Thursday, April 23, 2015

Greece: Troika seeks submission / subservience

Jeroen Dijsselbloem listens to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
In a more recent article than the one I referred to under point 10 of my previous post "Debt relief for Greece - Austerity kills!", it is said that "a string of academic reports documenting in detail the impacts of austerity on health care and health outcomes in Greece have recently been released [1]," showing how European authorities, IMF and Greek government policies have led to "deaths and attacks on the health of ordinary people" in Greece.

This more recent article, "In Greece, Austerity Kills", was written before Greece got a new government and it is not surprising that it quoted Yanis Varoufakis, the current minister of finance, as a "well-known Greek economist" who was critical of the Troika and the then Greek government.

The article observed that austerity doesn't work, as Europe's ongoing economic stagnation made clear. "Moreover," it said, "whatever government savings result from expenditure reductions, it is important to point out that they are built on 'blood money,' as argued recently by Yanis Varoufakis."

Varoufakis was also quoted as saying that the Greek government was even tougher, or more ruthless, than the Troika. "Varoufakis wrote recently that 'the government is not interested in the slightest in playing tough with the troika,' but 'only with its own people, trying to impress the troika with its ruthlessness."

Varoufakis was again quoted (see the link in the next sentence) when it came to showing how social life in Greece had gone down because of Troika imposed austerity. "The general deterioration of social life due to austerity is clear when the following statistics are considered."

The same Varoufakis is now trying to be tough with the Troika. But he is having hard times, much to the shame of his colleagues in other European countries such as Wolfgang SchaĆ¼ble and Jeroen Dijsselbloem. 

Before yesterday, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the group of eurozone finance ministers, said that Greece must meet its obligations and agreements if it wants to remain in the eurozone, according to a Reuters article. "It [Greece] must meet certain conditions and agreements," Dijsselbloem said.

It's the same old story: the new Greek government must behave as its predecessors -- as if elections had never taken place! 

In the meantime, the Tsipras government is losing popularity among its Greek citizens... Is that what the Troika wants?

Yes, I'm afraid that is what it wants. It wants Greece to obey to its rules. It wants to weaken the domestic strength and appeal of Syriza. And, consciously or unconsciously, it wants to give a warning signal to Podemos and its voters in Spain to not follow the Greek example.

It is a shame what Jeroen Dijsselbloem and his colleagues are doing to Greece and to democracy -- even though they might feel proud of cutting a deal with the Greek government, which Dijsselbloem expects to happen "in the coming weeks."

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