Monday, February 16, 2015

Less decorum than not wearing a tie

A good Wall Street Journal report captures the dynamic that led to the breakdown of the Greece-Eurogroup debt discussions on Monday --

As ministers were holding talks in Brussels, they received press reports of Greek officials in Athens rejecting a statement that had been prepared by Mr. Dijsselbloem earlier in the day. The statement committed Greece to seeking a six-month extension to its bailout deal, but giving it some leeway on the budget cuts and economic reforms it has to implement in return. Greek officials in Athens called the proposals “absurd and unacceptable,” adding that “there can be no agreement [on new financing] today.” “That contributed to the [already negative] atmosphere,” said the official present at the Brussels talks. Shortly after, ministers decided to end the meeting. 

In other words, the meeting had been called so that the Greeks would agree to issue a statement that had been prepared before the meeting even started!  Advance statements prepared by the Sir Humphreys of the EU are of course business as usual during the entire Euro crisis. That's the problem.