Inspectors from the EU and IMF have postponed a planned visit to Greece, officials told Reuters on Friday, a move that marks a new low in relations between the parties and could delay aid payments to Athens.
The Greek government said it still expects differences with the troika to be bridged.
The decision to postpone the visit may be an attempt by the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund – together known as the ‘troika’ – to try to bring Athens to heel as frustration grows over Greece’s failure to complete the reforms it has promised in return for aid.
Anyone can and should criticize the debt decisions of the Greek government and people. I’m not defending that. But the wording here uses the faults of the Greeks in order to make the reader think things that are not true.
When you read “aid payments” you think of money getting transferred to help Greece with expenses.
No. We get these “aid payments” described much further down in the story:
The troika visits Athens regularly to check on progress on its bailout commitments and take decisions on whether to release further installments of loans, with frequent standoffs over whether Greece is meeting its obligations.
So every penny that is “given” to Greece is supposed to be paid back with interest. Why even call it a “bailout” then?
Still further down in the bowels of the story:
Athens is due to receive up to 5.9 billion euros ($8 billion) of loans by the end of the year, according to the latest schedule published by its creditors.
About 1.85 billion euros of Greek bonds mature on January 11, according to Thomson Reuters data. The next big bond maturities, worth about 9.3 billion euros, are in May next year.
That second paragraph is all important. The Troika is loaning Greece money so that Greece can pay off go into debt in order to pay off other debts! Thus, we see why this is a “bailout.” Because the loans are going to pay off Greece’s creditors. They are the ones being bailed out while Greece is left further in debt to new creditors. I have no idea if the smart money has abandoned Greece yet, or if they are confident that there is more to squeeze out of this Greek tragedy before they abandon the entire thing and allow the more naïve bond-buyers to take a hit.
Or we can postulate an even more evil scenario. Perhaps they’re thinking they will be able to force the government into a bankruptcy that will allow them to take over assets and natural resources at fire-sale prices.
Notice, by the way, that when we “bailed out” Wall Street. We took real money from taxpayers (or used them as collateral to borrow it) and used it to bail out the banks with virtually no strings attached. But when a nation gets “bailed out” they are shoved deeper into debt so that bondholders can continue to get real money.
Greek should simply default now. Then the “austerity” would simply be dealing with the consequences and rebuilding the economy. Instead, foreign powers are mandating “austerity” in order to make the economy worse.