Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Lo scorso anno di questi tempi la Grecia scompariva dagli articoli giornalistici e delle agenzie di stampa.
Il suo dissesto era, ed è tuttora, legato a numerosi fattori, tutti interagenti tra di loro.
– Un elevato rapporto debito / pil;
– Una percentualmente rilevante presenza di dipendenti di pubbliche amministrazioni;
– Il tentativo di mantenere un welfare ridotto alla mera erogazione di stipendi ai dipendenti, con virtuale sospensione delle prestazioni ai cittadini;
– Un dissesto severo delle finanze statali e locali;
– Una crisi politica senza precedenti, che ha esitato nella impossibilità di esprimente un governo a larga maggioranza.
La crisi dell’immigrazione illegale verso la Germania ha dapprima posto in secondo piano la situazione greca, quindi la ha focalizzata da un punto di vista differente: centinaia di migliaia di migranti economici transitavano dalla Turkia alla Grecia e di lì alla Germania.
Con la chiusura della rotta balcanica la Grecia venne a trovarsi nella scomodissima situazione di non poter bloccare l’afflusso e di non riuscire a far proseguire i migranti illegali presenti sul proprio territorio.
Nel difficile tentativo di cercare di essere obiettivi, sembrerebbe lecito asserire che la Grecia ci abbia marciato alla grande. Ha usato scaltramente la permeabilità dei propri confini con la Turkia per porre i paesi dell’Unione Europea con le spalle al muro: o essere inondati di altri migranti, oppure pagare la situazione debitoria greca.
Taluni gridarono al ricatto, altri al compromesso: sta di fatto che in questa maniera la Grecia aveva un’arma in mano, aveva riacquistato un suo potere contrattuale con l’Unione Europea.
E l’Unione Europea ha dovuto sottomettersi, con la coda tra le gambe.
Il dramma però prosegue, come da copione.
Unione Europea ed istituzioni internazionali sborsano quel tanto che basta a lasciar sopravvivere la Grecia, non molto di più. Ma non è assolutamente detto che questa situazione possa durare in eterno.
Una considerazione finale.
Se è vero che i problemi lasciati a sé stanti alla fine marciscono e scompaiono, è altrettanto vero che il modo con cui si estinguono è del tutto impredicibile.
Verosimilmente una possibile soluzione potrebbe essere trovata l’anno prossimo, con il nuovo presidente degli Stati Uniti, il nuovo presidente francese e, molto verosimilmente, con un nuovo Cancelliere a guidare la Germania.
→ Reuters. 2016-10-16. Greece’s lenders to launch new review as Athens digs in on debt relief
Greece and its creditors start a fresh round of talks this week on reforming its labor market, a tricky task for a leftist government sliding in opinion polls but needed if the recession-hit state can ever win debt relief.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was re-elected a year ago promising to fight to revive collective bargaining and resist reforms that may lower the minimum wage. But he also needs a swift conclusion of the review to achieve Athens’s primary goal of restructuring a mountain of debt, the highest in the euro zone, and mollifying an increasingly jaded public worn by years of austerity and unemployment.
Some opinion polls show Tsipras trailing opposition conservatives by up to 10 points, so the pressure is on for him to deliver.
“We are optimistic the second review can be quickly wrapped up to move on with debt relief,” a government official said.
Under a conservative-led government, Greece froze the mechanism of collective bargaining in 2012, cut minimum wages and liberalized rules covering mass layoffs.
Lenders, particularly the International Monetary Fund, want further liberalization of redundancy rules and to retain the current minimum wage system which is set by law and not collective bargaining as the practice in other EU member states.
It is an incendiary issue in a country where almost two in five are jobless, and many families make do with one earner at home, if at all.
“After so many years of recession where labor rights were scrapped, Greece doesn’t have any margin for extremes. Greece cannot forgo common practice which exists for workers in other EU member states,” the government official who asked not to be named told Reuters.
A good basis for talks, the official said, was a recent report by a committee of experts suggested minimum wages be endorsed by collective agreements.
That is a red flag for the IMF. It has yet to decide if it will partake in Greece’s latest bailout program, concerned at Greece’s debt levels exceeding 170 percent of output. It is however an unlikely ally in Greece’s call for debt relief.
Tsipras has set the bar high.
“I want to be clear. This vague urging for us to ‘do our homework and then we shall see’ cannot be accepted,” Tsipras said to a steady applause from an audience of up to 3,000 party faithful at a congress of his Syriza party on Thursday night.
Although there is growing consensus among European creditors and the IMF on the need for debt relief, its form and scope remains unclear.
Political dynamics in Europe, including the electoral calendar of key European creditors, make it unlikely that a quick decision on debt relief will be made, a report from Moody’s said.
Greece says it wants the review concluded by the end of the year, eyeing its inclusion in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE), an asset buying program it is now excluded from. QE is now running to the end of March 2017, though it could be extended.
“The second review will be concluded, and simultaneously the measures must be locked in on debt restructuring. And simultaneously we should enter QE,” Tsipras told his party.
“None of this ‘we shall see’. Simultaneously”, he said.
→ Reuters. 2016-10-10. Deutsche faces highest borrowing costs among European peers
Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) pays more to borrow from other banks than its peers including stragglers in Greece and Italy, Euribor data showed on Tuesday, a trend that underscores the gravity of the problems facing Germany’s flagship lender.
Deutsche is the only bank to pay to borrow over a 9 or 12-month period of a group of 21 lenders, which are polled to determine the price of interbank borrowing for the wider sector.
The reading puts Deutsche in a worse position even than Italy’s embattled Monte dei Paschi (BMPS.MI) or the National Bank of Greece (NBGr.AT), due to concerns over a likely multi-billion-euro legal penalty for misselling toxic mortgage securities.
The data, compiled by the European Money Market Institute to set the Euribor benchmark, provides a rare glimpse into the repercussions of a crisis of confidence in the bank that has seen its stock price tumble by almost half this year.
It has become free for nearly all banks to borrow after the European Central Bank cut its deposit rate below zero and pumped more than one trillion euros into the market to shore up the economy.
But the data showed that Deutsche Bank, exceptionally, had to pay 0.02 percent to borrow money from its peers over nine months. It paid 0.06 percent for a year-long loan.
Although the charges are small, all other 19 banks in the panel, including BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Barclays Bank (BARC.L) and Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA), are paid to borrow for that period.
Worries that Deutsche could be crippled by a U.S. fine have sent its shares to a historic low, prompting speculation that the government could be forced to help a bank whose returns have already slumped to zero.
Last week, Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, took the unusual step of questioning the bank’s business model, urging it to “decide what size it wants to have” after turbulent weeks in which its share price plunged.
Now management is re-examining the strategy, people familiar with the matter said.
The organizational change, launched in October last year by the then new chief executive John Cryan, aimed to slash costs by cutting staff, overheads and selling off some non-core businesses at Germany’s largest lender.
But a year on, with its staff numbers barely changed and little clarity on what the bank’s long-term business model will look like, management is being forced to find ways to speed up its turnaround.
→ Reuters. 2016-10-10. Greece likely to get part or all of next loan tranche on Monday: sources
Euro zone finance ministers are likely to approve on Monday the disbursement of much or all of the money from the 2.8 billion euro ($3.14 billion) tranche of loans Greece is waiting for, two senior euro zone officials said on Friday.
The disbursement in part or in full is likely because the country has met almost all the 15 reform milestones agreed with lenders as conditions for the payout.
The only milestone not fully complete is the Greek state asset privatization agency, officials said on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington.
Euro zone finance ministers meet on Monday in Luxembourg to discuss Greece’s progress and decide on the disbursement.
“They are getting there. But I am aware of at least one milestone that has not been fully met, so it is 14.5 probably that are met,” one of the officials said.
“It is possible that this is solved by Monday morning. Most ministers in the Eurogroup have lost patience with Greece, and they keep this pressure up because they believe that in Greece things can only be done under pressure. If it is not ready, they will wait,” the official said.
If Greece does not deliver in full on the reform milestones, it might not get the part of the money that it needs for clearing government arrears and would only get that when it completes the missing steps.
The ministers could then leave the decision to disburse the remaining amount to the euro zone bailout fund ESM.
“They may get 1.7 billion on Monday, but they may end up getting the whole 2.8 billion,” a second senior euro zone official said.