The EU came to Greece’s aid, with Euro 2bn to ease the Greek “humanitarian crisis”.
It’s all part of their “too little, too late” strategy towards the Euro. Forcing Greece into the Euro prematurely was a mistake by Greece and the other members. Offering the new government 2bn Euros of charity is not going to tackle the underlying structural faults of the scheme, nor will it get Greece back to work. Once you have allowed unsuitable economies into your single currency scheme, the whole zone has a problem as well as the problem country.
The recent meeting between Mrs Merkel and the Greek Prime Minister may have defused a few of the extreme tensions between Germany and Greece, but it did nothing to resolve the fundamental issue – who will pay the Greek bills coming up. Mrs Merkel was doubtless sincere in saying she wants Greece to experience economic recovery and rising employment, but such words create no jobs.
The Greek state and economy needs more money. The Greek PM says he does not want to borrow more, yet that is exactly what he has to do if the rest of the Euro area will not give him the cash he needs. The Greek commercial banks are dependent on support from the European Central Bank, and have had to borrow from the ECB to handle deposit loss. The Greek state needs to borrow more cash to pay its day to day bills, as it seems a tax shortfall once again leaves the government spending more than it raises in taxation. The Greek state also needs to find the money to repay some of the older borrowings as they fall due.
Greece cannot just print its own cash for its banking system as a country with its own currency can. Nor can the Greek state simply issue more Treasury Bills or bonds to borrow more to carry on spending, as all of Greece’s borrowings are under control as part of the loan agreement called the Master Financial Assistance Facility. The truth is Greece can run out of money, and can be squeezed by borrowing rules, loan covenants and by the European Central Bank.
Mrs Merkel’s fine words about growth, and the EU’s 2bn assistance is a sign of some willingness to compromise. It is still way off the scale of the debt relief or new money that Greece needs to repair the damage to its recession ridden economy with mass unemployment at worrying levels.