01 February 2015

France Prepared To Support Greece in Debt Negotiations

Support, whatever that means.

The negotiations and discussion surrounding the Greek debt issue are not straightforward nor transparent.

People will tend to project their own opinions on to this since it is rather complicated, especially for those not familiar with international politics.

There are a number of issues involved, and a number of players, some with their own interests and agendas that intersect enough with this to bring them into the discussions.

And like most political situations of complexity the ultimate resolution will likely involve some compromise.  So those who prefer to enhance their reputation by second guessing will almost certainly have some opportunity to say 'I told you so.'   Like so many stock forecasters, they write their hits in marble, and their misses in sand. 

In addition, I cannot stress enough that relying on only one category of mainstream media sources on this entire topic can be highly misleading.

The amount of spin and perception management being generated even by 'name' media sources these days is pronounced. Remember the stories being put out earlier this month that Russia was on the ropes, and was selling its gold to meet its reserve obligations?

And there are global macro and political issues enough so that the neo-liberal establishment will be keenly interested in becoming involved in this, fear contagion and the 'domino effect' not only in Europe, but in their own countries. 

And quietly, almost unnoticed, China and Russia keep accumulating gold bullion.

Such are the times of currency wars. And I think we might know to whom most of the Western commercial press owes their allegiance. And they are not the only ones.

But they are unusually shameless considering the image that their PR has created. I have not seen this much blatant propaganda in the major news in a very long time, probably not since the early part of the Vietnam war.  

France ‘prepared to support Greece’ in debt renegotiations

France’s Socialist government offered support Sunday for Greece’s efforts to renegotiate debt for its huge bailout plan, amid renewed fears about Europe’s economic stability.

The backing was a victory for Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, holding talks with European officials to push for new conditions on debt from creditors who rescued Greece’s economy to save the shared euro currency. Worries have mounted that Greece’s new far left government might not pay back its debts.

Varoufakis is also visiting London and Rome – and said Sunday that he would visit Berlin. The German government has been particularly angry at the new Greek government’s position and bluntly rejected suggestions that Greece should be forgiven part of its rescue loans.

Varoufakis insisted that Greece wants to pay the money back, but said he wants new terms and new negotiating partners, arguing that “it’s not worth” discussing with the so-called “troika” of creditors who set the strict terms for Greece’s rescue.

France’s Socialist leadership, whose president has campaigned against austerity, presented itself Sunday as a possible mediator between Greece and creditors.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin insisted his country wouldn’t support canceling the debt, but offered support for a new timeframe or terms.

“France is more than prepared to support Greece,” Sapin said after meeting Varoufakis, saying Greece’s efforts to renegotiate were “legitimate.” Sapin urged a “new contract between Greece and its partners.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his new government have worried financial markets and German and other European officials by pushing to scrap painful budget cuts and rethinking the debt. Tsipras sought to calm worries over the weekend after days of increasingly heated discussions.

Varoufakis announced that he has retained financial consultants Lazard as advisers to the Finance Ministry on issues of public debt and fiscal management. The socialist PASOK party, which ran Greece during part of its debt crisis, praised the decision, noting that then-Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos also hired Lazard advisers when he negotiated with private bondholders in 2011-2012.