Friday 28 October 2016

Posturing will not end crisis in Greece

Published 07/07/2015 | 02:30

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

It would appear that debt re-profiling is the latest expensive euphemism for kicking the can down the road, or maybe even catapulting it high over Crete. On what was the morning after optimism in Athens, a tetchy telephone call took place between Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras. The Greek prime minister was warned not to turn up in Brussels without a plan.

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That might be no bad thing, for if you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else; and so far in this crisis, no one appears to have a clue.

A spokesman for Ms Merkel said: "Greece is in the eurozone . . . it depends on Greece acting for it to stay that way." No great direction or leadership from that quarter.

Mr Tsipras will want debt relief and a credit line. He will be offered re-profiling. Looking on from the wings, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has said, soothingly: "We will help if needed." If a prod from the IMF can help, all the better.

So far the chic radical lefties and the rabid right-wingers have been busy chasing the sirens, and drawing their red lines, while the ordinary people of Greece are trapped in the space between. The drama that became a farce could ultimately end in tragedy for the future of the entire EU, if some authority and resolution does not manifest itself.

So far the feckless fanaticism of both sides has backfired spectacularly. The outgoing Yanis Varoufakis finally managed to achieve the only degree of uniformity so far in the crisis - all were relieved to see him go.

Something more than posturing and pirouetting on the plinth is now desperately needed.

Mr Varoufakis pledged the banks would be open today; they won't. Deadlines and brinkmanship will resolve nothing unless there is trust and a shared resolve to give and take.

We know once and for all that austerity is not the cure-all for the problems of the eurozone. A fundamental rethink on how we move forward must now be the priority.

Throwing Greece under the bus would be a disaster, and the sooner the phoney war ends and meaningful engagement begins the better- not just for the survival of Greece, but for the fractured union as a whole.

Irish Independent

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