Monday, August 19, 2013

Is Angela Merkel turning Greece into Kosovo?

Yanis Varoufakis in an August 10 blog post refers us to this article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Greece becoming new Kosovo as youth jobless hits 65pc Telegraph 08/08/2013, in which Evans-Pritchard writes:

Greek think tank the IOBE said Greece’s economy would contract by 5pc this year. It accused the troika of paying lip service to reform, relying instead on crude austerity to cut the budget deficit. This has proved self-defeating. The scale of economic contraction has overwhelmed any gains from budget cuts.
He also quotes Varoufakis himself:

"Nothing as devastating as this has ever been seen in my country before," said Prof Yanis Varoufakis from Athens University. "The spirit of the Greek people has been broken. They've stopped demonstrating and are licking their wounds at home or leaving the country."

Latest data from the Greek statistics agency showed the overall jobless rate rose to 27.6pc in May, despite a mass exodus of the best-educated young workers to the US, Australia, Britain and Germany.

The figure is likely to rise further as Athens lays off 15,000 public sector workers by the end of next month to comply with European Union-International Monetary Fund (EU-IMF) Troika demands.

"The manic attempt to keep Greece in the eurozone under conditions that are not sustainable is turning the country into a sort of Kosovo, an EU protectorate that produces little but surplus labour," said Prof Varoufakis.
This is really a bad situation.

Varoufakis also uses to comparison to Kosovo, which he explains that in his mind is:

... a pragmatic assessment of the convergence of the Eurozone’s Periphery to the current state of Kossovo’s [sic] social economy. After all, Kossovo [sic] is an EU protectorate, where the major decisions (including privatisation, energy, security) are taken by a Brussels’ functionary, the euro is the country's currency (without of course any Kosovar official playing any role in monetary policy decisions), the local government is monopolised by a local cleptocracy and, tragically, unemployment is so high that the country’s greatest export is its young people. In other words, Kosovo is the limit toward which other EU countries, like Greece, are now tending. Neither Kosovo nor the Eurozone's Periphery deserve this fate. Alas, Europe’s compounded political failures have given rise to this hideous, and yet utterly avoidable, catastrophe. [my emphasis]
And in Germany, the country most responsible for this current situation and the site of the greatest failure of European leadership in this crisis, the campaign for the September election isn't offering any distinct alternative to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's euro policies.

If Shakespeare were still alive, he would be writing a tragedy starring Angela Merkel.

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