athens, for example) retain the houses for many generations and all register to vote there. They do this partly out of a sense of origin, partly because such houses are a second family home used for holidays, and partly because the state subsidies for villages are based on the voter headcount and keep the villages alive.

      The result is (a) everyone starts moving all over the country for elections, in a crazy manner; and (b) the electoral register is entirely meaningless for population registration. Only the decennial Census has any sort of accuracy, and even then...

  22. Yes, saw a video right now. There was this guy from the chamber of commerce or exchange who said that it would be practical impossible.
    They wouldn´t even have time to print, cut and distribute the ballots not to mention that the question is not even formulated - not to mention that when it is there is no agreed proposition with the EU. The whole mess will bring the Syriza down in the end. Fitting that their own brinkmanship should be their nemesis. There was a fun twitter from an account named Angela Merkel regarding the only thing to fear is fear itself speech: Tsipras even borrow the buzzwords!

  23. Capital controls are going to give people an idea of what to expect in case of a messy default. Hopefully they'll take that into account when they vote on Sunday.

    The management of the crisis has indeed been abysmal, and that goes for both Europeans (focus on myopic fiscal measures) and Greeks (lack of a plan to restructure the economy).

    Considering that this is the second time that capital controls have been imposed on a Eurozone member seems to confirm that the Euro is not a common currency but rather a fixed exchange-rate mechanism.

  24. GREFERENDUM (from Zerohedge)
    Greece May Not Even Have The Funds To Conduct A Referendum

    ... but at this point there is no alternative: since the bluffing game had to be taken beyond the point of no return and both Greece and the Troika have to last it out until the weekend.

    However, the problem for Greece may not be one of wording or even maintaining the "game theory" bluff until the very end, but a far simpler one: not having the funds to actually conduct it!

    According to Germany's FAZ, "the Greek Court also estimates that the referendum will cost around 110 million euros, according to a well-informed policy analyst. Money that in view of the strapped Greek Checkout simply will not be there, even if the country saves a EUR 1.6 billion full-scale default to the International Monetary Fund this Tuesday."

    So a question emerges: if indeed Greece is unable to fund a referendum will it be stuck with mailed-in responses? And how long would it take to tabulate those votes: 3 weeks, 3 months? Needless to say, the cash-based Greek economy, with its €60/day daily allowance of ATM will not survive nearly that long, something the government hopefully realizes as the next wave of anger will promptly turn away from the Troika once the natitonalistic passion has died down and refocuses on the local government itself...

    What a mess...

    Renzi: And then I told him: Why don´t you have a big referendum on the whole thing...??
    Merkel: Nein
    Tsipras: NEin

    1. [url=]Schaeuble Backs Greek Referendum to Break Bailout Impasse[/url]

      Note the date -

  26. Surely Tsipras/Syriza/the Greek government have planed the logistics of the referendum at least 3-4 weeks in advance. I find it very hard to believe that the Greek government is that clueless and jumpy. IF he really called the referendum spontaneously then he is borderline crazy.

    IF the referendum is really a sudden idea, introduced on that weekend, then it might fail (not enough ballots in point Abc, chaos when the vote is counted, etc) and lead to serious unrest.

  27. Here, here! SYRIZA is preparing the ground for the heroic exit in case they lose the referendum:
    "Goverment enraged for the interference of the Europeans in favour of YES" (what did they expect?). From the goverment they see "organized plan of overthrowing the goverment, with the support of european forces"

    - NO wins---> People's Republic of Greece
    - Yes wins ---> Salvador Alende.

  28. Latest decret from the Syriza-planet!
    Tsipras’ Dramatic Call to Europe: “Restore the ELA to Greek Banks”
    After 5 months of buzzwords, bad attitude and nonaction - he obviously want to dump EU and make a revolution with other peoples money - and in a political last ditch play - let the people "decide".

    Greece Will Default To IMF Tomorrow, Government Official Says

    Here Comes the Sun King

    Of the characters in Greek mythology called Phaethon (/ˈfeɪ.əθən/; Ancient Greek: Φαέθων, Phaéthōn, pronounced [pʰa.étʰɔ͜ɔn]), the best known was the son of the Oceanid Clymene and the solar deity Apollo or Helios.[1][2] Alternative, less common genealogies make him a son of Clymenus by Merope,[3] of Helios and Rhode (thus a full brother of the Heliadae)[4] or of Helios and Prote.[5]
    In the prevailing account, Phaethon, challenged by his playmates, sought assurance from his mother that his father was the sun god. She gave him the requested assurance and told him to turn to his father for confirmation. He asked his father for some proof that would demonstrate his relationship with the sun. When the god promised to grant him whatever he wanted, he insisted on being allowed to drive the sun chariot for a day.[6] Placed in charge of the chariot, he was unable to control the horses. The earth was in danger of being burnt up and, to prevent this disaster, Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt.[7]
    The name "Phaethon", which means "Shining One"


    He was The Anointed One - Tsipras was gone forever - his Destiny was his Mission - and the Greek people and He was - One.
    He was Phaethon - his horses was all the corrupt politicians over all the years and all misery of the Greek people - his chariot was Syriza - and he was - Phaethon - The Sun King.
    Everything was going to be settled - no more would the Greek people bow their heads in shame before the masters of darkness - that surrounded the birth place of democracy.
    He was Phaethon - and his ray of light was going to shine - everywhere through out the land and even in the darkest quarters of EU - and clean out the Augean Stables - and let it shine.

    His very own brand of handcrafted foreign policy catwalk - worthy of a king - began immediately.
    The Odyssey took him through Europe - battling all kinds of different monsters - but had one thing in common - the big takeaway was always: In Greece: Everybody is a winner! (Don´t you know…?)

    With the all winning - Here Comes The Sun King Smile - he concurred all the foreign lands and seemed always to have the situation under control - like magic.
    After all - he was the Sun King - Phaeton. (Don´t you know…?)

  29. Happy greek ministers congratulating each other and smiling, while the population waits on the bank lines for 60 euros.

  30. Dear Mr. Kastner,

    I was preparing myself all day to make a reply on my opinion on this latest blog. Sources, information, data sitations. Replies to anti greeks of both foreign and local people of europe. In the end i found it pointless as I gleamed into the eyes of my countryment today. Tsipras is whatever he is. Some lies, some wrong ideas. I feel the same for Samaras and as the rest of the bunch. You know well i hold no position in parties and I continously adhered to your good advice and wise words. Such advice never came from the EU. Not the way you present it. I know as an older and wiser man you would suggest to me to maintain your composure Mr. V. But I like Mr. Tsipras I, have lost my cool. Although we are a problem to our own selves I would like to make one clear point. I would prefer to serve and enslave myself to my own people rather than to inhumane foreign system. The government of the eu or troika has shown nothing but pessism, negatitivty, political games and hostility to my countrymen as whole, to put it nicely. (For the "good" of us, they say.) Even the game of fear of propoganda that is now playing into the fears of my countrymen is uncalled for.

    Their measures will never end until the greek society is molded into the copy paste socieies created elsewhere.

    I am not a copy. I am myself with my own ideas and my own choice of life. As my countrymen are. And as I hear the hate of my fellow european citizens scorn against us, I have complete understanding to them. Even if some have never had the concern to learn whathas really happened to my country. They are paying for our mistakes and all our ALL european politicians mistakes of a failed system built on debt. They do not need to pay for us anymore and i have no patience to pay them anymore.

    Default now with all reprecusions now. And i do not care how the threats hang on us, "capital controls" empty supermarkets and worse. To get a taste of what bankruptcy means. (Such threats made endlessly as an enjoyment to those to be vindicated.) Yes we will suffer does that make you happy you saddists!

    I don;t care anymore and i do not fear anymore. And even if default does not come now after measures and new measures default will come.

    There was and there will never be any mercy so lets get this over with.

    To my compatriates that fear. Yes things will be very bad and so for some time but as our fathers of the past we will rise from our own ashes. (APO TA KOKALA BGALMENA) It is better now and sudden than a slow death. A leg with gangreen should be amputated immediately and then you can live, leave it long enough you will die a slow death. Stop looking at who is right and who is left and who wins to gain what. Now is the time. I have alot to loose but i prefer to loose it my countrymen then to them.
    A nice video.

    Mr. Kastner what brought this reply on. I wente to a friends house yesterday. As i parked i saw a 12 year old boy that lives close to me. I know him. He looked away from me as i saw him looking through the garbage for food. That was the straw that broke my back. All my presonal goals in my life ended at that moment.

    It must end now.


    1. @V: I have had the same reactions as you, when I lived in Athens. Despite being seriously short of money (partly because of the EU reduction in serious research funding, partly because of the nepotism of Pasok and ND) I could not walk past the numerous homeless and hungry people on the streets without doing something. Every walk from my apartment cost me 15-20 euros, and still I felt inadequate in my support. After all, I had a large apartment and they had the dirty street...

      This also reminded me of some British merchant banker friends in Chelsea, who once remonstrated with me for giving an old beggar in a park the sum of one pound. That was 1990, and I understood then that some people are sociopathic parasites, full of their own ambition and importance, and others are human beings.

      I hope to return to Greece soon, and if I get the research funding requested we will employ about 5 people on just one project. With luck, we will get more research funds and can do more for Greece. Perhaps I will ask to meet with you, because I admire your humanitarian patriotism, which is outside of political party affiliation.

      Warmest regards, V,


    2. Dear V,

      Thank you for your open words. They are very moving, and they are very sad.

      I totally understand you writing "I have a lot to loose but i prefer to loose it my countrymen then to them." Perhaps I would feel the same.

      I wish you to find more people like you engaging in rebuid the country. People engaging more passionate FOR a good project than AGAINST a felt bad project. Yearning to make things better, not yearning to complain about bad things. I suppose that is also the main recommendation Klaus Kastner tried to give with his blog all the years.

  31. A very good post, as always, by France Coppola on Forbes:

    But let me focus on one thing: the deliberate leak of information by the ECB to create a run on Greek banks. The same thing had previously been done by Stournaras, Governor of the Bank of Greece appointed by New Democracy, with a public statement designed to create a banking crisis. These criminals need a prison sentence, it is the only way.

    Here is Coppola:

    "The last and most damaging of the leaks was given to Robert Peston of the BBC on the morning of Sunday June 28th. The choice of both media institution and reporter is significant: Robert Peston’s reporting of Northern Rock’s liquidity problems in September 2007 famously caused a run on the bank. And Peston did it again. He reported IN ADVANCE of the ECB governing council’s decision that the ECB was going to “turn off” ELA. By the time the ECB announced its decision, some hours later, Greek ATMs were rapidly running out of cash.

    Where the leak to Robert Peston came from we do not know. But front-running the ECB governing council’s decision is tantamount to spreading rumors to start a bank run, which is illegal in most Eurozone countries (though apparently not in Germany). And since the Eurosystem is responsible for ensuring financial stability, deliberately starting a bank run is a major breach of the mandate of both the ECB and the national central banks. Whoever leaked this should be summarily dismissed.

    Anyway, wherever it came from, it was clearly intended to force Greece to impose a bank holiday and capital controls."

    I find it interesting that the Germans don't think it a problem to start rumours to create bank runs. Let's start our own and destroy some German banks, then.

    1. Are you stupid or what? People started withdrawing money as soon as rumours about a referendum started circulating on Friday evening. I had to queue for 40 minutes and the ATMs in our Greek village were empty by Saturday morning.

    2. No I am not stupid. The bank run started with the public statement of Stournaras, which was clearly designed to cause trouble. The whole bank liquidity crisis has been precipitated by the Troika in order to bring down the government of Greece. You are the one who is stupid, if you cannot see that.

    3. Xenos - on KTG you tore a commenter a new one for "daring" to link to the (paraphrased) rag for the rich called Forbes. But now, once you find an article that supports your biases, it is suddenly ok for you to link yourself? All I'm taking home from your comments, to be frank is "I'm God and anyone who doesn't think like me is an idiot, imbecile, moron, fascist, (and some unprintable words)." I don't even know whether I should believe you anymore with respect to anything you say - one day you say you live in Greece, another day you say you will return there. Whatever.

      As a person with a disability, I've regularly encouraged people to read up on how to be an ally to a community. I suggest you do the same, because what you're doing right now is a textbook example of how not to be an ally to the Greek people, and doing more harm than good to a cause.

    4. @Anonymous: your disability seems to be that you are a rather unpleasant person. You seem to be accusing me of lying and hypocrisy, presumably because you disagree with my analysis of the situation.

      As for the link, the article was written by a reputable person. The actual publication does not attract my respect. Perhaps you could break away from your rigid and conformist mindset and consider that quality is determined by individuals and not by where they are born, studied, live or are published in.

    5. Xenos - I am not accusing you of anything. I'll let your words speak for themselves.

    6. Again, a nasty reply. FYI: I resided in Athens (and partially in Vienna) from 1999 to July 2014. It is less than a year ago that I left. Satisfied?

      And as far as being an ally to the community is concerned, I am continuously being asked when I will return by many Greek friends, and even former neighbours that I speak with. One recent contact (a lawyer) asked if I have Greek ancestors, because she could try to arrange Greek citizenship for me. Alas, I do not. But I feel welcome there, part of the community, and respected. Your opinion does not impress me.

  32. Tsipras confirmed my suspicion that this is a heroic exit plan. He loses the referendum, goes back to opposition after having sunk the economy, from where he will be able to say: "This is why i didn't kneel to the germans! This is why i resisted until the point the people told me not to. Because i knew the disaster this plan would bring the people and warned about it. I have my consciense clear".

    And the legend of the good left that never cuts income, will go on in Greece, SYRIZA won't break up and will try again later.

    Video: My big fat greek debt crisis

  34. Alexis Tsipras is suggesting that he’s still prepared to negotiate, while also warning that Greece won’t repay €1.6bn to the International Monetary Fund tomorrow.

    Operation Face Saving Damage Control Underway...

  35. Dear Greeks
    Please vote no to the deal, it is not on anymore, nobody trust you to uphold your end of the bargain.

    1. Το AnonymousJune 30, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      First things first. The majority of Greeks is losing trust on SYRIZA on being able to uphold any promise.

    2. And you trust the eurozone? Their track record is pretty clear.

  36. Some articles claim that the goverment is 500 mln euros short for paying pensions this week. Minister Skourletis a while ago, asked entities to send immedialy their last reserves (including whatever is left in pension funds). If SYRIZA doesn't manage to pay pensions, it's game over before even Sunday. At this point, one may even expect a spectacular change of heart by Tsipras, in order to cover his inability to pay pensions.

  37. Foreign bookmakers give 66% for YES. Bad news for Tsipras.

  38. News about new greek proposal after yet another SYRIZA flawless plan failed.

  39. Urgent retreat needed for Tsipras. One pension fund (OAEE), which is for free professionists, can't gather the money and only half the pension will be accredited tomorrow to the pensioners' bank accounts.

    Result: Unless Tsipras backpedals quickly, on Sunday he won't suffer just defeat, but annihilation.

  40. I also hope that the government will be unable to pay the upcoming pensions in their entirety (a sure outcome at some point, but the sooner the better). People need to be aware of the consequences of "no".

    1. Since you have so little concern for the pensioners of Greece, on their behalf may I wish that you go bankrupt?

  41. Greek D(efault)-Day Arrives

    Harry Theoharis @htheoharis

    Υπάρχει ήδη στο Μέγαρο Μαξίμου ομάδα με στελέχη του ΓΛΚ που δουλεύει το σχέδιο για να μας πάει στη δραχμή #vouli #topotami

    #ToPotami MP @htheoharis just tweeted that there's a team from the General Accounting Office in Maximos Bldg preparing plan for drachma!

    Tsipras desperate for a facesaving-dignity deal. Maybe some old fashioned fakelaki would push it over the edge.
    (paid in Drachma, of course)

    Greece, Where all are winners!
    Scandal! Greece turns ‘fakelaki’-bribes legal through law provision

  42. Perhaps the commentators will benefit from this article titled "If the Greeks did this, the crisis would be over":

    1. You were a banker, you are supposed to be more down to earth and cynic than to believe that.

    2. Wait a minute. This author is totally right. If all the Greek financial and other material assets returned to the country from offshore, Greece would be blossoming.

  43. Some far-fetched arguments have been made about who started the bank run. Statistics of the Bank of Greece offer help (see link below).

    Deposits from domestic savers had reached an all-time high of 243 BEUR in September 2009, when a gradual decline set in. In the spring of 2010, when the crisis was top news, major declines occurred but they levelled out in the second half of the year. At year-end 2010, deposits were around 210 BEUR.

    Was that a run? When a banking sector loses about 15% of its deposits within one year it certainly is a run, albeit in slow motion. Had there not been ECB funding, the banking sector would have collapsed.

    There were no dramatic declines during 2011 but the slow-motion run continued and by year-end 2011, deposits were about 175 BEUR. Down another 15%.

    The were some bumps around the debt restructuring in early 2012 but by and large things had stabilized. Some deposits even returned. The level of deposits remained quite stable around 170 BEUR until --- the end of November 2014. And then something hit the fan.

    In December 2014, deposits declined about 5 BEUR. In Januray 2015, about 13 BEUR. In February about 8 BEUR. By the end of May, deposits had declined to 134 BEUR. The total decline in the 6 months beginning with December 2014 was 36 BEUR. A bank run like in the rule book. Anyone who argues that the bank run started (or was started) in June of 2015 is not playing with a full deck of cards.

    What actually happened in December 2014 which started the dramatic decline. I have a short memory but something tells me that that was the month when SYRIZA began making noises.

    Another point deserves attention. In January 2001 (I believe that's when Greece started with the Euro), bank deposits were 110 BEUR. In only 8 years of Eurozone membership, deposits went from 110 BEUR to 242 BEUR.

    Zoe Konstatopouou, the speaker of the Greek parliament, is researching where all the debt money went. Well, she can find part of the answer in the statistics of the Bank of Greece. When the state assumes foreign debt, it leads to an wonderful transformation from debt into private incomes and wealth.

    Please note that the 3-digit BEUR which Greek residents hold in bank accounts outside of Greece are not included in the above.

    Tsipras Can I Have My Fakelaki Now Moment

    Mr Kastner.
    Thanks for the best Greece blog out there.

    What is the qualitative differences between the Program and the ESM loan?
    Why would Tsipras go for ESM rather than the Program...?

    1. Perhaps because it cuts out the IMF, Syriza rhetoric seems to be harsher towards IMF than EU.

    2. The way I understand it, the ESM is only an execution arm within Troika programs. I do not believe the ESM could approve a loan on its own if it is not incorporated into a program.

  45. After five months of nothing - as the Gameplan strikes back Tsipras slowly terminate himself in empty buzzword rhetorics that will seal his fate - soon.
    A true ancient Greek destiny drama about hubris...

    There are reports from Athens that some firms have been pushing their staff to take part in tonight’s Yes rally.
    The labour inspection of the Greek ministry of work and social insurance says that it has been receiving dozens of complaints since early this morning about employers trying to force their employees to participate in the "yes" demonstration this evening. The attempt appears to be well organised and the employees are told to gather at certain places where they will be given placards and whistles and be marched to Syntagma. Those who don't go are threatened by immediate dismissal.

    The attempts to force employees to the demonstration are made at all sorts of companies, mostly big and medium-sized. The ministry mentions shipping companies, companies trading in foodstuffs, German companies trading electric goods and insurance companies explicitly, but adds that the complaints come "from everywhere imaginable".
    Greece threatens top court action to block Grexit
    Exclusive: European leaders warn in concert that a 'No' vote on Sunday means Greece will be pushed out of the euro
    Merkel: no negotiations before the referendum

    Some cutting comments from Angela Merkel today who has reportedly told her parliamentarians there will be no discussions over a no new deal until after Sunday's referendum
    Here it is in its full glory.
    Greeks make new bail-out application and extension of current deal

    It reads: "As you are aware, the Republic faces urgent and press financial problems in the second half of 2015 and for the whole of 2016..."

    "Greece requests financial stability support from the ESM in the form of a two-year loan as all of the conditions provided in Article 13 of the ESM Treaty and in Article 2 in the Guidlines are met. The loan will be used exclusively to meet the debt service payments of Greece's external and internal debt obligations".

  46. SKAI News: journalistic information says that minister Dragasakis had adviced Tsipras to sign the deal. Tsipras didn't listen.

  47. Many Greek businesses have stopped paying wages.

    Syriza has dropped a nuclear bomb over the Greek economy and seems unaware of it.

  48. "And internal debt obligations". Yes they would promptly be used for tax and mortgage amnesty.

  49. Tsipras and Syriza have for 5 months been riding the high moral horse. He also think that nations with lower GDP than Greece should pay for a Greek life style that they cannot afford to give their own citizens. I find that a deficiency of moral.

    1. no, the financing of German and French banks by the poorer nations of the eurozone was a German decision. Do try to get your facts right.

  50. A friend of mine yesterday aired some thoughts along the lines of Berliner. "For me this is about improving the competitiveness of Europe to satisfy our present lifestyle. Sending more money to Greece the last few decades has not proved to do that. When Greece have balanced their budgets and start paying back their loans, I suggest that they first pay back the loans to the countries with lowest GDP per capita, and highest growth potential. Greeks will scream that it is unfair, that these countries have enough investments and that Greeks have made the money. I will still maintain that, to have a good investment climate is a virtue in itself and should be rewarded. I will also maintain that Greece had no qualms when these people were paying for them. As for Germany and company I think they would see the logic of it, a given investment in a low developed country as Lithuania will yield much more than in a highly developed country as Germany."