Endless confusion and worry

The Holy See on Wednesday expressed its own view regarding the Greek crisis. Cardinal Pietro Parolin – the Vatican’s equivalent of prime minister – voiced his concern over ongoing negotiations between Greece and the country’s European partners and creditors. The situation in Greece could lead to “certain instability” said Cardinal Parolin, who said he hopes a deal will be reached soon.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also expressed concern on Wednesday, noting that a “miscalculation” could lead to a “potentially very damaging” crisis. “The challenge for the Europeans, the political and economic institutions – the IMF – is to show enough flexibility,” he added.

While Berlin disregarded the Vatican’s concerns – after all it was German priest Martin Luther who first challenged the Pope – it could not turn its back to Washington’s urge for “flexibility” and hurried to clarify, through Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, that a good deal of flexibility had already been shown in regards to the Greek program. Of course, the belief that Greece risks being declared officially bankrupt if it fails to meet an International Monetary Fund payment deadline next month differs greatly.

The anarchy or “creative chaos” of the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition should be added to mix of this blurry landscape: contradictions and announcements that are followed by refutations, in the space of a few hours. Meanwhile, a major discrepancy in the assessments of Athens and Berlin with regard to the success of discussions carried out in Brussels so far is another issue.

Top-ranking Greek government officials on Wednesday suggested that the process of drafting an agreement on the technical level had already started at the Brussels Group, a claim later refuted by the European Commission and a German Finance Ministry spokesman who noted that while progress had been made, this had mostly to do with the atmosphere of the talks.

As the June 5 deadline draws nearer, confusion is bound to intensify and assessments will increasingly differ as the negotiation has taken on a public and to a certain extent open character, aimed at manipulating parliaments and public opinion, in general.

Beyond the Eurogroup and the institutions, however, the issue is being discussed at the highest level and that’s where it will be decided, irrespective of whether or not the eurozone’s finance ministers are informed of this decision. Agreements will have to be kept. But even if a deal is signed, things will not calm down, as a new round of discussion will start and so on. It is a never-ending process.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.