The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 16 March 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on March 16, 2015

 

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(16MAR15)

 

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

 

GREEK DEBT NEGOTIATIONS

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will continue negotiations to end the country’s financial crisis. Photograph: Kostis Ntantamis/NurPhoto/Rex – The Guardian

 

This week’s snapshot focuses on the Greek debt negotiations as the country and its creditors seek the best way forward.

 

News Summary of events during the week of 09MAR-15MAR

  • 09MAR: Eurozone finance ministers urged Greece to act faster and more decisively on reforms, warning that no bailout funds will flow to the cash-strapped country until it starts implementing new measures. (DPA)
  • 10MAR: The Greek government will not allow representatives of the country‘s international creditors to return to Athens, insisting that all bailout negotiations be conducted in Brussels. (DPA)
  • 10MAR: The European Stability Mechanism (ECM) confirmed it has been forced to throw Greece a half-billion-euro lifeline. (AFP)
  • 11MAR: The German finance ministry said Greece should not expect “a blank cheque” from its eurozone creditors in talks over new financial aid, further straining relations between the two eurozone members. (DPA)
  • 11MAR: Greece`s justice minister on Wednesday warned that German property could be seized in compensation for wartime atrocities, in an escalating war of words with Berlin over Athens’ current EU loan deal. (AFP)
  • 11MAR: The German government rejected claims of Greece in the dispute over reparations for Nazi crimes, German media Spiegel Online reported. (Xinhua)
  • 12MAR: Greece’s creditors returned to Athens for the first time since the left-wing Syriza party came to power, with the radical new government denying it had allowed back the hated “troika” it had vowed to shun. (AFP)
  • 12MAR: Greece protested to Germany over comments by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble deemed “condescending” towards his Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis, an official said. (AFP)
  • 12MAR: Greece announced it has officially launched a partnership deal with the OECD to draw up economic reforms, which PM Tsipras said would help rebuild trust with international creditors. (AFP)
  • 13MAR: EU Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker has warned of an alarming lack of progress in talks on Greece’s bailout, as Germany raised the specter of a tumultuous Greek exit from the euro. (AFP)
  • 15MAR: The Greek state is not facing a cash shortage, PM Tsipras insisted as his government braced for another week of pressing debt repayments. (AFP)

 

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding Greek Debt Negotiations

  • @MxSba – Maxime Sbaihi, Bloomberg Eurozone Economist – Frenchman in London – ESCP, Dauphine, City – Opinions are mine, RT doesn’t mean endorsement
  • @socbxl – Simon O’Connor, Member of Cabinet of @pierremoscovici Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs @EU_Commission @EU_Taxud @ecfin
  • @apostolosz – Apostoli Zoupaniotis, Publisher/Editor of Greek News, a bilingual Greek American Weekly Newspaper. United Nations/United States Correspondent of CNA, CyBC, Kathimerini-Cyprus
  • @plegrain – Philippe Legrain, Author of European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics Are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right, Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them & Aftershock
  • @YanniKouts – Yannis Koutsomitis, World politics, Economy & Film. Progressivist. Euro crisis veteran. @bbcworldservice & @HaniotikaNea contributor



Sample of Third Party Validators regarding Greek Debt Negotiations

 

Guntram B. Wolff, Director, Bruegel

“Mr. Tsipras may have primarily had a domestic audience in mind…However, in today’s world such a message gets discussed everywhere…I am worried that these statements decrease German popular support for aid to Greece even further.”

       Greek Debt Talks Are Tested by Fraying Ties With Germany, The New York Times, 11MAR15

 

Miranda Xafa, Economist, Centre for International Governance Innovation

“The government was elected on the promise to deliver on two themes: to keep the country anchored within the single European currency and splurge 12 billion euros [about $13 billion] on a stimulus package to ease crisis-crippled Greeks. The problem is that the two themes are completely incompatible.”

       Greek reforms draw skepticism after Europe finance chiefs’ short meeting, The Los Angeles Times, 09MAR15

 

Thomas Piketty, Economics Professor, Paris School of Economics

“Greece alone won’t be able to do anything. It has to come from France, Germany and Brussels. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) already admitted three years ago that the austerity policies had been taken too far. The fact that the affected countries were forced to reduce their deficit in much too short a time had a terrible impact on growth.”

       Thomas Piketty on the Euro Zone: ‘We Have Created a Monster’, Der Spiegel, 10MAR15

 

Theodore A. Couloumbis, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Athens

“The best way to deal with the issue would be by taking legal action, but they decided to politicize the issue…It is embarrassing for a government that came to power on a promise to reverse austerity — and with rhetoric describing Greece as a debt colony and lenders as loan sharks — to backtrack…There is a sense among Greeks that they are sick and tired of being told what to do by Merkel and Schäuble, and so they should push their claims. Why not?”

       Language of Greek Crisis Shifts From Financial Jargon to Humiliation, The New York Times, 12MAR15

 

Desmond Lachman, Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; former senior IMF economist

“You’re talking about really wayward countries that fall into arrears with the IMF…The way you put an end to that is to show you’ve got good relations with the people who can finance you and help you get through your difficulties…That’s why this is a stupid negotiating tactic.”

       Greece Stirs Doubt on Debt Owed IMF, The Wall Street Journal, 27FEB2015

 

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to Greek Debt Negotiations

 

1. Will debt negotiations force Greece into Russia’s orbit?

 

Media: Fortune

Byline: Chris Matthews

Date: 09 March 2015

 

Former U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard argues that European finance ministers are missing the forest for the trees when it comes to the Greek debt crisis.

 

The seeds of Greece’s current debt crisis were sown years ago. It was the poorest and least stable economy to join the Euro in 2000. Greek and European leaders hoped that joining the currency would force the country to adopt growth policies that would keep it from needing to devalue its currency just to stay competitive.

 

But the Greek government never adopted such policies. Instead, they cooked the books to gain admission into the Euro and to hide their high debt levels from other member nations.

 

Once the financial crisis hit, there was no way to sweep the harsh economic realities under the rug. Yields on Greek debt soared and, since 2009, Greece has relied on on the largesse of the rest of the Eurozone, most notably financially conscientious Germany, to remain solvent.

 

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2. Greek Debt Talks Are Tested by Fraying Ties With Germany

 

Media: New York Times

Byline: JAMES KANTER and NIKI KITSANTONIS

Date: 11 March 2015

 

BRUSSELS — Growing Greek antagonism toward Germany is coming at a bad time for Athens as it seeks a better debt deal with its European partners.

 

A demand on Tuesday night by the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, for wartime reparations from Germany cast a pall over negotiations for more rescue money for Athens that began in Brussels on Wednesday.

 

Germany, the biggest European lender to Greece, immediately issued a cool response to Mr. Tsipras’s comments, which were made in an address to the Greek Parliament.

 

Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Wednesday that the issue of compensation linked to the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II had been legally and politically resolved. “We should concentrate on current issues,” he said.

 

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3. Greece’s Alexis Tsipras Receives Cool Welcome at European Commission

 

Media: Wall Street Journal

Byline: GABRIELE STEINHAUSER and  VIKTORIA DENDRINOU

Date: 13 March 2015

 

BRUSSELS—Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras received a cool welcome Friday from the president of the European Commission, amid heightening tensions between Athens and other European capitals over negotiations on desperately needed financial aid.

 

“I am not satisfied with the developments in recent weeks,” Jean Claude-Juncker said as he received Mr. Tsipras at the commission’s headquarters in Brussels. “I don’t think we have made sufficient progress.”

 

Concerns about Greece’s future in the eurozone have grown in recent weeks despite a decision to extend the country’s existing €240 billion ($255 billion) bailout by four months until the end of June. Since that decision in late February, progress has stalled on defining the overhauls the Greek government will implement in return for sustained help.

 

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4. EU executive warns of Grexit ‘catastrophe’, urges euro solidarity

 

Media: Reuters

Byline: JAN STRUPCZEWSKI AND ALASTAIR MACDONALD

Date: 13 March 2015

 

Eurogroup’s Dijsselbloem: Greece shouldn’t blame Germany for its problems

(Reuters) – The European Commission warned of “catastrophe” if Greece has to abandon the euro and its chief executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged EU governments to show solidarity as Athens struggles to secure more credit.

 

A day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece might stumble out of the euro zone because new, left-wing leaders failed to negotiate new borrowings, Juncker’s economics commissioner said EU hardliners underestimated the risk that this would start a fatal domino collapse of the common currency.

 

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5. BLOG: Greek bailout talks: Are stereotypes of lazy Greeks true?

 

Media: BBC

Byline: Jasmine Coleman

Date: 10 March 2015

 

Greece has been accused of wasting time after weeks of wrangling over economic reforms needed to extend its eurozone bailout and pay its debts.

 

Strong statements from Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble have created an impression that its new left-wing leaders are not pulling their weight.

 

German tabloid Bild recently launched a campaign against an agreement, printing the banner headline “NEIN!” across an entire inside page, and encouraging readers to take selfies with the poster.

 

“No more billions for greedy Greeks,” it demanded.

 

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