Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
The thing that people should be very worried about is that Juncker lied to everyone and that the ex-head of the IMF just invalidated everything a couple days ago. Is the head of the IMF a powerful person on the world stage? Juncker? It's breathtaking to me to see and hear what these two people have said and done over the last two days. And Peter Spiegel accuses Juncker of being a liar.
by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 11:28:24 AM EST
The entire negotiation process has been one long clown parade of the Troika failing to agree on even elementary parts of their allegedly common position.

Greece has been effectively negotiating with three or four different parties, several of whom sent low-rent flunkies without a mandate to close a deal to the talks.

It is a testament to the professionalism and discipline of the Greek negotiation team that they did not call bullshit on the whole charade until they were ready to execute on their unilateral options.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 01:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even as someone who was highly sympathetic to Syriza, I did not see the divisions between the various sets until only recently. My eyes opened to this possibility only when Jamie Galbreath mentioned it when he sat in on Eurogroup meetings early. He called them totally unprofessional, and unlike any govt negotiations he had taken part in elsewhere. Those who back Syriza also have to admit that even Varoufakis was unaware of what he was stepping into. He apparently didn't know the Eurogroup was ad hoc and informal until Saturday. I wonder if any of the other ministers knew but a few. I wonder if the whole of Europe knew. This goes to Angela Merkel. When a troika deal must be approved by the Eurogroup finance ministers (Schauble) and no one else, this means that she effectively disavowed her own leadership.
by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 01:48:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would not bet money on what Varoufakis knew or did not know up until last Saturday. That guy is not someone I would want to play poker with.

It's pretty clear that Syriza initially underestimated both the viciousness and incompetence of their enemies. But the way in which they have played since they took the kid gloves off this Saturday shows that they must have gotten over that naivety several months ago.

One of the advantages of being sane is that you get to adjust your position in response to new information.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 01:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Council of the European Union:
The Eurogroup is an informal body where the ministers of the euro area member states discuss matters relating to their shared responsibilities related to the euro.
Protocol 14 to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [PDF]
ON THE EURO GROUP

THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES,

DESIRING to promote conditions for stronger economic growth in the European Union and, to that end, to develop ever closer coordination of economic policies within the euro area,

CONSCIOUS of the need to lay down special provisions for enhanced dialogue between the Member States whose currency is the euro, pending the euro becoming the currency of all Member States of the Union,

HAVE AGREED UPON the following provisions, which shall be annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:

Article 1

The Ministers of the Member States whose currency is the euro shall meet informally. Such meetings shall take place, when necessary, to discuss questions related to the specific responsibilities they share with regard to the single currency. The Commission shall take part in the meetings. The European Central Bank shall be invited to take part in such meetings, which shall be prepared by the representatives of the Ministers with responsibility for finance of the Member States whose currency is the euro and of the Commission.

Article 2

The Ministers of the Member States whose currency is the euro shall elect a president for two and a half years, by a majority of those Member States.

Why there was a need to attach a protocol to the Treaties for this purpose, I do not know.

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 Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 04:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I recall that at the time, France asked for a politic supervision of the independent central bank, which was refused, but not completely, the result being the eurogroup.
by Xavier in Paris on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 04:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't this more about assuaging British concerns about institutionalising a sub-EU unit?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 04:30:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France asked for a politic supervision of the independent central bank, which was refused

I do not know whether or not it was the British behind the refusal, but as unlikely as it might be in general that British concerns might be behind refusing something that the French wished to see happen (ahem)...

... it seems quite plausible that the British would object to setting up a formal political authority for the Eurozone ... it would be my first guess as to why "it was refused".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jun 30th, 2015 at 08:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I remember Germany and the UK being on the same side there... Saxe-Cobourg in force! :-)

Joke aside, whereas Germany opposed thefrench proposal on the grounds that it would render the ECB dependent from a political body -which we now know was the thing to do-, Britain was more in line with your explanation: opposing whatever that may resemble a federal institution, and also opposing a european body that would exclude them.

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Jul 1st, 2015 at 01:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jesus Christ.

Is there a Europe or isn't there? It really doesn't seem that hard a question.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 05:13:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is. It's gearing up to crush Greece with economic warfare.

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 Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 05:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then?

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 05:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - that's the 64 trillion dollar question.

But I wonder if the IMF are in fact perfectly happy with a divided Europe pockmarked by fascist nationalist governments. There certainly seems to be no interest in preventing that outcome.

Instead of a two-speed Europe you then have a half-speed Europe, where the various countries eye each other suspiciously and are reliably unable to agree on anything that doesn't involve bullying or exploiting a weaker partner.

If you're a neoliberal, what's not to like?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 09:42:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The IMF is a US creature, and the US has never had a problem with a divided world pockmarked by fascist nationalist governments, so long as they were willing to give us our cut.
by rifek on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 11:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe is there, back with the historical tradition of a continent-wide conflict.
by das monde on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 08:36:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Though the question there is whether there is a Eurozone or not. The answer is, financially, yes, for purposes of any form of democratic oversight, not officially. {squint} Well, if the finance ministers of the Eurozone happen to encounter one another, maybe perhaps they could chat about the Eurozone as a topic.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jun 30th, 2015 at 08:06:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two reasons I can think of:

  1. The Ueberklass wanted direct access to meetings of ministers without the inconvenience of having to disclose what was going on.
  2. The EU wanted the bureaucratic version of a BS grinder, a machine that looks and sounds impressive but can't actually do anything.

#2 is what we're seeing, although I'd be shocked to learn #1 didn't happen prior to the Eurogroup setting out.  The Greeks were expecting an informal body; they got the Trans Europa Fail Train.  I consider that alone preclusive evidence the EU and the troika never intended good faith negotiations.
by rifek on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 11:37:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It isn't easy walking the image tightrope Merkel is.  "I'm just an ossi Hausfrau.  With a doctorate in chemistry.  Who still can't understand a damned thing about sovereign finance."  All the while covering over that the EU was never anything but Germany's version of the Marshall Plan: Create markets for Germany but leave out the expense and nuisance of helping those markets set up economies.
by rifek on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 11:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece has been effectively negotiating with three or four different parties, several of whom sent low-rent flunkies without a mandate to close a deal to the talks.
I'd put the number of parties at about 22, at least...

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 Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 03:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Technically yes, but I'm only counting the parties that actually matter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 04:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, this is a point where I think the Greek government might have made a mistake. Varoufakis's approach at Eurogroup meetings seems to have been limited to economics arguments (falling on deaf ears), while Tsipras concentrated only on the main players. But if, for example, they had reminded the Slovakian government that public outrage about healthcare privatisation had a large part in their return to power, and what has been enforced in Greece is in many ways worse, I think they would have had a chance at chipping away at the unity front against them.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 30th, 2015 at 01:03:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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 Mon Jun 29th, 2015 at 03:12:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series