For years now, like the sound of a clock ticking, Greece and the European Union have sung the tale of a new, and done for all time, Greek financial deal that will heal this downtrodden country. The song has been constantly and consistently vocalized, it has been laced with new melodies as the years passed, and the chorus has been sung by each new arrival in Brussels and each new Prime Minister in Greece. However, like the days of olde, long ago in Athens, it has all been a myth.
A shameful myth!
The country has never stepped out of their constant recession and each new chirp, of a Primary Surplus, or some other such tale, has lacked any ring of truth, any ring at all. Greece’s Masters, in Brussels and Berlin, demand ever more, and even more than that, as they do not want their own citizens to carry the Greek debt load that they, in my opinion, have fostered upon the Greek people. The EU, in my view, has made a mockery of the European Union by treating the Greeks as if they were indentured slaves.
The IMF went along, for a time, as they were the purse strings for Europe, for many years. Their forecasts had all of the accuracy of a stuck clock, but one without hands, so that it was never right, regardless of the charming French clock face. The official Greek debt now stands at 188%, according to the Financial Times, if it can be believed, but the bank debt along with the public debt totals a whopping 303% debt to GDP ratio and it would take Zeus and the rest of the gods, descending from Mt. Olympus, to deal with this Herculean task.
Ah how shameless – the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone they say come all their miseries yes but they themselves with their own reckless ways compound their pains beyond their proper share.
–Homer, The Odyssey
For months now, we have heard that a new deal is coming any day. Yet, nothing has happened. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that the United States is the largest owner of the IMF and the American representatives now report to Mr. Trump & Co. It is dubious, in my opinion, that regardless of what the bureaucrats might suggest, that the Board of Directors of the IMF are going to dole out any more money to Greece.
Germany wants them to, of course, so that the IMF can share the debt burden, as Germany has vigorously denounced giving Greece any meaningful debt relief. The citizens of Germany won’t abide it.
The lion and the lamb will not lie down together in peace.
Achilles glared at him and answered, “Fool, prate not to me about covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out and through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall fall.”
–Homer, The Iliad
So here we are, back at the table in Greece, as the EU demands even more austerity, even more budgetary cuts, even more pension cuts but the rock has now met the road, on the way to Marathon, at the Greek Supreme Court.
As “KeepTalkingGreece” reports:
Greece’s highest court just decided that the pension cuts demanded by the creditors to secure the bailout are unconstitutional. The Plenary of the State Audit Council has ruled that the cuts to the main and supplementary pensions, to be implemented in 2019, are against the Constitution and contravene the European Convention of Human Rights.
Pension cuts have been the creditors’ top austerity measure. The pension cuts the government and its creditors have agreed upon, in the Supplementary Memorandum of Understanding on May 2, 2017, would affect more than one million Greek pensioners. These retired people would suffer further pension cuts of up to 18% in their main and their supplementary pensions, respectively.
Also, the State Audit Council has decided that the fiscal bill containing the pension cuts contravenes the Greek legislation as it has been tabled to the audit council without a relevant actuarial study. The vote on the Bill, in the Greek Parliament, had been scheduled for May 18, but it has now been postponed.
Now it is possible that the EU could appeal this ruling to the European Union’s court system but it would take months to get a ruling. In the meantime, Greece has a $7 billion debt payment to be made in July, which it cannot afford. There is a real risk now that Greece may default, if something isn’t done and quickly.
The gates to Hades may finally be opening.