Greece: Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind, And you Know That Notion Just Crossed My Mind
The Economic Times (Times of India) identifies another likely problem with the Eurozone ‘deal’ for Greece.
The latest agreement requires the Greek parliament to ratify the whole package by Wednesday and pass legislation to increase taxes, cut pensions and set aside 50 billion euros of public sector assets for sale under foreign supervision.
The problem is Greece may not have enough to sell.
A two-thirds majority in the poll [Reuters poll of 60 economists], 35 of 53 economists, said Greece does not have assets worth 50 billion euros that it could feasibly privatise.
That amount is roughly a fifth of the economy and a previous attempt to raise half that much ended poorly when Athens managed to sell just a fraction of what was forecast.
“Fifty billion is very optimistic,” said Nick Stamenkovic, economist at RIA Capital Markets.
Another asked: “What are they going to do, sell Crete?”
TIME fills in that nightmare with this report,
Of all the aspects of Monday’s bailout deal that Greeks found humiliating, nothing drilled into their sense of pride quite like their government’s promise to sell off “valuable Greek assets” to the tune of 50 billion euros. The seven-page agreement, which European leaders thrashed out over the weekend, made no mention of where Greece is supposed to find that much property to sell. But as they scrambled for options, officials in Athens saw no way around the blood-curdling prospect of auctioning off Greek islands, nature preserves or even ancient ruins.
“It’s an affront,” says Georgios Daremas, a strategist and adviser to the Greek Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Social Solidarity. “It’s basically saying sell the memory of your ancestors, sell your history just so we can get something commercial for it,” he tells TIME on Monday. “This is an idea to humiliate Greeks.”
Meanwhile, back in the jungle, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must stop a revolt in his own party, SYRIZA, to have any chance of persuading the Greek parliament to support the stinking deal. Reuters reports,
A meeting of the Syriza parliamentary group on Tuesday morning could see Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and Deputy Labor Minister Dimistris Stratoulis sacked over their opposition to the bailout.
There may also be a battle over parliament speaker Zoe Constantinopoulou, an uncompromising leftwinger who also defied Tsipras over the bailout and who could create serious procedural obstacles for the package.
In addition, the Washington Post is reporting,
Greece’s defense minister, Panos Kammenos — head of Tsipras’s coalition partner, the Independent Greeks — called the deal a “coup by Germany” and its allies. It remained unclear whether his party would back the deal in Parliament .
“They blackmailed the prime minister,” he said in a television interview. “This agreement is not close to our values. We can’t agree.”
Meanwhile, 30 members of the ruling Syriza party threatened to resign Monday rather than approve the deal.
Finally, Joseph Stiglitz reminds all the Greece haters,
Almost all the money, 90 percent of the money, that allegedly went to Greece did not go to Greece. It went to German and French banks and to the creditors
Unfortunately, no one in Greece can afford the notion . . .
But there’s always sumpin the damn banks can’t have: