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"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"










September 26th
4:01 PM
Via

nationalpost:

Tens of thousands of Greeks take to the streets in largest anti-austerity protest in a year
Greek police clashed with hooded rioters hurling petrol bombs as tens of thousands took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday in Greece’s biggest anti-austerity protest in more than a year.

Violence erupted after nearly 70,000 people marched to parliament chanting “We won’t submit to the troika (of lenders)” and “EU, IMF Out!” on the day of a general strike against a new round of cuts demanded by foreign lenders. (Photos: AP Photo; AFP/GettyImages)

May 14th
2:47 PM
Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit
Der Spiegel »

Greece has been in intensive care for years, but the patient, instead of recovering, is just getting sicker and sicker. In a confidential report, which SPIEGEL has seen, experts from the IMF arrive at a devastating verdict. The country, they write, has only “a small industrial base” and is characterized by “structural incrustations” and an “excessively large role of the public sector.”It’s time to rethink the treatment. The Greeks were never ready for the monetary union, and they still aren’t ready today. The attempt to retroactively bring the country up to speed through reforms has failed. …Europe cannot be blackmailed. Populist politician Tsipras is merely expressing views that are already widespread within large segments of the Athens establishment, namely that the Europeans will ultimately give in and pay up, because they fear a Greek bankruptcy as much as people in the Middle Ages feared the Black Death.  >continue<

It may be time to “go hide under the table now.” Though the view expressed in Der Spiegel has opponents, there’s no denying the drama and the Drachma of Damocles hanging over Europe.

Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit

Der Spiegel »

Greece has been in intensive care for years, but the patient, instead of recovering, is just getting sicker and sicker. In a confidential report, which SPIEGEL has seen, experts from the IMF arrive at a devastating verdict. The country, they write, has only “a small industrial base” and is characterized by “structural incrustations” and an “excessively large role of the public sector.”

It’s time to rethink the treatment. The Greeks were never ready for the monetary union, and they still aren’t ready today. The attempt to retroactively bring the country up to speed through reforms has failed.

…Europe cannot be blackmailed. Populist politician Tsipras is merely expressing views that are already widespread within large segments of the Athens establishment, namely that the Europeans will ultimately give in and pay up, because they fear a Greek bankruptcy as much as people in the Middle Ages feared the Black Death.  >continue<

It may be time to “go hide under the table now.” Though the view expressed in Der Spiegel has opponents, there’s no denying the drama and the Drachma of Damocles hanging over Europe.

February 21st
2:59 PM
Greece Lurches to Left Amid Radical AusterityDer Spiegel&#160;&#187;

A radical austerity drive has triggered the biggest political  upheaval in Athens since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974.  So far, it is leftist parties who have benefitted the most from the debt  crisis. The deeply divided left, however, would likely be unable to  form a stable coalition.
Alexis Tsipras walks up to the lectern like Elvis strutting onstage. But  when he begins to speak, all traces of youthfulness and ease vanish  from his face. The &#8220;foreign loan sharks&#8221; have one thing on their minds,  he barks into the microphone: &#8220;the impoverishment of the Greek people  and the sellout of our country!&#8221; He slams his fist down and continues  his speech, his voice booming. The Europeans, he says, are pursuing only  one goal: to bring about the end of the sovereign Greek nation. &#8220;We  must prevent Greece from becoming a German protectorate once again,&#8221;  Tsipras says, practically shouting by now. &#8220;We are not a German colony.&#8221;
A Country in Flux
There are many uncertainties in Greece today: whether the country can  remain in the euro zone, whether the €130 billion ($171.8 billion) second bailout package will sufficiently reduce the insolvent country&#8217;s staggering debt load,  and whether the Greeks will ever implement the reforms their  international creditors are demanding of them. At the moment, only one  thing seems predictable: that nothing will remain the same. &#8220;Everything  is changing, and everything is frightening,&#8221;&#8230; &gt;continue&lt;

Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει
- Heraclitus
photo - AFP

Greece Lurches to Left Amid Radical Austerity
Der Spiegel »

A radical austerity drive has triggered the biggest political upheaval in Athens since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974. So far, it is leftist parties who have benefitted the most from the debt crisis. The deeply divided left, however, would likely be unable to form a stable coalition.

Alexis Tsipras walks up to the lectern like Elvis strutting onstage. But when he begins to speak, all traces of youthfulness and ease vanish from his face. The “foreign loan sharks” have one thing on their minds, he barks into the microphone: “the impoverishment of the Greek people and the sellout of our country!” He slams his fist down and continues his speech, his voice booming. The Europeans, he says, are pursuing only one goal: to bring about the end of the sovereign Greek nation. “We must prevent Greece from becoming a German protectorate once again,” Tsipras says, practically shouting by now. “We are not a German colony.”

A Country in Flux

There are many uncertainties in Greece today: whether the country can remain in the euro zone, whether the €130 billion ($171.8 billion) second bailout package will sufficiently reduce the insolvent country’s staggering debt load, and whether the Greeks will ever implement the reforms their international creditors are demanding of them. At the moment, only one thing seems predictable: that nothing will remain the same. “Everything is changing, and everything is frightening,”… >continue<

Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

- Heraclitus

photo - AFP

February 14th
12:10 PM

The World from Berlin
'Greece Cannot Be Ruled Against The Will Of It's People'

To the ears of European politicians growing weary of the seemingly insoluble Greek debt crisis, the message may sound familiar. Let’s promise to play along today so that tomorrow we can return to business as usual. Indeed, despite Monday night’s passage in Athens of a €3.3 billion austerity package — even as violent protests raged on the streets outside — euro-zone leaders have yet to give the green light to the €130 billion bailout package Greece so badly needs. In addition to several technical details that still need ironing out, Brussels wants the leaders of all major Greek political parties — including Samaras — to sign an agreement that they will implement the austerity measures even after general elections in April. Athens talk is increasingly viewed as cheap in Brussels….

Die Tageszeitung writes:

"Greece’s party political system is threatening to collapse. Conservatives and Social Democrats both spent decades creating a system of clientelism to provide their supporters with all manner of benefits. For the most part, such rewards took the form of public sector jobs. Now, with the self-service system … finally shrinking — leaving the parties with fewer goodies to pass out — a significant reason for voting for these parties has vanished. In the coming campaign, there is little doubt that these parties will nonetheless seek to outdo each other with promises. But most Greeks have now become deaf to their pledges. And they are right. That could be a chance for alternative parties that want to finally put an end to the system of clientelism. But they also don’t have an easy solution to the economic crisis because there are no easy solutions. One cannot underestimate the danger that fringe parties could now benefit from the collapse of trust — from the neo-Stalinist left to the extreme right-wing nationalists. With their rigid austerity policies that renounced all investment aid, European leaders have provided these parties with valuable help." >continue<

photos: Reuters & Der Spiegel

November 7th
11:54 AM

Euro Zone Considers Solution of Last Resort

Der Spiegel

…Can the “big bazooka” that US politicians, in particular, like to invoke actually save the euro? Many economists are skeptical, because it is primarily economic imbalances that are creating ever-widening rifts between countries in the European currency area. The economic divide between the north, with its strong export economies, and the south, with its high consumption, has grown even further. At the same time, citizens are losing confidence in Europe’s ability to manage the crisis.

"Run for your lives" is the new motto in Europe, and not just among banks and insurance companies, which are selling off southern European bonds as quickly as they can, but also among ordinary holders of savings accounts. Banks and regulatory agencies are noticing that anxious citizens throughout Europe are trying to bring their money to safety. The flight of capital from Italy, Spain and Greece is in full swing.

…At the airport in Athens, passengers are often caught leaving the country with upwards of €100,000 in cash, well in excess of the €10,000 limit. This capital flight has triggered a boom in the European real estate market, especially in Berlin and London, where wealthy Greeks are buying second homes.  >continue<

November 6th
12:38 PM

Eurozone crisis: Greek PM George Papandreou to resign

George Papandreou, under intense pressure to end the political uncertainty engulfing Greece, is expected to formally resign immediately as prime minister after convening an emergency cabinet meeting.

Sunday’s extraordinary cabinet session would be the crisis-hit leader’s last as prime minister, a government spokesman confirmed as cross-party talks to form a national unity government continued…

Debt-stricken Greece received a €110bn (£95bn) bailout in May 2010 with a further €130bn expected to be injected into its economy under the latest loan agreement agreed by EU leaders at an emergency summit on October 26.

The hard-won accord, which will also involve banks accepting a 50% “haircut” on their holdings of Greek debt, had been met with widespread fury in Greece where many in a population already hit by successive waves of belt tightening fear it will mean further austerity.  >continue<

November 4th
5:30 PM
Welcome to the union of unequals

It should surprise no one that George Papandreou’s proposal for a national referendum on the latest European bail-out deal should have lasted just 72 hours before being bulldozed into oblivion by the Germans and French. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy made not the slightest attempt to observe any diplomatic niceties as they turned their fire on this troublesome outbreak of democracy. The Greek referendum must not be allowed to happen, they insisted – and lo, it will not. It was brutal to watch.  &gt;continue&lt;

Welcome to the union of unequals

It should surprise no one that George Papandreou’s proposal for a national referendum on the latest European bail-out deal should have lasted just 72 hours before being bulldozed into oblivion by the Germans and French. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy made not the slightest attempt to observe any diplomatic niceties as they turned their fire on this troublesome outbreak of democracy. The Greek referendum must not be allowed to happen, they insisted – and lo, it will not. It was brutal to watch.  >continue<

November 2nd
12:45 PM

Greek Exit From Euro Zone Just a 'Matter of Time'

Der Spiegel | The World from Berlin

Papandreou’s announcement on Monday evening that he was planning to hold a referendum on the EU bailout package for his country has shocked and infuriated his would-be benefactors — and sent global markets into yet another tailspin.

The news came less than a week after an all-night bargaining session in Brussels that resulted in an agreement to slash Greek debt by 50 percent, make a further €130 billion in loans available to the country and leverage the EFSF to €1 trillion. Markets immediately calmed and the euro began climbing against the dollar.

German commentators on Wednesday take a look at the impending referendum.  >continue<

November 1st
11:33 AM
EU Shocked and Furious at Greek Referendum Plan

The shock announcement by Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou of a referendum on the Greek bailout has thrown efforts to rescue the single currency into doubt, unsettled global markets and angered EU leaders just days after they agreed a wide-ranging package to contain the debt crisis.Global stock markets fell on the news. German and French stock indices were down more than 3 percent on Tuesday, with banking shares among the main losers.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a message posted on Twitter:  &#8220;I truly fail to understand what Greece intendes to have a referendum  about. Are there any real options?&#8221;  &gt;continue&lt;

Greek PM: &#8216;Supreme act of democracy&#8217;  |  Euro Crisis Liveblog
Greek government on brink of collapse, sources say

EU Shocked and Furious at Greek Referendum Plan

The shock announcement by Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou of a referendum on the Greek bailout has thrown efforts to rescue the single currency into doubt, unsettled global markets and angered EU leaders just days after they agreed a wide-ranging package to contain the debt crisis.

Global stock markets fell on the news. German and French stock indices were down more than 3 percent on Tuesday, with banking shares among the main losers.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a message posted on Twitter: “I truly fail to understand what Greece intendes to have a referendum about. Are there any real options?”  >continue<

Greek PM: ‘Supreme act of democracy’  |  Euro Crisis Liveblog

Greek government on brink of collapse, sources say

October 18th
7:18 PM
Anti-banking protests continue on the streets of Germany 

"Greece has only been perceived as a money problem and the people and society have taken a back seat"

Anti-banking protests continue on the streets of Germany

"Greece has only been perceived as a money problem and the people and society have taken a back seat"

August 17th
12:04 PM

The Eurozone's Last Stand

The eurozone crisis is reaching its climax. Greece is insolvent. Portugal and Ireland have recently seen their bonds downgraded to junk status. Spain could still lose market access as political uncertainty adds to its fiscal and financial woes. Financial pressure on Italy is now mounting.

…the only realistic and sensible solution is an orderly and market-oriented – but coercive – restructuring of the entire Greek public debt. But how can debt relief be achieved for the sovereign without imposing massive losses on Greek banks and foreign banks holding Greek bonds?  - Nouriel Roubini   >read more<

July 22nd
10:22 AM
"As before the Reformation, the taxing of northern Europe to sustain the subsidies and debts of mother church lasted awhile, but it could not last for ever. German taxpayers may bail out the Greeks, because half the Greeks’ debts are to foreign banks. But these taxpayers will not also bail out the Portuguese, the Spaniards and the Italians. The attempted revival of the Holy Roman Empire is doomed. Luther’s theses will soon be nailed to the doors not of Wittenberg but of the Berlaymont palace in Brussels."
—  Simon Jenkins in the Guardian warning of crisis unfolding from the EU fiscal union (Euro)
June 18th
10:55 AM

All Hellas Breaking Loose

The latest wave of Hellenic protesters call itself Aganaktismenoi, in the spirit of the Spanish indignados, a broad-based and non-party-political movement…  How did it come to this? How fair is this charge of “Thieves”? Did Greek politicians simply loot their own country, and EU taxpayers, for personal gain? There is truth in this tale, but like any Greek tragedy, there are multiple narratives, none of them pretty.

…But their voices will have to be acknowledged, because the high-decibel volume reflects the scale of the crisis that confronts us all. As Thucydides observed, justice will not come to Athens until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are.  >continue<

June 11th
3:41 PM

I.M.F. Hit by Sophisticated Cyberattack

The International Monetary Fund, still struggling to find a new leader after the arrest of its managing director last month in New York, was hit recently by what computer experts describe as a large and sophisticated cyberattack whose dimensions are still unknown.

The concern about the attack was so significant that the World Bank, an international agency focused on economic development, whose headquarters is across the street from the I.M.F. in downtown Washington, cut the computer link that allows the two institutions to share information.  >continue<

It’s not presently clear if this is related to Anonymous calls to target the IMF. But as Arab Spring-esque demonstrations bloom across Southern Europe, incited in part by austerity measures - prompting some in Greece to call for a return to the drachma and default on the IMF’s “insupportable debt”, we may be witnessing an unparalleled form of blowback.

The IMF’s official job sounds simple and attractive. It is supposedly there to ensure poor countries don’t fall into debt, and if they do, to lift them out with loans and economic expertise. It is presented as the poor world’s best friend and guardian. But beyond the rhetoric, the IMF was designed to be dominated by a handful of rich countries – and, more specifically, by their bankers and financial speculators.

Johann Hari: It’s not just Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The IMF itself should be on trial

Somebody’s not waiting for the official proceedings to begin.