Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tragedy, Farce, Theater of the Absurd

Even as François Hollande was preening himself in today's 14 July interview on his brilliant role in "saving the euro" ("J'ai dit à Alexis, maintenant, après le réferendum tu es plus fort, mais tu es aussi plus faible"), the IMF was revealing the absurdity of the latest round of extend and pretend:
Greece’s public debt has become highly unsustainable. This is due to the easing of policies during the last year, with the recent deterioration in the domestic macroeconomic and financial environment because of the closure of the banking system adding significantly to the adverse dynamics.
The financing need through end-2018 is now estimated at €85bn and debt is expected to peak at close to 200 percent of GDP in the next two years, provided that there is an early agreement on a program. Greece’s debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far.
This charade cannot go on. Hollande's participation in it discredits and dishonors him. To echo Matteo Renzi, enough is enough.


Parisian_in_Sweden said...

I agree on the absurdity of the deal but again, you are quite a bit unfair towards Hollande. Even Tsipras recognized yesterday evening that he was the only friendly face in the negotiation room, how can that be dishonor? Hollande makes ten times less noise about his international actions than his predecessor, isn't that good?

What did you expect him to do? Threaten with French exit from the euro? Send troops to the Ruhr? None of those options would have received more than 20% approval in French opinion. I suppose then you might as well say he should have confronted Merkel earlier. But French public opinion was not ready for this until now, because the country has an inferiority complex with Germany when it comes to economics.

Alexandra Marshall said...

I expect you are probably right about French public opinion now, Parisian_in_Sweden, but I for one got excited about Hollande in 2012 for the anti-austerity noise he was making as it pertained to Europe, and I suspect I wasn't the only one. Anyway, in representative democracy, the people get a gut check during elections and after that, it's up to the person they elected to fulfill or not fulfill their promises, or to direct their efforts where they see fit. Public opinion technically doesn't matter. (Though of course, who are we kidding? Flanby wants another chance at the ring, obviously, pathetically.)

Hollande's about-face on economic policy is already legendary, no one needs me to rehash it here. But the role he played in the recent negotiations was worse, it was toxic enabling from where I'm sitting. And it reeks of grandstanding. Of course the problem is, there is no one with any sanity on Europe currently with any power in Europe, nor anyone up at bat in France, at least. So we sit and watch in horror and sadness, even some shock.

These are very despairing times, and for the first time I question very seriously my decision to base my life and future here. Coming from America, Europe seemed saner and more human to me. The past month or so has completely disabused me of that notion. These people are not just heartless, they're morons.