The Greek debt crisis appears to be entering a new phase, in which the country is no longer just waiting to get needed help but getting concerned that others -- including euro zone powerhouse Germany -- may actually be making it hard for them to recover.
Global News Journal
It was no great surprise that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund looked perplexed when asked during a visit to Brussels to comment on proposals to create a European monetary fund.
In the space of a few weeks, the idea of creating a European Monetary Fund to rescue financially troubled EU member states has gone from being a high-level brainwave from a pair of economists to a major policy initiative backed by powerbroker Germany. In EU terms, that’s Formula One fast.
Three months ago, Herman van Rompuy might have struggled to be recognised on the streets of his native Belgium, let alone Paris or London. The bookish former prime minister, a fan of camping holidays and Haiku poetry, was nothing if not low-key; a studious consensus builder in the world of Belgian politics.
So there’s no question Greece has work to do to improve its bookkeeping.
Not only must it get spending in check, but it needs to be a bit more honest about where its finances stand in the first place. After all, it’s not often an EU country says one month that its budget deficit is a little over three percent of GDP and admits a few weeks later that, oh dear, it’s actually nearer 13 percent.
Greek elections have traditionally been raucous, ebullient affairs, a true celebration of democracy in the country that gave birth to the concept. This year, the mood is noticeably more sombre ahead of Sunday’s vote. Colourful elections kiosks at main squares stand nearly empty, attracting few voters. The chat at cafes and on the Internet usually centres on voters’ disappointment with politics as a whole for failing to fight corruption and put the economy on a steady growth path.