There is no guarantee if and when a government is formed in Greece that they will tow the EU line. They may decide to exit the Euro or be thrown out.
Ireland may be in the same situation, or so we are led to believe, if we don’t vote the way we are told to.
Everyone wants Greece to stay in the Euro. The bondholders certainly want them to stay so they won’t lose out on the €420 billion of Greek debt.
Governments are always concerned about bondholders losing their money. It’s much more important for the EU to look after the financial welfare of faceless bondholders than it is to look after the people of Ireland who lost billions.
So would Greece be better off to exit the Euro and renege on its massive debts? What happens should they decide to do just that? Will the European Courts of Justice pursue them for €400 billion, put them into liquidation, sell all their assets, investigate them for fraud and throw the lot into jail for corruption?
I’m not an economist or a looker into the future but I can assure you none of the above will happen. A lot of behind the scenes talking will take place. You or me won’t be told what was said or agreed and we won’t be told the true story. You probably won’t be bothered what the true story would be because you might not know whether it was true or false.
It’s going to be very difficult to blame the next government of Greece for the cock-ups of the last. So I’m in favour of giving them a chance. Write off the €400 billion and start off again. We must ensure the situation is never allowed to happen again, well certainly not in the lifetime of the new incoming government.
The big losers in a Greek default are France and Germany with a total of €170 billion in dig-outs. We are lucky we gave them nothing because we knew they hadn’t a clue how to run their affairs.
The last major financial fiasco was in 2001 when Argentina defaulted and the bondholders lost 70 per cent of their money. They were lucky bondholders. If they invested their money in 2001 in Irish banks they would have lost 98 per cent of their funds, just like the gullible Irish investors did.
In the middle of this Greek disaster comes the news that one of the largest banks in the world, JP Morgan, may be in trouble. There was $11 billion wiped off their share prices with the announcement of a $2 billion shortfall. At least the chiefs at Morgan’s gave a few valid reasons why things went pear-shaped, citing bad judgements, errors, sloppiness and egregious mistakes. These four reasons cover everything and say everything that needs to be said about how not to run a bank.The big guns in Europe want to give Greece time to find solutions. The IMF has stated that they are technically prepared for anything.
Back to Ireland, are they technically prepared for a rejection of the upcoming treaty referendum? Will it matter one way or the other whether we hold the referendum or not? Will the outcome matter or could it be the scenario of ‘which is the worst, the rats or the crows’?
We voted for the Lisbon Treaty at the second attempt. Have we seen the positive side to this endorsement? Would we have got the bailout if we had voted no? Would we be better or worse off if we didn’t get the bailout? Would we have to resort to the closure of hospitals, schools, garda stations, army barracks and an embargo on taking on new workers?
TDs and ministers, senior civil servants, government spindoctors and advisers would be forced to work for the minimum wage instead of the maximum. Performance would have become the new buzz word. If you don’t perform you lose your job.
I’m a heartless bastard. How could I even consider taking money from people?
Enough said. We got the bailout and things are working nicely for some people so why should I upset the EU applecart? The bottom line now for Greece is if you’re not committed to Europe and you’re not committed to the bondholders who loaned you €400 billion (four times Ireland’s borrowings) you can piss off and exit Europe. The Greeks could be rubbing their palms, with Italy, Spain and Portugal following suit, leaving Ireland to pick up the tab.
“I always had me doubts about that EU,” my father used to say. There is no such thing as a free dinner. When you are surrounded by the wealthiest fishing waters in the world the greatest resources of oil and gas and a strategic position in the middle of the world it’s easy to see why the EU felt we were ripe to dish out free dinners, and we gave away a lot in return.