Greece Asks For 'Breathing Space' After Failing to Make Reforms Necessary For Bailout

As many expected Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has asked for ‘breathing space’ to implement austerity measures. The Greek government has to find 11.5 billion euros worth of savings over the next two years in order to be eligible for the 31.5 billion euro bailout installment. Without the bailout Greece will run out of money within weeks and will almost certainly have to leave the euro. Samaras has insisted that the request for an extension does not entail a request for more cash:

Let me be very explicit: we demand no additional money. We stand by our commitments and by fulfilling all our requirements. We have to crank up growth because that decreases the financial gaps.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that a decision will not be reached this week, but that should not reassure Samaras. Merkel’s colleague, Michael Fuchs, has pointed out that it looks unlikely that the Greek government has kept its promise to privatize some state assets. If the troika audit unveils these sorts of failings Fuchs concedes that it would be difficult to proceed:

If the troika tells us they did what they have to do then of course we will [continue with] the programmes. If not it is very difficult.

Fuchs has also said that a Greek exit from the eurozone would be tolerable:

If Greece is going to leave [the euro]...I don't believe it is going to have a great impact anymore.

How the Germans and French address the Greek requests will be crucial. Although Merkel and French President Hollande have not always agreed on how to tackle the euro-crisis it is expected that they will present some kind of united front this week.

Samaras must be careful to not push too hard for an extension. Patience is running out, and commitment to the single currency bloc is fading among some European politicians.

Ironically on the same day that Samaras asked for ‘breathing space’ it was reported that Christine Lagarde had labeled Iceland’s recovery as ‘impressive’.  The politicians in Europe would do well to learn more about Iceland’s recovery. Iceland allowed its banking system to collapse, and did not pass on the burdens of economic stagnation and depression on to taxpayers.  This is in stark contrast to the eurozone, where banks are being bailed out and austerity is rejected. 

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know who else just wanted breathing room?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    That guy who got cut loose from his hose and floated away in "2001 - A Space Odyssey"?

  • Pro Libertate||

    He gets better. Read 3001.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||


  • Pro Libertate||

    It's at the beginning of the book, dude.

  • A Serious Man||

    Your ex-girlfriend?

  • ||

    David Carradine?

  • ||

    Or David Vitter?

  • WTF||

    Caylee Anthony?

  • Mike M.||

    Christina Hendricks' husband?

  • KDN||

    The snozberries taste like snozberries!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The guy sitting next to Warty?


    Jeremiah Johnson?

  • Ryan60657||

    An extension?

    NEIN. Nicht mehr.

  • ||


    Up yours, spam filter.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    The Germans and Finns (non-looter portion of the EU) should note that the Greek government is making an effort to squeeze more from the Greek people. Of course the Greek people aren't reacting well to the squeezing.
    Residents on the island of Hydra revolted against the financial police on Friday, when a prominent taverna owner’s son was arrested for tax evasion.
    By the time night fell at least 200 residents had assembled outside the police station, and some cut off the water and electricity, effectively holding the police hostage. Protestors also blocked off the port, believing that the police planned to take the suspect back to Athens.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    The island of Hydra - please tell me it's shaped like the monster of the same name and looks foreboding, threatehing and scary when you're sailing up to its [inevitably stormy and foggy] shores.

  • WTF||

  • RBS||

  • wareagle||

    well, if you're gonna stage a protest, at least do it in a nice place. Opa!

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Leonard Cohen hid out there and wrote some of the best fucking lyrics in human history. So don't disrespect the Hydra.

  • Ironchef||

    "We have to crank up growth"

    Well, who knew there is a lever or knob that can do that.

  • WTF||

    "This one goes to eleven."

  • Lord Humungus||

    does it go to 11?

  • Lord Humungus||

    curse you, WTF!

  • WTF||


  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Too bad the Republicans are preventing the President from turning the knob.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    We have to crank up growth because that decreases the financial gaps.

    That money tree in the backyard won't shake itself.

  • albo||

    "Dude, the check in in the mail. I put it there myself today."

    Lending to Greece was like lending to your worthless brother-in-law who then spends the money on a new guitar rather than a job search.

  • ||

    The EU totally needs to sue Greece on Judge Judy.

    Either that, or Funny or Die needs to do a sketch to that effect.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Well yeah, I got that new guitar. But I didn't use the money you lent me for that. I used my own money for that. I used your money for groceries.

  • SFC B||

    Shoot. I wish it would do that. At least then they could at least take the guitar. As it is they're going to be left with a bunch of burning olive trees.

  • califernian||

    The California Assembly is watching closely and taking notes.

  • Skomoroh||

    "This is in stark contrast to the eurozone, where banks are being bailed out and austerity is rejected."

    Ofcourse our Top Men also followed this path with predictably similar results.

  • SugarFree||

    The best way to get breathing room from a Greek is to get out of the elevator as soon as you can.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Antonis: "Angela, Angela, I'll get your money - I just need a little more time!"

    Angela: "Antonis, you make me sad...I gave you a chance already, and this is the respect you show me? Hans, Wolfgang, you know what to do."

    [Two burly Germans enter]

    Fade to black as a high pitched scream sounds.


    As many expected Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has asked for ‘breathing space’ to implement austerity measures

    Because we need more time to figure out what the problem *really* is.

    Jane Says, I'm Gonna Kick Tomorrow

  • CampingInYourPark||

    And in other news:

    "BNS - Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday raised the outlook on the Estonian government's A1 ratings to stable from negative."

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Hell, just ask for 20B instead of 31.5B euros. There's your 11.5B in savings!

  • Libertarian||

    Darn it Reason, you sound like Leon Panetta! What is 11.5B in their federal budget in percentage terms? Five percent? 40%?


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