Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
One of the problems governments face nowadays is that they are unable to change the Central Bank governor before their statutory term is up, so Syriza is stuck with Yannis Stournaras. On whom see Yanis Varoufakis: Greek Finance Minister Confesses: "I turned down the IMF's offer of an alliance in favour of a debt restructure" (January 10, 2014)
This is a stupendous story. Possibly for the first time in its tainted history, the International Monetary Fund had a major change of heart and tried to do the right thing by a `program' country, only to be turned down by that very same country's finance minister!


Mr Stournaras, perhaps unwittingly, admitted to the Financial Times that he informed the German finance minister of Ms Lagarde's and Mr Tompsen's offer before the crucial Eurogroup meetings, thus voiding any surprise-move advantage that an IMF-Greek common position could have enjoyed. As we all know, from the experience of the past five years, when confronted unexpectedly by a determined large `player' (e.g. the IMF), the German position suddenly becomes more flexible. Thus Greece stood to gain at least some benefits from accepting Ms Lagarde's overtures. (But as the main beneficiary of the IMF's readiness to confront Berlin, Greece that is, refused to join in, there was nothing that the IMF could do.)


Yannis Stournaras happens to be a valued colleague and a good friend of mine (see the open letter I sent him upon his appointment as finance minister). It is with great personal sadness that I write these lines. Greece needs a finance minister that will re-negotiate forcefully the terms and conditions of a misanthropic, irrational, unworkable `bailout' package (especially now that a Mk3 version is on the boil). Given the way he, by his own admission, squandered this remarkable opportunity to increase Greece's bargaining power, he lacks the credibility amongst Greece's polity to lead these negotiations. He should thus resign. Effective immediately.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 30th, 2014 at 05:24:27 AM EST
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