This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Raucous EU-IMF confrontation lightens mood around Greece's bailout disaster
- France becomes first European country to recognize Syria's opposition government
- The Dalai Lama, in Japan, criticizes China over Tibet
Raucous EU-IMF confrontation lightens mood around Greece's bailout disaster
Jean-Claude Juncker and Christine Lagarde on Tuesday
The disagreements between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and
eurozone finance ministers broke out into raucous confrontation
on Monday. Putting together several sources, this is
Jean-Claude Jüncker, president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers,
and also Luxembourg’s prime minister, said that the European finance
ministers wanted to grant Greece the two-year extension on its new
austerity commitments, when he said that the target date for Greece to
achieve a "sustainable" debt level would be 2022.
When Jüncker made that declaration, he was sitting right next
to Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF.
She said, "Did you say 2022?"
He said, "Yes."
She said, "No we don't have agreement on that."
He said, "I'm not joking."
Then Jüncker repeated his declaration.
A visibly angered Ms Lagarde ostentatiously shook her head
and rolled her eyes. She said:
"We clearly have different views. What matters at the
end of the day is the sustainability of the Greek debt so that
that country can get back on its feet and re-access the private
market in due course.
What we regard as critical insofar as the IMF is concerned is that
the Greek debt is sustainable. In our view the appropriate
timetable is 120 per cent [of GDP] by 2020 [as opposed to
And let's recall that European politicians have lied over and over
again, and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Jüncker was quoted as
saying, "When it becomes serious, you have to lie," as we reported in May, 2011.
Well, this situation is certainly serious, so I guess Jüncker must be
lying. He said that all the Eurogroup finance ministers agreed
to 2022, but I doubt very much that Germany, Finland, the Netherlands
or Austria did. So I'm pretty sure that his claim was a lie.
Jean-Claude Jüncker in 2005, furious at the British for not wanting to spend more money. (BBC)
Ms. Lagarde took a far more principled position, but the IMF is a
global organization, not a European organization, and its sponsors in
America, in China, and in Brazil are going to wonder why they should
have to be bailing out Greece, when that's Europe's responsibility.
In fact, the bailout money doesn't even really go to Greece; it
goes to European banks that purchased massive amount of toxic
So, apparently Greece is going to get its two-year extension,
but that extension is going to require an additional 32.6 billion
euros on top of the 148 billion euros Greece has already been
There was no agreement on who was going to pay that additional 32.6
billion euros. There will be another Eurogroup meeting on November
20, to iron out that tiny little detail.
However, Greece did get some good news on Monday: It was able to sell
5 billion euros in short-term bonds, enough to prevent it from going
bankrupt on Friday. Telegraph (London)
France becomes first European country to recognize Syria's opposition government
France broke with other European countries by becoming the first to
recognize Syria's Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as the government of
Syria. France's president François Hollande said on Tuesday:
"I announce today that France recognizes the Syrian
National Council (SNC) as the sole legitimate representative of
the Syrian people and as future government of a democratic Syria
making it possible to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad's
Six Arab states took the same step on Monday, though others wanted
to wait. The new Syrian coalition was formed over the weekend
in marathon negotiations in Doha, Qatar. Calling itself the
"National Coalition for Revolutionary Forces and the Syrian
Opposition," it remains to be seen whether the coalition can
hold itself together.
An unresolved question is whether France and other countries should
sell arms to the opposition coalition, to help in their fight against
the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Many countries are
reluctant to do so, for fear that the weapons will end up in the hands
of al-Qaeda linked terrorists, as has happened with the weapons in
Libya's storehouses. Daily Star (Beirut) and Today's Zaman (Istanbul)
The Dalai Lama, in Japan, criticizes China over Tibet
In the East Asia Sea, Chinese warships and Japanese Coast Guard
ships have circling around each other and the Sankaku/Diayou islands,
which both countries claim, so there's no need for any additional
tension between the two countries. But there are indeed
increased tensions, as China becomes infuriated over a visit
by the hated Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to
Tokyo. Even worse, the Dalai Lama took advantage of the visit
to criticize China for its policy in Tibet.
In response, China's Foreign Ministry said:
"China is firmly opposed to any country or any
person’s supporting the Dalai’s separatist activities in any way.
Japanese right-wing forces have been blatantly supporting Dalai’s
anti-China separatist activities and interfering in China’s
internal affairs, which China strongly condemns."
China has been embarrassed in recent weeks by a surge in Tibetan
suicides by self-immolation. China blames the Dalai Lama for the
suicides, saying that he was sacrificing lives "to achieve his goal of
Tibetan independence." AFP
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