“The French Connection” Tsipras in the hurricane of an unsustainable Memorandum
By Serafim Kotrotsos
Follow @ serkot65
In the exceptional police film “The French Connection” (by William Frintkin, which won five Oscars in 1971) the tough New Yorker policeman Jimmy Popeye Doyle played by Gene Hackman looks for the “brain” of a multinational heroin smuggling ring from France.
Alexis Tsipras recently sought his own ‘French Connection “(a link in France) in the person of Francois Hollande, in an effort to balance the intense political pressures to succumb to a package of additional measures of 3.6 billion requested by IMF and Wolfgang Schäuble. Transferring at the same time his last vitality of radical activism to Europeans Socialists.
The concept of political negotiation is constantly in the prime minister’s mind. It is, perhaps, the only shelter against an obsessive – supposedly technocratic but ultimately profound policy; strategy summarized in the slogan “extend and pretend”.
Unfortunately, things are simply nightmarish. From 2010 onwards, Troika and now the quartet, require the same measures from Greek governments.
For example, that which is artfully suppressed, is that the measures that make up the Paul Thomsen package of 3.6 billion is largely the same as those required by the troika in response to the “hagiographic» Chardouvelli email in December 2014.
The government of Antonis Samaras could not in any way assume the political cost of such measures (eg release of redundancy threshold in the private sector, pension reductions etc.). But Samaras had then the opportunity to be covered politically behind the given dispute by SYRIZA in a consensual election of President of Republic; something that the Prime Minister might have regretted, and thus led to a relatively mild electoral defeat albeit, if one takes in account of how much wider it would be if he had agreed to such measures.
Alexis Tsipras does not have this possibility. He either drinks up the dregs of the black broth of the measures to unlock the evaluation and hope for a better future through vital political time, or lifts the tattered flag of “revolution” of 2015 and is led to a heroic (?) exodus.
Information from the Presidential Mansion say that he selects the first, and simply seeks to link the additional measures in the debate on the debt and not undertake any public commitment, and even more so to not have to bring this to vote in the Parliament. Something like that cannot happen. It’s simple and was put discreetly by Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis when he said that “we will have a serious political problem.” Substantively he wanted to say that “the government will fall,” which was presented in a way to European leaders during the talks that the Prime Minister had with them recently.
That which is not sufficiently made public at the European debate, is not the content but the efficiency and sustainability of the measures required by the IMF and Schäuble. And this is something that one would have hoped from the French president and others of the European leadership, but in vain.
Let us mention some examples:
– Greece sought to implement three memoranda. The first two, although embellished with promises of a “success story”, and “takeoff” of the economy (Interview Samara in Wall Street Journal, March 2014), got involved in a dramatically political electoral cycle and the result was partly inactive. Mainly, because the proposed measures kept feeding the spiral of recession and multiplied the structural problems, which they would supposedly heal. The same is very likely to happen now. The IMF is right to consider a not achievable primary surplus of 3.5% in 2018 and has even more right when it says that even if this happens, it is instantaneous and not sustainable in the coming years, as expressly stated in last July’s agreement. What does this tell us? Here comes the parameter “extend and pretend”. European lenders, especially Schäuble, do not seem to care for the implementation of measures, as they do to extend the implementation time (supervision) and to pretend that there is not a structural failure of austerity policies to blame, but the failure of the Greeks to implement. This tactic covers partly the IMF not to push to the end for the debt relief (against additional measures) and Berlin to not be exposed politically in a discussion on the relief.
– Greece is and will remain for an unknown timeframe hostage to this strategy. Anything else would question the creation, the development, and sustainability of rescue programs (supposedly). If anyone bothered to look into the IMF’s website for the press conference by Paul Thomsen, after the recent spring meeting of the Fund in Washington, one finds that it requires a new fiscal measures package for Portugal, Spain and Italy. Whereas Portugal exited after cries of vindication of the Memorandum and, now, there is a need for new measures due to the financial derailment and while the country’s debt increased by about 40 points during the implementation of memoranda politics. The same happens in Spain and Italy. While, although hidden, France is unable to shrink its budget deficit as well, while, in fact, on the peripheries of Brexit the case of a mandatory Frexit is discreetly discussed.
All this confirms those who say that the insistence on the duo IMF-Schäuble prescription, poorly led to the restoration of economic stability in the Eurozone, despite the best efforts of Mario Draghi to boost bank liquidity tools and Jean Claude Juncker to accelerate resources development.
No matter how Alexis Tsipras seeks a political bargaining avenue, both the “superego” of austerity fans will refer him to the -constantly overridden (see current Eurostat figures for the Greek economy) – analyses of technical cadres. For now, Schäuble wins battles, one after the other. From blackmail to the provisional Grexit, last summer, to the current for the “preventive” package of additional measures, the imposition of Schäuble’s DNA versus patient chromosomes of European Socialists is indisputable.
Can something be changed? The disappointment is so widespread in European societies, and the rapidly growing phobia, generated by the refugee issue so vast, that the chance of Brexit and the weakness of political groups make it hard to give one answer to this question.
France could be “some solution”, but Alexis Tsipras “French Connection” is at its worst political moment in polls and has the elections of 2017, which besides an extreme surprise will lose. Mateo Rentsi is being pressed socially and has no capable political reserves, while the political instability in the Iberian does not raise serious conditions for alliances.