From the Economist Roundtable to the Greek Parliament debate

Posted by Antonis D. Papagiannidis 04/07/2017 0 Comment(s) Economia Blog,

It would be highly interesting to compare notes - someday, somehow - and see how the positions taken by Greek officials at the recent Economist Roundtable with the Government of Greece (well attended and in the impressive venue of Lagonissi Grand Resort) and those adopted by the same worthies at the Greek Parliament (in the venerable but scruffy building overlooking the Athens Constitution Square).


Both ministers involved with the recent round of negotiations of Greece with its European partners plus the IMF (well, sort of: the Fund was not exactly there...), that is Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos an Alternate F.M. George Chouliarakis were present at the Roundtable, to debate about Greece with people from the Troika/Quartet - the EC, the ESM, the ECB (Skype) and the IMF (Skype, too). Then, came to the scene G. Stathakis, P. Papadimitriou and St. Pitsiorlas, all with growth-related portfolios. As keynote speakers, over successive dinners, one had first the opposition's Kyriakos Mitsotakis, then P.M. Alexis Tsipras. Well, normally all of this cast would be expected to join the fray in the Parliament debate.


Starting with G. Chouliarakis, who was the first to take the stand at the Economist Roundtable, one cannot but note that he accepted in the most straightforward way something that had transpired all along the second review of the current Adjustment Programme: that at no point was there any chance that some sort of debt relief would be agreed before the end of the Programme. Chouliarakis also made an interesting, forward-looking point: that once a country/an economy succeeds at reaching AND keeping a primary surplus level (even if largely deemed unsustainable, as the 3.5% of GDP demanded of Greece), then afterwards things get easier...


Eu. Tsakalotos chose a different field to make a departure from until-now-prevailing Greek side doctrine: aligning himself with the ESM's Klaus Regling with whom he crossed swords (or, rather, he joined forces) in Lagonissi, he let it be known that Greece would not, after all, hurry to test the waters of the global financial markets it was supposedly wooing all along. Alexis Tsipras seconded his FM's position, declaring that Greece would not address herself to the markets with some kind of EU/ESM assistance but only "on her own merits".


Last but not least, Kyriakos Mitsotakis took it upon himself to address a call to (putative) foreign investors, to take the lead and start investing in Greece - with the assurance that, when he and his party reach power, he will afford them any needed protection and encouragement.


So, whoever now follows the debate at the hallowed chamber of the Greek Parliament, he or she should compare positions taken there with those we have just put down. An interesting society game!


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