Following earlier comments from various Eurogroup members – after yesterday’s dismissal of Greece’s proposed “reforms” – ranging from Slovakia’s “Greece needs to face the naked truth,” to Dijsselbloem’s “we seem to be losing time on Greece,” and Schaeuble’s “not a lot has happened on Greece,” it appears Greece has quickly folded once again and acquiesced to EU’s demands for harsher cuts. With cash unlikely to last more than 3 weeks and being unlikely to get the EU1.9bn in bond profits from the ECB (according to EU officials), Greek officials have stated that they are “willing to enrich” the list of reforms.
Having been shamed what seems like numerous times now by the Eurogroup in recent weeks, Greece suffered its greatest humiliation today. First, the farcical renaming of ‘Troika‘ to ‘Institutions’ was summarily dismissed as “semantics,” as France played good cop (asking for the group not to call it Troika) while Germany’s bad-cop Schaeuble used the T-word four times in one interview. And second, Eurogroup chairman Dijsselbloem stated that “technical teams will begin considering Greek reform plans on Wednesday,” adding that some of the negotiations will have to take place “in situ in Athens.” So instead of discussing reforms with institutions in Brussels, the Varoufakis-defined “cabal of technocrats” Troika will be back on Greek soil to straighten out the nation. Continue reading »
Just when you thought it was getting better (or so you would believe if you listened to the mainstream media’s punditry) Greece faces what ekathimerini reports is a “situation worse than in 2012.” From well-known Belgian beer to electronics equipment, the first occurrences of shortages in imported goods and raw materials have arisen as a result of Greek enterprises’ inability to pay with cash in advance.
Hundreds of people jostled for free vegetables handed out by farmers in a symbolic protest earlier on Wednesday, trampling one man and prompting an outcry over the growing desperation created by economic crisis. Continue reading »
No lessor official than European Commission President (and liar-when-it’s-serious) Jean-Claude Juncker has called for the creation of an EU army… in order to show Russia “that [The EU is] serious about defending European values.” Juncker explained an EU army would “help us fulfil Europe’s responsibilities in the world,” arguing that NATO was not enough since not all EU members are part of the alliance. As one stunned euro-skeptic exclaimed, “we have all seen the utter mess the EU has made of the economy, so how can we even think of trusting them with its defence.”
There was one reaction by the Eurogroup following the (delayed) submission of the Greek 7-point reform proposal – which includes the brilliant idea to use foreign tourists as wired, part-time tax spies - in advance of the latest Monday finmin meeting: laughter.
Financial Times reports that the reaction from eurozone officials to the tourist plan was received with humor. They thought the proposal was hilarious and even laughed when they read it. “It’s quite hilarious, if it were not so tragic, that this is what a government in an industrialised country comes up with,” said one eurozone official involved in the talks.
There will be little laughter in cash-strapped Greece, however, if the Sunday Times is correct in its report that the “Eurogroup finance ministers are to reject radical reform proposals from Greece at a meeting in Brussels tomorrow.” Continue reading »
The German government finally wakes up, a little bit at least, and recognizes the obvious fact that U.S. neocons want to drag Europe into a war. It is now openly blaming certain circles within the U.S. government and NATO of sabotaging the Minsk ceasefire agreement. Especially offensive is the fantasy talk of U.S. and NATO commander General Breedlove::
For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove’s numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America’s NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO. Continue reading »
In Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square, a small group of Spaniards waved the flag of Novorossiya, the territory once ruled by the Russian empire that encompasses swathes of modern day Ukraine. With the Russian revolutionary symbol of the hammer and sickle fluttering behind them, they denounced the arrest of eight Spanish nationals for fighting with the pro-Russia militia force the International Brigades of Donbass — the first police operation on European soil against foreign civilians who have joined the separatists in the country’s conflict-ravaged east. Continue reading »
While Russia’s envoy to NATO notes that statements by the deputy head of NATO testify to the fact that the leaders of the bloc want to intervene in Russia’s internal politics, and are “dreaming of Russian Maidan,” Washington has a bigger problem… Germany. As Der Spiegel reports, while US President Obama ‘supports’ Chancellor Merkel’s efforts at finding a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, hawks in Washington seem determined to torpedo Berlin’s approach. And NATO’s top commander in Europe hasn’t been helping either with sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove’s comments as “dangerous propaganda.”
The Fed and the ECB know exactly that it is totally insane what they are doing, unless you want to destroy the middle class and the entire financial system, which is exactly what they are doing and deliberately so.
In short, the entire citizenry of the euro area has already become poorer due to the efforts of the ECB. The explicit goal of the central bank is now to make them even more so. What is the point of such a policy?
There is of course a point to this seeming lunacy: it is all done to support the profligate governments of Europe’s welfare states and keep the formation of the socialistic super-state in Europe on track. Whether this is seen as good or bad by the average citizen is not even up for debate: it is simply what the political and bureaucratic elites have long ago decided is good for the citizenry, since they think they know best. One might say that it is up to said citizens to elect someone who would do things differently, but that runs into the practical problem that many, even most, of the political groups offering an alternative are even bigger etatistes than the current elite. Whether they are of the socialist or the nationalist (more precisely, national socialist) variety matters little in this context. One would have to expect them to implement even more central economic planning.
The ECB may succeed in increasing economic activity and prices in Europe (especially the latter) by stepping up the pace of monetary pumping even more. However, this will not create any new wealth and will ultimately only sow the seeds of the next crisis. Since many economic regions in Europe are already very poor structural shape, it is also possible that that not even the illusion of economic growth can be created anymore. Bondholders should however be happy, as they can now unload the debt of governments that are up to their eyebrows in debt that will never be repaid in real terms on a buyer with unlimited buying power.
See, by now you would think that anyone who reads that all 31 US banks that were tested have passed the Fed stress test, knows this says absolutely nothing about the banks, but all the more about the test. You would think. But the media try – and succeed – to cram it down the public’s throat as a success story anyway.
There’s simply a very strong feeling, if not conviction, in the western media, that they’ve won the propaganda battle. They have no adversary other than the blogosphere, and since they reach a thousand times more people, who are to a (wo)man more complacent and gullible than any of your typical interwebs readers, Bob’s their uncle. Continue reading »
Perhaps echoing two entire nations’ frustration, one reporter loses his cool when Mario Draghi explains how everyone else in Europe gets free money except Greece and Cyprus…
Having explained that The ECB’s Bond-Buying program wil lnot include Greek and Cypriot bonds, “feisty” veteran Greek journalist Aristidis Vikettos unloads on Draghi… “You’re Biased…” he exclaimed, leaving Draghi speechless
Mario Draghi was left speechless on live television when a feisty veteran journalist accused him of bias during really tense moments at a press conference, following the conclusion of the ECB Governing Council meeting in Nicosia. Continue reading »
The European Central Bank will kick off its monthly €60 billion purchases of government bonds and private sector assets next Monday, said the head of the ECB Mario Draghi.
“Following up on our decisions of 22 January 2015, we will, on 9 March 2015, start purchasing euro-denominated public sector securities in the secondary market. We will also continue purchasing asset-backed securities and covered bonds, which we started last year,” Draghi said in a press-release published Thursday after a news conference in Cyprus.
The programme will last till September 2016, Draghi confirmed. The €1.14 trillion package is hoped to avert deflation and save the eurozone from a triple-dip recession.Continue reading »
For the first time in public, though practically the entire world assumed it, an official from The IMF has admitted that the various Greek bailouts were not for The Greeks at all… “They gave money to save German and French banks, not Greece,” Paolo Batista, one of the Executive Directors of International Monetary Fund told Greek private Alpha TV on Tuesday. As KeepTalkingGreece reports, Batista then went on to strongly criticized not only the euro zone and the European Central Bank but also the IMF and the Fund’s managing Director Christine Lagarde for defending Europe much too much…
Oops! “The Greek issues were not the best handled by The IMF… They put too much of a bruden on Greece and not enough of a burden on Greece’s creditors“
Batista then urged Greece to directly negotiate with the IMF and favored the restructuring of the Greek debt that is been hold by the European partners.Continue reading »
As reported over the past two days, in order to fund the payment on various imminent debt maturities to the IMF, the cash-strapped Greek government has been forced to consider, among other things, raiding Greek pension to procure the required funds. We noted yesterday, citing Reuters, that Greece will use short-term repo transactions to transfer the cash, but one government official said they could not be used to repay the IMF.
Greece is tapping into the cash reserves of pension fundsand public sector entities through repo transactions as it scrambles to cover its funding needs this month, debt officials told Reuters on Tuesday…. At least part of the state’s cash needs for the month will be met by repo transactions in which pension funds and other state entities sitting on cash lend the money to the country’s debt agency through a short-term repurchase agreement for up to 15 days, debt agency officials told Reuters
“Repo” because the implication is that this funding need is temporary. Of course, should it provide to be anything but, the local population will promptly exhibit very angry tendencies once it is revealed that the “radical left” government plundered Greek pensions to pay the IMF which could then immediately turn around and use the fund to pay the Kiev government, which in turn could pay Putin to keep the gas running. Where Greece will find an additional source of funds to replace this Pension “repo” was not quite clear as of this writing. Continue reading »
The ink is not even dry on the much fought extension of the Greek bailout, so hated in Greece because it perpetuates the “austerity” memorandum conditions and already Spain, which as a reminder is suddenly not on very good speaking terms with the Syriza government, is stoking the anti-austerity fire in Athens even more when moments ago Spain’s Guindos revealed that not only is a third Greek bailout imminent, and will cost Europe’s (and America’s via the IMF) taxpayers between €30 and €50 billion, but that Spain, whose banks were completely insolvent as recently as 2 years ago and were only “saved” thanks to the ECB’s direct and indirect (repo) bond monetization pathways will provide between 13% and 14% of the funding!
“THIRD GREEK RESCUE’ TO BE EU30B-EU50B: SPAIN’S DE GUINDOS
SPAIN TO PROVIDE 13-14% OF EU30B-EU5O 3RD GREEK RESCUE: GUINDOS
What makes the announcement doubly ironic (the broke bailout out the insolvent, or is the bankrupt saving the liquidating?), is that after yesterday’s allegation by Tsipras that there was a “conspiracy” between Spain and Portugal to derail the new Greek government, earlier today German Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger tells reporters in Berlin that “Tsipras’ remarks that Spain and Portugal took negotiations over Greece’s bailout to the brink of failure in a bid to avoid domestic political consequences was “a very unusual foul play.” Continue reading »
For all the attention given to Greece, is Portugal really that much better off?
Even a brief glance at the facts suffices. Portugal is no less bankrupt than Greece. The country’s government debt, at 124% of GDP, might be lower than in Greece. However, government debt is just one – even though important – part of the full debt picture.
On an aggregate level, Portugal’s overall debt level — at 381% of GDP when also including private households and non-financial corporations — is well above Greece’s total debt level (286% of GDP).Continue reading »
Greek short-term default risk jumped over 300bps today putting the odds of a restructuring at 50-50 within the next year as the warnings we issued last week with regard Greece’s imminent default on its IMF loan loom. Seeking to reassure its lenders (and avoid yet more capital flight), Reuters reports the Greek government said it was “exploring solutions,” including delaying payments to suppliers or try to raise up to 3 billion euros by borrowing from state entities such as pension funds. Continue reading »