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) andeurozone finance ministers broke out into raucous confrontationon Monday. Putting together several sources, this iswhat happened:
Jean-Claude Jüncker, president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers,and also Luxembourg’s prime minister, said that the European financeministers wanted to grant Greece the two-year extension on its newausterity commitments, when he said that the target date for Greece toachieve a “sustainable” debt level would be 2022.
When Jüncker made that declaration, he was sitting right nextto 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 headand rolled her eyes. She said:
“We clearly have different views. What matters at theend of the day is the sustainability of the Greek debt so thatthat country can get back on its feet and re-access the privatemarket in due course.
What we regard as critical insofar as the IMF is concerned is thatthe Greek debt is sustainable. In our view the appropriatetimetable is 120 per cent [of GDP] by 2020 [as opposed to2022].”
And let’s recall that European politicians have lied over and overagain, and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Jüncker was quoted assaying, “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 belying. He said that all the Eurogroup finance ministers agreedto 2022, but I doubt very much that Germany, Finland, the Netherlandsor 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 aglobal organization, not a European organization, and its sponsors inAmerica, in China, and in Brazil are going to wonder why they shouldhave to be bailing out Greece, when that’s Europe’s responsibility.In fact, the bailout money doesn’t even really go to Greece; itgoes to European banks that purchased massive amount of toxicGreek debt.
So, apparently Greece is going to get its two-year extension,but that extension is going to require an additional 32.6 billioneuros on top of the 148 billion euros Greece has already beenpromised.
There was no agreement on who was going to pay that additional 32.6billion euros. There will be another Eurogroup meeting on November20, to iron out that tiny little detail.
However, Greece did get some good news on Monday: It was able to sell5 billion euros in short-term bonds, enough to prevent it from goingbankrupt 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 torecognize Syria’s Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as the government ofSyria. France’s president François Hollande said on Tuesday:
“I announce today that France recognizes the SyrianNational Council (SNC) as the sole legitimate representative ofthe Syrian people and as future government of a democratic Syriamaking it possible to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad’sregime.”
Six Arab states took the same step on Monday, though others wantedto wait. The new Syrian coalition was formed over the weekendin marathon negotiations in Doha, Qatar. Calling itself theOpposition,” it remains to be seen whether the coalition canhold itself together.
An unresolved question is whether France and other countries shouldsell arms to the opposition coalition, to help in their fight againstthe regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. Many countries arereluctant to do so, for fear that the weapons will end up in the handsof al-Qaeda linked terrorists, as has happened with the weapons inLibya’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 Guardships have circling around each other and the Sankaku/Diayou islands,which both countries claim, so there’s no need for any additionaltension between the two countries. But there are indeedincreased tensions, as China becomes infuriated over a visitby the hated Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, toTokyo. Even worse, the Dalai Lama took advantage of the visitto criticize China for its policy in Tibet.In response, China’s Foreign Ministry said:
“China is firmly opposed to any country or anyperson’s supporting the Dalai’s separatist activities in any way.Japanese right-wing forces have been blatantly supporting Dalai’santi-China separatist activities and interfering in China’sinternal affairs, which China strongly condemns.”
China has been embarrassed in recent weeks by a surge in Tibetansuicides by self-immolation. China blames the Dalai Lama for thesuicides, saying that he was sacrificing lives “to achieve his goal ofTibetan independence.” AFP