No Grexit for Now: Greece and Europe Reach Deal (Sort Of)

The Greeks have until Monday to say what reforms they're prepared to make.


Yanis Varoufakis
SkriptaTV / Wikimedia

Europe's finance ministers, including Greece's Yanis Varoufakis, announced they came to an 11th-hour agreement this afternoon to forestall a Greek debt default and forced exit from the shared currency union.

It is, in many ways, a loss for Greece's far-left Syriza Party, which wanted a six month bridging loan that would release the country from its earlier promises to implement strict austerity measures (e.g., privatizing some of its ports and laying off a bunch of public sector workers). Instead, it got a four-month continuation of the "existing arrangement." This more or less obligates the Mediterranean nation not to roll back austerity, something the newly elected prime minister, Alexs Tsipras, campaigned on doing.

But neither did Greece's European creditors, headed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, get everything they wanted. To persuade Varoufakis to sign on to the deal, the rest of the Eurozone promised to use some flexibility in evaluating the nation's progress toward gettings its fiscal house in order. This likely means that Greece will be able to spend more in 2015 than it promised under the last bailout program.

So what happens after the four-month extension runs out? Greek representatives have until Monday to present Eurozone leaders with a list of the long-term reform measures they plan to take. Then the institutions formerly known as the Troika will review that list and decide by the end of April whether Greece is promising to do enough to warrant continue aid. In the meantime, Greek banks will retain access to crucial financing, without which those banks would quickly collapse.

As I wrote Tuesday, this week has long been circled on the calendar as the deadline for an agreement to be reached. And one was reached, so catastrophe is prevented—right?

Maybe. But it seems probable that the two sides, which wanted very different things from these negotiations, will continue to war over the precise details of the reforms Greece has to promise to undertake going forward. Tsipras is seeking a dramatic overhaul of the terms and conditions of Europe's aid. (He wants a lot less, or even no more, austerity.) Germany and the others, meanwhile, expect Greece to continue working to reduce its enormous debt, which is roughly equal to 175 percent of the country's GDP.

Greece and its creditors have 69 days to get on the same page. If they can't, we'll be right back where we were this week, with the threat of Grexit once again looming.

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  1. This investment in Greece is bound to pay off eventually.

    1. remind me to talk to you about some ground floor business opportunities…

    2. The hole can’t possibly be bottomless. Throw enough money in and it’s gotta fill up eventually.

      1. that’s what i used to think about both my heart and my stomach…

      2. It’s not a bottomless pit, it’s a topless hole!

        Digital fiat don’t fill it either way no how. They’re happy enough kickin’ cans into it, though.

      3. Don’t think of it as throwing good money after bad. It’s all bad.

  2. They just need a few more years to get the hang of this democracy thing.


    1. how is that statement less than winston?

      1. Everything is less than Winston.

        And better than Ezra.

        1. +1 King of New Orleans

  4. We should make all of Greece cosplay the movie Grease as a way to void some of the debt.

    1. can we not just force the hot ones into free prostitution instead?

      1. I think it can be free, or it can be prostitution, no?

        1. well, it’s to pay off debts- so it’s like a prepaid club membership.

  5. Tsipras is seeking a dramatic overhaul of the terms and conditions of Europe’s aid.

    We’ll do the usual, I’m sure, of throwing more money down the rathole, ensuring that the train wreck, when it comes (and it will come) will be even more spectacular.

    1. Totally. The interesting part of the timing on this extension is that it goes right up to, but does not go past, the due date of the largest debt maturity the Greeks have…in other words, the next time this nonsense has to be resolved will be just as the greeks are due to pay the most money they have owed yet. I believe that the Tsprias govt has written promisorry notes to its voters that their butts cannot possibly cash.

      1. The Greek government will collapse in a vote of no confidence by then.

        1. My bet is all the Greeks will suddenly turn into followers of Murray Rothbard and decide to conveniently renounce their sovereign debt. “It wasn’t us, it was the government that did it. Not like we elected them or anything.”

    2. It’s not a train wreck. Train wrecks have a spectacular finish. This will have no spectacular finish.

  6. Winston forced their hand! How powerful Winston must feel right now!

    You happy, Winston? You finally fucking happy, you whiny little fartnugget?

  7. Would John support now making the Greek citizens now go fight the russians in Ukraine?

    1. How about a Greek DREAM Act? Join the Ukrainian army, fight Russia, get a shot at Ukrainian citizenship if they win.

      1. Ukrainian citizenship would be a step up from being a Greek.

        1. And if they lose, they get Russian ‘citizenship’ of sorts. Still probably a step up, so I call that a win-win.

  8. Is it wrong of me to want to see Greece get the boot and the whole thing come crashing down?

    1. If that’s wrong, I don’t want anyone to ever be right.

    2. No. That’s what I want. Give these people the democracy that they deserve.

      1. Yep. I was hoping (and still am hoping) for Grexit.

        I want the people who say you should just walk away from your debts to see what happens when you do.

      2. The democracy they deserve, but not the one they need right now.

    3. You know who else wanted Greece to get the boot ….

      1. Xerxes I?

      2. Tony Lama?

    4. I think Italy gets the boot, by default.

      1. Sicily gets the boot.

  9. VICTORY!!!!!Victory! Clement Attlee and Hitler will tremble before me!….._55521.jpg

    1. About 77 years before.

  10. Another question is will the government and Syriza split over this?

    1. as long as they keep exporting that tangy yogurt and olive oil, I don’t care!

      1. My Greek dentist was complaining how last time she was over, all the good seafood was being sold to China…

    2. I don’t know. Isn’t Tsirpas’s government half fascist anyway (half fascist, half socialist to be precise)? I don’t understand what brought it together in the first place, let alone holds it together. It’s like the strong molecular force: two oppositely charged entities get close enough, and revulsion turns to attraction.

      1. (half fascist, half socialist to be precise)

        There’s a difference?

  11. Some More Granuidain Derp for you:

    eveofchange 52m ago
    If this proves to be a sell out by Varoufakis as it appears to be, then there must be mass strikes and demonstrations etc.against it, and against him. He is not mandated to concede anything to the capitalist Troika —just the opposite in fact. Make a stand, and demand that this `deal` is repudiated immediately . No concessions whatsoever to the unelected capitalist Troika . nationalise the banks etc, organise for 100% socialism –and do it now. Or else be under the Iron Heel of capitalist theft forever.

    1. Hey, it worked for Venezuela didn’t it?

      1. The hard part is timing the vacation just right. You want to take advantage of the collapsing currency but still have access to toilet paper.

        1. Just take a couple suitcases of tp and a speedo.

          1. So Memorial Day at Warty’s?

          2. What’s the speedo for?

            1. headband

    2. Somebody in government did something we don’t like! Let’s take a vacation.

      Sound policy if I’ve ever heard one.

    3. Don’t you have to be working first for a strike to matter?

    4. Oh, that’s rich. Yes, please do organize for 100% socialism. I need the larfs.

    5. These people still don’t understand where money comes from, do they?

  12. use some flexibility in evaluating the nation’s progress

    Meh. “The most flexible administration in history.”

  13. inglouriouseurotrash 12m ago
    Tsipras and his ministers are just saying what everyone else knows and is too nervous to say. There is no REAL money – debt is electronically generated numbers, walk away and nobody except the protagonists of this fantasy will suffer. A catastrophy for the EU/EZ if Greece reneged and left? Why? They were fine before Greece joined their scam. Tsipras is a pioneer and OK, he has lost the first round. But other countries forced into misery by this con will follow.

    Well I can’t disagree with the “scam” part

    1. I suppose that 330bln euros in debt that the Greek owe disappearing wouldn’t hurt anybody? It’s just digits, right? Like the other billions or trillions is synthetics also tied up in Greek debt?

      It may be a scam, but everyone’s in on it, whether they wish to be or not.

    2. Except for that part where no one will ever lend anything to them again, and they can’t buy shit because their new currency will be in the toilet. But other than that, it should go swimmingly.

      1. Somehow, socialism is supposed to be so wildly successfully that just planting a small seed will grow into a workers paradise in no time. Yet you can’t throw a stick in any direction without hitting a socialist apologist who screeches about how sanctions, “capitalist sabotage”, and other external (and predictable) factors keep undermining the glorious revolution.

        1. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a socialist tried to convince be that humans naturally shit solid gold bricks but the diet forced upon us by the capitalist food companies turn it into stinky brown fudge. And if only we would start eating grass, the golden turds would flow forth.

  14. Can.

  15. I think Germany is basically decided it doesn’t care what happens to Greece, but doesn’t want Spain, Portgual, Ireland, and Italy getting ideas, so it has decided to make an example of Greece “pour encourager les autres”.

    The demand for a list by monday is basically a demand that Syriza publicly breaks all of their campaign promises in writing.

    1. You know who else had a list?

      1. The Costa Concordia?

        1. Dammit, a winner right at the start.

      2. Santa Claus!

        1. There ain’t no such thing as a Sanity Clause!

          1. But, but, five people claim there was at one time!

      3. Adrian Messenger?

    2. The demand for a list by monday is basically a demand that Syriza publicly breaks all of their campaign promises in writing.

      Indeed. I am eager to see this list.

      So I can gloat.

      1. Best part is that I think Germany may make Greece grovel and produce this list and then turn down an extension anyways.

        Schadenfreude is a german word for a reason.

        1. No the best part is watching all the commenters blathering about Greece’s primary budget surplus react to this deal.

          Where did that surplus go, and why does Greece have to borrow more money, eh?

  16. So what do the Europhile libertarians have to say about Greece? Whatever happens Greece does demonstrate how mismanaged the EU is.

    Germany doesn’t want Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain getting ideas and those “ideas” are not likely to be libertarian. Syriza caving could lead to Golden Dawn and increase an anti-EU backlash.

    Well we do have Dalibor Rohac’s recommendations:…..uropean-un

    The continent clearly needs a massive, 1970s-style deregulation, as well as stronger institutional safeguards against the unchecked growth of economically destructive rules in the future. Such safeguards may include the strengthening of the role of the European Council and returning to unanimity voting on significant matters of economic policy.

  17. We’re never going to get to stop hearing about this crisis are we?

    1. When hasn’t Greece been in crisis since 1821?

      1. What a shame, it’s a beautiful country.

      2. 1821 BC?

        1. first one, then t’other.

    1. Libertarian Moment!

    2. According to the dead-tree version of the local paper, the guide-lines focus on nutrition and the ‘health of the planet’; no details.
      But I’m sure, since this is ‘science-based’, that the guide-lines will mention that ‘organic’ produce requires far more acreage per unit output, right?
      And, of course, that you have to grow cows for the cow poop fertilizers.

      1. They are trying to kill off livestock, the consumption of meat. That is what the health of the planet shit is about.

      2. Rent-seeking researchers conducting goal-seeking research. I fucking love SCIENCE!

    3. Beef is ultimately plant based.

      1. All food is Solar powered…tax the sun

        1. Not a bad idea:

          If only we had the technology.

    4. In case anyone missed it or forgot, I did emphatically assert that the goddamn broccoli mandate was coming. You heard it here first.

      1. At what point do people get enough of this shit? They put one strand, then another, and another slowly until we are bound, mind, body and soul. Until we can’t move, breath, speak, or think.

        Maybe I have had too much vodka, but this is some surreal shit.

        1. I’d like to believe Americans would go to war over steak. I’m not sure, but I want to believe it.

          1. I would. I’m loading the firearms now.

            1. meatbags who want to ban meat. it might not work out how they planned.

        2. ‘Man is a creature that can get accustomed to anything, and I think that is the best definition of him.’

          Perhaps Dostoevsky had this in mind when he wrote that eerie adage. He did nearly anticipate the rise of communism after all.

    5. DGAC recommended Mediterranean-style and vegetarian diets as the best options. Vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and Mediterranean diets are the most environmentally friendly, with the least greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

      Wait, are we trying to keep people thinner or fix the ozone layer?

      1. The moment I started seeing vegetarianism as a ‘political’ thing I knew it would eventually come down to them trying to use the state to ban meat-eating; it’s the logical conclusion of the way many of these people think. May not be too far in the future.

  18. NIKOLAOS PYRAMIDOPOULOS The_Shadow 36m ago
    I v said it to others like you , the “work harder” old tape is not valid.
    Greeks are the one people in EU with the most hours worked and worse payed in relation.
    Investement is the answer , but all they are asking in EU is more austerity.

    1. “Greeks are the one people in EU with the most hours worked and worse payed in relation.”

      What ‘work’ are they doing?

      1. They also claim the low retirement ages are lies.

    2. What employers in Greece are there outside of the government?

      If everybody works for the fucking government, then it doesn’t matter how many hours they clock or how much money they take home, there’s no value being created.

      The whole country could sit around masturbating for a normal American workweek and I would have greater appreciation for their work ethic.

  19. What would really fix the Eurozone is to kick Germany out.

    Last year, Germany racked up a record trade surplus of 217 billion euros ($246 billion), second only to China in global export dominance. To some, this made Germany a bright spot in an otherwise anemic eurozone economy ? a “growth driver,” as the German finance minister, Wolfgang Sch?uble, puts it. In fact, Germany’s chronic trade surpluses lie at the heart of Europe’s problems; far from boosting the global economy, they are dragging it down. The best way to end this perverse situation is for Germany to leave the eurozone.

    Weapons grade derponium.

    1. even if a country is better at everything, it should export what it is best at and import what it is less better at.

      “At Harvard, we don’t end our sentences with prepositions.”

    2. Haha. This is dumbest thing I’ve read this month now. Let me guess, Germany isn’t importing enough from other Eurozone countries, and so they’re not stimulated ‘aggregate demand’ enough, right?

      I hope Germany does leave the Eurozone honestly. In the long run probably better for them. They might just do it if they didn’t largely fear they would immediately turn back into Nazis the moment they weren’t shackled to the EU and the EZ. I wonder if it weren’t for German sense of national guilt if the system would have survived this long.

  20. Continuous 3m ago
    “continue the austerity programme ? which has included privatisations” – and so we get to the nub of the matter – privatisations – the continued and relentless drive to give to the few what belongs to the masses.

    This theft of public assets by corporates and governements is occuring everywhere in the world.

    Here in Australia, we have privatised the billing of our electricity and the cost of electricity is now sky high – we are now not only paying for generation and distribution costs but also feeding the corporations that own the billing functions.

    Privatisation is theft on a grand scale and its sheer madness as it is unsustainable as it erodes the wealth from common people and puts it into the hands of a few.

    1. “Privatisation is theft on a grand scale and its sheer madness as it is unsustainable as it erodes the wealth from common people and puts it into the hands of a few.”

      And the person who wrote that must somehow have a passing acquaintance with history.
      Would s/he care to explain the lack of success in such countries as, oh, the USSR?

      1. Have fun getting people to answer that. The history of the USSR has been memory-holed, as has the history of China before 1977.

        1. There are quite a disturbing amount of people who think that tax the rich, nationalization of industries and government employees are the source of prosperity


            when the government runs a surplus, the non-government sector must run a deficit.

            This is a simple reality of macro-economic accounting. There are only so many Australian dollars. If the government taxes more than it spends (a surplus), it is taking more dollars out of the private sector than it is putting in. Assuming exports equal imports those dollars can come from only one place ? private domestic savings. Everyone’s surplus is somebody else’s deficit.

            1. There are only so many Australian dollars.

              Goddamn, they are usually not so blatant in their embrace of the zero-sum fallacy.

              Boy do they beat that dead horse but good.

            2. So, infinite deficits good then?

  21. Greek representatives have until Monday to present Eurozone leaders with a list of the long-term reform measures they plan to take.

    I’ll be very interested in finding out what that is.

    I take it they won’t be raising the minimum wage or increasing civil service salaries.

    1. So where are Syriza’s free marketers eh Hazel?

        1. I wondered if they might. I didn’t predict that they would.

      1. Do you keep some big archive of posts by other people to pull out asinine “gotchas” like this if someone’s tepid and non-committal speculation doesn’t pan out?

        1. Only when it was obviously ridiculous at the time.

  22. Guardian Cartoon:…

    1. It’s the petulant childishness that really gives the cartoon its charm.

      1. kbolino|2.20.15 @ 7:34PM|#
        “It’s the petulant childishness that really gives the cartoon its charm.”

        Yep, when you don’t have facts, just draw up something and hang labels with nasty words on them!
        Tom Toles does this well.

    2. Are you seriously implying that not bureaucrats not getting a full salary pension from age 56 to death isn’t akin to cutting off life support? Have a heart man!

  23. I’ve seen quite a bit of stuff about Greek Tax Evasion and of course Tax The Rich being one solution to the Greek crisis. I doubt that would do much good.

  24. Those Greeks are a real pain in the ass.

    1. That’s what he said.

      1. +1 gerbil

  25. But…but…Greece has that DREAMY Economic Czar Guru Shaman guy, who was in Tiger Beat and everything.

    So – magic. And….

    Yeah. Not even Teen Dreamboat could save them. Fuck ’em.

  26. seaspan finalcurtain 6m ago

    Balancing the books is an accounting term — and it depends on the objective. Selling off State assets and lowering wage levels would be the one way for an accountant to balance the books. Doing the opposite, and leading to growth, is entirely and legally possible. You pay big bucks to an accountant to be creative and give advice on how you choose to balance the books within constraints and depending on your goal…

    1. Who knew accountancy was a kind of magic?

    2. Because making growth happen is just like doing the rain dance and waiting for rain to fall!

    1. He’s actually right about that. But some individuals that engage in terrorism do so for religious reasons.

    2. I feel like we are reliving the run-up to WWII. Everyone is doubling down on the stupid.

      The comments quoted here from wherever about the greek situation…..well, words fail. The level of economic ignorance is off of the scale.

      Obumbles doggedly sticking to his stupidity is not surprising. He always does this. He asserts something that is laughable on its face, proclaims everyone is wrong but him, then goes golfing.

      I fear this will not end well.

      1. At the start of WWII, Germany had the world’s largest army and the world’s second largest industrial base.

        ISIS isn’t even remotely comparable, whatever your feels are saying.

        1. Yeah, they’re more like the Balkans than anything. Either they’ll finally piss off enough of the Muslim countries in addition to Jordan and Egypt that they’ll all finally gang up and put them down, or there’ll just be sporadic war in the Levant for a few decades. Not very different from the previous status quo actually.

  27. Wow man that makes no sense at all dude.

  28. Is Greece located in a good place for tourism? Because maybe they try encouraging people to visit and buy things.

  29. After reading these comments it seems you guys have no heart. Can’t watch an implosion of a faulty economic system and refrain from snark? What is wrong with you? Think of the little Greek children forced to suck German sausage.

    1. You know who ?else? liked to —

      Oh, never mind.

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  31. This my friend is why we roll with it

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  33. So instead of one Wiemar Republic now we get a continent of them later?


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