Of Grexit, Graccident and dead slow ahead
For some weeks now the somehow forgotten Grexit had been creeping up - both in political discourse (with Wolfgang Schaeuble openly predicating it as a "solution" to the Greek Programme impasse) and in media talk. When it became evident that the Greek Government would not push things to the breaking point in negotiations with its creditors and that the Europeans would not really drive Athens to that, media analysis started shifting to a Graccident - the notion of tactics leading to negotiations blockage that would lead Greece to a default and thus to Grexit. This concept of "accident" , either really accidental or even premeditated, has not vanished from the screens as deadlines are missed - the latest being the February 20 Eurogroup (the last before the election calendar of Europe starts rolling with the Netherlands in mid-March, France in April/May, with Germany looming in September).
Still, EuroWorking Group hair Thomas Wieser went on record (or, rather pontificated off-the-record) that there are three or four further Eurogroups before the summer - where , in fact, the real deadline lies for Greece if the country is not to miss payment of some 6,5 bn euros to the ECB (for Greek paper held by Frankfurt since the beginning of the Greek crisis). If this was not sufficient to serve as an indication that Greece might be pushed to the edge, but not really aground - since shipwrecks are difficult to manage - respected Der Spiegel disclosed that Europe's Iron lady Angela Merkel had reached sort of an agreement with the IMF's Christine Lagarde that the Fund would finally agree to participate to the Greek Programme (so that the Germans would keep bail-out funding going for Greece) without insisting that debt alleviation be discussed before 2018 - meaning: before the German elections.
Last but not least, the idea that the Eurogroup would declare itself ready to apply - when the present Greek Programme is over (meaning in mid-2018) - such longer-term debt alleviation measures as the IMF deems necessary for Greece may well prove enough to keep the Fund on-board, and thus the Greek Programme going. Such a "dead slow ahead" option would be the typically "European" way out of the impasse. Question is, whether the Athens Government will withstand the pressure of further reforms asked of it so as to close the circle...