This music video says about itself:
Jan 19, 2012
Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Josè Manuel Barroso and Christine Lagarde doing the Eurozone Shuffle. – The world’s almost in recession (again), luckily music makes the bad times better.
By Robert Stevens:
Troika arrives in Athens to organise looting of Greece
5 July 2012
The New Democracy-led Greek coalition government is meeting officials from the troika—the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—today.
Christine Lagarde, IMF’s managing director, marked the occasion with a stern warning to Athens that the austerity programme must continue. In an interview with CNBC Tuesday, Lagarde said, “I am not in a negotiation or renegotiation mood at all.”
Referring to reports that the Greek government is to present figures recording the social misery caused by years of austerity to press the case for a renegotiation of the country’s debt, she added, “I’m very interested in seeing what has been done in the last few months in terms of complying with the programme.”
Despite the majority voting in the June 17 general election against parties supporting the Memorandum with the troika on harsh debt repayment terms, the coalition of ND, the social democratic PASOK and the Democratic Left is intent on meeting the demands for further savage cuts. Its talk of renegotiating a two-year extension for paying back Greece’s 350 billion euro debt is hot air. No such compromise is on offer, as Lagarde makes clear.
A popular repudiation of the austerity agenda of ND and a collapse in the vote for PASOK, with SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) finishing second by campaigning on an anti-cuts ticket, forced the coalition to pledge not to impose certain planned cuts, such as a 22 percent reduction in the minimum wage.
Within days they were forced to retract such promises due to the hostile response of the troika. Prime Minister and ND leader Antonis Samaras responded with a letter to EU leaders affirming that government accepted “ownership of the adjustment programme and is fully committed to its targets, its objectives and all its key policies.”
Lagarde’s remarks neatly bookend comments she made just weeks prior to the election, in which she insisted that there was no alternative to the mass social immiseration being imposed in Greece. Asked by the Guardian if she was “essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time,” she responded, “That’s right.”
Prior to the visit of leading troika officials, their technical teams have been working with government ministry officials to establish the exact state of Greece’s finances. According to the right-wing daily Kathemerini, they will detail any “progress in implementing agreed-on reforms, before compiling an audit that creditors will use as the basis for negotiations when they return to Athens…”
The troika is acting like a liquidator, collecting debts on behalf of the global banks by selling assets and demanding cuts. And it is the Greek working class that is being made to pay.
Since the onset of the global crisis in 2007, the Greek economy has been plunged into a recession made worse by the demands of the troika. After five years of shrinkage, the economy is set to contract by nearly seven percent this year. Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said Tuesday, “We will present information [to the troika officials] that is astounding. It is alarming in terms of the recession and unemployment, and it shows beyond any doubt that the current policy does not bring results.”
But even as it warns of the results of such policies, the government is making clear that it will carry out further measures, including the closures or merger of around 60 state-funded organisations, many of which provide vital social and cultural services. To meet the rapacious demands of the banks and European corporations, it plans a fire-sale privatisation of whole sectors of the Greek economy.
Greece’s new finance minister Yannis Stournaras admitted today that it is falling behind on the promises it made in order to get billions in bailout loans: here.
Pressure mounted on Portugal’s government today to ask its international creditors for more time to meet its EU and IMF-imposed deficit targets: here.
The Italian government today approved austerity cuts of up to €26 billion (£20.6bn) over the next three years: here.
Recession hits middle-aged women worst, new research finds: here.