Papandreou’s bailout referendum bombshell: has a broader German agenda inspired it?

Pap and Merk…strange bedfellows?

George Papandreou may well turn out to be a true democrat. But it seems unlikely that the bailout referendum is entirely his idea.

The Greek government will hold a referendum on a new EU aid package, calling on voters to say whether they want to adopt it or not, Prime Minister George Papandreou said yesterday. The news unleashed a vitriolic reaction from opposition parties, which accused Papandreou of looking for a way out for his embattled party by dragging Greece through a further period of political instability.

“We trust citizens, we believe in their judgement, we believe in their decisions,” Mr Papandreou told ruling socialist party legislators, adding, “Bigger debts bring bigger austerity, and there has been a systematic effort of disinformation by certain media and political parties.”

As 60% of Greeks said – in a survey conducted last Saturday – that they view last Thursday’s EU summit agreement on a new 130bn euro bailout package as ‘negative or probably negative’, the media are now engaged in trying to second-guess what the Greek leader might be up to: does he want to woo the Greek electorate and win…or does he want to lose and thus create a deeper EU crisis?

There had been talk of calling a referendum in some form or other, but the fact that citizens would be asked to vote on the latest bailout deal came as a shock to many Greeks. It certainly took Papandreou’s backbenchers by surprise. More to the point, it has come as a catatonic shock-horror to the Brussels Sprouts.

But Finance Minister Angelo Venizelos was well aware of the plan. And Mr Venizelos is not a particular domestic ally of George Papandreou. This suggests very strongly to me that the vote idea was hatched in a more international context.

Last night, I watched as various pundits on BBC2’s Newsnight opined that “the key question” in all this was whether Papandreou would lose or not. I find myself ever-more perplexed by the Beeb’s sometimes willful ability to miss the point, and cover up this disability with drivel. The key point here is, quite simply, why in tarnation has Papandreou done this in the first place?

Several sites and news titles this morning are positioning the referendum call as a means by which Papandreou can ‘transfer responsibility to the Greek people’. I can’t see how that would help him at all. I can certainly appreciate that the move has put the Opposition on the back foot: but placing the whole fiscal recovery plan in jeopardy for temporary advantage simple doesn’t ring true.

So consider for a minute what the effect would be if, a month before the referendum is due to take place, a ‘no’ vote looks almost certain. Setting aside the likelihood that all kinds of other brown solids will be slamming into the eurofan by then, the effect on Greek bondholders is very likely to be one of panic: now even their 50% write off would be looking distinctly queasy. It is highly likely that, in such a situation, they’d settle for a 75% write-off – in preference to Greek chaos, followed by them getting nothing back at all.

Suddenly, the Greek debt load is reduced still further. Greece’s calling upon the EFSF funding is reduced and postponed. The likelihood of Germany coughing up for Greek default is also lessened. The precedent of massive debt-forgiveness is set. The chances of Spanish and Portuguese collapse thus recede. Even Italy might be saved. For once, the bankers take the biggest hit: not only is this popular with most EU citizens, many recapitalised eurobanks will survive…especially the already ringfenced German lenders.

Now there is a new deal, and the Greeks enthusiastically back its far less onerous terms in the ensuing referendum. In return for this brighter outlook, the ClubMeds stick with the EU, and acquiesce in greater control from Berlin. Papandreou not only survives in power, he becomes something of a hero.

But France’s heavily Greek-exposed banks are placed in deep jeopardy, and the French Government is forced to bail them out. The country loses its Triple-A credit rating, and is – effectively – reduced to being a vassal of Germany.

Merkel’s victory is complete. German revenge over France is total. The banks are given a slap and a precedent to worry about. And a stronger, Berlin-directed European Union emerges…still in possession of its additional anti-crisis firepower. Britain, meanwhile, is ever more isolated.

This isn’t just speculation. Both Papandreou and Venizelos made a high-profile visit to Berlin a few weeks back…for no apparent reason. Also notable was the ease with which Greece suddenly found four weeks more money when the German’s stonewalled on the new bailout tranche soon afterwards. And, of course, there was Germany’s sudden discovery last week that it had ‘found’ 58bn euros it didn’t know it had. This is not the sort of thing Germans tend to do.

Games are being played here, on one level or another. Personally, I think the chances of this sort of speculated scenario being pulled off are minimal. But I would bet the farm that some form of thinking in this general area lies behind what is, otherwise, an inexplicable decision by Papandreou. The Slog wondered some weeks ago what side-deal was being promised to the Athens mob in return for imposing appalling levels of austerity upon its people. This latest development may well represent a major clue as to why the Greek Government has remained ostensibly loyal to Brussels.

Related: EU & global events seem likely to isolate the British

123 thoughts on “Papandreou’s bailout referendum bombshell: has a broader German agenda inspired it?

  1. The Greek government must impose strict austerity anyhow, since:
    1. The country still lives over its sheer means.
    2. The Global recession will far worsen the budgetary balance
    e.g. reduce exports/tourism, lay offs at international firms.
    3. Need to invest in R&D and entrepreneurship.

    France can sell its governmental holding in the economy to Germany
    in exchange for the remaining cash stockpiles.


  2. The markets have spoken

    Market Data

    Last Updated at 08:08
    FTSE 100 5544.22 Down -158.02 -2.77%
    Dax 6141.34 Down -204.85 -3.23%
    Cac 40 3242.84 Down -105.79 -3.16%
    Dow Jones 11955.01 Down -276.10 -2.26%
    Nasdaq 2684.41 Down -52.74 -1.93%
    BBC Global 30 5488.92 Down -23.13 -0.42%


  3. Greece cannot hair shirt itself back to sanity, its gone too far.
    At a minimum, it would require 30% wage cuts across the board, and thats BEFORE the recession tore apart its holiday earning and its construction sector flatlined.


  4. But will it make lenders more maleable – or will it just make them harden, claim a formal default and invoke CDS payments earlier?

    The DT this morning states that International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) are still defating whether the currently proposed 50% haircut is a formal default. May be this will push them towards that position?

    How would the above scenario then play out?


  5. I think that it is the actual principle of having the referendum, the perfect insurance perhaps?

    ‘Dave’, please take note.


  6. Julian
    I love the idea of defating something – it’s perfect for the EU: a sort of cross between pricking balloons and defeating opposition by diktat.


  7. I wouldn’t give the Euro politicians credit for the ability to see a game of chess to its conclusion, let alone skulldugery on this scale. But something has changed…….
    ‘Following the money’ is often a credible strategy when sleuthing, but I don’t see it this time ……


  8. ” “We trust citizens, we believe in their judgement, we believe in their decisions,” Mr Papandreou told ruling socialist party legislators,”

    I know of no political party, let alone a socialist one, who has ever believed or practiced this. Far from it. That means his real reason for calling a referendum is not what the media thinks.

    My best guess is that he is taking self protection action. He is well aware that even the latest EU bailout nonsense will subject Greeks to a decade of penury and of growing unrest in Greece and peoples’ feelings towards the EU and especially Germany (see my other post with a Link).
    So he wants to either get broad public support for the bailouts which would serve to reduce public unrest by saying “you voted for the bailouts” OR get their non-approval for them and move towards a hard default. Either way, he can present himself as a leader who listens and who finds himself in a mess not of his making.


  9. Having watched the little man crowing on French TV about how he had saved France (or something) I can only imagine his little gallic shrug last night when he realised that he might have a bit more work to do.


  10. JW

    Was the Greek Post Office $1.3 Billion Greek Sovereign CDS bet and subsequent home in Switzerland that you reported just an urban myth or is the PM just ensuring an uncontested credit default occurs for his friends?


  11. It seems to.
    Merkel is dancing on pinheads and letting the e-zone mess worsen…

    On the one hand she doesn’t want to go down in history as the German Chancellor who caused the Euro to fail. But on the other, she knows that for it to stand even a slim chance of survival there must be tight fiscal and political union across all member countries, hence the plans to have German supervisors in each member state capital to sign-off all future national budgets.

    What a mess!!!!!!!!


  12. I understand there will be a third box to tick under the referendum question of “do you want to be shafted for all time by the Norther Europeans”
    or Μετάβαση γαμήσου ΕΕ


  13. It is reported there is to be a confidence vote in the Greek Parliament on Firday. If the government loses and is brought down, what then…elections? If so, the promise of a referendum by Panandreou could help bring him back to power.


  14. John I think you have hit the nail upon the head, Its a new bargaining position. Two points.
    1. Buiter at Citi has pointed that 90% 0f Greek Debt is written under Greek law. Pass a law, 100 % total debt write off.
    2. Soros stated a 50% private sector write off reduces the total Greek debt only 20%. Its not enough. IMF and ECB loans are not included in this 50% private sector write off.

    Sarkozy tried to save his banks, his AAA and his re-election chances before trying to fix the Greek insolvency. Furthermore I notice the EFSF cancelled a 5 billion euro auction yesterday, lack of interest from prospective buyers for this leveraged smoke & mirrors exercise?

    Back to the table. This time not 20% total Greek debts. Think 75% including the ECB & IMF. Wonder how thats going to go down with Obama and the American taxpayer when they are asked to cough up?


  15. I wonder why the G20 have not considered (retrospective) cancellation of all synthetic CDS? That should unwind a large amount of the CDS “risk”.


  16. Hi John

    I am hearing that the Referendum will be in January, it should happen in November as any delay could be considered delaying tactics by the Eurozone leaders (Merkel) to buy more time and kick the can even more down the road.

    At this rate Italy will not last until january anyway, Italian 10 year bond yields currently 6.20-6.25% just short of the highs from August this year. Apparently the ECB has been buying bonds in the secondary markets… could have fooled me.

    Go on Papandreou prove me wrong and call the referendum in November, turn the screw on Brussels…


  17. The only option would be to include public holders of Greek debt as well in the haircut, this will not happen as it would bring down the ECB which is heavily exposed (50-60 billion) to Greek Sovereign debt.

    If the ECB fell over for whatever reason the Euro would be finished and most likely the EU as well.


  18. If the people vote no to the bailout many will consider it a no vote to Greece’s place in the Euro, which would most likely lead to default and a Euro exit.

    I wonder if it is the Greek Army that has triggered this referendum, has one of the General’s had a word with Papandreou…


  19. Italian 10 year bond yields are currently at 6.20%.

    The Spread with German Bunds is 436 bpts – from what I remember at 450bpts there will be a margin call. This is what triggered Ireland etc. to call up the IMF? Therefore are Italy days away from collapse?


  20. Raw GENIUS!

    At first I thought Papandreou was nuts bringing up a referendum at this time.

    Then I realized – this man has committed a masterstroke! The timing, the total surprise, the way Papandreou led the inept and clueless Europeans along, the pure shock when the Troika found out that they had just been sucker-punched! Brilliant!

    Now that Greece has finally regained the whip hand, G-Pap can drop his next kung-fu move – Greece has maybe two months left before a hard default. So the referendum gives G-Pap the blackmail tool he needs to force the Troika to renegotiate new and milder bailout terms. Plus, who can argue with “more democracy?”

    If the renegotiation is successful, either the referendum is cancelled or will go through successfully. Renegotiation fails, and Greece defaults and Euroinstitutions get a black eye. No renegotiation, and the referendum succeeds, in which G-Pap finally has a mandate, or fails, in which we get a default, which was inevitable anyway. At least if Greece defaults now, Papandreou can pass the buck onto the Troika and the people.

    From the G-Pap perspective, any outcome is better than the status quo. (I do not think that this is German skullduggery at all. If Germans wanted economic or any other control over Europe – they could have had that months ago by simply offering to pay for it.)

    A gangster move! The Troika cannot compete.


  21. Why only

    “Überwachungskapazität vor Ort” (monitoring capacity on the ground)

    why not Reich Protectors!

    Who drafts this tosh? Thick-skinned or just stupid?


  22. Another reason that I strongly doubt that this is part of a German master plan for Eurodomination is that there is nothing to prevent Ireland or Portugal from repeating the Greek strategy and calling for a referendum in order to extract better bailout terms.

    This could get very expensive very fast and would definitely lead to electoral fallout in Germany, no matter what the outcome.


  23. I’m not that keen on conspiracies either but chance does favour the prepared mind. Greece defaults and the response, before Ireland and Portugal ask for some as well, is ‘this must never happen again. Just a small twiddle to the treaty that binds us and all will be well. Sad about France isn’t it?’


  24. Sid
    I think the scenario where Papa falls this Friday and then gets a massive majority for his referendum is an interesting idea.
    As for whether Geli Merk know anything about this, I’ll wait to watch her body language today.


  25. Brilliant move, albeit a year and a half late.

    All Europe has done for Greece is dictate the path of development as a Geopolitical strategic protectorate. Think Churchill, Stalin and De Gaul after WW2.
    Joining the customs union and consequently the Euro, could not have been a worse idea for Greek Citizens. In fact, it ended up destroying whatever industry was there (not saying that Greece was a great industrial nation or anything) but basically forced Greeks to allow in cheaper (and better I digress) imports, live off loans, produce nothing (apart from Tourism) and question no-one. So the vicious circle of corruption could carry on feeding itself without a worry. Now the people have wisen up to all these games and want an answer, a solution which cannot be given by the same politicians that helped put the system in place.

    The new bailout calls of stupendous austerity measures and for what? Greeks will get nothing apart from another 50 years of unsustainable debt that will be accumulated, not from the markets this time, but from their “friends” in Europe.

    Bottom line, any union that does not take into account fiscal parameters can only make rich parties richer and poor ones poorer


  26. Jon.
    Can small “twiddle” to the treaty happen in time, would the Germans agree?
    Looks like Italy may overshadow Greece anyway…one the of the main problems they all seem to be suffering from is, events overtaking circumstances….they just can’t think it through quick enough..somehow I think France will survive…


  27. Yeah…I thought it provided a good insight to how the pressure is building up across EU electorates. If I were an EU-crat, I’d be looking to return to my home country soonest…and if I were an EU-pol, I’d be looking to give my security guards a pay rise for loyalty!


  28. “The only option would be to include public holders of Greek debt as well in the haircut, this will not happen as it would bring down the ECB which is heavily exposed (50-60 billion) to Greek Sovereign debt.”

    Interesting. I wonder if this devious arrangement plays on the minds of private investors who must be thinking that if the ECB et al also took a haircut, their own haircut would be reduced considerably.


  29. Well, I’m not sure where Greek boys come into this. But never before has Merky been so popular. 200+ hits and rising!


  30. I have just come across a fabulous conspiracy theory, it goes like this:
    Goldman Sachs “planted” Greece in the EU as a bomb to be detonated by Wall St whenever it chose to. The US stops short of nothing to maintain the status of the reserve currency and as it looked like the Euro threatened that status is has detonated the bomb! Couldn’t make it up,… could you?


  31. “Games are being played here, on one level or another.”

    The game is played by only two players: the taxpayers and the debtors. One player may get very tired of this.


  32. Looks like the referendum is disappearing before the Greek people’s eyes….
    Is this Sarcozy’s or Merkel’s doing…I think the former..
    There will be civil war I believe if this comes to pass.


  33. If the ECB is active in the bond markets it is making no difference what so ever, we are not far off the August peaks for Italian 10 yr bonds.

    Back in August German bunds had higher yields so we did not get that close to a 450pt spread, we are very close now as German yields have dipped at the same time as Italian yields have soared.

    It would seem that the Greek PM told noone in advance of this not even his own Finance Minister, good for him.

    Greece is a Sovereign Country as does not have to ask anyone else’s permission (Eurozone/EU) when calling a referendum…

    The Eurozone & EU leaders still don’t seem to understand what it means to be a Sovereign Country, there may not be a Greek vote at all as I have a feeling that Italy is really close to the edge.

    The culture and economy of the north and the south are just too different.

    Better if the Euro had never been born, but at least it will take the EU with it.

    I know one thing the time when smoke and mirrors worked is over…


  34. Interesting …I’ve seen similar theories before.

    But I think it’s probably more likely that the Greeks saw the e-zone as a very nice solution to its unsustainable debt problems. As did Portugal, Spain and probably Italy and a few others. Northern Europeans simply don’t understand the Latin mind. I mean the whole idea of the EU is “we’re all this together”. They just omitted to tell Germany that IT is expected to pay the bills for all this comradeship and brotherly lurve…

    It’s all beginning to resemble a kiddies pantomime.


  35. You can’t unsay the word referendum without consequences, I think there will be one but it will need to be soon as Italy is looking wobbly.

    I think Sarkozy has run out of time to save his countries banks, it is not looking good at all for him. I think he can kiss France’s AAA rating goodbye.

    The Greek PM has gone all in and if others in his party and abroad try to scupper the referendum the people of Greece will know who the enemy of democracy is. You can’t argue with the idea of a referendum as it puts the decision in the hands of the people, that is what terrifies the EU so much.


  36. “I know one thing the time when smoke and mirrors worked is over…”

    I think you’re right, Mark. The pressure cooker looks close to exploding.


  37. I don’t see how this is a ploy to inspire Greek bond haircuts up to 75%. It’s not just banks holding these bonds. A large portion of the bond holders are GREEK PENSION FUNDS. Why would Pap do something that will surely set the stage for more civil unrest? Sometimes the simplest explanation is best: he is absolving himself of responsibility from what happens next.


  38. Greece has not even defaulted yet and Ireland and Portugal are already lined up to rework their deals.

    Again, if Germany wanted Eurodomination (they don’t) they could have it, simply by being willing to pay for it. German taxpayers are not ready to pay that price, and it is getting more expensive.

    All accounts so far suggest that Germany, like France and the IMF, were completely blindsided by G-Pap.


  39. The fact that G-Pap has put the matter to a referendum, a vote of the people, ostensibly not subject to his control, is part of what the whole juijitsu move so stunning in its insight.

    What Europolitician wants to come out in public against “democracy”?


  40. Sovereign defaults often result in discrimination among bondholders – but I think you are correct that one outcome to the referendum is a rejection of the bailout.

    Of course, a default will come, no matter who holds Greek government bonds. The only questions are what payout will be offered, and will it be feasible under the circumstances?


  41. Events are moving very fast in Greece…

    It seems he needs a 3/5 majority for the referendum to go ahead, if the referendum call gets voted down the shit will really hit the fan in Greece.

    At least the people of Greece will know who is on their side… if Papandreou pulls it off he will end up with a cast iron mandate to either push through with the cuts or leave the Euro altogether.

    No one will be able to argue with him whether they are within Greece or outside.

    Keep a close eye on Italy as I would not put it past Berlusoni to do the same especially after the Italians were publicly humiliated at last weeks summit, I think that Sarkozy and Merkel are going to regret that smirk they gave in response to the questions about Italy.

    If Greece goes full default the ECB is going to collapse under the weight of all the Greek writedowns on it’s books…

    Europe was just not ready for the Euro, they were warned when the Euro was still on the drawing board but they just laughed.


  42. Highly unlikely and in any case the stocks are going back up because they hit bottom and everyone is piling back in for a bargain.

    Its the Bond yields you have to watch not the stocks.

    It was the bond yields which forced Portugal, Ireland and Greece into asking for a bailout, Italy could be next…


  43. It was the strength of the Euro that destroyed the tourism industry, it made everything too expensive and holiday makers went elsewhere, it has happened all across the PIIGS.

    Same thing happened to the construction industry as the completed homes were too expensive for Spaniards, ex-pats or international investors to buy, why do you think Spain has 600000 unsold homes…

    With such important areas of the PIIGS economies in dire straights it is no wonder unemployment went throught the roof.


  44. Essentially Papandreou has said:

    “I am being forced into this and I don’t want to do it, please stop me”

    A referendum is the last refuge when all else has failed. If it is blocked by pressure from Merkel and Sarkozy it merely reinforces the loss of Greek Sovereignty even further.

    It is the USSR all over again and we know how that ended.


  45. Once you stop thinking that the responses to the crisis should be rational and provide a solution – which none have been for about a year and over a dozen summits – you are left with either (1) the politicians are fools or (2) there are other agendas. I’m inclining to the latter though would not discount the first option entirely. But any informed observer could have predicted that this would come to pass and many have. One assumes that someone would have advised Sarkozy and Merkel. I’m struggling to see that something else isn’t going on in the background. But what and why?


  46. I presume everyone’s seen the Emergency Greek Cabinet meeting that ought to have started 16:00 GMT UK and also the reference that the Greek Government could even fall (they push Papendr….out) earlier that the referendum vote


  47. Marcjf.
    “I’m struggling to see that something else isn’t going on in the background. But what and why?”
    That’s beginning to be my train of thought too…


  48. Either to avoid one or to create one…

    It could be used to bypass the need for a vote by the Greek parliament, thereby guaranteeing that the referendum will go ahead.


  49. Ah there we go Italian bond yields just dropped back to 6.20%, so the ECB has finally gone in heavy.

    It is still too high tho…


  50. Bring on the Colonels! And Greece is just the start. Let’s all fear the Italian Army with its new tanks: one forward and 15 reverse gears.


  51. Your (1) and (2) are correct in my opinion.

    But there is another VERY important (3) …
    The whole reason for the EU was to create a single country: USE with a centralised, unelected government in Brussels. That EXcludes many of the possible solutions from being considered. Thus, the only possibles are those which leave the E-zone and EU intact and able to plough ahead with its bigger agenda. The cost to taxpayers, banks, pension funds, investors and national societies is secondary to keeping their project on the road.
    As Daniel Hannan said today, the EU elites must be furious with the Greek referendum plan because they have only contempt for democracy.

    But as we have seen, their gameplan is unravelling in front of our eyes.
    Greee is on the rocks and it looks like Italy is deteriorating fast. Portugal is already living on EU Welfare and so it goes on…


  52. kfc1404

    I read on this site about the Germans wanting to leave the Euro and printing DM again – in fact it was speculated to happen a week or so ago before the summit was postponed. Exploring this further- to avoid the disapproval of France et al – would not they pretend to go along with a ruinous plan which could not work – watch the markets savage it – then kill it and the Euro with a deferred Greek referendum. January is mooted. By then the price of bonds for the Ez will make any bail out untenable. So over the Xmas holidays the Germans come out of the Euro and into the DM – thus decoupling themselves from horrendous liabilities.

    But at the end of it the Germans could say they have done all they could. This could be an internal and external sell.

    I’m not suggesting this is anything but personal speculation. But this whole thing looks like it was set up to fail. The process does not look to me like it was ever designed to deliver a solution that would work.

    I don’t really hold with conspriracy theories about the 4th Reich – but if I was running Germany (not necessarily Merkel??) I’d want an exit route and make sure all the ducks were in a row…..


  53. The weakness in your conspiracy theory is when you say:

    “…this whole thing looks like it was set up to fail. The process does not look to me like it was ever designed to deliver a solution that would work.”

    I am quite sure a vast majority of the EU elites want a solution, providing it ensures the continuity of the EU project. Finding one is the problem.
    Whole careers and fat pensions rest on the EU surviving.


  54. Bankrup Taxpayer

    I think you are right when you say the 3rd reason my be to create crisis conditions to allow a superstate to emerge – and indeed many in Brussels would like that to occur. And killing the goose which lays the golden egg is not a good idea in acheiving this aim.

    And I’m only really speculating – not putting forward anything I have thought through. Though I suspect the Germans have a Plan B. Which I am positing MAY be their real Plan A?

    I work quite a bit in insolvency and see financial denial and “doubling up” all the time. Watching Sarkozy on TV the other day reminded me of all that. He has only hot air and spin to play with. he’s out of money and options. Going to the Chinese to borrow money in their currency??!!!

    So I am curious as to whether they are truely desperate fools or if there are other currents flowing…

    And for the record I live in France and love the place and people but the collective delusion over here is quite something to behold.


  55. Certainly something I don’t understand is: Why do the PIIGS continue to dance to Brussel’s tune?
    Why are they not saying to them that the project has failed. Surely the tail could be wagging the dog here. What could Brussels do?


  56. I also thought the Germans would exit, and the delay in doing so was to enable them to print their new currency, but with bit of research it would appear that it takes about 2 yrs flat out to create a currency from scratch, and they would have to do that, as they could hardly whip out the old one, could they?


  57. Anything around 6% is still punitive long term, Italy can’t afford that with the amounts that need to be rolled over.


  58. “I think you are right when you say the 3rd reason my be to create crisis conditions to allow a superstate to emerge – and indeed many in Brussels would like that to occur.”

    That’s not actually what I said. Sorry if it came across that way.

    The European Superstate has ALWAYS been the prime reason for creating the EU in the minds of many EU elites, despite the fact that they (and British political elites) dance around this subject and rarely confirm or deny it. The E-zone provided further irrefutable evidence of the political intentions behind the EU’s creation.

    IMV, it is this fundamental *reason-for-existence* of the EU which prevents the current crop of elites from considering possible solutions that might solve the crises.
    So, they are left with solutions which will not solve it. But I don’t think this is to ensure the EU & E-zone fail. Far from it. It’s because the only half-decent solution is for the E-zone to break up but the elites cannot face that.


  59. The strain is starting to show and the public dressing down given to Italy last week (a sovereign nation) will not have helped.


  60. What’s the option that the referendum is a distraction? The media have said that it calls into question the bailout, what bailout? Do they mean the bailout that never was and would never be? Is the referendum question easier to manipulate then the bailout and gives them more time and options for saving the Euro?
    Just a thought, think I need a drink!


  61. So I suppose a question might be to ask if those pushing integration(“the EU Elite” -howsoever defined) or those who are protecting national interest are in the driving seat? Seems to me the game could be changing. The EU Elite are certainly sitting on heavy losses (sorry we are) and keep betting on black but the roulette wheel comes up red each time. They think the game is fixed and indeed it is. But maybe sensible forces (ie in Germany) are pulling back from all this? Though I think France has no option but to stay at the table.

    I don’t know but I get a strong sense that we are back in 1989 with the fall of the Wall – could be seismic events about to happen.

    And I agree the rational approach is to fracture the EZ – but as you say – what is the chance of them doing something sensible??


  62. There is just too much going on to get a handle on what could be. It looks like a loss of control and attempts by outsiders to get the Greeks back into the groove will spark more unrest.
    More interesting would be if citizens other similarly affercted countries now also demanding referenda.
    I thought that this week was going to be a beauty but this is weel beyond my expectations!


  63. @Royal blue
    From Zerohedge –
    • Greece has €350 billion in total debt including about €70 billion in Troika “post-petition” loans; these are untouched.
    • Of the €280 billion, roughly €75 billion is held by the ECB: this, like
    the Troika loans, will be untouched.
    • This leaves just ~€200 billion in actual debt to undergo a haircut.
    • Apply a 50% haircut to this debt (ignoring the fact that of this about €35 billion is held by Greek pension funds, and once the realization that Greek pensions have been cut in half dawns upon the population, the result will be the biggest riots ever seen in Athens yet).
    • Total debt to be cut: just about €100 billion.
    • Hence, of the total €350 billion, just €100 billion is eliminated, most of it used to backstop and service Greek pension and retirement obligations
    • €250, or the residual, of €350, the original, means 72%, or a 28% haircut.
    • Greek GDP was €230 billion on December 31, 2010 and declining fast.
    • And that is how a 50% haircut is “cut” almost in half

    So Greece still has to pay €245 billion. However a 75% haircut across the board (including IMF and ECB), i.e. on the full €350 billion, leaves Greece with debts of only €87.5 billion.
    The €35 billion held by Greek pension funds is worth €17.5 billion under the original deal, or €8.75 with a 75% haircut. If the Government puts €8.75 back in the pension funds – to equate to the original deal – then total debt is still only €96.25 billion.
    Greece is much better off overall.


  64. This.

    Which rather makes a mockery of the position of the “hardly any conspiracies” stance, IMO; you might be right, but when the few genuine plots are as big as the EU, do you not see Pyrrhus looking back at you in the mirror?


  65. When you buy prosperity with pretend money, can you guess what you get?

    BTW, MG, it’s “straits”; narrow sea passages between rocky shores.



  67. Details are scarce on who gets the crewcut but I would assume that the Greek pension funds and Greek banks would be excluded because it is pointless bankrupting them thereby requiring further injectiosn of cash from somewhere.
    That is why the amount of debt requiring the crewcut is not sufficient to reduce the debt burden to a level below 120% by 2020 ( current forecast of outcomes by the EU for Greece post haircut, though to all extenst and purposes this is irrelevant now).
    Applying a haircut to the IMF portion would require a change of rules for the IMF. I can’t see countries like China agreeing to that one as it will require more cash to be kicked into the IMF kitty to replenish equity.


  68. Ronnie;
    Interesting question! Of course, the referenda would be on totally different subjects. Greek: “Bow down further?” British: “Stand straight at last?”


  69. Pingback: Greece to hold referendum on EU deal - Page 57

  70. @marcjf: “So I suppose a question might be to ask if those pushing integration(“the EU Elite” -howsoever defined) or those who are protecting national interest are in the driving seat? Seems to me the game could be changing.”

    EU elites = EU pols and the unelected EU-cratocracy.

    I can’t see there’s a big change in who’s in the driving seat. The political leaders of each country that joined the EU (now 27) have understood and accepted that the EU has a project to create the USE. And I think they’re mostly committed to it. The Euro currency is one step along that road – but it was clearly very poorly planned by fools who have not studied history.

    The people who may claim to be protecting their national interests are typically opposition parties (eg Britain’s UKIP), but they’re not in power, so have little influence. And even if/when they get into power, they quickly find that the EU has become such an integral part of their economy and legal system/regulatory framework etc that pulling out is difficult or close to impossible. The EU has become a cancer on Europe.

    Yes, given the chaos of the Euro currency (many say fundamental flaws), I’m sure some EU-pols are wondering what the hell to do. But I’m sure that given the mega-project of the USE, none of those in power want to go down in history as the person who wrecked the Euro or the EU. So they are trying to save it all with half-baked bailouts/haircuts. The markets are forcing the decisions that political elites are unwilling to take.

    I think a few people here believe that Germany should pull out of the Euro but Merkel would prefer to avoid that for the reason stated above.
    An alternative is for ClubMed to pull out, but they want the bailout money which would disappear.

    The EU elites got Europe into this mess but don’t have the guts to get it out. So the markets will force the issues, as we see today with bond yields for Italy. IMHO any anger that people have over this should be well and truly aimed at those responsible for it: their politicians.


  71. @Matt: I don’t think anything I posted could be seen as a conspiracy theory per se. I was merely explaining my views on the EU-pols shenanigans dealing with euro-crises solutions.


  72. “But France’s heavily Greek-exposed banks are placed in deep jeopardy, and the French Government is forced to bail them out. The country loses its Triple-A credit rating, and is – effectively – reduced to being a vassal of Germany.”

    I wonder why you don’t trust BIS:

    “Bis the burdensharing – new Greek exposure numbers
    Posted by Tracy Alloway on Jun 06 08:40.

    Something new from the Bank for International Settlements to mull over this Monday morning.

    The BIS has released its Quarterly Review — and with it those infamous foreign claims numbers.

    According to the new figures, a preliminary release of which went out in April, French banks have $56.7bn of lending exposure to Greece while German banks have about $40bn. But look closer, because the BIS figures have something new — a breakdown of credit exposure by type. On that basis, German banks are the most exposed to Greek government debt with $22.7bn held. French banks have $15bn.”

    http : // av . r .

    The french banks aren’t loaded with greek government bonds, unlike the germans’ !


  73. “Merkel’s victory is complete. German revenge over France is total. The banks are given a slap and a precedent to worry about”


    one more stoopidity of yours !

    Germans are very discret on their banks holes and on their national debt, but some neutral and well informed papers (in the US of course) are saying that german banks need from 127 billions euros to recapitalise, and that the german national debt isn’t 2 trillions euros, but from 5 to 7 trillions !


  74. All these clever options for creditors omit the one single truth. Debt can only be paid back by a debtor if he or she (person,organization, country) has the ability to pay it back. Anything else is bollocks. The Greek economy cannot pay 120 % Debt to GDP within or even outside the euro. 20% write off fixes nothing. Greece is a first world nation with many third world values concerning debt and taxes, in a currency union to which its not suited.

    As for the ECB it simply asks its shareholders like any other bank for a rights issue to maintain its solvency. The euro is going to evolve. Interesting to see how the ECB copes.

    Private investors can wish for the moon. Greece’s economy is never going to deliver it even if they where so inclined.


  75. Exchanges first. First you quantify the risk. Then you are in a position to control the process by eliminating the most risky, leveraged firms firms.


  76. Pingback: Tonight With vincent Brown - November 1st, 2011 - Page 4

  77. @Right Paddock: That’s them. The ones with triple functon calculators.
    +//random. Erm what’s their name…erm…ah! yes: Sturmabteilung :-(


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  80. Pingback: In Praise of Papandreou’s Referendum Decision; Eurocrats Terrified of Democracy; Parade of Cowards | oolaah

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  83. Pingback: Papandreou’s Bold Decision To Hold A Referendum Puts Europe’s Parade Of Cowards To Shame « Tax Australia

  84. Pingback: In Praise of Papandreou’s Referendum Decision; Eurocrats Terrified of Democracy; Parade of Cowards | Easy Mortgage 2012

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