Merkel says Germany can’t discuss new plan before Greek vote-source

30 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Greece makes new aid proposal, seeks debt restructuring.

Whether or not Greeks favor staying in the European Union, few, if any, Greeks believe that European partners care about restoring growth and rebuilding a more competitive country.Greece asked for a new bailout program from the euro region hours before its existing aid agreement expires and pushes the nation toward a financial precipice. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made the request to the European Stability Mechanism to cover all the country’s financial needs for the next two years, along with a debt- restructuring plan, his office said. As the former managing director of the Brookings Institution, I helped launch and supervise a Brookings study of the crisis, including recommendations for how to return competitiveness to the Greek economy.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the group of euro-region counterparts that had been in negotiations with Greece, said it will be considered later on Tuesday. As a Greek American who spoke the language at home, but who rarely visited here as a kid, I wanted my own children to be exposed to the country’s history and culture and hospitality. Over these last five years, we’ve seen the growing impact on the lives of real people — shuttered stores in Athens, tales of people losing their jobs, pension cuts, businesses unable to find financing, tensions with middle eastern and north African immigrants, etc. A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed to her comments earlier Tuesday, before the Greek request was made, noting that the current bailout expires tonight and there were no “relevant indications” otherwise. And, on this trip, my wife and I helped organize travel for 100 friends to the exquisitely designed and implemented Costa Navarino resort in the western Peloponnese.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin that Greece would stay in the euro for the time being even if Greek voters reject austerity in the referendum, according to three people present. “This week is going to be very psychologically tense, very emotional,” said Othon Anastasakis, a professor of European politics at the University of Oxford. “There are going to be various arguments from both sides.” The Kalamata region of Greece is home to some of the country’s most important and least explored antiquities, not to mention beautiful natural wonders and true farm-to-table dining. Our only troubles have been on U.S. or European carriers: United Airlines, Air Canada, Delta DAL 0.75% , Air France AF 0.29% , Lufthansa LHA , each caused one headache or another. The look of real frustration and fear in the faces of hotel clerks, cab drivers, restaurant owners, and politicians remind us that modern, industrial societies can experience true depression. “Mr. Will America save us from Europe?” The long lines at ATMs are only the most noticeable tremor of financial instability that has been coursing through the economy for six years.

This year, my kids got to see their first-ever Communist Party rally — red flags everywhere, and while peaceful, it was a reminder that economic distress fuels support for views that (in my humble opinion) will only lead to further misery for the country. But we also made clear to him that neither would government spending alone – that Greece needed to unleash its innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

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