World View: Cyprus Gives Russia Access to Cypriot Ports on the Mediterranean

AP Photo/Petros Karadjias
AP Photo/Petros Karadjias

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Greece’s PM Tsipras faces opposition from EU bailout deal
  • Cyprus gives Russia access to Cypriot ports on the Mediterranean

Greece’s PM Tsipras faces opposition from EU bailout deal

Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras

During the January election campaign in Greece, radical far-left candidate Alexis Tsipras promised that he would stand up to the Europeans: he would get half the Greek debt written off, and “We will not govern with anybody who follows the policies of Mrs Merkel,” referring to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Voters enthusiastically elected him, and Prime Minister Tsipras has had almost 80% public support in the polls.

The jury is out whether his public support will wane once it sinks in with the public that none of the Greek debt was written off, and that, except for a few minor adjustments, the austerity programs will continue as before — almost a complete cave-in to the demands of Angela Merkel.

Tsipras really had no choice. Money was pouring out of Greece’s banks at the rate of billions of dollars per week, and deposited in foreign banks in case Greece’s banks collapsed. Greece desperately needed the European Central Bank (ECB) to continue supplying liquidity to the Greek Banks, and that meant that Tsipras had to agree to Merkel’s terms before the coming weekend, when the old bailout program officially ends.

News reports indicate that Tsipras spent 10 hours on Wednesday meeting with officials in his own left-wing Syriza party, to sell them on the agreement and convince them not to pull his support. Presumably the pragmatists will support him, and the left-wing hardliners will not.

As I’ve said repeatedly, no solution exists for the Greek financial crisis, and the longer it is prolonged, the worse it gets. The new bailout agreement makes the problem worse because Greece’s financial deficit will increase a bit, because of the adjustments that were made to the original plan.

However, last week’s agreement apparently kicked the can down the road four months, until July, when the crisis will be worse than it was last week. Kathimerini and BBC and Kathimerini

Cyprus gives Russia access to Cypriot ports on the Mediterranean

Cyprus on Wednesday signed a military deal with Russia giving Russian military ships access to Cyprus’s ports on in the Mediterranean Sea.

Russia has been a silent third partner in the financial crisis negotiations between Europe and Greece, and also in last year’s financial crisis negotiations between Europe and Cyprus, because Russia sees them as an opportunity to go around Brussels and gain a foothold in Europe. Russia has offered financial aid to both Cyprus and Greece. Russia has now signed this military agreement with Cyprus, and has also offered to expand military-technical collaboration with Greece, if the latter requests it.

Some analysts doubt that anything meaningful will come from Russia’s military agreement with Cyprus. According to one Russian analyst, “To speak of a Russian military presence in Cyprus, on the territory of an EU state, is beyond strange. It just makes no sense. I am certain the president of Cyprus will retract his statement, which is being used as a tool to put pressure on the EU, in my opinion.” Reuters and Kathimerini and Moscow Times and Jamestown

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Greece, Alexis Tsipras, Germany, Angela Merkel, Russia, Cyprus
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