Friday, November 4, 2011

One more day of Greece

There are other things to write about and I shall do so very very soon but there is one more day of the Greek farce to get through before life returns to normal.

14.45 Result of confidence vote expected late this evening, possibly around 10 pm our time. It is timed to avoid any reaction in the markets though I don't think the US ones will be closed yet. Certainly the European ones will be for the week-end. The vote looks like being close though it appears that a number of PASOK MPs may go back to supporting Papandreou now that the notion of the referendum has been abandoned.

Reuters adds that
But the future of the 130 billion euro deal remained hostage to wrangling among Greek politicians, much to the disgust of voters living through dire economic times.
One thing we can say for certain: whichever way the vote goes, the problems will not be solved and the crisis will be postponed rather than averted.

12. 20 Prime Minister George Papandreou (a hereditary prime minister) is facing that long-heralded vote of confidence and, according to Sky, is ready to resign if MPs back him tonight. Now there's an offer of a bribe that is hard to resist. If they vote against him, on the other hand,
Greece could be plunged into further uncertainty and a snap election.

That may mean it would not be in a position to receive the next slice of bailout funds it desperately needs to avoid defaulting on its loans.
He is clearly using the carrot and stick approach.

>Meanwhile, as it has been pointed out, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos is becoming a serious contender.

EUObserver reports that the austerity measures are beginning to have a very harmful effect on the most vulnerable in Greece.
It is unheard of for aid groups such as Medecins Sans Frontieres or Medicins du Monde to have to take over the role of providing basic medical services from normal state or private providers in a Western country.

But in the era of ever-tightening EU-IMF austerity, that is what is happening in Greece now, as the unemployed and HIV patients begin to turn up at temporary clinics that had been intended to come to the aid of migrants and refugees.

According to Apostolos Veizis, the head of programmes for MSF Greece, this is the new reality that the country is waking up to.
The trouble with the story is that it seems to be based on an interview or discussion with Apostolos Veizis, the head of programmes for MSF Greece, who is an interested party in this. I should like to see some accounts of what is happening from people who are not in the business of raising money for their own organizations or providing support for the view that Greece should not be asked to introduce any austerity measures or even reforms.

In the meantime, let us not forget Italy, probable scene of the next crisis that is likely to be big enough to engulf the whole of the eurozone and, probably, the EU. According to Reuters, whose coverage yesterday was the most reliable, as it turned out
Italy, under fierce pressure from financial markets and European peers, agreed to have the IMF monitor its progress with long delayed reforms of pensions, labor markets and privatization, senior EU sources said on Friday.
Riots in Italy? Berlusconi talks of a referendum then decides not to go ahead? Election in Italy? More riots? Just speculating.

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