Greece: Between Scylla And Charybdis
09 July, 2015
Greece: Between Scylla And Charybdis
Donald Tusk: “Only five days to avoid Grexit.”

Whether the eurozone remains whole will be finally solved on July 12th in Brussels, where EU member states and Eurozone leaders will gather for an emergency summit.

Paul Krugman: “Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients” 

European leaders gave Greece a harsh ultimatum Tuesday night: Reach a new bailout agreement with its creditors by Sunday or face bankruptcy and expulsion from the Euro currency system.
According
to European Council President Donald Tusk, there are only five days left to avoid Grexit.
“The final deadline ends this week,” said Tusk after emergency talks in Brussels.
Greece remaining in the Eurozone is supported by European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker. However, as he said, Greeks had to “tell us where they are headed” by the end of the week.
According to the AP, German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a poorly veiled warning to Tsipras, saying “We are no longer talking about weeks. We are talking about very few days.”

Thomas Piketty: “Europe was founded on debt forgiveness and investment in the future”

Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for the European Union to avoid division, as indebted Greece struggles to stay in the Euro. At one of the stormy debates in the European Parliament, he said “Let’s not let Europe be divided”.
After the Greek bailout referendum that took place last Sunday, it can be said that Europe’s opinions on Grexit are divided.
The prominent French economist Thomas Piketty, who rocketed to fame last year with his book on income inequality, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” is slamming Germany’s refusal to consider debt relief for Greece.
In an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit, Piketty claimed that Germany didn’t pay its external debt after World War I and World War II and thus has no standing to lecture other nations.
“We need to look ahead. Europe was founded on debt forgiveness and investment in the future,” Piketty said.
Greek referendum results were supported and praised by Icelandic politician and former Minister of the Interior Ogmundur Jonasson.
“Here in Iceland we are with you in spirit,” he wrote in his article “Thank you, Greece!”.
According to to him, rather than owning up to their mistakes and shouldering the costs, the leaders of Europe are looking for scapegoats.
“They display an appetite for execution. “Someone must suffer”, they think, and thus they have punished the most vulnerable among them. Writing off all of Greece´s debt would not have the disastrous effect on the Eurozone economy that has been marketed,” wrote Jonasson.
Iconic American economist Paul Krugman believes that Europe is acting like a medieval doctor that bleeds his patients.
He also takes the somewhat contrarian position that Greece’s best bet is to exit the Euro, which has provided it with little to no help in time of need. Though this is no easy feat, it is the “best of bad options,” as he claims:
“If Greece ends up leaving the Euro, it won’t mean that the Greeks are bad Europeans. Greece’s debt problem reflected irresponsible lending as well as irresponsible borrowing, and in any case the Greeks have paid for their government’s sins many times over. If they can’t make a go of Europe’s common currency, it’s because that common currency offers no respite for countries in trouble. The important thing now is to do whatever it takes to end the ‘bleeding’,” wrote Krugman in his blog post titled “Ending Greece’s Bleeding”.
Meanwhile, a meeting of all 28 members of the EU is scheduled for Sunday be - the day after the new Greek proposals are expected to be discussed by the Eurozone finance ministers.

Author: Mari Javakhishvili


“What will happen tomorrow?” - Georgians in Greece

According to Georgians living in Greece, the course of events in the country is taking a turn for the dire – explicitly so. Labor migrants are leaving in droves, many of our compatriots among them.

Nesi Robakidze, a Georgian living in Athens:

– This is our second country, our second homeland. A country that has taken Georgians in, accommodated us and given us an opportunity to feed our families back in Georgia. And now it is consumed by panic. The banks are closed; the people are left without salaries. ATMs do not give out more than 60 euro per day and money transfers to Georgia are temporarily blocked. They promised to pay me my wage tomorrow, but the problem is that we are all afraid of what this “tomorrow” might bring.

Mari Davitashvili, a Georgian living in Athens:

– All of my Greek friends and acquaintances are panicking. They do not want to leave the Eurozone. However, there are those who welcome it – mainly older people.

– For what reason?

– They do not want Europe. People of their age think that European values – something that is at the foreground at the moment – clash with the Greek mentality and way of life. This isn’t the first time I heard something like this. “We are a country with a different history, why are they imposing on us the values that we never had?” they would say. “Europe has turned us into a scapegoat and punishes us for mistakes of others!”

– All things considered, are Georgians living in Greece in danger of losing their jobs?

– Very much so, unfortunately. Many have already lost them and many more will likely follow. Those who had their documents in order managed to outrun the events by leaving for Italy and then to other countries.

– What about returning to Georgia?

– And what am I supposed to do there?! Judging by the news, the situation there is even worse.

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