June 30, 2015


BREAKING - New proposal by Juncker - SYRIZA may accept = Will there be a solution by midnight?


A few hours before Greece is officially declared bankrupt, news reports are claiming that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras finally decided to re-open the communication lines with Brussels, thus taking an initiative to once again work with Greece's creditors in the framework of find an agreement/solution. Things are developing quickly because if a solution is not found then Greece will officially default by midnight. The BIG NEWS, according to some news sites, is that this new agreement will not include the IMF.

The Greek negotiating team is currently in heavy deliberations at the Maximos Mansion under the chairmanship of Tsipras for this very reason.

This sudden twist in developments unfolded after European Commission president Juncker sent a new improved proposal in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The reports claim that the new proposal also includes a reference to the regulation of the Greek debt. This was brought about following efforts from officials in France, Germany and believe it or not from forces within Greece as well.

The same reports also stress that the government decided to change its stance when it realized the severity of the present situation as a result of the imposed bank controls.

It was also revealed that more and more voices from within SYRIZA also called on Tsipras to accept this newest proposal, or at least re-open a highway of communication with Greece's creditors, with the aim of mitigating any differences on both sides.

According to enikos, Deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas became the latest official to call for a resumption of negotiations, although he set as a precondition a restructuring of the country's debt.
     "If we can resolve this issue, then the road to a discussion could reopen... this agreement, naturally, must create the impression that it is leading the country out of the crisis. Such a development is, even now, the preferred solution," Mardas wrote in online site
Syriza MEP Stelios Kouloglou, a former journalist and owner of wrote in the same site that Greece should not reject outright the new proposal by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
     "The balance of power against the Greek government is overwhelming. In the present circumstances, the government is not called upon to achieve a resounding victory, but the best possible compromise, with the fewest possible losses."
Kouloglou also warned that if the "no" prevails in the referendum, as the government has called for, "a punishing response (by European political and economic rulers) will be adopted." In case of a "yes" result, "the government will be forced to resign."

Mardas' and Kouloglou's articles appeared a day after another Syriza MEP, Costas Chrysogonos, made a public a letter to prime minister Tsipras he said he wrote on March 19 and to which he never got an answer. In the letter, Chrysogonos warns Tsipras that he does not have a mandate to take Greece out of the eurozone and warned against "verbal escalation, which is a trap set by the other side."
     "A rupture with the creditors is an impossible choice and, should we try it, the result will return to its bailout trap under worse conditions, like a prisoner who tries to escape, fails and ends up in solitary confinement," Chrysogonos wrote Tsipras.
At this point anything can happen, but at least the government has decided to once again open the lines of communication with Greece's lenders. The only thing that is not in Greece's favor is time. Greece has until midnight to come to some sort of agreement, or it is GAME OVER.

Frappers, the news is still developing and we still do not know how this will swing. We also do not know if they will call a Eurogroup meeting this afternoon in order to seal this. All we can do is wait. (References, defencenet, iefimerida, enikos, protpthema, SKAI Tv, Kathimerini)

LIVE BLOG - HellasFrappe is following the story & updates will be posted throughout the day

UPDATE 13.35 local time -  One report from protothema said that “if Tsipras wants a solution he needs to send a letter to Juncker, Eurogroup Chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande stating that he accepts the proposal submitted by the three institutions on Sunday and start a campaign in favor of YES.”

UPDATE - 14.20 Local time - State Minister Nikos Pappas,on Tuesday at noon attempted to dispel the rumor that attempts to restart negotiations would scupper the July 5 referendum. Speaking in the Greek Parliament, Pappas said: "Let them dream on. Referendum as scheduled. Strong "no" by our people. A deal favorable to both Greece and Europe."

UPDATE 15:00 Local Time - As announced by the government, Alexis Tsipras held talks with European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and European Parliament president Martin Schulz on Tuesday but the subject of these talks was not released to the press.

UPDATE 15.15 Local Time - According to a report that was just released on defencenet, Tsipras will be leaving for Berlin or Brussels (or to both cities - it was not clarified) immediately -even today- in order to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker. According to the report, Tsipras proposed a viable solution to Juncker, in order to solve Greece's present financial problems. This new solution, has the signature of SYRIZA MP John Dragasakis and is reportedly going to be announced on ERT television on Tuesday night. The same report on defencenet claims that the Greek PM will seek to hold talks with Merkel - and French President Francois Hollande in the coming hours. Meanwhile, State Minister Alekos Flambouraris said that "if Greece's partners want a solution they should stop presenting old proposals as new." He also added that an agreement can only be reached if there are "no cuts in wages and pensions, if the collective work agreements are restored and if there is a settlement to the debt."  All indications show that our EU partners are retreating on the issue of debt rescheduling which is a good indication that a possible agreement will be reached.

UPDATE 16:15 Local Time - Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Tuesday confirmed that Athens is not going to pay the 1.6 billion Euro installment to the IMF. When asked by AP about whether Greece will pay, Varoufakis said "no." His comment came amid speculation that Alexis Tsipras is trying to craft some sort of last-minute deal with creditors before the payment is due and before the European part of Greece's bailout comes to an end.

UPDATE 16:45 Local Time - (Ελεος ρε παιδια... ελεος!!) - Turkey said on Tuesday that it is willing to undertake Greece's 1.6 billion euro payment, or provide a zero interest loan in order to promote peace and solidarity among the two countries, while helping Greece to break the pressure of the IMF, Eurogroup and other creditors. - Daily Sabah

UPDATE 17:30 Local Time - HellasFrappe was spot on this morning when it reported this, because as always we trust our gut instinct... This story just came in from ANA-MPA, or the Greek state news agency - Greece’s government formally asked for a two-year bailout program from the European Stability Mechanism, according to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The request is to cover all of the country’s financial needs for the next two years, along with a debt restructuring plan, the Greek government said in the statement (in other words a third bailout worth 20+ billion euros). The government will continue negotiations seeking a “viable agreement” within the eurozone, it said. Already there are mixed reactions over the offer, one report on CNN described SYRIZA's offer as something that cannot even be discussed... leaving it to be understood that SYRIZA once again just wants to secure funds but apply no reforms. 

UPDATE 18:00 Local Time - Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced that a teleconference will take place tonight to discuss official request of Greek government received this afternoon. The ministers will have their conference only 5 hours before the European part of Greece's bailout program expires. "Extraordinary Eurogroup teleconference tonight 19:00 Brussels time to discuss official request of Greek government received this afternoon." enikos

UPDATE 18:20 Local Time - It was just reported by SKAI channel, and Naftemboriki that a group of far Left radicals from ANTARSYA (which support the SYRIZA party) interrupted an important meeting of the Athens Bar Association on Tuesday where more than 50 lawyers were there to discuss this Sunday's referendum. The protesters -who claim to respect democracy- bullied and verbally attacked the lawyers because they are not in favor of the NO vote at this Sunday's election and then the radicals forced the lawmakers to cancel the meeting. (This is just one more example of the type of democracy that Leftists support. Anyone who is against their ideology is wrong, a fascist, and undemocratic. They usually bully, belittle, insult and threaten anyone who disagrees with them.) As soon as HellasFrappe has the relevant video that was broadcasted on SKAI channel we will post it.

UPDATE 21:00 Local Time - Cuckoo!!! - A portion of the SYRIZA party, or it’s affiliated “Communist Trend” group, on Tuesday warned the government on the site not to “dare take a step back”, and at the same time demanded the immediate nationalization of banks, supermarkets, foodstuffs and pharmaceutical producers and even private health care units all across Greece! In other words... a return to Marxism (Double Cuckoo!!!). This obviously extreme element within SYRIZA also had the audacity to demand the expropriation of all Church property. Wait there is more, they also said they want the confiscated businesses and “means of production” to be passed to “workers’ control”. (Triple Cuckoo!!!)

June 29, 2015


ANALYSIS - Greek Referendum Is More Con Than Democracy

The Greek parliament has approved a referendum to decide whether to accept the latest bailout terms offered by the country’s creditors. It will come too late and ask the wrong question.

This is a vote that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras should have called at least a month ago -- if it were an honest effort to let the Greek people make a democratic choice on where their future lies, which it is not. As it is, the July 5 referendum will be so rushed as to be flawed in principle, and will come after the current bailout program expires. Indeed, it may come after Greece has already suffered a banking collapse.

The referendum is not, as Tsipras repeatedly claimed during his announcement, an expression of democracy in response to the “authoritarianism” of the creditors. His argument that the creditors must bend to the will of his election mandate has been preposterous from the start: In which debtor nation would voters not elect to have easier credit terms? And in what case has the International Monetary Fund or any creditor been answerable to the electorate of its client nation?

I’ve argued for Greece to hold a vote to clarify what its people want. It was necessary because Syriza lied during the campaign to get its representatives elected in January, by offering to end the bailout terms, keep the bailout and stay in the euro -- an option that, rightly or wrongly, was never available. Rather than produce a clearer mandate, though, this proposed referendum would continue Syriza’s subterfuge.

According to a draft cabinet proposal, the question on which Greeks would be asked to vote in just seven days’ time would be whether they want to accept the latest offer from the country’s creditors. This is a complex document that has yet to be translated into Greek and may well be void by Wednesday. It is clear from the language Tsipras used in describing that offer -- “blackmail,” “humiliation,” “ultimatum” -- which way he wants the vote to go.

Again, just as during the election campaign, Syriza officials are not mentioning what all this would mean for Greece’s place in the euro. They are maintaining the fiction that the question of accepting the bailout terms is quite separate from whether Greece defaults on its debt payments, sees its financial sector collapse and is forced to issue its own currency in one guise or another.

Not once in his address on the referendum did Tsipras mention the common currency. When the Associated Press asked Syriza cabinet minister Panagiotis Lafazanis whether the nirvana of reconstruction and progress he described as following from a “no” vote to the bailout would involve leaving the euro, he said: “It is you [the media] who pose this dilemma.”

This is populist dishonesty. It may be that by this point Greece would be better off defaulting and returning to the drachma (though I doubt it). And it may be that a majority of Greeks would make the choice to go it alone, rather than continue a dysfunctional relationship with the nation’s economic partners and creditors (although opinion polls suggest not). But the proposed referendum doesn’t ask those questions.

Tsipras and his party want this vote to legitimize their decision to default and exit the euro, most likely after that decision has already been made, without actually telling Greeks that this is the choice they are making. It gives further weight to my suspicion that Syriza’s erratic negotiating behavior for the last five months has been driven by a preference for default and exiting the euro they could not express, because the party had no mandate for it.

Greek voters should be told the honest truth about what they would be deciding on July 5, if the vote goes ahead at all after the likely chaos of the next week: a return to the bailout terms within the euro, or a default and a return to fiscal sovereignty outside it.

Read the whole story by By Marc Champion: Bloomberg View via ekathimerini

June 27, 2015


Karamanlis breaks silence - Warns that “unwise choices" will have irreversible consequences on Greece

In a very rare public statement, former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday called on Greece to remain in the Eurozone. The former premier stressed that Greece's interests require participation in the Eurozone, adding that “unwise choices" will push the country "into an adventure” with unpredictable and possibly irreversible consequences.

Karamanlis, who has kept silent since he was overthrown by George Papandreou in 2009, underlined that the existence of imperfections within the EU do not take away from the value of this strategic orientation.

It will come as a surprise to many, but Karamanlis has been working closely with ND leader Antonis Samaras since early Saturday morning, or right after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' announcement for a referendum. As such, he held a long conversation with the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and presently he is in close contact with other European heads of state. As always, Karamanlis is using his diplomatic charisma to defuse tension across Europe.

The story is still developing. Please check back later for more.

NO SURPRISES - George Papandreou hails Tsipras, in favor of referendum

Former PM George Papandreou on Saturday said that his party is going to support a YES vote in the July 5th referendum that was called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras early on Saturday morning.

Papandreou, who always forgets that he is the one that ignited this whole crisis by bringing the IMF to Greece -and to a wider extent to Europe- also accused Tsipras of shifting the burden of a difficult decision on the Greek people after the SYRIZA government’s failure to negotiate a deal with Greece’s creditors.

Wait there is more, because Papandreou's audacity has no bounds, he also sought to distance Tsipras' decision form his own initiative to hold a referendum in 2011.

Papandreou who resigned as prime minister in 2011 after igniting a financial crisis in Greece and helping interests overthrow the democratically elected government of Costas Karamanlis, still believes that his government's decisions actually benefited the Greek people. Till this day he pats himself on the back for apparently achieving what he describes was the biggest haircut of debt in world history (PSI). Of course he forgets that this haircut destroyed the Greek pension system!

In the announcement that was released on Saturday after the call for the referendum Papandreou also noted that when his government was in force, Tsipras was totally opposed to the idea of a referendum, claiming that it would lead to bankruptcy.

The answer is obviously it will, so why note it today and why for heaven's sake support it to begin with?  - Reference - RealNews

Editor's note: The answer is simple dear Frappers. Forces from within SYRIZA and Papandreou have never cut their ties (Fotopoulos clan from DEH). The BAD, BAD PASOK is alive and kicking! Papandreou should be very careful with what he says and does in this country, because people have had it up to here with him and his cronies!

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Tsipras Calls Nat. Referendum - Yes or No To Measures (and To Europe?) (VIDEO)

The events that have unfolded in Greece over the last few days are not only historical but have kept the Greek people at the edge of their seats. After a week of acrimonious talks in Brussels, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras dismissed the creditors' proposals, calling them "blackmail", and flew back to Athens to huddle with his ministers. A little after midnight, he appeared on television to address the nation and announced plans for a referendum on July 5.
     "Our responsibility is for the future of our country. This responsibility obliges us to respond to the ultimatum through the sovereign will of the Greek people," Tsipras said in a televised address to the nation.
He said he would respect the outcome of the vote, but hinted that the demands made by Greece's creditors "clearly violate European social rules and fundamental rights", and said that if applied would asphyxiate Greece's flailing economy and aim to humiliate the Greek people.

Tsipras said he has informed French president Francois Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi.

As most would understand, this story is still developing. HellaFrappe will be following the events throughout Saturday, especially when the Greek Parliament convenes to formalize the referendum. Stay tuned.

June 26, 2015

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Plot "Silver drachma" - A sick plan to get Greece out of the euro following the downfall of Karamanlis - MUST READ

The evidence that was presented by Supreme Court investigator against Corruption Dimitri Foukas can only be described as shocking and something that can only be found in spy movies. Foukas, who has been investigating the wire tapping case that occurred during Costas Karamanlis' rule as well as the assassination attempt against the former prime minister, in a clear and documented way, shows us how the US government worked to overthrow the Karamanlis government, as well as the dark and sinister role that close associates of George Papandreou played to materialize this plot (otherwise known as  "Pythia 1").

Aside from the major plot "Pythia1" which aimed to destabilise Greece politically, socially and especially financially, and just before wrapping up his investigation, the Supreme Court investigator suddenly stumbled upon yet another plot. According to what is presented in his inquiry, he apparently discovered that there was an organized effort from a group of unnamed people to remove Greece from the eurozone!

Before presenting the evidence, HellasFrappe wants to note that Foukas has been investigating the wiretapping case as well as the "Pythia1" plot, that concern preparatory acts of treason during Karamanlis' rule. Both cases, were merged into a grand investigation in 2013, and now that they have reached their completion will be submitted to the Supreme Council's Appeals Court where the judiciary will decide what further course of action to take. The investigation is featured in a multi-page document that shockingly also reveals a plan for a new national currency, or "silver drachma", in 2012, and which once again stars Alex Rondos, one of George Papandreou's closest associates. The case also links powerful personalities, secret service agents in Greece and in the US, (agents who suddenly disappeared), confidential reports and Wikileaks cables.

(If you wish to find out more about Alex Rondos then we propose that you click on one of the links below.)

Back to our story, the plot to remove Greece from the Eurozone was surprisingly discovered when Foukas was monitoring the telephone calls that were made by Alex Rondos -a man who had reportedly known about the plan to destabilise Greece as noted in previous reports on HellasFrappe-. During this period, the name of a Mexican businessman (silver mine owner) suddenly surfaced. According to what was noted, the name of Julio Salinas Price surfaced, a man who had once also acted as an economics advisor to the Mexican government.

Foukas' report claims that Rondos came into contact with Salinas Price in 2012 when Papadimos was in power, (just a little after George Papandreou resigned as premier). The purpose, according to the evidence, was to promote Greece's exit from the eurozone and then introduce a new national currency (that the military news site defencenet -which revealed the story- calls "silver drachma"). The plot, according to Foukas, foresaw the introduction of a new currency with an estimated value that would have been twice the annual GDP, capped at 20% of silver value, and which would have been supplied by Price.

With all this new information in hand, Foukas then began to investigate Price's visit (s) to Greece as well as the contacts the the Mexican businessman made in Athens. He even seized incriminating evidence on these visits after conducting a search at a private home from an unnamed source. The military news site defencenet claims that it knows the name of this individual but reserves the right to keep his/her identity confidential -for the time being- because the investigation is still ongoing. Nonetheless, it is reported that 70 billion Euros would have been issued towards the issuance of this new currency, to which consultancy fees and brokers' fees would have also been added.

The Supreme Court Investigator has already began criminal proceedings against all the unidentified individuals involved in this new sinister plot, and the possible actions that followed or proceeded this act and that aimed at lobbying and forcing the Greek government at the time to alter policies that concern Greek international affairs.

It should be clarified, that these actions also include the assassination attempt (s) against Costas Karamanlis as well. Those who have followed this story on HellasFrappe in previous posts know that Foukas' investigation discovered that the perpetrators behind this grand plan worked feverishly to end Greece's political and economic rapprochement with Russia in the areas of energy, and the supply of military equipment and procurement.

(Karamanlis who had made the first opening to Russia with the aim of making Greece and international energy hub, was not well-liked by the West because of these political choices. HellasFrappe has presented a plethora of articles that prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that George Papandreou's rise to power was well planned by the West so that all the agreements that were signed during Karamanlis' rule could be dissolved. If one examines Foukas' report they will discover that there is even a paragraph dedicated to the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline as well as the controversial South stream pipeline, These two references alone prove the motive behind the unjust downfall of Karamanlis.)

Foukas also featured Wikileaks cables and the testimony of key witnesses in his report proving that when Karamanlis and Vladimir Putin decided to move ahead with the pipeline projects, the US government made a decision to dissolve these agreements as soon as possible (and obviously get rid of the Karamanlis government).

The above information is corroborated by fact sheets from the Greek secret services (EYP) and testimony from an agent with the  codename "ΘΣ 13".

According to the judicial report -which we once again repeat was featured on the military web site defencenet on Friday- the US began to reveal its support for the TAP pipeline after 2009. This was confirmed in Victor Resti's testimony, who after meeting with the US president in May 2012, began to promote the US' position -which was in favor of the TAP pipeline- to the Greek leadership. The result was a gradual abandonment of the Russian pipeline projects that were signed by Karamanlis, and a commitment from the Greek side -or the then Papandreou government- to favor the TAP pipeline instead. At the same time, the purchase and supply of military equipment from Russia was also abandoned.

According to Foukas, on 26.03.2014 a former agent from EYP contacted his office requesting an extraordinary meeting. At the meeting, which took place the very same day, the Greek agent conveyed a message to Foukas that was passed on to him by a member of the US intelligence service demanding that the mega investigation -into Karamanlis' assassination and Greece's destabilisation- be stopped right away, because Greek-US relations were once again on track and the case was preventing their further development.

Foukas of course did not stop the investigation and continued on feverishly and as such also discovered this new plot.

In his inquiry he talks about the wire-tapping scandal revealing that specialized phones were used to monitor dozens of politicians, members of the government and dozens of others, including Costas Karamanlis. According to what he discovered, the wire-tapping occurred from August 2004 until March 2005 by an American agent with the code name William B. The phones that were used in this operation were apparently purchased in the area of Piraeus by William B's wife with the name Petros Markou. When one of the four phone lines were being investigated by Foukas, it was discovered that the telephone connection was activated by another device with subscriber information linked to the American Embassy. When the case was brought to light, William B suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from Greece.

The inquiry -supported by Wikileaks cables- also reveals that during Karamanlis' rule there were officials at the National Intelligence service that were leaking information -breaching state secrets- because they were not in favor -or political fans- of the leadership. As it turned out in 2005 some of these intelligence officers -who had access to top secret information-, removed confidential state documents without any authorization and passed them on to the then MEP for the PASOK party Michalis Karchimakis -another very close associate of George Papandreou-. Reference - defencenet

What is the Pythia1 Plan - according to previous posts from HF:

The Pythia1 plan had four main points: The assassination plot against Karamanlis had as its objective to postpone and/or cancel his government’s decision to move ahead with an energy policy that would make Greece a fair player in the global energy market, while it was part of a larger plan that was set to totally destabilize the country’s economic and political system.

First Phase:  Political instability. During Karamanlis' run as Prime Minister, the political climate in Greece began to crumble and the mainstream media (which some hint was bought out to do so) suddenly began broadcasting stories suggesting that the government of Karamanlis was accepting kickbacks or was involved in money laundering in the Monastery of Vatopedi case. The news began to tarnish the image of Karamanlis’ Cabinet, while the aim was to strike at the core… Karamanlis himself so that he could lose his credibility with the people. It worked. After months and months of propaganda, the people turned their back on Karamanlis, his political career was totally tarnished, and he lost the elections to George Papandreou in October 2009.

Second Phase: Economic unrest: This was achieved with various methods that even included the various kidnappings of several prominent businessmen, throwing the business community in a panic.

Third Phase: Social instability. This was implemented with various forms of social unrest, including terrorist acts.

Fourth Phase: Weaken Foreign Policy. Karamanlis’ foreign policy began to suddenly show signs of weakening and Greece began to suddenly lose ground with its allies.

For more please read...

OPINION - Does The Papandreou +Rondos +Lazzard +Sorros Alliance = The Rothchilds? You Bet It Does!

Arrest Warrent Against Head of KYP... In Assassination Attempt Against Karamanlis

PASOK MP Implicated In Karamanlis Wire-Tapping Case - Breached State Secrets

RealNews Report Says Greek-Americans & NSA Behind Spy Network Against Costas Karamanlis

SPECIAL REPORT - Supreme Court To Merge Cases Of Wire-Tapping, Pythia Plan,Assassination Plot Against Karamanlis Into ONE

Case on Suspicious Death of Vodafone Employee Associated to Greek Wire-tapping Scandal Re-opens

PART l - Plot to assassinate Costas Karamanlis revealed (VIDEO)

PART II – Plot to assassinate Costas Karamanlis revealed (VIDEO)

PART III - Authorities launch formal investigation into assassination plot against Karamanlis

SPECIAL REPORT - Prosecution Wraps Up Investigation Into Assassination Attempt Of Karamanlis

SPECIAL REPORT - Either You Leave, Or We Kill You - (Karamanlis) A Hostage For 242 Days

Makeleio Show Explores Papandreou and SYRIZA Role In Downfall of Karamanlis (VIDEO)

Was Mossad, MI6 & CIA Behind Assassination Plot Of Karamanlis?

Ambassador Threatens Greek MP Over Energy Policy - Connected To Karamanlis Assassination Plot

Does Papandreou agree with Rondos’ views about sharing the Aegean with Turkey?

Epikaira article confirms that Papandreou was in secret talks with US + Israel over natural gas + oil

SPECIAL REPORT - Classified documents reveal US energy coup & Papandreou's retreat on FYROM

SPECIAL REPORT - Does Papandreou work on behalf of Greek or US interests? (VIDEOS)

References: HellasFrappe, AMNA, enikos,

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Greek crisis: Agreement... Greek-accident... Or Plan B?

In a climate of confusion and uncertainty citizens all over Greece have been glued to their television sets over the past few days, closely monitoring the developments that are unfolding in Brussels and are determining the fate of Greece. Will the SYRIZA government reach an agreement with Greece's creditors in the little time that is left, will a Greek accident occur or will both sides move on to some sort of Plan B (given that there is a plan b of course)?

On Thursday there was a deadlock in the ongoing negotiations at the Eurogroup and the negative climate against Greece was more than apparent. The truth is, that the Greek government is in a very difficult position and under immense pressure. At present, the voices of support are gradually fading and this is making the negotiation process even more tedious. Indeed the government of Alexis Tsipras has a major responsibility for managing the situation (and correcting the mistakes that his government has made since its rise to power), but so do our so-called European partners and (the resource-sucking) IMF, (who we all know undermine any attempt to bridge the differences with their demands).

Worse of all, the most onerous and catastrophic scenarios are openly being discussed by the domestic and international media, as well as by political officials. Some of these include a Grexit, Greek-accident and even talk about a parallel currency that will be used until reforms are implemented. In these last few hours, there is only one last opportunity for logic to prevail so that the worse sort of scenario can be averted. Trust has to be restored on all sides, and compromises must be made.

What happened at the Eurogroup...

Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting did not result in any agreement, other than the scheduling of a new meeting on Saturday. While the reform proposals submitted by the Greek side on Monday were welcomed as a basis for further discussion, the institutions presented their own counter-proposal with further demands which were then knocked down by the Greek side.

At the EuroSummit....

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had an intense dialogue with European Council President Donald Tusk during the summit meeting of Eurozone leaders in Brussels on Thursday, government sources said.

Tusk reportedly told Tsipras that the “game is over”. Answering back, the Greek PM warned him not to underestimate to what lengths a people might go when they feel humiliated. He also reminded him that presently in Greece there are more than 1.5 million who are unemployed, there are more than three million who are below the poverty line and thousands of families without any income whatsoever.
     "Unfortunately, the proposals of the institutions reflect the most extreme positions expressed by the IMF. The text does not differ at all from the previous programme,” Tsipras told Tusk, according to the sources.
     Do “not underestimate the point to which a nation can reach when humiliated.”
He also noted that his government has tabled proposals and added:
     “I’m determined to make reforms in pensions, abolish early retirement, unite funds,” which would start in October.
Then he said: “Following our proposal, the historian of the future will not understand why we didn’t come to an agreement.”

Still many hurdles to be overcome between both sides...

While there is some convergence on certain issues, such as VAT targets and corporate taxation, there are still significant hurdles that need to be overcome in order for Greece and its partners to reach an agreement.

In its latest proposal Greece has raised its VAT revenue target from 0.74% GDP to 0.93% GDP, with the institutions demanding a 1% GDP target. Greece insists of preserving a 13% VAT rate for food, water and energy and a low 6% VAT rate for medicine and books. It has also decided to maintain the 30% VAT discount for the islands.

While Greece has accepted, in part, the institutions’ recommendation on the tonnage tax in shipping, it rejects the abolition of tax cuts exemptions and proposes the implementation of a more efficient taxation framework for commercial shipping.

Greece has also made some concessions on pension expenditure, but wants a more gradual phasing out of early retirements by 2022. The creditors demand that the health care contributions of pensions must increase from 4% to 6%, while the Greek side suggests a 5% rate instead.

The latest Greek proposal also includes a provision for reducing the national defense budget by 200 million euros, with the creditors demanding 400 million euros worth of cuts.

Finally, the Greek side has pledged to announce deadlines for the privatization of OLP and OLTH by the end of October 2015, as well as carrying out what is necessary to complete the privatizations of regional airports, TRAINOSE, the Egnatia Odos highway, OLP, OLTH and the Elliniko development.

Varoufakis butts heads with EU finance ministers...

Greek Minister of Finances Yanis Varoufakis told Irish radio station RTÉ that the latest proposals submitted to the institutions were “very reasonable”. The Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan has been critical of Greece's stance in the negotiations, to which Varoufakis responded that the Irish government has been kept in the dark about the Greek offers.
     "If your finance minister and I were to sit down and I were to explain my proposals [...] Michael Noonan would agree that they are very reasonable" he commented.
Varoufakis explained that while Greece has an “absolute commitment” to remain the Eurozone, he noted that the country has bent over backwards in order to accommodate “strange demands” of the country’s creditors. He then argued that it would be absurd to carry out any further pensions cuts and stressed that Greece will not accept any debt solution which is not sustainable.

Skourletis is pessimistic that deal will be landed...

Commenting on Thursday's deadlock, Minister of Labor Panos Skourletis estimated that there are few chances of an agreement with Greece's creditors. Speaking on MEGA tv on Friday morning, Skourletis said that unless an agreement is reached, then the IMF payment due on June 30th will not be made but he noted that the IMF has already clarified that such a development does not constitution a default, but rather an overdue debt.

He also slammed Greece's creditors and accused them of operating under a rationale of “precautionary reprisals”, stressing that “every time we are about to reach a solution they come and say bring some more pensioners to execute”. The Greek Minister did not rule out the possibility of an extension being granted, but noted that there would be conditions in place.

SYRIZA MPs in favor... others want a complete default

On his part, Alternate Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said in statements to state broadcaster ERT that the agreement in its entity will not be recessionary. He noted that the Greek government is fighting so that the burden is shared in a more fair way.
     "We are closer than ever to an agreement," he underlined adding that a failure to reach an agreement it would trigger problems to all Europe.
Tsakalotos added that the debt is issue has also been raised and underlined that the government's aim is a sustainable and social fair solution.

On his part, Costas Lapavitsas, MP for governing Syriza argues that Greece is being blackmailed and should exit the Eurozone. In an article published in the Guardian newspaper, Lapavitsas says that instead of acceding to the troika’s devastating demands, Syriza should free the country from the trap of the common currency – if the Greek people agree.

Meanwhile in Brussels....

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a euro zone finance ministers' meeting on Saturday would be decisive for finding a solution to Greece's debt crisis. She told a news conference after the European Union summit that heads of state and government could not get involved in the detailed negotiation of a cash-for-reform deal but only encourage the sides to reach a rapid conclusion.
     "We are saying, not without careful thought, that this Eurogroup is of decisive importance, taking into account that time is very short and that a result must be worked on."
Asked whether she was ready to offer Athens debt relief as Tsipras had demanded, Merkel responded that it was not possible to find new money for Greece beyond what was left in its second bailout programme at this stage.

Quite interestingly, she also deflected a question about whether finance ministers would discuss a Plan B to cope with the fallout of a Greek default and limit the damage to other euro zone countries if there was no deal on Saturday, saying she would not engage in speculation and wanted a successful agreement.

On his part, while speaking to Europe1 radio, French Minister of Finances Michel Sapin said that an agreement can be reached that will secure the interests of Greece and protect Europe from a dangerous situation. When asked to comment on the statements of German Commissioner Oettinger regarding a Grexit, Sapin noted that as time moves on, the possibility of a ‘bad solution’ will increase, which may gradually force Greece out of the Eurozone. He also underlined that at present there is a bailout program in place until the end of June, while the ECB is in the position to help Greece overcome its difficulties. Most importantly, he said that a Greek departure from the Eurozone will have significant consequences and stressed the need for stability in Europe.

It should be reminded that European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger warned that Greece may be forced out of the Eurozone, unless the Greek government and its creditors can reach an agreement by the end of the month. While giving an interview to the Deutschlandfunk radio station in Germany, Oettinger explained that although such a development is undesirable, the Greek government must demonstrate that it is prepared to implement reforms.

On the other hand, European Parliament President Martin Schulz expressed certainty that an agreement between Greece and its creditors will be reached and underlined the need for Greece to stand again on its own feet. Schulz also urged Greek deputies to cooperate and impose taxes on those people that have not contributed to solving the crisis so far.

On his part, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi  told the Italian parliament that "Greece must know that in the European institutions there is a large number of countries that will do anything to help it, but the effort must be mutual." He also noted that deliberations at the Eurogroup should be made with a deep awareness of the risks, in particular for Greece, in case of failure to reach agreement.
     "The Greeks should know, and we say that with friendly affection and the closeness of those who are aware of the difficulties of the Greek people, that there is strong pressure to make use of that opportunity in order to permanently close all pending issues with Greece and be excluded from the eurozone," Renzi warned adding that this stance is mainly adopted by countries that have recently joined the European Union.
In Asia....

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed hope for a successful outcome in the negotiations between the Greek government and the institutions, so that Greece remains in the eurozone. The Chinese premier also expressed support for the process of European integration, saying he wanted to see a united, prosperous Europe with a strong euro.
     "Greece's current debt problems are going through a crucial period and China hopes that Greece will remain in the euro zone, especially appreciates the efforts of the interested parties and hopes for the success of the negotiations. China supports Europe and the growth of EU-Chinese relations," Li Keqiang said, according to an announcement by ANA-MPA.
Opposition on alert....

If the government majority does not support the potential agreement between Greece and its creditors whenever it comes to parliament, then a different government formation should be formed, main opposition leader Antonis Samaras told Crash magazine in an interview.
     "If the government loses the majority, the only thing that can be done is for Mr Tsipras to continue with those who agree with him for a deal with Europe, with our help," Samaras, who leads New Democracy, was quoted as saying, noting that a government will have to form to push these things forward.
He said if the government majority doesn't support whatever deal he brings to parliament, then he loses its confidence and in this case there should be a wider national consensus to keep Greece in the euro and exit the crisis. He also said the next step would be to form a transitional government of national consensus in which "neither him, nor Mr Tsipras would participate."

HellasFrappe's opinion on matters...

I don't know if both our government and the EU realize that there is an elephant in the room that cannot be ignored: the United States!  We have read reports that Barack Obama’s administration has put pressure on Merkel to reach an agreement with Greece, but the importance of this news has been lost in the airwaves. Whether some want to digest it or not, Greece is strategically important to Washington and our geopolitical value dear Frappers are much more important than any economic concerns. We are the cross-roads to the Balkans, and to Eurasia and Washington would never, EVER, want an independent government in Greece, so dreams of the drachma are nothing but tall tales and romantic hedge fund dreams. If Greece does not reach an agreement, then we believe a Plan B will be implemented and rumor has it that it will involve a second currency for domestic consumption, while the Euro will be used by tourists and exports (something similar to Cuba's system). Let us take it from another angle, Greece will also be less important to Asia if it leaves the Euro because our main port is used to distribute its products all over the EU. That is why we were not surprised with the comments that were made by the Chinese PM.  Russia on the other, which is already suffocating from sanctions, will not help Greece right now because it has too much on its plate with Syria and Ukraine. Also, Putin is someone who works strategically and does not take spontaneous decisions so when he decides to begin doing business in Greece he will first have forged strong economic and business ties with us (spreading soft-politics), so that he and his country would not provoke the already shaky relations it has with NATO. And finally, Greek citizens forget that the measures that are presently being discussed in Brussels, and which are indeed harsh, were proposed firstly by SYRIZA which decided to tax the masses instead of doing the logical thing which was to cut state expenses. In the first few days in office, this party decided to rehire people to the state instead of re-engineering it to finally serve the interests of the masses. (Example fire 5 people and purchase a damn computer to get the job done). 20 workers in the private sector need to work to maintain these five public sector workers. Accept it or not, they took care of their own, much in the same way that all previous governments did. The difference with this government though, and the previous conservative government (and some may not like what we are going to say) is that Samaras cut state expenditures by 73 percent and only raised taxes on the private sector by 27 percent. In this way, he downsized a corrupt private and useless public sector, and after decades even Transparency International had reported that corruption in the state was finally declining. How can it not? State workers were finally being evaluated for their skills, and they feared being fired. Whereas now, it is back to the same conditions we have come to know for decades. We did not applaud Samaras' government for the measures it took, do not misunderstand us, they made many mistakes, but no one can deny that economically things were getting better in Greece. SYRIZA on the other hand has proposed raising taxes by 92-93 percent on the private sector and only cutting state expenses by 7-8 percent. We know there will be many who will disagree with what we just said, but we would advise them to read the numbers because they never lie. The public sector is SYRIZA's clientele, or as we all know the old bad PASOK. The same force that brought us to where we are today, and the same force that is known for inequalities in the state, massive corruption, the infamous "fakelaki", etc. (Example of this - they agree to giving DEH 600 million in state subsidies -including recent raises- and yet decide to tax poor Greek farmers with 23 percent! Isn't this insanity?) We are not economists, but it does not take a brain surgeon to realize that SYRIZA is purposely protecting the interests of Greece's corrupt public sector, and crashing down hard on private enterprise. What they do not realize is that ONLY the private sector can generate places of employment and all this proposed taxation will wipe away what little is left in this country after 6 years of recession. We fear a mass exodus of companies and more unemployment. It would be very entertaining to see how all these public sector workers will be paid once there are even more private sector workers without work. The only thing we hope is that an agreement is reached, because if it is not, expect complete chaos as of Monday morning. If this is what it takes to slap people into reality, so be it, nonetheless we aspire that it never happens.

References: Reuters, WSJ, FT, BBC, Europe1, Kathimerini, ERT, SKAI Tv, MEGA Tv, ANT1, enikos, To Vima, ANA-MPA

June 23, 2015

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8bln Euros of Measures - SYRIZA MPs Numb - Will Measures Pass in Parliament? (VIDEOS)

The Eurogroup welcomed the list of proposals that were drawn up by the Greek government on Monday night, thus paving the way for an agreement that will finally return the Greek economy to some sort of normality. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assumed the political cost, and moved past pointless negotiations to a comprehensive and very painful reform package. The cost? More than 8 billion euros in new measures! Apparently, the meeting between Tsipras and ECB chief Mario Draghi was catalytic, as the central banker pledged to support Greek banks so long as Greece is in a program. The next few days will be decisive and the possible explosive reactions that Tsipras' decision will have in Greece -from his own party, and other state factions-, may attempt to hinder the agreement's completion.

Following the emergency summit, Tsipras told reporters that Greece's "proposal has been accepted as the basis for discussion by the institutions."
     "Negotiations will continue over the next two days. We don't want a fragmented deal that is only for a limited time. We want a complete and viable solution. For the first time the burden will not lie on workers and pensioners. We are protecting middle class families and for the first time the burden will lie on those who can pay, so we can finally leave this crisis which has afflicted us for five years," he added.
As announced, another emergency Eurogroup meeting will be held on Wednesday evening. European Council president Donald Tusk said that all parties are determined to find a solution.
     "The new Greek proposals are a step forward," Tusk said at the press conference following Monday night's Summit, adding that much work should be done in the next few hours. Tsipras and the institutions "will work together now so that the Eurogroup can achieve results on Wednesday evening that can be presented Thursday morning" he added.
On his part, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker expressed certainty that a solution will be found.

The news was not received that well in Greece, especially from many hard line leftists who support the SYRIZA party and there is fear that with 8 billion euros worth of measures though, Tsipras and his team may have a hard time passing the agreement in the Greek Parliament. There are other risks as well. Greece’s creditors do not intend to initiate any discussions on debt relief either, which was one of SYRIZA's major demands. A report from Reuters revealed that Tsipras attempted to raise the subject at the Summit on Monday, but there was no positive response.

The measures

The latest Greek proposal which was discussed in Brussels on Monday evening includes nearly 8 billion euros worth of measures

– 2.692 billion euros for 2015 and 5.207 billion euros for 2016.

The proposal that was submitted includes a 1% primary surplus goal for 2015 and 2% goal for 2016.

PENSIONS - The government will begin to restrict early pensions as of 2016, with the intent of phasing them out by 2025, without however affecting special categories [hard manual labor, disabled etc]. The zero-deficit clause in pensions, which would cause 500 million euros worth of cuts, will not be implemented.

VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) - The VAT will involve three rates (23%, 13% and 6%) and will come into effect in July (it is meant to generate 680 million euros (0.38% GDP) in 2015 and a further 1.36 billion euros (0.74%) in 2016.

The government wants the low 6% rate for medicine and books, the 13% rate for energy, food and water and the 23% for everything else.

PENSION SYSTEM - About 1.8 billion euros worth of measures are set to be implemented in the pensions system, about 0.37% of GDP for 2015 and 1.05% GDP for 2016. This includes restrictions on early retirements (60 million euros in 2015 and 300 million euros in 2016), increasing IKA pension contributions by 3.9% (350 million euros in 2015 and 800 million euros in 2016) and contributions for supplementary pensions from 3% to 3.5% (120 million euros in 2015 and 250 million euros in 2016). Contributions are also set to be raised for pensioner health care, from 4% to 5% for main pensions (135 million euros in 2015 and 270 million euros in 2015) and from 0% to 5% for supplementary pensions (240 million euros in 2016).

CORPORATE TAX - Corporate and income taxes are expected to generate income to the tune of 0.66% GDP for 2015 and 0.58% GDP for 2016. Specifically, businesses with profits over 500,000 euros are now going to face a 12% special tax, which is expected to generate 945 million euros in 2015 and 405 million euros in 2016. As of 2016 the corporate tax is set to increase from 26% today to 29%, and yield an expected 410 million euros worth, while the solidarity tax hike is to bring in 220 million euros in 2015 and 250 million euros in 2016.

OTHER MEASURES - Other measures, worth 0.5% GDP in 2016, include cuts in defense (200 million euros, taxing television advertising (100 million in 2015 and 2016), raising the luxury and private yacht tax (47 million euros in 2015 and 2016), VLTs, e-gambling (35 million euros in 2015 and 225 million euros in 2016) and taxing mobile phone licenses (for 4G and 5G networks) will generate 350 million euros in 2016.

According to a government non-paper the proposal is not a part of its program, but rather the result of hard and painful negotiations that aimed to reach an agreement that would not affect worker rights or social cohesion and which also had the prospect of growth. The government believes that it is providing a sustainable solution for the economy without burdening small and medium incomes.


The reactions from within the SYRIZA party are mixed. For instance SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis predicted that the measures will pass in Parliament. He told ERT tv that he was confident that the measures would be approved in the Greek Parliament by a vast majority, thus confirming the government’s mandate. He also said that the measures are harsh, but noted that SYRIZA is trying to spread the burden, and added that the impact of the measures can only be judged by their results. He also said that should the measures not pass, then Tsipras will have to take political initiatives.

On his part Minister of National Defense and leader of the Independent Greeks party Panos Kammenos, said that he would not accept the abolition of the discounted VAT rate on the islands. Vice President of Parliament and SYRIZA MP Alexis Mitropoulos said on STAR Tv that he does not believe that the measures -which he characterized as “extreme and antisocial”- can be brought to Parliament for approval.

Commenting on Channel 9, SYRIZA MP Yannis Michelogiannakis said that the agreement is catastrophic for Greece and argued that such an agreement will only exacerbate the social destitution that his party was promised to end. He also called on Tsipras to reject the deal, particularly if it is not accompanied by a debt restructure and investment plant to support growth in the Greek economy.

Responding to rumors that the Greek proposal was not accepted because it was signed by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Michelogiannakis estimated that the aim of the creditors was to humiliate Greece. He said that he is not going to support the agreement and warned that there were many more MPs, who will also vote against it (some even close to Tsipras).

Stathis Leoutsakos, on the other, reserved judgment until the final agreement comes to parliament. He told ANT1 tv that he wants to see whether the agreement includes a clause on debt relief and funds for investments and development.

The president of the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) Vasilis Korkidis said that the Greek government’s latest proposals are going to raise the financial burden on SMEs, while maintaining the austerity and over taxation. He estimated that this is going to make it harder for the Greek economy to recover in the second half of the year. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that after many months of negotiations, which exhausted the Greek economy, an agreement appears to finally be on the horizon, which will be capable of unblocking much needed funding.
     “The key seems to be in the lock and all that remains is for our European partners to turn it to lock the deal on the one hand and unlock 35 billion euros worth of funds for Greece” he explained.

Meanwhile in Brussels...

The management board of the European Central Bank reportedly convened on Tuesday morning and decided to increase the ELA (Emergency Liquidity Assistance) funding for Greek banks. As the ECB President recently announced, the European Central bank will convene via teleconference whenever it is deemed necessary.

If parliament does fail to back the latest offer, which included higher taxes and welfare changes and steps to curtail early retirement, Tsipras might be forced to call a snap election or a referendum that would prolong the uncertainty.

HellasFrappe's opinion

The measures are harsh indeed, but this is the price that populism and postponement brings. Taxpayers and businesses are going to once again be obligated to pay more than their fair share for this country's sickening state expenses and its return to normality, but it is a small price to pay because any other choice would have been catastrophic for our country. Some may disagree with us, but we strongly believe that for things to change, things need to crumble first and this country needs reforms that will allow it to build solid foundations for the future.

The citizens of this country have suffered tremendously from a six-year recession, and if these reforms were implemented at the beginning, then we would have already been on the road to recovery just like Ireland and Portugal. If they did it... so can we. Focusing on state rehirings, what our voters will think of us and taking care of our own in the public sector should be slammed by all of us. Those are not reforms... They are practices that we all condemned from past governments and yet hailed when SYRIZA did the same thing!

HellasFrappe is not going to criticize the Tsipras government for those actions at this moment, nor for the measures that they agreed to, because we understand why they need to be implemented, why they were taken and what brought them about. Nonetheless we will slam them for wasting a lot of time and for duping the masses like George Papandreou did when he brought this cancer to our country.

There is no need to cry over spilled milk now, and the blame game has to end here. We need to get this over and done with once and for all to return to some normality.

It is the duty of us all, especially this country's political forces, to support an agreement that will ensure Greece’s position in the Eurozone. This is not the time to analyze whether the Euro benefitted Greece or not it is time to review how we can rise above the ashes again and be the glorious country that we are. That is what is important and what the majority of the people of this country demand. That is why we believe that we need to all come together for Greece and forget about only coming together for the political party of our choice. There needs to be a national consensus because Greece's salvation is above everything else.

Sources -  Kathimerini, ERT, ANT1, SkaiTv, Naftemboriki, To Vima, To Ethnos, Reuters, STAR tv, YouTube.

June 22, 2015

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OPINION - 5 To Midnight: Juncker aid says SYRIZA proposals “Good basis for discussion”

Is Syriza finally going to cross its "red lines" and strike a deal with Greece's creditors and partners? All evidence is pointing to this direction, even this latest article from the Slog which has never really rallied for the Euro.

By John Ward  (The Slog) - Athens gets more like a kind of viral Casablanca every day. It is a mish-mash of rumour, opinion directionalising, plot, counter-plot, cloak, dagger and 95% of the population going about their business with little more than exasperatedly rolled eyes about what’s going on.

As with everything in the tangled online web of distraction, deceit, disinformation and distraction, nothing is certain any more…. beyond the eventual failure of the euro. But certain thing do need to be reiterated in the context of media collusion with the Troika – especially the business media.

i. The ruling – catch it here – on Greek debt as being highly odious is both compelling and legally near-watertight. To the best of my knowledge, apart from market ticker not a single site or title or channel outside Greece has even run it, let alone analysed the content

ii. Every US business site and two UK press titles ran stories over the weekend confidently declaring that Syriza worked throughout the weekend and now seems ready to cross every red line they set at the start. I’ve had two Greek confirmations of this, rather more denials, and a lot of “no idea and don’t care”.

iii. Phrases like ‘forced out of the euro’, ‘heading for Grexit’, ‘last-ditch attempt to stay in the EU’ are casually made in relation to the Greek position. They fly in the face of facts, treaties, legal realities and common sense: but they are far more prevalent in the press than, for example, features about the derivative disaster potential if Greece defaults.

iv. The subject of Sunday’s Slogpost (about Hollande coming under pressure to broker a deal) seemed absent (beyond Bloomberg) from all but one or two French print and online media.

There seems to me no logic or reality to the idea that a calm eurogroupe is quietly applying pressure through expected channels while the Greek government runs around like so many headless chickens, increasingly desperate and hysterical and close to the point of begging for mercy. Rather, it is the creditors who are hurling fantasy threats and deadlines around – in the case of the IMF, from 9000 miles away.

It is, we should be clear once and for all, the ECB-Berlin-Brussels-banking axis that stands to lose here. Greece itself has very little left to lose – and those downsides are in my view exaggerated. Writing to friends in Athens on the subject of Greece as gallant losers, I argued thus:

‘Whatever kind of victory this turns out to be or not be for the Bastards, don’t  delude yourselves: you will still have been defeated. In the 21st century, defeat is no longer glorious.

I’m only writing this in the context of what are now two confirmations inside Greece and numerous stories in the foreign media with the same scenario: Syriza’s leaders working through the weekend to come up with a ‘solution’ that involves crossing every red line they’ve set themselves.

What in God’s name are they thinking of?

This is a solution to the EU’s problems, not yours. This is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Let me list the ramifications as I see them:

ND & PASOK will laugh their socks off and kill Syriza for being a bunch of indecisive virgins…. and Golden Dawn will double in popularity, condemning Tsipras as leading the usual spineless Left – all mouth, no trousers.

2. The Troika will be reassured that, as with Hitler in 1938, having scammed the Sudetenland they can now walk into the rest of Czechoslovakia without resistance.

3. It will be a kick in the balls for Podemos, leave Tsipras’s Italian supporters in despair, and make the likes of Orban in Hungary more isolated still.

4. It will prolong the agony for Europeans living under the shadow of a neo-fascist corporate entity, convince the Germans yet again that they can do what they want, and confirm a mad US State Department in its deranged belief that Putin is piss, wind and ready to roll over.

5. It means the baton being carried against foreign oppression will pass into the hands of Nazis, overt and otherwise, inside Greece and elsewhere. It could very easily mark a drift into civil war.

6. The democratic but real Left will never again be trusted with power by the Greek electorate.

The victory of the Troika will of course prove to be Pyrrhic. But outside Greece – believe me – the last thing your defeat will be seen as is plucky, glorious, brave or indeed anything approaching honourable.

You have Sonny Liston on his arse: what are you, Muhammed Ali or Floyd Patterson?

I’m now being told to calm down; but a paper has gone from Athens to the eurogroup. We will have to wait and see whether red lines have been crossed – or whether those ‘reporting’ that outcome were simply more mouthpieces for the New Order. The chief-of-staff to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has this morning tweeted to call the latest Syriza debt proposals a “good basis for progress”.

Frankly, that has me worried.

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Greece will reach a deal with creditors, latest proposal “good basis for progress”

The course of our country is being decided today and hopefully all of this uncertainty will end. SYRIZA submitted a new proposal to Greece's lenders on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s critical Eurogroup and EU Summit meetings, with the aim of striking a deal. Greece's moment has finally arrived and the issue of whether or not we will reach a deal with our creditors or default is finally here. Will our EU partners find a solution or will this uncertainty continue for several more days, or until Thursday?

No one knows as of yet, but we here at HellasFrappe predict that the government will strike a deal because it has realized that this is what the majority of Greeks want. We do not however know if this deal will be reached today because ahead of the EuroSummit there is a Eurogroup meeting and the deal has to be reached there before it can be analyzed politically by EU leaders at the Summit. If it is not reached today, it will most certainly be reached by this coming Thursday.

What makes us believe this scenario? The answer is simple. President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos sent a stern message to those in and out of Greece and/or who are contemplating a Grexit. According to a report by Laura Ioannou of Realnews, Pavlopoulos slammed all those in Greece who are "nostalgic of the drachma" and warned that he will not tolerate being President of the Republic in a country outside the euro. This basically means that if Greece does not reach a deal, and leaves the EU then Pavlopoulos will step down and the Greek parliament will have to be dissolved in order that elections be held so that they can elect a new President of the Republic.  This is something that SYRIZA does not want because if it exits the Euro then its popularity will sink since the majority of Greeks want to remain inside the Eurozone. In the article, he said that the Parliament that appointed him to the presidency has imposed a mission to guarantee that Greece remains within the euro zone and within the European Union.

Another reason we believe that a deal will be reached is because Martin Selmayr a close aid of Juncker, twitted late on Sunday night that the latest proposal submitted by the Greek government (which was submitted to the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) is a “good basis for progress” at the critical EuroSummit. The new proposal is said to include a VAT hike in goods and the abolition of the discounted rate on tourist islands. Other measures include a hike of the solidarity tax (for incomes over 30,000 euros), new corporate taxes for businesses with net profits that exceed 500,000 euros annually and the abolition of early retirements as of 2016.

Furthermore, in an interview to a French radio station ahead of the critical summit in Brussels, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin praised the Greek government’s latest proposals calling them “quality work”. He stressed that “I see the work that has been done, it is quality work” and appeared confident that the talks would proceed in “good conditions”.

On his part, European Commissioner for Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici also appeared confident that an agreement will be reached. While speaking to Europe 1 radio he said that “we are moving in the right direction, we have solid ground for a deal, we just have to consolidate that today” and then he estimated that “the political will of everyone to preserve the euro, this common good, to ensure that this single currency is irreversible.”

We also learned that the European Central Bank is scheduled to convene on Monday in order to discuss the provision of emergency liquidity to Greek banks via its ELA mechanism. ECB president Mario Draghi apparently clarified that so long as there is a "chance" of an agreement, Greece will continue to receive support from the bank.

Finally, in Greece, and in an interview to the BBC, the President of the National Bank of Greece Louka Katseli warned that an agreement was necessary in order to put an end to the uncertainty, otherwise there is a real possibility of a default and said that she was optimistic that an agreement would be reached.

However, the same cannot be said about other institutions which have been known to bet both ways on Greece's fate. According to reports, Goldman Sachs predicts that a technical default for Greece is the likeliest scenario, with the Greek government issuing IOUs and introducing restrictions on bank withdrawals, but remaining in the Eurozone. The investment banking firm does not rule out any further actions to promote discussions until a final agreement can be reached.

Sources - Reuters, Bloomberg, Twitter, RealNews, Kathimerini, To Vima, Protothema

June 21, 2015


PROVOCATION: McCain Says FYROM should join NATO as "Macedonia" (VIDEO)

In a flat out provocation against Greece, US Senator (and well known war-monger) John McCain on the weekend suggested that FYROM should refer to itself as as it sees fit, meaning as "Macedonia", and left it to be understood that it can do so by disrespecting international treaties, laws as well as Greece!

More specifically, while answering a journalist's question at the GLOBSEC convention in Bratislava, Slovakia, on whether or not FYROM should join NATO, together with Montenegro, he said that “both countries fulfill the criteria but (FYROM) Macedonia [sic] is obstructed by Greece because of the name issue”.
     “My personal opinion is that the name of the country is up to people of the country and that decision is made by the people of the country, not by any other country, including Greece”.
In other words, Mr. McCain blames Greece for FYROM's exclusion from NATO, never once taking into consideration that the name that this country has chosen to call itself violates international treaties. The correct name of this republic is Vardaska, and whether some want to accept it or not this is what is stipulated in the interim agreement and it must be respected. If not, then why do we have the United Nations for? The American defence industry cannot dictate to the Greek people what name FYROM will have, because anyway they cut it, shape it and serve it, Macedonia is, was and will always be Greek!

These are the words of American Senator John Mc Cain (Republican), former soldier, presidential candidate (2008) and a member of the Senate of USA. Let us keep in mind that Mr. McCain is a loud voice for the American defence industry and someone who who all know -from the evidence in the press- has close ties with the barbarians who call themselves the moderate "Free Syrian Army" (but who we all know are far from being moderate). Indicative are the three reports, click HERE, HERE, and HERE.

HellasFrappe understands why Mr. McCain would advocate for FYROM. We realize that he wants NATO to have more clients to sell its defence systems, but this does not give him any right to state his opinion on delicate foreign affairs. Shame on him for disrespecting Greek history, the Greek people and the nation of Greece. FYROM has a duty to respect the interim agreement of 1996 and any action to bi-pass this agreement will only hold repercussions against the neighboring country. HellasFrappe also hopes that the American Diaspora takes McCain's words into consideration when they head for the polls in the next US elections.

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Emergency summit is positive but there is still a chance for a referendum if rupture occurs (VIDEOS)

The emergency summit that is scheduled for Monday is a positive development and it demonstrates that it is high time a political solution was found, State Minister Nikos Pappas said in an interview to the Sunday edition of the To Ethnos newspaper.
     "We will reach an agreement based on the regulations, the democracy and the social cohesion," he said.
According to him, Greece is seeking a solution that will help it return to growth in the eurozone without the mistakes of the past, and added that those betting on the country's destruction will be once again proved wrong.
     "We are not just asking for an agreement, we are asking for a solution. In order for an agreement to be reached, this should beneficial for the people," the State Minister pointed out.
He also added that this agreement should be a long-term agreement that will establish trust. It cannot be a short-term agreement that will extend uncertainty, he said.

Asked on government red lines, Pappas stressed: The red lines of the government are those that prevented various negative aspects for the vast majority of society such as the re institution of labour rights, no cuts in pensions and in salaries, disengagement from devastating austerity policies, etc.

Meanwhile it was announced that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a cabinet meeting on Sunday in an effort to map out the government's strategy ahead of the Euro Summit.

Going back to the issue deal, or default, the chances of a rupture or agreement are 50-50, according to Deputy Speaker of the Greek parliament Alexis Mitropoulos. Speaking on Mega TV on Sunday morning, Mitropoulos noted his strong preference for a deal with Greece’s creditors. The Minister underlined that Greek political forces are not prepared to manage the consequences of a possible rupture and Greek citizens do not want it.
     "The negotiations did not have the happy ending we wanted. We are in a difficult situation and the Prime Minister should take difficult decisions. I cannot imagine that he will take a decision of rupture and unilateral action, but I think that continue to pile on the pressure and are blackmailing”, Mitropoulos said.

At the other side of Europe, French finance minister Michel Sapin said in a newspaper interview to the Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday that that it would be a disaster for Greece if Athens left the euro zone and that all must be done to avoid such scenario, whose full consequences were hard to assess. He also pointed out that Greece must make proposals that are "solid" and "serious".
     "We must find a deal allowing Greece to avoid an imminent disaster and durably return to employment, growth and investment," Sapin sad.
When asked to comment on what would happen if Greece exited the euro zone, Sapin simply said:
    "It's an unknown area. The size of the risks is unknown. So we must avoid this scenario".

In Italy, Matteo Renzi said that all European leaders are working to help the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras but stressed that the European commitment must be accompanied by an “effort of true reforms that Athens can and should do”. The Italian Prime Minister noted that all Europe wants Greece to remain in the Euro, and that everything possible is currently being done to make this happen, however, he added, Greek people must do their part.

And if that wasn't enough, across the Atlantic, the United States turned up the heat on the Greek government over its debt crisis on Saturday by urging all concerned to reach a deal. Specifically, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in an interview to CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS", which is due to be aired on Sunday, that the government in Athens should make tough fiscal decisions or risk devastating both Greece's economy and people.
     "I think we're at a moment now where the burden is on Greece to come back with a response that's the basis for reaching an agreement as quickly as possible," according to a transcript provided to Reuters. "It's clear that within Greece, the consequence of a failure here would mean a terrible, terrible decline in their economic performance," he said. "It will hurt the Greek people. They will bear the first brunt of a failure here."
On the domestic front, the leader of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Antonis Samaras appealed to the Greek government to reach a compromise and secure a deal. In an article in Kathimerini’s Sunday edition, Samaras reiterated his proposal for a “broad national consensus,” noting that if the SYRIZA government was not interested, then the conservative ND was ready to engage in talks with other parties with the aim of securing Greece’s position in the euro.
     “The political forces which have a pro-European orientation cannot be negligent or hesitate,” Samaras wrote.
Samaras also accused SYRIZA of “gambling” and “defrauding” the Greek people.

The reactions from within the SYRIZA party are mixed. Half of the party has clearly rallied for a default and a return to the drachma, while the other half -which is closer to the Prime Minister- sees a compromise and a deal. The same, however, cannot be said about the unions which clearly support a rupture.

According to an announcement, ADEDY is planning to hold a mass rally in the center of Athens on Sunday in support to the government. They said that public "workers cannot remain spectators towards plans at their expense. They need to give a fight to reverse the memorandum policies of austerity and support the popular needs." In case a deal between the government and the institutions is sealed on Monday, then ADEDY's executive committee said that it is going to immediately convene to assess the deal and decide upon their future mobilisations.

In order to slam the above rally, a pro-Europe rally has been scheduled for Monday by all those who support the Euro.

Sources - NBC, Reuters, Bloomberg, ANA-MPA, Enikos, Protothema, Kathimerini, YouTube,

, ,

Frankfurter Allgemeine- Varoufakis urges Merkel to enter into an honorable agreement with Greece

German Chancellor Amgela Merkel is going to be faced with a stark choice on Monday Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says in an article that was published on Sunday in the German "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung". In the article, Varoufakis urges the Chancellor to enter into an honourable agreement with Greece or heed the sirens encouraging her to jettison the only Greek government which can carry the Greek people along the path of genuine reform.

Here is the article in English:
     In early 2010 I disenchanted several members of the Greek government with whom I had previously enjoyed cordial relations. The reason was that I opposed their determination to seek a large loan from German taxpayers.
     While there is nothing wrong with borrowing per se, it is unacceptable to seek loans for the purpose of hiding the fact that one has become insolvent. New debt is fine even for the insolvent, but only after reforms are enacted and the existing debt is restructured.
     In May 2010 the then government considered me ‘treacherous’ for opposing the first ‘bailout’ on the grounds that it sought to disguise the Greek state’s insolvency as a problem of liquidity. But my analysis was straightforward: For years, a kind of vendor-financed spending-spree converted Northern European loans into Greek owned BMWs in the context of a generalised consumer-led Ponzi growth. But when Lehman Brothers caved in, capital flows ceased, our economy slipped into recession, and the mountains of debt were no longer serviceable.
     In 2010 Greece owed not one euro to German taxpayers! We should have kept it that way. Irresponsible Greek borrowers and irresponsible German lenders should have taken the hit. Not the poorer Greek and the unsuspecting German taxpayers that had never been part of that racket. Instead, our governments, in the name of European… ‘solidarity’ enabled the transfer of private losses from the books of private banks onto the shoulders of Greek and German taxpayers.
     Naturally, these loans, the largest in history, were conditional on fiscal adjustment. Under the troika’s watchful eye, the state’s structural deficit turned into a surplus by a whopping 20% of national income, wages contracted by 37%, pensions by up to 48%, state employment by 30%, consumer spending by 33%, even the current account deficit fell by 16%.
     Five years later I inherited the finance ministry following the election of our SYRIZA government. Why were we elected? Because, in the meantime, as a result of the aforementioned ‘adjustment’, economic activity was choked, total income fell by 27%, unemployment skyrocketed to 27%, undeclared labour scaled 34%, investment and credit evaporated, and young Greeks left for other countries, many of them to Germany, exporting precious human capital invested in them by the Greek state. Meanwhile public debt had risen to 312 billion euros (despite a large 2012 haircut) as national income was collapsing from more than 250 billion to less than 179 billion euros.
     In my first visit as finance minister to Berlin, I remember encountering a German official on my way to meet Dr Schäuble. He, half-jokingly, asked me: “When am I getting my money back?” I was tempted to remind him that five years of terrible policies had crushed the incomes from which ‘his’ money could be readily repaid. Or that 90% of the loans to the Greek state went to the banks, much of it to German ones. Only I bit my tongue. After all, in 2010 I had opposed the bailouts because of the conviction that they would poison relations between our peoples. Adding to the cycle of mutual retributions would not help the cause of lessening the discord.
     Last September, well before I decided to run for office, I wrote another article in response to SYRIZA’s electoral platform. It was entitled ‘Tears and Blood’ and displeased many of my comrades. In it I argued that, while we were right to promise a new course that breaks the self-reinforcing cycle of austerity-driven debt-deflation, it would not be an easy path. Our European partners and the institutions would not find it easy to recognise that their five-year program for Greece had failed. ‘Tears’ and ‘blood’, I wrote, were the only electoral promises consistent with the gigantic task of severing the vicious cycle; of refusing new loan tranches until we have a viable agreement.
     The day I moved into the Ministry of Finance I pledged not to indulge my predecessors’ penchant for accepting non-viable loans from European taxpayers as a short-term ‘remedy’ of our problems. Today official ‘Europe’ is pushing us to “sign the agreement”; to “do the right thing and take the institutions’ final offer to avoid bankruptcy”. This is 2010 all over again! I am being asked to do as my predecessors had done then – to take the money, extend the crisis into the future, and pretend that it was being … solved. No thanks! It is not what we were elected to do.
     Last Thursday, in the Eurogroup meeting, I presented a comprehensive proposal that would end the crisis and enable Greece to repay its debts. It comprised deep reforms, an automated deficit brake that guarantees no more primary deficits, and an idea for an intra-troika debt swap that involves not a single euro of new funding for our state. It would, we believe, break the vicious cycle that began in 2010.
     Alas, the Eurogroup refused to discuss our proposal, the result being that it now all hinges on Monday’s extraordinary EU Summit meeting. Our side will arrive in Brussels with the determination to compromise further as long as we are not asked to do what previous governments did: to accept new loan tranches under conditions that offer little hope that Greece can repay its debts.
     And so it is that, on Monday, the German Chancellor will face a stark choice: Enter into an honourable agreement with a government that opposed the ‘bailouts’ and which seeks a negotiated solution that ends the Greek crisis once and for all. Or to heed the sirens from within the Federal Government encouraging her to jettison the only Greek government that is principled and which can carry the Greek people along the path of genuine reform. The choice, I am very much afraid, is hers. - Translation: enikos

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