Prime Minister Tsipras for months now is trying to sell the expiry of the 4th and last Restructuring Programme, as a success story and as the come-back of Greece to the financial markets. The truth is that it is one more, burst bubble.
Not so long ago, he used to brag that we shall play the fiddle and the markets will dance to our tune. Being so cocksure about this, he rejected the precautionary standby credit line counselled by ESM and instead he built – through over-taxation – a financing cushion of 20 billion euros.
Over-taxation killed any prospect of real recovery and has pushed the unpaid taxes to the level of one gdp. Tsipras’s Ministers proclaim, right and left, that they will not apply the voted pension cuts and have sent to Brussels two (!!!) alternative budgets. Markets instead of dancing to the tune of the Greek fiddles, have pushed Greek bond spreads to prohibitive levels, well above the problematic Italian borrowing rates and more than double those of Cyprus. As a result, Greek access to the financial markets has shot to the stratosphere.
The Agreement with Northern Macedonia, this other advertised halo of the government, failed to win the required threshold in the recent referendum in that country and, so far, it has not gathered the 80 votes required in Parliament to initiate the procedure for the Constitutional changes laid down in the Agreement. Prime Minister Zaef will be forced to call for premature elections to win the necessary voting power. A rather impossible feat, in view of the referendum results.
Poverty brings grumbling, according to an old Greek proverb. And civil war exploded yesterday in the Cabinet, between SYRIZA and ANEL cabinet members, with open accusations between Left and Right culminating in a fierce quarrel between Foreign Minister Kotzias and Minister of Defence Kammenos. The latter had just returned from an official trip to the US, where – with no authorisation whatsoever – promised 5 new military bases to his US counterpart. Mr. Tsipras’s only reaction was to implore Cabinet Ministers not to over-throw the Left-Right Government of SYRIZANEL. Mr. Kotzias resigned and Mr. Tsipras took the Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon himself.
Summarising the current political phase by the triple negation of the heading of this article, is – if anything – an understatement of the true situation. We sincerely regret that Mr. Tsipras, a young, aspiring political figure is ending his first term in power amidst such a political mess, if not a havoc. But what we regret more, is that Greece once more misses the train to return to normality and growth, staying empty-handed and isolated on the deserted platform of a multiple crisis for a 9th year. All other countries have caught their return train to growth a long time ago.
By Maximos 18 October 2018