Negotiations with Greece’s lenders will be completed by the end of this month, barring any unforseen circumstances. The Greek government will then be able to start the process of the country’s debt restructuring. The International Monetary Fund will continue to be present, probably as a technical advisor, since further decisions are necessary for Greece’s debt to become “viable” and for the IMF to continue to provide Greece with loans. Let’s not forget that the last payment by IMF was in fall 2013.
The case is complicated. Germany doesn’t want the IMF to withdrawn from the funding procedure, since the cost would burden the EU member states. The American government wants the IMF in the game, as it is uncertain whether the other three institutions will be able to proceed on their own. This might be a deadly blow to the Eurozone, that would also harm American financial interests.
Now is Eurozone’s chance! Enough with the panic of bankruptcy, caused in the case of Greece, Portugal and Ireland and now by the refugee crisis!
The Greek government however wants the IMF out, first for reasons of symbolism and second because growth cannot be achieved through austerity. This has been supported by economists – Nobel prize winners, even by the president of the U.S. Barack Obama. The leadership of IMF has also admitted – more than once – its mistakes in the applied bailout schemes for Greece.
Those who know history well, would recognize the numerous efforts being made in the past to unite Europe, which was achieved only after World War II with the support of bright minds like Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman and later on Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl and Konstantinos Karamanlis. If only in 2010 the European Union was governed by capable leaders, the financial problems of European countries would have been dealt within the European family and the Eurozone, without the need of IMF’s help. After all, IMF’s mission is to intervene in countries that have offered very little to enter the Eurozone.
I would say that now is Eurozone’s chance! Enough with the panic of bankruptcy, caused in the case of Greece, Portugal and Ireland and now by the refugee crisis! All member states should regroup around Chancellor Merkel, who wishes to take Eurozone a step further, resolve the Greek issue, as well as the refugee issue, by looking into it as a problem of her own, without help from the outside.
And something more “Greek” but relevant to what I have said so far. The Eurozone should be relieved by the mizery of accountancy, a procedure that we see taking place everyday at the Athens Hilton. A solution should be found, since the situation is – among other things – repulsing!
*Konstantinos M. Pantzios is a journalist and a political analyst.
PHOTO: Ministry of Finance [12/4/2016 – Media briefing by Minister of Finance Euklides Tsakalotos, Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis and Minister of Labor, Giorgos Katrougalos on the negotiation process]