Friday October 31, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
18o C
13o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Unanswered questions

By Alexis Papachelas

It’s been four years since Greece signed the first memorandum. Back then Prime Minister George Papandreou had come into an explosive situation given that the markets had already predicted that the country, unable to pay back its loans, would go up in flames in the spring of 2010. Putting aside the issue of Papandreou’s opposition to absolutely everything – from discussing the debt with his predecessor Costas Karamanlis, when the latter was PM, to various privatizations – what remains incomprehensible is why he did not take advantage of the pass given to him by Karamanlis: The latter had been crystal clear on the need to take immediate fiscal measures. Perhaps it was hypocritical on Karamanlis’s part or he was trying to dodge the issue, as he could have taken steps when Giorgos Alogoskoufis was finance minister. The fact is that his New Democracy successor, Antonis Samaras, also urged Papandreou to take measures initially.

Papandreou was aware of the size of the deficit and the debt. But he opted to follow partisan advice which dictated that taking measures would result in him losing credibility. History would be more lenient toward him had he admitted to being wrong and unable to fulfill his promises, and had proceeded with cuts right away. What followed was a period of chaotic management during which certain officials went looking for loans, unsuccessfully, from China, Russia and several Arab states.

Meanwhile, the hard core of PASOK did everything in its power to thwart even the most basic cuts. This was accompanied by open consultations with anyone holding an opinion on how to deal with the problem. The premier and the government adopted dramatic tones but no tough measures were taken. Things came to a head when Berlin showed reluctance to help Greece early on. It is not known who supported the idea of involving the IMF in a Greek bailout program but some reports suggested that Papandreou insisted on this, influenced by his US center-left advisers as a means of exerting pressure on the eurozone.

The fact is that either the ECB nor the European Commission wanted the IMF in their way at the start. The decision was finally taken by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who wanted to protect herself politically on the local level by appearing to take a strict stance toward Greece. Eventually Greece signed the memorandum. Some still support the idea that Papandreou could have pressured the eurozone as it was not ready to protect its banks from a unilateral Greek default, though this theory underestimated the danger of a disaster. Experts in world affairs agree that some abrupt fiscal adjustment was unavoidable either through a softer program or by entering the program later on.

ekathimerini.com , Monday April 21, 2014 (16:39)  
The judiciary’s responsibility
Findings raise eyebrows
Countering Turkish swagger in the Eastern Mediterranean
Time is running out in Afghanistan
Ministry swap halts talk of reshuffle as reforms eyed
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday appointed Nikos Dendias as defense minister, replacing outgoing Dimitris Avramopoulos, who assumes the European Commission’s immigration portfolio ne...
Turkish-Greek cooperation in Aegean helps stem flow of migrants
Closer cooperation between Greek and Turkish coast guard authorities has led to 11,000 undocumented migrants being prevented from entering Greek borders and returned to the neighboring count...
Inside News
Disposable income of households fell 10.3 pct in one year
The reduction of Greek households’ disposable incomes in 2013 compared with 2012 amounted to a total of 14 billion euros, the biggest since the start of the crisis according to data released...
Banks unhappy with bad loans bill
Bank officials are expressing serious reservations about the efficiency of the government’s bill regarding nonperforming corporate loans, arguing that the target set by the Development Minis...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Obradovic watches Greens thrash his Fenerbahce
The second homecoming of former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic, now at Fenerbahce, was not as emotional as last year’s, but it was certainly was the night of an emphatic triumph for th...
SOCCER
Berg returns to add spice to Panathinaikos´s Cup win
The second round of games for the group stage of the Greek Cup produced plenty of interesting games and results in midweek, but it still lags the upset potential that the knock-out stages of...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Disposable income of households fell 10.3 pct in one year
2. Banks unhappy with bad loans bill
3. State debtor numbers grew in September
4. Reform plan among conditions
5. Ministry swap halts talk of reshuffle as reforms eyed
6. Cyprus ruling opens way for bailout funds
more news
Today
This Week
1. Man shot dead, woman injured in Vathis square attack
2. Archaeologists find underground vault at Amphipolis tomb
3. Cyprus’s Georgiades bets on economy for Irish-style bailout exit
4. Greek retail sales rise for third month in a row
5. Germany’s 10-year bonds decline before euro-area inflation data
6. New defense minister to be appointed without reshuffle
Today
This Week
1. Austria’s creative bookkeeping beats Greece on secret debts
2. End of reason, end of humanity
3. Clean bill of health for Greek banks from stress tests
4. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
5. Eurobank, National Bank restructurings eliminate capital gap
6. Athens flood damage assessed, compensation payments to begin
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.