Geopolitics Versus Politics In Greek Financial Obligation Drama

February 26, 2015 Nemes Politics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – In the tug-of-war over Greeces financial obligation crisis, geopolitics and domestic politics are pulling in opposite directions.

Greeces strategic place and ties to Russia offer its brand-new leftist-led government some take advantage of in its battle to make European Union lenders reduce up on austerity and give Athens more time to repay its mountain of financial obligation, if it ever does.The result of

this newest round of Europes Greek drama might likewise figure out whether the euro currency is irreversible, as its creators declared, or if it will unwind.

If the weakest link were to fall, EU officials and experts say markets would right away concentrate on which country may be next to follow Greece from the 19-nation single currency location, stacking damaging pressure on Cyprus and maybe Portugal.For years, Greeces Western partners turned a blind eye to flawed governance and fiscal incontinence in Athens, pouring in money to help keep the country from Moscows clutches.In 1947, President Harry Truman declared the teaching that the United States would help free peoples against totalitarian programs in the middle of a Greek civil war in which Washington funded the defeat of Soviet-backed communist insurgents.Greece joined the US-led NATO military alliance in 1952 and was part of an arc of authoritarian states with Turkey and Iran that secured the southern flank of the Soviet bloc.Many Greeks still angrily resent United States support for the military junta that ruled their country from 1967 to 1974. After a democratic Greece signed up with the EU in 1981, it got net transfers equivalent of 4 percent of GDP annually from the community spending plan for its financial development over the 2 decades until it signed up with the euro in 2001. Holding the euro area together was the primary motive for 2 EU/IMF bailouts worth 240 billion euros given in 2010 and 2012 in return for extreme spending cuts, tax increases, privatizations and structural reforms that were only partially implemented.The geopolitical arguments for helping Greece may be as strong as ever, with Western powers secured fight with Russia over its function in Ukraine

, and Eurosceptical populists of the far left and extreme right on the riseincreasing in numerous EU countries.But domestic politics in Greece-where public viewpoint is exasperated by austerity and international supervision-and in euro zone partner countries, figured out not to offer the Greeks a totally free trip,

makes that support ever more challenging to sustain. Neither German Chancellor Angela Merkel nor other European leaders desirewish to have to tell their parliaments that the cashthe cash they lent Greece will certainly not be returning. That would appear to prevent a straightforward financial obligation write-off of the kind that the new Greek authorities at first sought.Besides, after a small payment hump to the IMF this year, Greece is not due to start reimbursing manya lot of its main financial obligation until after 2030, and it has a 10-year interest payment vacation on euro zone loans. Creditors such as Germany, Finland and Slovakia might

face parliamentary resistance to granting Head of state Alexis Tsiprass radical government added funds on much easier terms with less conditions and less intrusive oversight. Tsipras has guaranteed to roll back investing cuts that have actually cast hundreds of countless Greeks into poverty and reduced the economy by 25 percent, and to raise the minimum wage, rehire sacked civil service employees and restore collective bargaining. Governments in Spain, Portugal and Ireland that have pressed through painful austerity plans in return for help, and face elections in the next year, are figured out not to see him victory a savings that would push their own political opponents.If Greece failed to reach a brand-new offer with its European lenders and ended up defaulting and leaving the euro zone, some in Athens would such aswishes to turn to Moscow for financial help.Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, a right-wing ultra-nationalist in coalition with Tsiprass hard left Syriza party, has actually freely sought to play the Russian card to push Berlin to make giving ins. If we see that Germany continues to be stiff and desireswishes to blow apart Europe, then we have the obligation to go to Strategy B. Strategy B is to obtain funding from another source, he stated recently. It could be the United States at best, it might be Russia, it might be China or other countries.Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias went to Moscow on the eve of recentlies conference of euro zone finance ministers, and Tsipras has actually accepted an invitation to

go there in May.Some EU diplomats, irritated that EU files worrying Russia appear to discover their way to the Kremlin prior to European ministers have actually even discussed them, have actually long suspected Greek and Cypriot officials of serving as Moscows Trojan Donkeys.Some EU ministers plainly have the geopolitical

stakes in mind in the debt negotiations. Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said after Athens agreed recently to technical talks with its creditors that the threat of a Greece

outside Europe and in the orbit of Russia is moving further away.It is also far from clear that Greece has a sensible Russian option to euro zone financing. President Vladimir Putin has actually not rushed out his chequebook either now or earlier in the debt crisis when a previous Greek government took exploratory soundings in Moscow.Russia may have an interest in Greek energy and infrastructure assets

, but with its own economy hard struck by sanctions and falling oil prices, it shows no disposition to bankroll Athens.(Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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