Friday 19 January 2018

Endgame in Greek drama is fast approaching

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras looks worried after a European Union leaders summit in Brussels (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras looks worried after a European Union leaders summit in Brussels (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)
Greek Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis are pictured, as the Eurozone continues to 'play hardball' (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris )
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis found himself even more isolated in Brussels, where the finance ministers could not even agree a concluding statement - extremely unusual in the world of diplomacy and a sign of profound disagreement (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Since the Greek election 19 days ago, almost everything has played out as expected. The hard-left Syriza party which won power remains committed to introducing a series of hard-left policies. Many of these policies require more money - in one form or another - from other countries to implement.

The rest of the Eurozone remains opposed to the direction the Greek government is taking, and to paying for it. Opposition ranges from strong to implacable. Collectively, the rest of the Eurozone is playing hardball with Athens. So far, so utterly predictable.

If there has been anything surprising since the election, it has been how quickly the Greek government abandoned its demand that other European countries write off the debts they are owed. As a write-off was never going to happen, the Syriza-led administration has backed away from that unwinnable battle early, saving its near non-existent bargaining power for the many other battles it is fighting and others it still has to fight.

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