REALITY 1: How Syriza was hit by eurogroup FinMin ambush – and why the Greek position is weaker than we thought.


Today and tomorrow, in a special triple-header, The Slog examines three ‘news’ situations where the truth is slowly beginning to out: Greece v eurogroup, the Ukraine, and the whoring of newspaper titles who have already taken the corporate shilling anally. First today, what really happened behind closed doors before the eurogroup meeting last Friday.

This afternoon, while I still see Syriza and the Greek People as the best means we have at the moment of pricking Troika2’s balloon, I have to recognise that Syriza too is playing the game of spin. It has been pressured into this, however, by an outrageous 4-onto-1 bullying session the preceded Friday’s meeting.

Yesterday morning I picked this up from the agreed text after Friday’s eurogroup:

‘…the new Greek government must not introduce legislation that contradicts or takes back measures agreed with the creditors…’

I confess that I hadn’t read that anywhere, but then an AP release contained the same phrase. And yes, it seems, Yanis Varoufakis did ‘agree’ to the phrase. Linking this to a surprisingly aggressive question from Paul Mason at the press conference – “How does it feel to have just trashed Greek democracy?” – I at first thought it wasjust Masonic rhetoric. But then, reading this piece, a lot of things seemed to fall into place. Further digging around has confirmed most of the piece.

It seems that a pre-meet just before eurogroup was called – at which the attendees were Lagarde, Moscovici, Dijsselbloem, Draghi, Schäuble and Varoufakis. (This is why the original eurogroup scheduled start-time was put back an hour from 4.30 to 5.30). It was positioned to Yanis Varoufakis as a formality: a means of agreeing a final text. In fact, within two minutes the Greek finance minister found himself surrounded by a hostile group…and Moscovici studying his shoes a lot.

Although accounts differ on the nature of the threats, they appear to have consisted of a blunt warning that the Four Horse-destroyers of the Acropolis would strangle the Greek economy by cutting off funding to the banks through the ELA system. Furthermore, it seemed that the big Greek banks already knew this. Go back to The Slog’s Eurobank story of Friday if you’re looking for further evidence of this.

So now we must all – me included – revise our view of what the real situation is. Basically, Mason’s question was well put: subjected to sheer Mafiaesque bullying, Varoufakis had to extract the best he could. This seems to consist of Syriza being given a free hand for four months to sort out all the problems it didn’t create…but the free hands were to be tied for the duration.

Yanis was tweeting last night to deny the story as “a fake”, but the sources used by Mason and the PressProject piece (and me) tell a different story. Syriza cannot now carry out a reversal of the sell-offs and austerity policies, because the ‘accord’ overtly forbids them from so doing. And all around them, the Party’s bigwigs know that the bnking enemy within stands ready to stab them in the front any time Mario Draghula rises from his coffin to give the word.

I truly do not know why Yanis didn’t walk away and let them boil in their own pot. I accept that its easy to be an armchair tough-guy when you’re not the one being beaten up, but what would they have done if – with hopes riding so high – the Greek finance minister had simply said, “OK, your ball, your rules. I choose not to play.” Tragically, he has fallen for an almost exact remake of the Cyprus heist

The only good thing to emerge is that this is further proof of the nasty-arsed fascists with whom we’re dealing, and just how little real belief in democracy such clown-gargoyle mutants have. It also – from an English perspective – once again rams home what a cowardly closet Conservative Nigel Farage really is: all over the Greeks like a rash when he wanted a higher EU profile before the euro-elections…but now he smells power in his nostrils, Farage is become the Mouse with No Voice. But no worries for Wriggle Barage: once again, Brussels-am-Berlin just handed UKip another million votes.

So folks, Dr Strangelove, a Dutch hairdresser, a daft French tart who can’t even average quarterly figures properly, and an Italian banking fraudster whose career has seen 100% cloud cover throughout: this unpleasant quadruped has just grabbed the balls of the only bloke in years to suggest a way out of eurozone indebtedness for the People – as opposed to the pernicious incompetents at the top.

It may be true that nothing is real anyway. But in a 3-dimensional Universe, there is plenty for some sociopaths to get hung about…and millions going hungry as a result of their madness.

Several sources in Greece are now sceptical about just how “straightforward” getting agreement to Syrisa’s reforms is going to be tomorrow. We shall see.

Recently at The Slog: the original piece alleging dirty tricks at Eurobank

50 thoughts on “REALITY 1: How Syriza was hit by eurogroup FinMin ambush – and why the Greek position is weaker than we thought.

  1. To be expected really, after all the new ‘Boys on the Block’ can’t be seen to be getting the upper hand, that would never do would it? Others might think that they might also be able to cut a deal to their own liking.
    I’m afraid we are no nearer or further away from the end of the EU, just business as usual methinks.
    Although I wonder whether or not it will dawn on Tsipras and Varoufakis that they have really nothing to lose by telling them to go hang, if they don’t, Syriza is likely to be out of power before too in any event, for once they have been well and truly slapped down, then they will crush them.


  2. And it was always going to be thus. The real power lies with those with their grubby hands on the money and they are not going to let the ship drift onto the rocks all the time their have their mits at the wheel on the bridge. Ideology is fine until you’re staring down the barrel of a gun being held by a deranged nutter.


  3. I so liked Varoufakis’ starting shots that I still hope you may be wrong, but I fear you are right. The same feeling on the part of most Greeks will allow Syriza a little leeway, but once it becomes obvious that this government is trapped by the previous government’s commitments, I am afraid this will dissipate. One commentator called it a Carthaginian peace. (As a lawyer) I just read the loan agreement. It includes a “waiver of sovereign immunity” and is made subject to English law and the jurisdiction of the Luxembourg Courts. Basically what this package means is that in the case of default they can be sued and the judgment can be enforced against any Greek assets anywhere. So it would not be like a Russian or Argentinian default. No way out.


  4. Nothing new here, in terms of the final outcome. Grexit, 100 percent default, banks et al. recapitalised by Russia and China, in return for valuable concessions. Looks like an Italian from Giant Squid,accompanied by a hitherto unknown Dutch finance minister, eagerly abetted by a German counterpart, not forgetting a fragrant French IMF boss, have just lumbered their respective taxpayers with the lion’s share of the default. I am not a lawyer.


  5. As part of this ‘game’, a player would welcome the opponent to demonstrate their real goal, continuing totalitarian control over the vassal state you have become under their thumb. Then one merely asks those they represent if they accept this and want it to continue. The game has just begun.


  6. So maybe the hope was all for nothing and Syriza’s socialist foundation has caused them to hang themselves. socialism and bankers often walk hand in hand and Yanis, for all his (brilliant) talk, looked like he just changed his mind entirely at the last second.

    So like you say John, why didn’t he just say “no thankyou”? Is it overly cynical of me to wonder if he was bribed or threatened with personal harm? With the stakes being as high as they are, and the key players being who they are (cough- central bankers -cough), I don’t think it’s something that can be easily dismissed.


  7. This is not over, and folk who think (T)sipras and (V)aroufakis have ‘folded’, are just plain wrong. When they hand in their ‘homework’ to the Troika on Monday morning, all hell will break loose by Tuesday, because their austerity measures drafted by Varoufakis, will NOT contain sufficient measures to pacify the Troika.


  8. John, there is anew word for idiot…you’ve been ***Varoufakised*** old chap….the idiot was long on rhetoric, and boy he could even spell it, serpents eggs and white smoke were everywhere, some clown on here even told me he had met the guy and he was bright, what a dick head, the problems begin when these clowns begin to make their list and to put them thru the Greek parliament…boy oh boy, Wonder which of the 2 clowns will introduce any bill, which on the face of it, will surely make anyone who does a monumental liar….I wont do this, I wont do that, and boy oh boy, blow me down they are doing it, no prizes for asking how long will these clowns last in Government.


  9. They are already fighting isnt it wonderful:The Greek government will not proceed with the privatizations included in the memorandum or even more so with the fire sales of public assets and businesses, Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said in an interview with Greek daily Efimeritha ton Syntakton published on Saturday.

    The minister defended the government’s “red lines” saying they exist and they will not be crossed. “We will not agree to a deal which will aim at cancelling the core of our radical, progressive program,” Lafazanis was quoted as saying to the paper.

    You gotta beg to the God you believe in that Greece walks away gets out stop this do you tell an idiot, to get out, most of these duds want apension and thats all they worry about, they think its great getting someone else to pay for it and they hate thinking its going to stop. 90% of them will be ok on the Drachma, only a small number who get 2 or 3 pension worry they days are numbered.


  10. Pingback: John Ward – Reality 1: How Syriza Was Hit By Eurogroup FinMin Ambush – And Why The Greek Position Is Weaker Than We Thought – 22 February 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  11. I had to go and look up who Moscovici is. No, not a Russian (although might as well be). In fact, Secretary of the French Socialist Party since 1995.

    His wiki entry reads: Born in Paris [in 1957], he is the son of the influential Romanian-Jewish social psychologist Serge Moscovici and of the Polish-Jewish psychoanalyst Marie Bromberg-Moscovici.[1]

    He is currently European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs (chosen by Juncker) and amongst his responsibilities are ‘Developing a value added tax (VAT) system at EU level’ and ‘deepening the Economic and Monetary Union’.

    That should please Dave.


  12. ‘I truly do not know why Yanis didn’t walk away and let them boil in their own pot.’ The reason he didn’t is because Syriza never contemplated bringing European monetary union down. Syriza wants the euro to survive and for Greece to stay within the Eurozone. There was no threat behind Syriza’s bluff. Merkel, Draghi et al knew this. That is why they played hard ball.

    The question to ask is why Syriza ever adopted this position. My guess is a mixture of stupidity and ethnic arrogance. Admittedly they were not stupid enough to throw their lot in with Putin, but stupid enough to think that the EU needs Greece.


  13. As Indigoboy points out above, while on the face of it Greece has caved on every single point (such is my own reading of the ‘agreed’ text) the acid test is actually tomorrow (Monday). There are many possible outcomes to this saga; maybe Syriza has been whipped into line, maybe they realised that there is no chance of anything meaningful being agreed and will try to get the Troika to smack them down tomorrow thus putting Grexit or whatever happens firmly at the feet of the Troika, maybe the Troika will actually cave tomorrow while declaring they have given nothing away to save face, no one knows.

    And could you lay off the obligatory Farage bash? You remind me of Denis Healey back in the seventies when every interview he gave, whatever the content/context, included a diatribe against the Tories somehow being the architect of all Labour’s failures even if it was why a Labour ministers cat had had kittens.


  14. John you must understand that ALL politicians are the same, they are put in place to justify what the higher ups want. Yanis nor Varoufakis have a real say as to what Greece is to do, they will only justify what was decided for them. I know it seems very conspracy theorist but unfortunately that is the case. The Greeks got a telephone call from the U.S. of all places, I mean what has the U.S. got to do with it? Apart from the fact that U.S. banks went in there to create this whole problem in the first place. I would have loved to be a flea in the ear of who took that phone call because either it was a massive bribe or it was a massive threat, “Do as I say”. I firmly beleive that’s why the can has been kicked and that it looks like the Greeks fireworks are damp. Let’s see how far the newbies can justify their “stance”.


  15. The Spanish 24 hour news channel shows headlines scrolling along the bottom of the screen, amongst which tonight are “The Greek Government has realised what it has to fulfil, according to the European Vice President” and “Germany awaits the list of reforms from Athens with a certain amount of scepticism”.


  16. indigo
    I do tend to agree…perhaps YV thought he should go the extra mile and then say “they don’t WANT an agreement”.
    On verra.


  17. Heres a man for all seasons SYRIZA MEP Manolis Glezos issing an apology that Syriza didnt win a thing ***loves illusion I recall, I really dont know love at all*** Manolis Glezos’ article as follows

    Renaming the Troika into “Institutions,” the Memorandum of Understanding into “Agreement” and the lenders into “partners,” you do not change the previous situations as in the case renaming “meat” to “fish.”

    Of course, you cannot change the vote of the Greek people at the elections of January 25, 2015.

    The people voted in favor of what SYRIZA promised: to remove the austerity which is not the only strategy of the oligarchic Germany and the other EU countries, but also the strategy of the Greek oligarchy.

    To remove the Memoranda and the Troika, abolish all laws of austerity.

    The next day after the elections, we abolish per law the Troika and its consequences.

    Now a month has passed and the promises have not turned into practice.

    Pity. And pity, again.

    On my part, I APOLOGIZE to the Greek people because I have contributed to this illusion.

    Before it is too late, though, we should react.

    First of all, SYRIZA members, friends and supporters at all levels of organizations should decide in extraordinary meetings whether they accept this situation.

    Some argue that to reach an agreement, you have to retreat. First: There can be no compromise between the oppressor and oppressed. Between the slave and the occupier the only solution is Freedom.

    But even if we accept this absurdity, the concessions already made by the previous pro-austerity governments in terms of unemployment, austerity, poverty, suicides have gone beyond the limits.

    Manolis Glezos, Brussels February 22, 2015


  18. MM
    One thing you missed among all the Jewish side-swipe crap: Moscovici co-wrote a book in 1997 explaining – and predicting – precisely what would happen if the euro was launched.
    His co-writer of the book was none other than….Francois Hollande.

    I hold no candle at all for the Left in Europe, but your visceral hatred of both it and the Jews leaves me wondering if you might, just possibly, be a Nazi.

    Do try hard to disabuse me of this in future threads – there’s a good chap.


  19. Peter
    To which the answer is “No”. If you can’t see what a total counterfeit nine-bob note your hero is, then maybe this isn’t the site for you.


  20. Dear dear dear Tony luvvie-luvvie kissy-kissy,

    You’ve had your day in the sun old bean, and the summer sun in Australia has clearly been too strong for your noddle to survive intact.
    You have, my dear, on several occasions breached The Slog’s very clearly recorded rules on personal insults, racist remarks, unsupported crap and lots of other things adding up to draining from this comment thread rather than radiating anything original, pleasant or practical.

    And so we say G’day, Mite. And no Tony – this is not au revoir, it is goodbye.


  21. Oh how i laughed, hell Wardy,i find your blog top notch.Plus you kick ass.Not sure about your photo!Has a touch of the seventies DJ about it.Keep it up and more power to your elbow.


  22. So let me understand this Mr Domestic . The ( German man ?) in the video clip contends that it is criminal for a country to toil for an UNLILIMITED surplus on its terms of trade with other countries because ( in a currency union) it is ” unfair”… and it should, once having achieved a certain level of said surplus , rest on its laurels and let it decrease to perilously low original levels ( or possibky indeed run into a deficit ) until their brothers in the currency union deign to pull their finger out ( if ever ) and ” catch up” . Hogwash and piffle. The mercantilist tradition is /was built on the premise that you DO beggar your neighbour as it IS a constant battle to get the ( trade/services) better of him or he gets the better of you . It is a zero sum game. If as the ” book writer ” contends the Germsn unions and management have a ” cosy” ( read constructive and pragmatic) relationship with each other since WW2 which has spawned numerous German fat years ( for both) —and incidentally subsidised the reintegration of the tottering East at great cost to the West in the Nineties and Noughties — why did not the Levantine/ClubMed brothers follow the same pragmatic union/management path ? Even today no manager in public or private sector dreams of daring to usurp the acquired rights of French Italian Spanish or Greek unions as they hold the whip hand and any hint of innovation sparks street riots and worse. At least Germany , UK and tbe Nordics moved with the times by revamping their union and social welfare structures in the Eighties and Nineties in the face of necessary change . But the Latins have stood stock still eating their saltimbocca , drinking their Rioja and basking in the protection of their ossified social legislation . Not only the ” demonic” Mrs Thatcher but even New Labour Blair did their bit to change the Seventies ” union barons” mindset in the UK , in the latter case by abolishing Clause IV of his Party . Helmut Kohl and Gerhardt Schroeder from opposite sides of the German spectrum each did their necessary heavy lifting to redirect the Germsn ship when listing on the rocks of unemployment and rustbelt decline. Perhaps thought should be given to the aspect that the eurozone us riven because it is an ( ad hoc ) monetary union without a political or more importantly a fiscal union to complement it — both of which were vetoed for sovereign political reasons.

    We await tomorrow ….. noting we are entrapped by the Chinese curse of living in interesting times.


  23. ‘visceral hatred’ of Jews? Nazi? Wow.

    I’ve had my doubts for some time but thank you for confirming that you can’t be relied on to draw any sensible or credible view from straight-forward factual information when it’s presented to you.

    The quote as to Moscovici’s background is an EXACT lift from his Wiki entry and quite interesting in itself for his eastern European heritage and his high profile parents. Nor is it any different from discussions as to the relevance of Merkel’s Eastern European communist background.

    I’ll leave you in peace now to dream up some more improbable conspiracy theories in your own image. Judging from your comment timed at 8.16pm you seem to be having a bad day.

    Oh, and don’t forget in future please, the Nazi’s were socialists.


  24. Evening John, firstly I would like to say “Thank you” for all the insights that you have given over the last couple of years that I have followed your Blog. It has been invigorating to read opinions which differ/contradict/question the news flowing through the MSM outlets.
    As HW says, the link in your article (I am assuming it was meant to be a link) isn’t working.
    On a side note, and off topic, a bit unsure of your response to Tony above, but it is your train set and rules are rules.


  25. Greece can become competitive and also claw back what it gave to Deutschland in the early 1940s if it defaults on all sovereign debt and drops the euro. The pain will be sharp, short and worth it. But Greece’s leaders want to keep the euro, thus ensuring continued stagnation, because all politicians think short term


  26. I don’t disagree John. He is counterfeit and I have never claimed him as a hero, but he is at present virtually powerless except in so far as UKIP is an irritant pushing the Tories and Labour into unpalatable, for them, potential promises/commitments on Europe and immigration in particular and with a little more exposure/good press, possibly in other areas as well. A burgeoning UKIP is a good thing as it forces other parties to pay greater heed to the majority desires of the public. A UKIP government if true to their stated policies would in the main be a good thing in my opinion. Whether they would actually do so and whether they would do it rightly or wrongly can only be known if they actually ever get to do it.

    Like it or not UKIP is the best, really the only, protest vote against the LibLabCon we have and like it or not Farage is the face of UKIP and as with all politicians it doesn’t matter what he says, it matters what he does once he has real power. At present it is pointless to knock him because he is not actually doing anything. It does no one any good bleating that he will stab you in the back, get in bed with big business, steal all your assets, cripple your God knows what and is just like all the other bastards if not worse, we know and understand that is a distinct possibility if not a likelihood. What we also know is that the LibLabCon have already done all that and worse while Farage and Ukip haven’t, not yet having had the opportunity and there is always a chance they wouldn’t, or at least might be less damaging.


  27. It’s clear that T & V have a mandate to try and kill the austerity being imposed on Greece, but they (T & V), also know that the Greek people have not *yet* accepted the binary choice that they *must* eventually face. [ The euro with chains and shackles to the Troika], or [ Grexit with deeper temporary pain and poverty, but a chance to be free over time]
    By placing a draft document in front of the Troika, on Monday that they know will be rejected, ..they (T & V) can and then go back to their electorate telling them the ‘bullies of the EU’ want blood, and an agreement proved impossible.
    T & V will then have to get a further mandate from the Greek people, in the form of a decisive binary referendum?. [Stay in EU chains] or [Grexit]


  28. Isn’t this what Europe wanted in the first place?

    Standard rule of capitalist economies – get some worker up to his eyeballs in hire purchase agreements, and then the sucker is forced into permanent overtime and can never go on strike. I thought that was the whole point of fractional banking?

    Works for workers, so I am sure it will work for nations too…..



  29. “The most dangerous revolutions
    are not those which tear everything down,
    and cause the streets to run with blood,
    but those which leave everything standing,
    while cunningly emptying it of any significance.”

    — The Danish philosopher `Kierkegaard`


  30. Golden dawn will now have Tsiparis by the balls if he continues with the sell offs. I still wonder what they are going to come up with monday. As you said Farage has not opened his mouth. As I said why?? He just got handed the election especially when people see what is happening in Greece which all will see by April.. Golden Dawn called it before you did they said Syriza was all dreams, no balls. But methinks circumstances will force tsiparis to make some dramatic act by April. Meanwhile Golden Dawn is going to go full tilt boogie as soon as the trial starts. Watch for the fireworks April and May It should be fun


  31. Agreed that Farage is a man with an agenda and it seems to me ( i could be wrong) that his agenda is the same as many other British financiers to put a stick in Duetschlands spokes before they drive the pound into the ground. Not that i think that is a bad thing but would appreciate your take on that idea. As per honest politicians can’t find any over here on this side of the pond that have not been driven off by the power structure. Right now the only one who is still in power and that i like is Putin. ( ain’t that strange for a yank) so the good guys with cojones to do the right thing?? just who would they be?


  32. Tsipras and Varoufakis are merely window-dressing for the benefit of the Greek people to hide the fact that the country’s economy is run by Brussels. This is what the Greek people chose when they joined the euro and this is what they continue to choose. The Greek government has virtually no power over the Greek economy, and Syriza are simply lying about the situation.
    There are no easy solutions for Greek economy – they will either have to gradually reform under EU supervision at the price of continuing depression, or they will have to leave the euro and face short-term collapse. My guess is they will continue to muddle through, pretending to make a stand against Brussels while in fact doing what they’re told.


  33. “So let me understand this Mr Domestic …”

    You quite clearly have not understood one word of it.
    It is explained at the beginning who the German man is.
    Perhaps you might try watching it over again.


  34. In the art of negotiation, it is wise not to give your hand away. Syriza, let on that they are not prepared to exit the EU, basicly striped themselves of all negotiation power. Who the F**k does that? At the end of the day you have to be prepared to follow through with your convictions. That is the threat that you will exit the EU. Syriza was just not prepared to do that at this time.

    OK, they have a 4 month breathing space, I would be firing up those printing presses and getting my house in order to exit the EU after that 4 months. My approach would be that after the exit I would say the Euro is valid and the new currency is also valid. I would also tax the banks so they make no profit for the next 10 years or until the economy recovers. Further I would make all those banks effectively state owned. No bonuses and no high salaries.

    The people comes first and second the corporates. Anybody that does not like it can go somewhere else. Further I would make the greek economy a low low tax economy to bring in business. Further the Greek government should invest in new ventures that could take the country into the black.

    Lots and lots of options to bring this economy back on track, if you give the EU the finger.


  35. I cannot for the life of me figure out why you’re banning Tony on the basis of his above comment. That Greek MP did say these things. And there were no insults and no racist remarks. I’m baffled.


  36. Pingback: John Ward – Reality 2: How Germany & The US Gave Up In Ukraine – 23 February 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

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