June­–July 2015        

Will they, won’t they, do a deal?

Eugene McCartan

The mass media both in Ireland and throughout Europe are attempting to shape how working people view and understand the negotiations taking place between the ECB-EU-IMF “troika” and the SYRIZA government in Greece.
     Both sides have difficulties with how the outcome will be understood, both in Greece and in the wider European Union. SYRIZA can’t go back empty-handed and appear to continue the policies of the previous government, which they got an electoral mandate to oppose, while the ECB, EU and IMF can’t afford to appear to knock SYRIZA back, with possible repercussions and a further undermining and erosion of the influence of the EU on people throughout Europe.
     The media are presenting the situation as both sides talking tough, and no compromise appears to be on the cards. The Greek government have been saying there will be no cuts in pensions. Officials of the EU Commission are spinning the story that there remains a “significant gap” between the two sides, amounting to about €2 billion per year. In an article for the German tabloid Bild the vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, took a hard line, saying: “Europe and Germany will not be blackmailed. And we will not let the exaggerated campaign promises of a partially communist government be paid for by German workers and their families.”
     The chief economist of the IMF, Olivier Blanchard, sketched out the ground for a potential deal, calling on Greece to make a commitment to a “truly credible” reform programme and for creditors to agree to “debt relief” by way of a rescheduling of Greece’s debt by extending maturities and cutting interest rates once again.
     The mass media and the establishment are presenting the case that Greece could be forced out of the euro zone if no deal is secured by the 1st of July. It’s clear that the Greek working class cannot take any more austerity, nor can workers throughout the EU, in particular those in the peripheral countries, saddled as they are with an odious and unpayable debt, a debt that is not theirs.

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