Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
Greece on the Brink
The back and forth between Europe and Greece over the past few weeks is reaching its denouement. Earlier this week it appeared as if Greece and its European overlords – EU member states led by Germany, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – were close to a deal. But in the last few hours things have taken a gloomy turn.
After several days in which many insiders and analysts insisted that a deal was “very close,” they have failed to find common ground. And in the last 24 hours, it appears that Europe has toughened its stance, rejecting Greece’s latest counteroffers. Europe is demanding deeper cuts to pensions, a faster raise of the retirement age, removal of subsidies for farmers, among other austerity measures. The demands can only be interpreted as an ultimatum just a few days before Greece has to meet a $1.7 billion debt payment to the IMF – Greece has to either agree to Europe’s terms or blow past the deadline for repayment, likely triggering a default, bank failures, and potentially an exit from the Eurozone currency union.
Complicating matters further is the fact that even if Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agrees to Europe’s demands, he has to sell the package to his parliament and public back home. Elected on an anti-austerity platform, he would have to agree to significant austerity policies if Greece is to avoid…