The Greek issue and the wider European chessboard
All eyes are by definition turned to the outcome of the first round of Presidential elections in France (where Emmanuel Macron is facing off Marine LePen for the second round of May 7), along with Teresa May's decision to call a snap election for June 8 at the UK. Still, the painful slogging of Greece's negotiations with its European partners and the IMF for the next steps towards a final(?) agreement breaking the months-long deadlock over the review of the current Adjustment Programme that risks getting derailed merit some attention.
Having achieved (or, at least, claiming it has achieved) a primary surplus of 3.9% of GDP for 2016, Greece felt emboldened at the IMF Spring Meeting in Washington. True enough, the IMF conceded they had missed forecast targets for Greek surplus by a wide margin; Christine Lagarde also reiterated the Fund's position, that substantial Greek debt relief would have to be conceded by European creditors to make possible Fund participation to the Programme; even German Finance Minister Schaeuble praised Greek forecasts over the Fund's own (but with the transparent wish to push away the perspective of having to agree on Greek debt relief some months before German elections); the Greek officials in Washington once more experienced the unpleasant feeling of being just silent witnesses to discussions held and decisions taken over their own fate.
Protracted negotiations over the Greek issue - "Kicking the can down the road"- are nothing new. In fact, this has become so much a routine that it ends up claiming the centre of the scene, it ends up being some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Brinkmanship on part of the Greek negotiating team has become another constant of the equation Now, the real question is to what degree the game playing out on the larger European political chessboard will influence the Greek issue.