Monday, 19 September 2011

Greece: Humiliated Scapegoat

Eurozone leaders (or "Germany") have delayed the payment of 8bn euros of financial aid to Greece, amid concerns it has not done enough to curb its giant budget deficit.

Greece was due the payment as part of its 109bn Euro bailout, still yet to be ratified by its fellow member states. Greek Minister of Finance, Evangelos Venizelos, bemoaned that his country had been "blackmailed and humiliated" over its debt problems, adding that Greece had been made into a "scapegoat" for the debt crisis that has affected all member states.

Speaking to a meeting of IMF and EU officials, he bemoaned the protests of his own countrymen, his political rivals in opposition and the negative image being perpetuated by the continued resistance to austerity cuts being implemented by his government.

He laid out three "strategic decisions" that he said would put Greece back on a sound financial footing. These amounted to promising to hit the fiscal targets of 2011-12, to achieve a budget surplus "as soon as possible" and to make structural changes within Greece that would lead to it becoming more competitive.

So, basically, he said that they wanted to do what they said they wanted to do about the financial dire straits, while neglecting to say exactly what they would do to achieve these goals.

In short, Mr. Venizelos attacked the other Eurozone countries for recognising Greece's plight (apparently aid and stern words about not wanting to dole out another 100bn is "scapegoating and humiliation"), gave vague assurances with no details about how Greece would help itself and attacked his political rivals and his own people for protesting his government's plan, as if it is the only intelligent course of action.