NEWS

Panel explores US role in the Greek crisis

YANNIS PALAIOLOGOS

Seated from left to right are former finance minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, ex-interim prime minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos, Kathimerini’s executive editor Alexis Papachelas, Sokou, former finance minister Gikas Hardouvelis and Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis, speaking on the subject of ‘The US Role in the Greek Debt Crisis,’ at the American College of Greece, in Athens, on Wednesday night.

TAGS: Books, History, Diplomacy

The United States was a “true mediator” between Athens and its international creditors at the peak of the Greek crisis and helped prevent the country’s ouster from the eurozone on several occasions, Kathimerini’s Washington correspondent, Katerina Sokou, said during a panel discussion on the subject of “The US Role in the Greek Debt Crisis.”

At Wednesday night’s event at the American College of Greece in Athens, Greece’s caretaker prime minister from May to June 2012, Panagiotis Pikrammenos, also revealed that he had written to then US president Barack Obama on the eve of the June 17 national elections, asking for his intervention to prevent the introduction of capital controls.

The US had been opposed to a Greek debt restructuring at the start of the crisis, said Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who served as finance chief from 2009 to 2011, explaining that the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse had negatively influenced then US Treasury secretary Jack Lew.

By 2015, however, Washington’s stance had shifted, and it wanted “greater restructuring and less austerity, but was more insistent on reforms,” according to Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis.

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