It Starts: Greeks Rebel Against Bailout, Risk Collapse

Greece’s union of civil servants, Adedly, called for a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, and for a series of demonstrations, the first one tonight at Syntagma Square, just below the Parliament, and another one on Wednesday evening, when Parliament is expected to vote on the new, even tougher, and immensely hated bailout package.

The union for local government employees, Poe-Ota, also called for a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, the AFP reported. Two other demonstrations against austerity and the “euro” are planned for Monday night, one organized via social networks, the other by Antarsya, an anti-euro party that didn’t make it into Parliament.

It would be the first strike against the leftwing Syriza coalition since it came to power six months ago. An ironic plot twist in this tragedy.

Syriza was the big force in the demonstrations against the two prior bailout packages, totaling over €240 billion from taxpayers in other countries, conditioned on economic reforms pushed through Parliament by the conservative governments at the time. Now Syriza is looking at having to pass even tougher measures, including an increase in the Value Added Tax and pension reform, in return for only €86 billion in new money from taxpayers in other countries.

Syriza’s junior coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, is already getting cold feet.

“The agreement speaks of €50 billion worth of guarantees concerning public property, of changes to the law including the confiscation of homes… We cannot agree to that,” explained Panos Kammenos, the party’s leader, adding that the party would nevertheless remain in the coalition. With “confiscation of homes” he probably meant foreclosing on homes with defaulted mortgages.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is already struggling with strong dissent within Syriza. But ironically, the pro-euro opposition parties, those maligned creatures that ran the show before, may support him in getting these despised measures passed.

Just how bad is the financial situation? Greece will default on a €450-million loan repayment to the IMF today, two sources told Reuters, on top of the €1.6 billion in debt to the IMF it defaulted on in June. For July alone, Greece faces debt payments of €8 billion, including the IMF payment, none of which it can pay without new money.

And the banks are closed. At first, it was going to be for six days, to prevent them from collapsing on the spot when the ECB decided not to raise the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA). They’re illiquid and insolvent. They’re toast, but complicated toast [read… The Biggest Greek Banks “Have Failed,” and “Resolving” Them Won’t Work: Fitch].

Now they’ve been closed for two weeks, and there is still no reliable indication when they might reopen, under what conditions they might reopen, and how much of their deposits people will get back.

The €25 billion to recapitalize the banks as part of the bailout is supposed to be guaranteed by privatizations. Good luck, given Greece’s history with privatizations. Even the prior conservative governments and technocrats had trouble privatizing these government-owned enterprises that have long provided reliable opportunities for corruption and vote-buying. And now the leftwing Syriza, which swore up and down it would never privatize any of them, is supposed to vote to privatize them and then actually follow through?

But they will have to be privatized to guarantee the recapitalization of the banks. If not….

Even if it works out, the holes in the banks’ balance sheets will be much larger by the time the banks reopen, if they reopen. About two-fifth of their loans were already bad before capital controls were imposed. But here’s the thing: given the capital controls and Greeks’ distrust in their own banking system, only an idiot would still make loan payments.

So the loans are now deteriorating at lightning speed. And that €25 billion won’t be enough. But don’t worry, depositors….

“The recapitalization is so secure that it fully safeguards deposits,” Economy Minister George Stathakis told his compatriots on Monday to soothe their nerves. The ELA would be increased once Parliament approves the reforms, he said, thus pointing his own gun at Parliament.

Alas, the Greeks themselves know better than anyone else to never believe anything that their government publicly says about Greek banks. Hence, the near incessant withdrawals that have now lasted for years and that have finally helped topple the banks.

Turns out, one of the measures to be passed by the Greek parliament no later than July 22 is Europe’s new directive on the resolution of banks. It provides that even senior creditors, including depositors, get haircuts before taxpayers are called in to pick up the tab. The fact that the Greek Parliament has to pass this law in a hurry shows that the dreaded bail-ins of depositors may be part of what’s next.

In theory, the banks’ €32 billion of equity, hybrids, and senior debt will be hit before depositors, according to Barclays. And maybe that’s enough to cover the hole. But as we’ve seen in Cyprus, once a banking system collapses, the holes are always vastly bigger because everything has been ripped out before.

However, deposits below €100,000 will be covered by Greece’s deposit insurance… unless Parliament fails to pass and implement the reform measures that come with the bailout money, the very measures that the people are now demonstrating against.

If the deal falls apart somewhere along the line, Greece has no money to bail out the banks, insure deposits, or do anything else. Given the chaos, uncertainty, and distrust of their government, Greeks are now unlikely to pay any taxes. And so the government then won’t be able to pay salaries and the like, at least not in euros, to their striking civil servants. And there still is no final deal, no money, no debt relief, no nothing. That’s one heck of an accomplishment for six months in power. But outside Greece, the party goes on, and stocks are soaring.

And the one industry in Greece, the largest and most vibrant one that no government has been able to kill? Read…  Greece’s Largest Industry Suddenly Takes a Terrible Hit

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  35 comments for “It Starts: Greeks Rebel Against Bailout, Risk Collapse

  1. Linda Mattox says:

    There is no future for Greece in the EU austerity. Kicking the can down the road for a short time only and at great cost of society and most assets of their country will not solve the problem. Must Grexit and pivot to Russia/China offers. Great pain in the next two years, but there will be light on the other side if Greece goes now.

  2. Vespa P200E says:

    Expected from socialist GrEEKs and proud card carrying “civil servant” union leeches to boot. Yep socialism falling apart when they run out of other people’s money.

    So lame Greek government and corrupt politicians won votes via giving away “civil servant” job where some 700k civil employees in a country of less than 11 million people (highest per capita in EU) and it pays lots more than the private sector? Add that with even hairdressers reported to be retiring in 50’s with pensions while Greek favorite pastime is dodging taxes.

    Talk about biting the hands that feed you as alternative is getting kicked out of Euro and bulk of the civil leeches will be lining up at the soup kitchens…

    • Vespa P200E says:

      From Telegraph article titled “Greece is a victim od its own cronyism and corruption”:

      “appointed an estimated 150,000 civil servant and finally lost control of public finances in 2007-2009”.

    • Ray says:

      You must have done a lot of in depth analysis to come to the same conclusions the fascist controlled MSM makes. Where does the “private” sector get its loans from to monopolize and centralize business enterprises that centralizes and concentrates profits in the hands of the very few. Where do they get the money from to operate at a loss for years on end in order to crowd out genuine private initiative? Why are there the great numbers of unemployed in the first place that the state feels obliged to rescue by giving them a gubbermint job to keep the fascist system going?

    • Jerry Bear says:

      Where on Earth did you get all that poisonous lying propaganda? Are brothers Limbaugh and Beck your primary source of information? Your comments on the Greeks are just a bit reminiscent of Trump’s comments on Mexicans. Do you have to be so full of hatefulness and gloating. I am sorry to be critical but I find your comments really disturbing!

    • SRV says:

      @Vespa… missed the part where “capitalist vermin” were responsible for the rape and pillage of Greece.

      When Goldman and the hedge fund partners cooked the books and loaned billions to a country they were well aware was bankrupt… at the same rate they would offer to Germany.

      Now why would they do that?

      Because “their people” in the EU, ECB, IMF, and German government were working on plans to transfer the debt (after Goldman got their money up front and joined in the pennies on the dollar fire sale of Greek assets free for all) to the EU, making the citizens liable for the fall out.

      All giving the “Troika” the excuse they needed (we will not sacrifice the hard earned money of EU citizens… as opposed to killing wiping Greece out to save Goldman and the cabal of greedy bankers)!

      Breathtakingly uninformed VP.

  3. Jungle Jim says:

    Given the sheer vindictiveness of the creditors, I am starting to wonder what is really going on. Allegedly the IMF has told the creditors that this is a waste of time, that Greece can’t make the payments demanded. Yet the creditors press ahead demanding their “pound of flesh”. What’s the point ? With a wrecked economy and a hostile population it doesn’t seem to make any sense. Even if Tsipras can get the agreement ratified, they will have the devils own time getting the Greek people to cooperate. If the real idea is to get their money back, the creditors are behaving strangely.

    Or is the idea to make a horrible example of the Greeks to intimidate other southern tier countries that are also having problems like Spain or Italy ? If Greece gets away, might one of the others not be tempted to try ? Whatever the idea, one thing is clear, things are going to get a lot worse before they get even a little bit better.

  4. VarAway says:

    “” two prior bailout packages, totaling €240 billion from taxpayers in other countries “” ??
    Correction Wolf, it’s € 340 billion & counting. Last week the 3rd bailout request
    was abt. € 52 billion, that has already increased to € 82-85 billion, while the 1st
    add’l cash/aid package for their banks is estimated around € 25 billion.
    ( I don’t know if that amount is included in the € 82-85 billion..?)

    The Euro is one BIG failure, everybody knows that in Brussels, but nobody wants to admit it.
    As @ Linda mentioned: Nobody is admitting they are kicking the can down the road…..

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Greece owes a total of €323 billion (based on fairly recent info), of which it owes:

      – €246 billion to the Troika entities. These are bailouts that taxpayers in other countries are on the hook for. And the topic of this article.

      – €77 billion to other mostly private-sector institutions, such as banks.

      This article is exclusive about the bailouts – hence the rounded “over €240 billion.” It did not discuss Greece’s total debt.

  5. Jerry Bear says:

    You got it Jim! You are pretty sharp. But I fear something wore is waiting in the wings. I fear Tsipras will split his party and whatever remnant he can manage to find with right wing parties that support austerity to ram through the new accord. This will lead to a furious reaction from the Greek people who will hold general strikes and huge demonstrations to demand new elections. This will be the excuse for the military leaders to stage a coup and take over the government from a relieved Tsipras. The Greeks will react with fury to this (remembering the previous dictatorship) but this will be repressed with great cruelty and bloodshed and will readily receive help from the EU (especially the Germans) to make sure the people of Greece are crushed completely. Everything of value in Greece will be handed over to the EU (to pay for the debts) and the Greeks will lose their independence, their national sovereignty and all freedom. Their country will no longer belong to them. What they get in return is dire, 3rd world levels of poverty and a future of absolute hopelessness . But the Germans are so determined to kick the Greeks out that they will never accept any capitulation Tsipiras offers, however groveling. The Greeks will exit, and Tsipiras will go home to face the music.

    • Vespa P200E says:

      There are consequences of living off of OPM (other people’s money) and defaulting on loan obligations. Greeks literally made a pact with the devil when they joined the EU club thru lying about their finances (thanks to GS) and borrowed to hilt beyond their means (while dodging taxes) and essentially gave up their sovereignty under “financial” union thru Euro.

      Many Greeks are defiant as ever (when they have no clout whatsoever as debtor) and somewhat delusional about their dire conditions by voting in leftist socialist clowns with lots of amateurish chutzpah which further pissed off the northern creditors.

      • Dude! Everyone is ‘living off other peoples’ money’. That is how the current money system works.

        All moneys in circulation are someone else’s unpaid debts. ‘Paying debts’ is a misnomer; finance-scale obligations can never be met by way of work, repayment requires more loans in increasing amounts.

        Not only is it not possible for Greek customers to repay Greece’ loans, it is not possible for Germans to repay Greece’ loans … or Chinese or Americans or both together. Industry is prima facie non-productive. It cannot pay its own way … and never has! What pays are the smallest scale enterprises such as small-holding agriculture or one-man artisan shops … enterprises that do not need that constant debt subsidy, enterprises that are put out of business by industries … before these industries themselves fail.

        Needless to say, the auto industry and its dependencies — including finance — require a gigantic debt subsidy = why Europe (America) is bankrupt.

        Moneys lent to ‘cronies’ (workers) is generally spent within the country (Greece). Money lent for petroleum is universally spent overseas, transferred to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Angola, Nigeria, etc. Far more funds flow by way of petroleum ‘use’ than by worker wages or pensions (12mbpd in Europe ex-Russia).

        Internally, borrowed funds flow to Germany in exchange for useless, non-remunerative automobiles and similar junk. Like Germans, Greeks feel entitled to live large, like American moderns; they see this sort of crap on TV just like everyone else in the world.

        In 2015, there aren’t the resources to go around, someone (countries) must be left at the door. Fiddling with finance is just one way the various ‘someones’ are excluded from the resource stream.

        What is underway in Europe is ‘Conservation by Other Means™. Other countries facing involuntary conservation are Syria, Somalia, Chad, South Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya … etc. Keep that in mind, all that is required for Greece to become like these others is false politicized dialog and ‘blame game’.

  6. tom says:

    Folks, Greek is not the real problem, but the trigger of the big one. If the EU let Greek default or writes off its debt to EU institutions, than immediately other countries want some similar debt relief, too. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland are the prime candidates. Here we speak about thousands of billions of governmental debt (about 4000 in total for these four, I estimate), and the thing is that these bonds serve as “high quality” collateral for banks and a multitude of complex financial deals. if these bond perish, the European financial house of cards will come down.
    Hence, the small (Greek) people must suffer for the greater good … as long as the music plays…

    • OutLookingIn says:

      Tom you are partially correct, but the debt problem is far worse and far more pervasive than most realize. Germany, France, Italy and Spain, are stuffed full of Greek bonds, that are used as collateral to secure ECB credit. Which in turn is used as a basis for derivative swaps with other central banks.

      As insurance and a hedge against these swaps defaulting, the central banks have entered into CDO’s (credit default obligation) derivatives with various insurance companies, money market funds and hedge funds. Which have hedged their bets by owning sovereign debt of various countries. Which in turn have sold Treasuries and bonds into global markets, that are then packaged into interest rate derivative swaps, that are sold on to various sovereign wealth funds.

      I could go on, but from here it starts to get complicated! So you see, Greece will not be allowed to default. Nor will any other entity that puts the present corrupted system in jeopardy. When it does blow up, and it will, hang onto something solid because it will be epic!

      • Vespa P200E says:

        Good points!

        The web of derivatives galore with CDO, CDS, counterparty risk “insurance” peddled by the banksters sounds all good till the weak link breaks and unleashes dominos. And there is no US government owned AIG to pay off those paper holders who think they are somehow protected from nasty losses.

        So the world kicks the can down 1 more time and pretends all is good till truly black swan event like Greek threatening default on all it debt obligations and perhaps the creditors then try to appease via debt reduction with lower interest rate and payment spread over decades. But this kind of band-aid effort is more akin to kicking it down little further as debt is either paid off or defaulted.

        • Jerry Bear says:

          You know, a building or a bridge or any other structure doesn’t fall down gradually, a little at a time. It decays and weakens internally, slowly over many years, then slow quantitative change turns unexpectedly into a sudden disaster as the structure come crashing down, often for a seemingly trivial cause. Mathematicians study the dynamics of situations like this in the apply named “Catastrophe Theory”. Think of gradually warming up a flask of nitroglycerin. It doesn’t explode gradually a little at a time. It just sits there seemingly inert until BOOM! That is a good metaphor for our doomed hopelessly pathological financial system. When the collapse comes it will be as sudden and drastic as a bolt of lightening and the aftermath will indeed be grim. The proximate cause will be something seemingly small, like the exit of Greece from the Euro. Watch for the little signs that will precede the main event, like the little falls of gravel and pebbles that precede the avalanche.
          Optimistic economic prognostications from the government remind me of that old joke about the Little Moron jumping off the Empire State Building and announcing “So far so good!” as he passed the 50th floor…………..

  7. Ben says:

    You can all have a look at Varoufakis’ first interview as a former negotiator in EU.

  8. Paulo says:

    Germany plunges the world in WW2, supposedly due to unfair reparations and terms of surrender, destroys Europe…invades countless countries and kills millions of people……finally to be defeated and promptly gets rebuilt by the victors. Greece spent too much money and wasted opportunities to reform when it needed to, is on the edge of collapse, and Germany takes steps to destroy her.

    Boycott Germany.

    I used to have a VW van, and will never ever own another German vehicle again. There isn’t any product they make that is not produced elsewhere, and of better quality. They are full of themselves and their supposed fiscal and engineering prowess. Ignore and boycott.

    • VarAway says:

      Mmmm. @ Paulo…
      What has a VW van/bus/whatever and the boycott of
      German products to do with the Greek debt repayment?

      I enjoyed driving a Fiat car during the mid 1960 ties.
      Rusting inside my heated garage…in short: a MESS.
      I still buy Italian shoes/shirts/ties.
      Why should I boycott Italy?
      Because they are full of themselves?
      Come on.

    • d says:

      “Germany plunges the world in WW2,”

      I would gess you support the lie in the “Versailles Diktat” that Germany was responsible for WW I as well.

      WWII Started on 28/07/1919 it was Started by france. It took until 1939 for the shooting part of the war to start.

      23 years less than the gap between the Franco Prussian war 1870 and the Franco Prussian war round II (AKA WW I) also Started by france.

      Greece was happily heading for grexit with a big hand full of money.

      The came O bummer and Hollande.

      If you wish to blame anybody for what has happened and will be happening for some in the greek saga.

      Blame the correct entity.

      After appeals by Socialist france, Socialist O bummer, stuck his nose in, and told Germany, Socialist greece stays in the EZ.

      Germanys answer was, ok mr vanishing red line, at what price.

      The people of greece are now collateral damage, in an, ignorant, inept, Americans “My Legacy” game.

      Germany has nothing to do with it.

      • Mama Bear says:

        Nice wrap-up.
        And don’t forget, everyone, that the bankster elites are really in charge and keeping Greece in the Euro is the point, because the political union was the goal and the euro currency was the tool. The EU was a step to the NWO. The Greeks really have more power than they realize, even though V has sold out to Nuland. All they need to do is passively resist. Imagine people turning out and not even speaking, but not going away. And keep resisting. And continue to resist. They can take Russia up on the trade offers and bide their time till the SCO and other Eurasia developments offer them more commerce. Of course, this means getting by day to day, without being sure—but, that’s what many of us are doing right now here in the US.

        • d says:

          “because the political union was the goal and the euro currency was the tool”

          because political union is the goal, the euro is one of the tools.

          If the reek deal passes greek parliament, greece will almost be under statutory management from Brussels. Will it ever get its independence back??

          Or will it become the first federated state of Europe fully controlled by Brussels?

    • Jerry Bear says:

      In the early 50’s 96% of Germany’s debts were forgiven and payment on the remainder were extended into the 21st Century at low interest, despite the unspeakable crimes of the 3rd Reich. In the European Union all the nations are supposed to be equal but some are a lot more equal than others.

      • d says:

        “In the early 50’s 96% of Germany’s debts were forgiven and payment on the remainder were extended into the 21st Century at low interest”

        Yes they were as Truman and Eisenhower agreed the Versailles debts were Odious and so were the WW II reparation claims.

        The US was running the show so that’s how it got done.

        “despite the unspeakable crimes of the 3rd Reich. In the European Union all the nations are supposed to be equal but some are a lot more equal than others.”

        The sins of the FATHER SHALL NOT BE VESTED IN THE SON.

        Should we not also be talking about the large number of nazis simply found and murdered by the British and American occupying forces post 1945?

        If people like you do not bury you anti German bias there will be another conflict with Germany in Europe.

        france has been starting and loosing wars in Europe and the region for over 1200 years. The wars involving france and Germany have been horrific, as Germany is the only Mainland European nation to tell france to get off, then successfully back it up, 3 times. Germany is not the problem in Europe.

  9. MC says:

    The big problem is so far Europe has lacked somebody giving a “Blood, toil, sweat and tears” speech while meaning every single word of it, very much like Churchill did.
    For all the personal honesty and good intentions of the members of Syriza, Podemos, M5S, Ciudadanos etc all of them offer what is effectively free entry into the land of butter and honey, not a reality check. Greece is about to find the full meaning of what it means to vote into office well meaning demagogues.

    Any euroskeptic leader that seriously means to take on the EU and the EMU needs to prepare his or her electorate for the fight of their lives. Tsipras and Varoufakis failed to do just that: the former will probably be out of office in disgrace before the year ends while the latter is already reduced to catering to an adoring yet dwindling crowd of armchair revolutionaries and keyboard Che Guevara’s.
    Even Marine Le Pen, in spite of being the euroskeptic leader whose program is less grounded in wishful thinking, should be aware: France is a political heavy hitter (tip: look whose banks benefited the most from the bailouts) but going against the powers behind the EU and the EMU requires people ready to see it to the bitter end and, what’s perhaps even more important, a solid program, not Varoufakis’ continuous childish provocations and M5S’s simplistic “Out of the euro = prosperity for everyone!”.

    Of course, it may be argued that offering people blood, toil, sweat and tears after seven years of what is a full blown depression is not a ticket to power. But the alternatives are truly terrifying.
    Many European countries are seeing the formation of two lost generations. One is made up of those aged 35-45 who lost their jobs and are effectively unemployable because the jobs they used to fill have completely evaporated. The second is made up of those aged 19-25 whose future lays in temporary jobs at restaurants and big box stores… until they’ll become too old to be employable or big box stores start closing or downsizing, like it’s happening in France and Italy.
    To these must be added a underproletariat made up of immigrants whose numbers keep on rising even in countries with double digit unemployment.
    This is the future, not Tsipras’ and Grillo’s promises of a modern Workers’ Paradise built on nothing more than wishful thinking.

    Yes, things can and must change, but this will require that blood, toil, sweat and tears nobody want to offer anymore.

    • Jerry Bear says:

      Good point! In WWI the British Government did nothing but lie incessantly about how wonderful their armies were doing and how easy victory would be. They couldn’t hide the ever growing casualty lists but they could severely punish anybody who dared to point out the appalling cost or who in any way criticized the war. Churchill a a young man had been part of this propaganda offensive and I think he realized that the only result had been the discrediting of the government in the eyes of the British people and making them cynical and disheartened. In WWII he successfully rallied the British people to a long and bitter struggle by telling them the absolute and uncompromising truth and trusting that they would do the right thing. He well deserves his place in history!

      Martin Luther King once said, “There is nothing in the world more dangerous than sincere ignorance and well-intentioned stupidity.”
      Like you say, this is an apt description of Tsipras and the leadership of Syriza.

  10. michael says:

    The only hope for the Greek common people at this point is pitch forks and rope. I will be hoping for their success.

  11. Julian the Apostate says:

    Boycotts rarely work, and end up punishing people who are nowhere near the levers of power. There are people and companies that no longer get my custom, but it’s a ‘vote with your feet’ phenomenon because I’ve been cheated or got poor service.
    Jerry Bear, I’m mildly offended that you throw Limbaugh and Beck around as swear words that connote crazy and extremist. I became a lassaiz faire capitalist by hard work reading and researching history long before I heard Limbaugh in NYC before he went national. I agree with much of what he says, and disagree on some. The man has a good intellect. He reasons and presents logical arguments. Same with Beck, who has been talking about the hard times to come for several years. But they are neither one crazy or extreme. Don’t let the leftist media get between your mind and these men. Do your own research.

    • Jerry Bear says:

      I will have to save a discussion on this for a later occasion. This is not really the place for it I would also like to demonstrate to you sometime that Ayn Rand is the Antichrist (or at least one of them). You might find it interesting to enter the words “Ayn Rand” and “Antichrist” into Google and see what come up……

  12. Mark C. says:

    lol, Earth to Vespa! I wonder how you feel about the Pentagon living off of TRILLIONS of other peoples money? ha! i thought so…

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