EUROBLOWN: More brass neck from Merkel


The day after she retires from politics (next Friday would be good) Angela Merkel will be able to earn a fortune from explaining to a small niche market how to get up the nose of everyone you perceive to be in your way.

As speculation about Greece’s future in the eurozone threatened to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday suggested to President Karolos Papoulias that the Greeks should hold a referendum at the same time as the general election (June 17th) in order to quantify exactly how many Greeks want to remain in the single currency bloc.

Those without medium term memory problems will recall Papandreou expressing exactly this idea to European bigwigs last October, and immediately being told to wash his mouth out, resign and disappear.

So we should hardly be surprised that news of her suggestion went down like a vomit sandwich with Greece’s main party leaders.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras accused Merkel of treating Greece like a “protectorate”. New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras observed that “The Greek people do not need a referendum to prove their choice to stay in the eurozone.” Socialist PASOK stated that “referendums fall exclusively within the competencies of the government and the Greek Parliament and not the EU or other member states.”

And yet somehow, despite all the crass blundering around of Berlin-am-Brussels, the Greek voters are clearly worried again….as in, worried enough to put New Democracy back in the lead again at 26.1% in the latest Greek opinion poll I’ve heard about – compared to 23.7% for SYRIZA.

 The poll’s key finding, however, is that along with the Socialist PASOK party, New Democracy would have enough seats to form a pro-bailout government, which it failed to win in the May 6th election.

All of which continues to make me question the idea that Grexit is a done deal.

69 thoughts on “EUROBLOWN: More brass neck from Merkel

  1. Considering the contempt the politicians had for Greek nationhood by attempting to place technocrats in charge of running Greece, thats a hypocritical notion of Merkel to suggest a referendum.

  2. “All of which continues to make me question the idea that Grexit is a done deal.”

    Me too. I’ll be surprised if Greeks *vote* to leave the Euro. But they might leave by running out of options, since what they actually want is virtually unachievable.

  3. ” Socialist PASOK stated that “referendums fall exclusively within the competencies of the government and the Greek Parliament and not the EU or other member states.””

    Yeah. Last October proved that didn’t it?

  4. Didn’t Hitler say in ‘Mein Kampf’ that “in the primitive simplicity of their minds they (people) more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie”

    Looks like the big liars are about to win again.

  5. You mean bailing out their own banking systems right? Usually the lender is worse off than the borrower if they destroy the borrowers ability to pay it back.

  6. Is this all clutching at straws? From DMN – 18.05.12, 21:15

    “Referendum rejected: Merkel’s proposal can not be implemented in Greece

    George Papandreou was reprimanded because of his proposal for a Euro vote. But because a referendum would be expected to bring a positive result, Angela Merkel now wants to hold a referendum on the euro in Greece. But the country does not currently have the legal means to do so.

    Angela Merkel now wants to hold a referendum on the euro in Greece. In a telephone conversation she suggested to the Greek President the carrying out of a referendum on remaining in the euro zone during the elections on 17 June. But President Karolos Papoulias declined: Under the Constitution he has no right to initiate such a serious decision process.”

    I seem to recall this, the constitutional matter, was a stumbling block last autumn!

  7. “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” Adolf Hitler

  8. No… the idea was just soundly rejected and Papandreou was pressured into resignation… funny, I thought it was brilliant because it would show Europe we were serious about doing what it took to pay our bills and stay in the euro while making Greeks go on the record for what they want so they couldn’t complain about what had to be done to achieve it once it had been done… by circumventing the PM, not allowing the people a say in the works, installing a technocrat and pushing through all their policy changes they GUARANTEED resistance at a time that a little more finesse and democracy would have handed them everything they were asking and more and a Greek populace that would be far more willing to take the necessary steps… people are more willing to excel as free citizens working to save their country than slaves being forced to sell it off. Then again… I think that everything they have done has been to break the will, and composure of Greek people and to taunt them into choosing to leave the Euro… since they can’t legally kick us out.

  9. The way folks print up money and sling it around these days… they will just make it all up as they go along. The markets believe the MSM.

  10. I accept that they all piss in each other’s pockets, I’m trying to get my head around the degree to which they (markets) are capable/likely to want to be hostile to no exit?

  11. Hitler actually said: i) We’re only here for your protection. ii)The cheque’s in the post. iii) Ask any schoolboy (or ask Eva).

  12. Syriza have said they would keep Greece in the Euro. Merkel and her moneymen are trying to hijack the election by threatening the Greeks with explusion, cloaked in a “referendum” heavily funded by the Out supporters (bankers). She should keep her mouth shut and let democracy take its course.

  13. Seriously fraught with peril as it is, something at the back of my mind keeps telling me the Greek drama is filling up the media waves as a distraction from things more serious — the ME, the US election, NDAA, and on and on ..

  14. Is that why their Y Fronts have been removed? Sillies, they should have been wearing Sloggi.

  15. John,

    this is only what “some” people in Athens say. Early this afternoon, Berlin rejected any suggestion that they made such a proposal. “These reports are untrue”, Merkel’s spokesman told the press at their daily press conference.

    So why do you still report it as a fact later tonight, when it should at least be “in dispute”? Do you really believe it to be a good base of observation to just assume any “rubbish” coming from the governmental disarray in Athens to be honest and truthful? As long as you can hold it against your favourite villainess ;-)

    While I do not tend to believe the drivel coming from any government, let alone Merkel’s, it is almost impossible that she made such a suggestion. It is against all pro EU leaders interest to have referenda about “in” or “out” anywhere, about anything regarding the EU. It always bears the risk of a No.

    It is rather possible, that someone in Athens misunderstood what she said on the phone (German to Greek and vice versa are not naturally flowing translations).

    Or much more probable, this is again the normal Greek political comedy of putting about jests in the hope of achieving a better position, remember when Alexis Tsipras just “claimed” that the more moderate lefties had agreed to a coalition? It was his sense of humour combined with a bit of early electioneering, and of course, untrue.

  16. The markets are nervous about Greece. That makes a change from them being confident, erratic, shitting their pants, running around screaming, or staring into space blankly. Free markets? More like psychotic. These guys are gambling with your pension. Not mine, I have a box of cash under the bed.

  17. It’s crazy idea but by “proposing” a referendum I am thinking now that she somehow undermined the main argument of the pro-bailout parties who were promoting exactly that “referendum” symbolism over the elections in order to scare back their former voters. Maybe she is clever enough to know that Greeks at a personal level won’t like being told what to vote, especially now that they have felt their power.
    And obviously if now Mr Samaris or Mr Turkoglu* try to repeat that in the coming elections we are deciding for the euro, they will seem as her voice… not nice!
    Maybe -it dawned on me after reading yesterdays excellent post here and watching the wonderful tango with Hollande video- one of her goals with Greece was to get rid of this rotten/mafia greek political system. The other day Tsipras said that “Frau Merkel should stop playing poker with our lives”. Could that be that he sent a message to her that he is playing along? Far fetched all this I know but… having experienced in my lifetime more than three decades of mafia-style led elections and seeing the result of recent ones in Greece that showed how that mafias’ power has been shattered, seeing people liberated from a lifetime’s religious allegiance to the “main” parties, I felt that the impossible has been almost achieved. In fact they could form a semi-pro-bailout government with 168 seats but they simply couldn’t bear the weight. Even if they now get some more seats, what would change? You need army in the streets to continue along the same way. The message of the greek people in recent elections looms over their heads: “we are left alone, we are betrayed, we are loosing everything, we will eat you alive”.
    So maybe Frau Merkel has much more room to operate and to groundbrakingly change things in Greece with a new brave young face in charge than with those used up old ones that she can operate by remote control via their briberies of the past (see Siemens etc).


  18. My sister is telling me (she lives in Athens) that there is a MASSIVE propaganda against the leader of SYRIZA, and that is why his % is falling in the polls. The press, TV analysts, and ALL the leaders of the rest of the other Greek political parties , even the hard left, have suddenly a common front agaisnt him and they present him to the public as populist, without experience, working to secure his personal aspirations, and as someone who will lead the country into the depths of economic despair, misery and political unrest, without the protection (ha ha) that the rest of EU would provide the country against all evils and threats. The fact that some of his key people appear uneducated by the way they talk in interviews etc, is not helping either…

  19. Pingback: John Ward – Euroblown : More Brass Neck From Merkel – 19 May 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  20. Remember Merkel was not making the (alleged) phone call from Berlin but from the G8 conference at Camp David. Can anyone think of someone who might have very strongly suggested (lent on her) that she should call up and push for a Greek referendum and a clear Yes or No by Mid June rather than let it all linger on into ‘The Late Fall’.? This person would obviously need to have a limited knowledge of European countries constitutions and would have their own Plan A or Plan B for whatever the Greeks voted, but want (need) a very clear cut decision very soon….any suggestions ??

  21. More talking shop in Washington, interspersed with champagne, vol au vents and smoked salmon, followed by ”can we look around your airforce one?” in anticipation of jostling for position to be successful in the new position of ”GRAND KAISER OF EUROPEAN UNIFIED BULLSHIT” to be voted in a Brussels 4 day extravaganza next year.
    Result : NOTHING
    We await the Greek vote to dictate where this never ending FARCE evolves to next.

  22. ” they present him to the public as populist, without experience, working to secure his personal aspirations, and as someone who will lead the country into the depths of economic despair, misery and political unrest, ”

    Problem is… these portrayals only hold weight because they are true.

  23. That’s the problem with European Politicians they simply do not understand the primacy of the market (which after all is simply an agglomoration of people after all). They believe they can issue an edict and all will be well, case in point the more they scream that the banks are fine the more people run for the exit.

    I think the salutary case of all this is the ‘short recession’ of 1921/22 experienced by the US immediately after the First World War (as war demand collapsed). The pain was taken in a short sharp shock and it was over in under 18 months, this is never spoken about as it contradicts all the Keynesian economists demanding ever more Government spending. Ironically, after reading some of Keynes’ work he must be spinning in his grave at what is being done i his name.

  24. Yes bur Greece cannot exist in the Euro with their disfunctional economy as it stands (unless there is constant bail-outs from Northern Europe).

    If the Greeks think they will come out of this having their cake and easting it so to speak then they are more deranged than I thought

  25. Sandy, very brief but that view point is spot on we are in a real mess, lets hope change comes from the bottom up not top down cause that has not worked at all!

  26. John ” these portrayals” describe the greek politicians of the last 30 years .Greece is in deep economic despair , misery and political unrest ( and i can add a lot more ) because of them . What we are afraid of and trying to avoid is already not at our doorsteps but inside our homes .We are in denial ( or we name it hope ) or we are selective about the reality we accept .

  27. Cynthia P: “…in anticipation of jostling for position to be successful in the new position of ”GRAND KAISER OF EUROPEAN UNIFIED BULLSHIT” to be voted in a Brussels 4 day extravaganza next year.
    Indeed. And Mr Blair will be in the frame for this new unelected super-President job. Here’s how I roughly expect it to roll out:

    – between now and next year, Mr Blair will be seen visiting Brussels and other places so we get used to seeing him being associated with the EU and back in the EU political frame. The BBC & Sky will oblige.

    – he will win the fake election for the new unelected super-President job.

    – part of the secret deal he will have with Brussels/Berlin and the Labour Party will be that he strongly advocates Britain joining what’s left of the core Eurozone.

    – Blair will be over the moon that he gets his own plane and the most powerful job in the EU without ever being subjected to mere democratic elections. The move to an EU fascist dictatorship will be almost complete.

    – Cameron & Co lose the next election due to a mixture of incompetence, stupidity, corruption and ongoing fallout of the economic/banking crises. Labour will win. We will get full-on-in-your-face-socialism. Miliband will take Britain into the Eurozone whether the British people like it or not. The Labour manifesto will have avoided the issue with platitudes.

    The destruction of Britain will be well on the way.

  28. @Geo: Events in the M/E do seem to have gone rather quiet. I notice a definite lack of shoutng at each other lately. Ominous? Dunno. On US election…I think the black dude will win. “Stick with nurse for fear of someone worse”.

  29. Anti , you recon we have democracy in Greece ? we exhausted wasted and murdered democracy right at it’s birthplace.
    As Isocrates said long time ago “Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress.” At around 400BC he was describing us in 2012 .

  30. what everything comes down to is the polical choice between the people (of each nation) and the Banks………..
    So far the banks are winning…………..and somehow I cannot see the politicians changing track on this any time soon.
    If Eurobonds become a reality you will know that the politicians (especially of the North EU) have made the choice to protect the banks and make the people pay because Eurobonds (and the ESF) are purely a system of dragging in cash from the various taxpayers via government and borrowing backed by the taxpayer – to redistribute to the ‘southern’ recipient states – for ever.

    As this is the only way they can possibly even dare to hope that the EU project can keep going – and this is the REAL motivation behind the politicians activities – I can see it happening……….It may still turn out to be can kicking (through the wall at the end of the road) but long term – the northern ‘states’ taxpayers will grow tired of the profligacy and working to subsidise those of the south and demand change through electing new choices (Hard nationalism will likely be the greatest political force in this event.) This may be the real endgame and it will be worse again than if it all just stops now !

  31. @Hieronimusb: AFAIK the only action the markets can take in this is to push up bond yields and make borrowing too expensive to survive.
    But they’ve already done that for Greece, Spain, Italy et al and the EU pols are finding ways around it by taxpayer-funded bailouts, ECB LTRO (used bus tickets now acceptable as collateral) etc. Investors could boycott bond auctions altogether but they haven’t done this so far in a decisive way.

  32. @Jason: “European Politicians they simply do not understand the primacy of the market … They believe they can issue an edict and all will be well…”

    Quite so. But this is not new. Socialist govts always take on the markets with bollix and bullsh*t and then lose, followed by economic disaster. In Britain, Healey and Brown are two examples.

  33. @Anticapital: “Syriza have said they would keep Greece in the Euro”

    I wish them luck with that if they get to govern. For it to be successful, a mixture of things must happen:

    – ClubMed debts need to be paid off by someone.
    – full EU fiscal unity _or_ fiscal transfers from rich northern members.
    – full EU political unity, with EZ countries being downgraded to ‘regions’.
    – Eurobonds, where rich northern members pay for ClubMed profligacy.
    – a huge rise in ClubMed productivity.

    There are no alternatives IF the intention is to resolve the problem.

  34. Have to ask again – if all the Rolo’s in Greece are German – then if the Drachma reappears – those German Rolo’s are going to be worth a lot of Drachma’s and worth keeping hold of…if the drachma crashes – at least until it hits rock bottom – then there will be a lot of wealthy (in drachma’s) greeks………..there could be an (politically astute) plan here to prevent the riots once the Greeks leave and devalue……….

    Would it not be fun if – whilst exiting the Rolo – the policians introduce a law which demands a tax of 90% on all money transfers back into Greece by Greek nationals (just a thought – for all those who got out early because they were in the know or/and on the take !) Silly really but…..sniggers !

    Oh finally whilst I am here – could not all partys promise to ‘keep the Euro’ whilst campaigning for election (if that is what the Greek people thnk they want) – and just change it to Gr€ – as per HK$ or AU$ etc etc – seems weaselly enough for a politician don’t ya think ?

  35. HBL – I think you are being naive here. Politicians can (in their eyes) tell the truth by denying if someone gets a single word in the report wrong from what was actually said. Thus…Slog may say she said ‘Greece should have a referendum’ when she actually said ‘Hello, Greece should have a referendum’ – thus the denial is honest though misleading…Never trust a politician to be honest where words are concerned – 1st law of LIFE ! (Comes before remember to breath !)
    Secondly….a referendum is only against the EU policians interests IF they think they will not get the result they want ! That the Greeks apparantly wish to remain with the € – would be the politicians desire – thus the referendum result would give them what they want. If the Greeks subsequently had to default and leave the € later – the benevolent EU leadership could sympathise about how they did all they could for the benefit of the Greek people – and the growing continental wide dislike of the EU might – just might – be slowed :)

  36. The result of the Irish referendum must be going to have an effect on the Greek election. If the Irish vote no the anti-bailout parties everywhere not least in Greece are going to get a big boost. Funny how this story of the Irish needing a second bailout of their own to cover their Banking debts has raised its head now.

  37. Greek presidency announced “there is audio evidence of what has been said”, (phone call has been recorded)…

  38. This needs further investigation (can anyone provide accurate data?)
    Phone call was on Friday morning, 09:00 Greek summer time (UTC+3).
    That;s 08:00am in Germany (UTC+2). I think the call came from Berlin just before Merkel departed for US – not sure though…

  39. The french may want to see the destruction of Britain, but do you really think they would be content to see Blair,(or any Briton) as Pressie of EU?
    Surely it would also mean the destruction of La France as well? I don’t think the French people are ready for that,(or even aware of the possibility).

  40. I can imagine Madrid calling Santander UK bossman and saying “can you send over £40 billion, things are getting a bit tight over here”. I can’t see any way the UK FSA could prevent that. Once the money’s gone , it’s gone.

  41. @Mo: The French have been principal advocates of a United States of Europe for years. That’s what the EU is all about. Whether it’s been with French citizenry concurrence, I dunno. As for their feelings towards Blair being the uber grupen fuhrer; methinks they’d accept it in return for him dragging Britain into the Eurozone, which the Labour Party would happily do as part of their International Socialist fascist agenda. And we already know that Blair himself wanted to join the Eurozone as quickly as possible when he was PM. It was only Brown who refused to do it, for the reason that he hated Blair, not because it would have been bad for Britain. Socialism cares not for that.

  42. @kfc:
    From that article:
    “He [Chote] said it could “permanently hamper the economy” in the worst case scenario, raising the prospect that Britain may never again see the same high growth it has had in recent decades.”

    Chote is an Establishment economist. Someone ought to tell him that the high growth Britain’s had in recent decades was not real growth, but credit-bubble funded growth which is now being deflated. Which is why we are where we are today.

  43. Apart from the fact that if the Irish vote No they will have to keep voting until they vote for the right answer. So no weight can be given to a No vote in Ireland.

  44. @BT:
    Exactly. But recover we would in some shape and form. He seems to be suggesting that we would return to the dark ages overnight.

  45. If the Mormon wasn’t a heretic, he’d be a shoe-in. The economy is not great, and he’s got lots and lots of billionaire’s money.

    And as for the ME, Egypt is still cutting off Israel’s gas, the Syrian incipent civil war threatens to spread to Lebanon, and there are still all those anti-air missiles from Gaddaffi’s armoury unaccounted for.

  46. Re Santander repatriating UK ‘loot’. Had this happen to me running a subsidiary of a Spanish company. All the cash went overnight in spite of a missing double signature. Watch ’em!.

  47. I may have related this story before. This is the sort of devious trick that governments and banks dump on people:
    When Argentina went belly up, in cahoots with the govt the banks closed their doors and converted customer balances from US dollars into the new currency. All without warning. Stocks of US dollars were secretly shipped overnight in armoured trucks to the airport for taking to the US. When the banks re-opened, customer balances had lost up to 50% in value.
    This was engineered by the IMF.

  48. @kfc: Yes we will recover. But it depends on what people like Chote and our political elites mean by ‘recover’. If the last 15 years have seen growth as a direct result of credit, funding imports, is that what they want? We know Brown did because he did everything possible to keep the bubble inflated and I’m sure Milipede and Balls would go down that road.

    But it’s better we don’t return to that. Better to restructure the economy to produce genuine growth based upon production and exports. This is not easy and takes much time in a nation that’s ageing and stifled by red tape.

  49. Pingback: Η τελευταία ζαβολιά της Μέρκελ – -

  50. @Harold Baker London

    Just for your information…..the Greek President speaks German fluently (maybe better than Angie!!) so together with the tape evidence, what exactly has been told during this phone call ….will be available to the public on Monday…….in DER SPIEGEL. The good thing in the whole story is that any word coming out of the lips of any German official, is giving Syriza a boost.

  51. Latest poll from the company Public Issue – was Satyrday evening on SKAI TV news (will be on Sunday at Kathimerini newspaper) shows following results
    1) SYRIZA 28%
    2) Nea Dimokratia 24%
    3) PASOK 15%
    4) DIMAR 7%
    5) Indepen. Greeks 7%
    6) KKE 5%
    7) Golden Dawn 4,5%
    8) Dimiourgia Xana 3%
    all these entering the Greek Parliament
    On the questions ”who do you believe, is the best candidate to become the next Greek P.M.” the answers are as follows:
    1) TSIPRAS (SYRIZA) 19%
    2) Samaras (ND) 17%
    3) venizelos (Pasok) 16%
    4) Kouvelis (Dimar) 15%

    And if Angie wants a referendum…..we can suggest kindly the questions of it!!

  52. Pingback: Η τελευταία ζαβολιά της Μέρκελ | αἰέν ἀριστεύειν

  53. BT

    “The destruction of Britain will be well on the way.”

    It is already, and probably unstoppable.

    Blair will not get the job – they would never allow a Brit to fill the position, even as a figurehead.


  54. @Morvan: Watch this space!
    Blair’s promise that a re-elected Labour Govt will take Britain into the Euro may be an offer even the French can’t refuse! It might even presage more EU tax and control of The City of London. In the strategy of creating a USE the benefits to France/Germany are very significant.
    Time will tell…

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