Greece is due to submit a list of proposed reforms to its debt inspectors by Monday night to get final approval for an extension to its rescue loans. The government and its creditors agreed on Friday to extend the country’s rescue loans by four months. In return, Greece would have to commit to a series of budget measures meant to keep a lid on debts and improve the economy.
Greece will have some leeway in deciding what those measures are, but will need approval from the European executive Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Upon receiving the proposed reforms on Monday, the three institutions will decide by Tuesday whether they are enough.
This comes almost two weeks after Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, spelled out the negotiating strategy of the Syriza government with clearly before he faced one of his toughest meetings since taking office. Speaking to the Italian TV station RAI, Varoufakis made it seem like the new government — which took office not too long ago — won’t exactly be following orders and leaving the Eurozone.
“Exit from the euro does not even enter into our plans, quite simply because the euro is fragile. It is like a house of cards. If you pull away the Greek card, they all come down. Do we really want Europe to break apart? Anybody who is tempted to think it possible to amputate Greece strategically from Europe should be careful. It is very dangerous. Who would be hit after us? Portugal? What would happen to Italy when it discovers that it is impossible to stay within the austerity straight-jacket?
There are Italian officials – I won’t say from which institution — who have approached me to say they support us, but they can’t say the truth because Italy is at risk of bankruptcy and they fear the consequence from Germany. A cloud of fear has been hanging over Europe over recent years. We are becoming worse than the Soviet Union.”
His cool nerve has caught Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin, and the markets off guard. They assumed that this 40-year neophyte would back away from exorbitant demands in his landmark policy speech to the Greek parliament on Sunday night. Instead, what they heard could be described as a declaration of war.
He vowed to implement every measure in Syriza’s pre-electoral Thessaloniki Program “in their entirety” with no ifs and buts. This even includes a legal demand for €11 billion of war reparations from Germany, a full 71 years after the last Wehrmacht soldier left Greek soil.
[Image via Matt Cardy/Getty Images]