Syriza Discussing Keeping Austerity Memorandum

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Sacked school guards demanding a complete end to austerity. Their banner reads ‘We want our jobs and dignity back’
Sacked school guards demanding a complete end to austerity. Their banner reads ‘We want our jobs and dignity back’

THE Greek government’s proposals for a new agreement over the terms of the bail-out loan of 240bn euros were discussed at this week’s Eurogroup and at the EU leaders’ summit.

Although no agreement was reached, the President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch Finance Minister, said on Thursday that he and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have agreed that representatives of the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the lenders to Greece, ‘engage with the Greek authorities to start work on a technical assessment of the common ground between the current programme and the Greek government’s plans’.

The ‘current programme’ is the hated Austerity Memorandum that was imposed by the troika of EC-ECB-IMF in 2010.

Dijsselbloem said that these talks would be a preparation for the Eurogroup meeting this coming Monday.

Likewise, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras stated on Thursday night, after the EU leaders’ meeting, that, ‘we leave today having made some significant steps. The technical teams will work over the next few days to prepare the ground for Monday’s Eurogroup.’

Tsipras said that the Greek government ‘wants to combine the mandate it has received with Greece’s obligations as an EU member’.

Earlier on Thursday, the ECB had decided to extend the limit of the lending to the Greek banks to 65bn euros which sent the Athens Stock Exchange leaping by 6.7 per cent.

The ECB said that it will review the situation in Greece next week. The Greek government has not made public its plans proposed by Tsipras to the EU.

But all this week the Greek press have repeatedly published reports which they claim are the substance of the Greek government’s proposals.

These reports have not been contradicted at all by the Greek government nor by any of its ministers.

According to these press reports the Greek government has accepted to continue with ‘70 per cent’ of the previous Austerity Accords.

The remaining 30 per cent would be replaced by a set of ‘10 measures’ worked out, apparently, between the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.

The Greek government is not proposing a ‘haircut’ of the unbearable debt, but instead a so-called ‘swap’ of the debt with new government bonds to be matured many years from now.

It is clear that the Greek government and the EU are working out a compromise, the essence of which would be the continuation of the Austerity Memorandum in Greece.

Tsipras’ aim to ‘combine the mandate’ of the Greek people with the ‘obligations of being an EU member’ is an impossible task since the Greek people have rejected in their totality all Austerity Memoranda and measures.

In the recent Athens mass rallies of tens of thousands, Greek workers rejected the EU’s blackmails and threats and called on Tsipras ‘not to take even a step back’.

The Syriza-led government and the Greek working class are now on a collision course!