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March 26, 2015

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Samaras publishes full text of Greek loan extension

Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday accused the government of lying to the Greek people, noting that the extension of the loan agreement which was signed on February 20th is exactly identical to the existing bailout program. During a press conference, the ND leader released the agreement which bears the signature of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, and pointed out that the main reason the government has not done so is because it is afraid of the reaction of its own MPs.

The leader of ND said that for more than a month now, the government has not dared to bring the extension of the loan agreement that it signed in Brussels to Parliament, because it is fearing the reactions of its own party as well as that of its coalition partner, the Independent Greeks (ANEL) party. In addition to this, he added, the government does not want Greek citizens "to find out the truth."
     "We published the document so that Greek citizens can go over it and draw their own conclusions," he said.
Samaras also noted that the contract is the modification of the Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement extended by four months, in the same way that the previous conservative government extended the text last December for two months.
     "Both are inextricably linked with the memorandum. Therefore, the government did not tear the memorandum apart but it co-signed it. The new extension of the contract equals an extension of the memorandum too."
Apart from one point which proves that "all that is part of the supposedly tough negotiation that the government made", the texts are identical.

The agreement was published on enikos and is attached below (in English). HellasFrappe fears that the government will have to give quite a few explanations on this one...

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4


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OPINION: GREXIT: Draghi tightens noose round victim’s neck

By John Ward (The Slog) - Happy Thursday… leap from the bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for more updates on how the squeaky-clean Union of control freakery functions. Wednesday was Independence day in Greece, and so the ECB chose to celebrate it by shortening the lead on banks there: they’ll now no longer be able to increase their holdings of Greek sovereign debt, and so the latest sums suggest Greece will have no money at all by April 20th.

Less time, and yet more lists to come up with – this time by next Monday: run about, work-work, take planes, busy-busy and…DONG! Oh dear, Mr Tsipras, I’m afraid you’ve run out of time.

Reuters was once more pumping up the drama by telling its grecophobic audience that the ECB’s exposure to Greek debt is €150bn and oh my, how shameless those greasy little idlers are in bankrupting the central bank with their spendthrift, tax-evading ways.

But as Reuters and every other finance site on the planet knows full well, you can’t bankrupt a central bank. The exposure could be €150 trillion, and it would simply go down as another asset ready to be called in at some future date, future nuclear conflicts notwithstanding. And let’s face it, after an atomic war, not many are left standing.

At last, Bloomberg sticks a toe out of the closet and fesses up to the myth of Grexit. However, desperate not to disappoint the bloodsuckers, Big B goes through a number of scenarios suggesting that yes, despite there being no way legally for it to happen, ways could be found to ensure Athens winds up in the closet: the water closet that is… on its way down to the sewers where, in Greece, not even lavatory paper dare venture, let alone the euro.

But the various Bloomberg potential outcomes contain small inaccuracies like ‘Bad blood leads to Greece’s departure from the European Union’. Well, yes… but that would take two years minimum without a treaty change. And ‘Greece separates from the euro area in a messy default’ which (as the authors already established) isn’t possible.

There are days when I wonder what Bloomberg’s hiring policy is, but rarely wonder about Spiegel: I know it is the world’s first robot-written magazine. Following on from yesterday’s Slogpost about white elephants in the Spanish hacienda, this latest effort from the two-way mirror is a classic:

Yes, multiple fraudster and ClubMed front-stabber Mariano Comfort&Joy has pulled Spain back from the brink of something or other. This leaves him with only the rise of Podemos, Spain’s worthless property mountain and 239 empty banks to think about…. along with just the three separatist movements within his borders.

Listen – that Rajoy Goy – now there vos a painter….one country, 239 banks and 87 airports, all in red – three years.

Oiveh!

Coming soon at Bild Zeitung: new research proves Greeks sweatier, buy more string vests and use less deodorant than Ice-Maiden Angela Merkel.

The Sun Says: Dijesselbloeme is a Dutch tulip but that Varafuckis bloke couldn’t even take him on – and give it up Red Alexis, the war’s over mate.

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PROVOCATION - SYRIZA MPs & PASOK slam Special Forces for slogans at parade (VIDEO)

The slogans that a number of Special Forces operators chanted during the military parade for the War of Independence on Wednesday apparently prompted some fierce reactions from Greek politicians (even from within the SYRIZA party).

During the parade in down town Athens Special Forces operators were heard chanting that “their dream” is “to enter Constantinople, raise a flag and chant (Greece's) hymn” and that "Macedonians cannot live as slaves".

Not surprisingly, the PASOK party immediately reacted and issued a statement slamming the slogans terming them “irresponsible and a haphazard.” PASOK then called on Minister of National Defense Panos Kammenos to punish all of “those who ‘allowed’ the Special Forces to dictate foreign policy and national security policy”.

(Oh brother...)

And if that wasn't enough, reactions also came from within the SYRIZA party, with MP Vasiliki Katrivanou arguing that the "nationalist" slogans were a direct challenge against democracy. She also urged the cleansing of the Armed Forces from “fascist and far-right enclaves that remain strong.”

Strong criticism was also apparently expressed by SYRIZA MEP Dimitri Papadimoulis. A report on defencenet claimed that following some bickering with Attica Prefect Rena Dourou -who he called on to stage economically friendly parades-, he decided to also slam the slogans that were expressed at the parade. Specifically he said that the "nationalistic slogans are contrary to Greece's established foreign policy," while he called on members of his own party to pull the brakes on the matter.

He forgets of course that his party is in a coalition government with a the far-right ANEL party which incidentally co-organized Wednesday's parade.

(Editor's Note: How ridiculous is that? Exactly what was it that bothered these pseudo-Leftist/internationalists the most? The fact that our men and women uphold the blue and white in regards to Greek-Turkish relations or because they insist that Macedonia is, was and will always be Greek? Aside from that, we were celebrating our independence from Ottoman rule which began with the fall of Constantinople! Do they suffer from Stockholm syndrome? And on a lighter note, our boys were simply singing marching slogans for Christ's sake so that they can keep pace! The Greek Armed Forces cannot dictate foreign policy, that is a ludicrous argument. Why? Because Greece's foreign policy is dictated by the WEST. Isn't that what Leftists have been charging all other governments before them? On the other, our Armed Forces are trained to view Turkey as an aggressor and not a friend; Turkey never has been and never will be our friend -and as long as it occupies Cyprus we can never trust them.- We propose that these specific SYRIZA MPSs and the PASOK party immediately refrain from criticizing the Hellenic Armed Forces because they are the only institution in Greece that still gives us the people a sense of pride. Finally and most importantly, patriotism cannot be associated with nationalism, this is a neo-con (or Soros-style) ideology that only serves the interests of globalists and their mega corporations. If SYRIZA can call on all of us to be patriotic and pay our taxes, then its MPs should not be bothered if we the people respect Greek national interests. There is no two ways about it. HellasFrappe believes that Theodore Roosevelt said it best: 'Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official.' And that is exactly what our men and women do. Our Armed Forces are not there to serve SYRIZA, PASOK, ND or the West, etc, but are there to protect us the people and uphold the almighty blue and white of Greece! - So we propose MOUNGA -which basically means sh@t up!-. Let's hope that all these wannabes only wanted their five minutes of fame and let us leave it as that because their stance on the whole issue is too overly-ridiculous to even continue commenting on.)

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Explanation why loan agreement extension will not pass from parliament

The government on Thursday presented to Parliament the document on the reasons why the extension of the loan agreement between Greece and the European Financial Stability Fund does not need to be voted in Parliament. The document was signed by State Minister Nikos Pappas and was submitted to Parliament following former Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis' question to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. In his written reply, the State Minister said that Greece has no international obligation to pass the agreement from the parliament nor does the Greek law provides for that. He also stated that the Legal Council of State has delivered a relevant opinion on the matter.

More specifically, the State Minister's reply is the following:
    "The new loan agreement has been signed between the Greek government and the partners, let alone an agreement of an extension of the memorandum. On February 26, 2015 the maturity date of the existing loan agreement between Greece and the European Financial Stability Facility / European Support Mechanism (EFSF/ESM) was extended until the end of June this year. The extension of the loan agreement has been signed by all parties. As there is no international requirement of our country, the ESM requires no further ratification process, in addition to Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' signature. The Greek law likewise does not provide for the ratification of the extension of the loan agreement for the same reason.
     "The signing of the extension of the loan agreement is accompanied by a Finance Minister's document of political initiatives, which was submitted to the Eurogroup and was published. The content of this document does not constitute a contract and there is no reason to be ratified by the Parliament. The Legal Council of State delivered a relevant opinion on February 25, 2015. The new agreement with the partners that will occur after the expiration of the extension of the existing loan agreement will be obviously submitted for ratification to parliament, according to the Constitution.
       Former Parliament President Meimarakis had asked to be informed when the government will brief the Parliament and the Greek people for the content of the agreement signed by the Minister of Finance and "when the agreement for the extension of the memorandum will be submitted for approval in the Parliament."
ANA/MPA

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ANALYSIS: The Neo-Con Attempt to Rewrite the History of World War II

After the fall of the Soviet Union, former U.S. president and one-time Cold Warrior Richard Nixon devoted the last few remaining years of his life to ensuring that Russia found its proper place in the international community. Nixon advised then-president Bill Clinton on the proper way to deal with the Russian Federation, the internationally-recognized successor state to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. One thing that Nixon would have never tolerated was the current neo-conservative penchant to deny Russia’s major role in World War II’s – known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War – victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany. Today’s leaders of the United States and their fellow-travelers in Britain, eastern Europe, and other countries would, therefore, find themselves being berated by Nixon over their failure to participate in the annual May 9 Victory Day ceremony held in Moscow.

by Wayne Madsen (VoltaireNet) - Nixon, who criticized the George H. W. Bush administration for providing "pathetically inadequate» assistance to Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, would have had little time for those in American policymaking circles who now want to financially emaciate Russia and bring it to its knees.

Among those who are pushing for increased sanctions on Russia and ignoring its significant role in winning World War II are the sons and daughters of fascist and Nazi Eastern European emigrés who arrived in the United States in the years following the war, mostly via the Central Intelligence Agency’s «Operation Paperclip» [1], to escape trials for supporting the Nazi cause in their homelands. These emigrés helped form various right-wing groups that orbited around the «Captive Nations» supra-organization that was enabled by those in the Eisenhower and succeeding administrations. Out of this constellation of fascist organizations arose the Ukrainian-American Zionist Lev Dobriansky and his daughter, former George W. Bush State Department official, Paula Dobriansky, along with the one-time supporter of the German Gestapo in Hungary, Gyorgy Schwartz, who later called himself «George Soros.» [2] Their ideological progeny can today be found in governments throughout eastern and central Europe.

Groups centered around the emigré circles in the United States, for example, the Heritage Foundation [3], the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) [4], and the Brookings Institution [5], as well as the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, that are pushing for a re-writing of postwar history. It appears that many of these neocon and historical revisionist groups would rather mark the defeat of Nazi puppet regimes in the Baltic countries, Ukraine, Belarussia, and Bessarabia in sorrow than recognize the Soviet victory over Nazism in celebration.

Puppets of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in various central and eastern European countries are involved in a propaganda war against Russia aimed at ensuring that the May 9 celebration in Moscow has little official international participation. The effects of this propaganda war can be seen in the recent statement by Czech General Andor Šándor, the head of Czech military intelligence who retired in 2002, bemoaning large-scale Russian «spying» in Prague. This story was leaked in order to apply further political pressure on Czech President Milos Zeman, who has said he will bolt from a purported NATO «consensus» on avoiding the May 9 celebration, and fly to Moscow. The Czech opposition has already announced that it will try to de-fund in parliament Zeman’s trip to Moscow. Prague is, by nature, a flash point in Russia’s relations with the West. The Czech Republic still refuses to allow NATO troops to be based on its soil, even though Prague continues to host such anti-Russian activities as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and various Soros-backed nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Soros interlocutors in the European Parliament are also pressuring Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic to cancel plans to go to Moscow or risk Serbian membership in the EU.

Three former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, John Herbst, and William Taylor, have outrageously urged Western leaders like Britain’s Prime Minster David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who will reportedly fly to Moscow on May 10 for a wreath laying ceremony), who have announced their decision to boycott the May 9 ceremony and military parade in Moscow, to attend a Victory in Europe Day ceremony in Kiev. These «three stooges» of American «diplomacy» wrote in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that «even though Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush traveled to Moscow in 1995 and 2005 for other V-E Day anniversaries», President Barack Obama should celebrate the event not in Moscow but in Kiev [6]. The ambassadors refuse to recognize that were Western leaders to observe such an event in Kiev, they would be standing alongside neo-Nazis and paleo-Nazis of every stripe, including supporters of Adolf Hitler and the Ukrainian Nazi leader and German SS enabler, Stepan Bandera.

Pifer, Herbst, and Taylor are hardly alone in calling for the sacrifice of 27 million Soviet citizens in World War II to be marked in a city where neo-Nazis and skinhead mercenaries from around Europe enjoy political and military power. Pifer works for the Brookings Institution, a major center of current anti-Russian agitprop, while Herbst was a chief facilitator of U.S. Agency for International Development/CIA support for the Orange Revolution in Kiev and the development of pro-Western mass media in Ukraine. Taylor, as the chief coordinator of U.S. government assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, worked closely with the Soros organization and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to channel funds to pro-U.S. right-wing groups in the region.

While Obama and his friends in NATO will not be in Moscow, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has demanded war reparations from Germany for his country, will buck the NATO boycott and join Zeman in attending the ceremony on Red Square. The leaders of Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Slovakia, and Hungary may also bolt NATO ranks and fly to Moscow for the May 9 ceremony.

In what can only be considered a diplomatic slap at the Kiev regime and its Western supporters, the leaders of the eastern Ukrainian people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine will be in the same Red Square viewing stand as the leaders from some 30 other countries, including China, India, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Egypt, and South Africa, a fact that will confer a semblance of de facto international recognition of their status. In addition, the leaders of the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will also reportedly be present, constituting a diplomatic defeat for the authorities in Georgia who view the republics as integral parts of their state.

Meanwhile, while calling for a boycott of Moscow’s May 9 VE Day event, the leaders of the Baltic nations play host to various Nazi commemorations in their capitals. Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė, a graduate of the Georgetown University Foreign Service School in Washington, a favorite CIA recruiting ground, does nothing to prevent annual observances at the gravesite of Lithuanian Nazi puppet leader and concentration camp builder Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis, whose body was repatriated a few years ago from Putnam, Connecticut to Lithuania and reburied in Kaunas with full military honors. Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a former head of the Estonian desk for the CIA-financed Radio Free Europe, was supportive of the Estonian government’s decision in 2007 to remove a Soviet victory statue Tallinn to a military base on the city’s outskirts where it now sits quite close to NATO’s cyber-warfare center. As Latvia’s leaders were joining their Baltic counterparts in championing a NATO boycott of the Moscow event, veterans and supporters of the Latvia Legion, commanded by the German Waffen SS Division during the war, recently paraded proudly through the streets of Riga in an event staged annually since 1991 [7]. Latvian President Andris Bērziņš has done nothing to thwart the Nazi ceremony in Latvia although he finds it abhorrent that any Western leader would join Russia’s leadership in Moscow to mark VE Day over Hitler. Bērziņš has long been associated with the «Stockholms Enskilda Bank», owned by the Swedish Wallenberg family and accused of collaborating during the war with Nazi Germany, earning it a spot on a blockade list of the U.S. government.

Poland’s European Council president Donald Tusk and Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski have joined their Baltic friends in trying to write Russia from the history of World War II. Polish foreign minister Grzegorz Schetyna attempted to re-write history by claiming Ukrainians, not Russians, liberated Auschwitz. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded to Schetyna by stating, "It’s common knowledge that Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, in which all nationalities heroically served," adding that Poland was making a "mockery" of history.

Making a mockery of history is exactly what NATO leaders are doing by pressuring leaders of countries from South Korea and Japan to Bulgaria and Austria not to send official representatives to Moscow. The action is very reminiscent of the U.S.-led and diplomatically-immature boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, a move deemed to have done more long-term harm to the Olympic movement than short-term damage to the USSR.

Notes:

  • [1] « «"Operation Paperclip" : des V2 à la Lune », Réseau Voltaire, 24 août 2004.
  • [2] “George Soros, speculator and philanthropist”, Voltaire Network, 15 January 2004.
  • [3] « Le prêt-à-penser de la Fondation Heritage », Réseau Voltaire, 8 juin 2004.
  • [4] “The American Enterprise Institute in the White House”, Voltaire Network, 21 June 2004.
  • [5] “The Brookings Institution: a Think Tank of Good Feelings”, Voltaire Network, 30 June 2004.
  • [6] “Kiev, not Moscow, should be the choice for marking V-E Day”, Steven Pifer, John Herbst & William Taylor, Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2015.
  • [7] “Latvian President Rehabilitates Nazism”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 16 March 2005.



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FINALLY - UN Security Council to examine the situation of Christians in the M.East

At the end of the month, the situation of Christians in the Middle East is expected to finally be examined at a special meeting of the UN Security Council, says RIA-Novosti.
     “On March 27 the situation of Christians in the Middle East will be examined at the ministerial level by the UN Security Council. This will take place for the first time and we welcome this intention,” said Elena Agapova, deputy chairwoman of the Russian-based Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS), president of the Сommunity Center of IOPS for the protection of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, in her interview with Russia Today.
She has noted that the joint statement of 65 countries, “In support of human rights, Christians, and other communities, particularly in the Middle East”, will be examined during the meeting. This joint statement was adopted on March 13, 2015, on the initiative of Russia, the Vatican and Lebanon, at the XXVIII session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Specifically, the document reads that recently “millions of people have been either displaced or forced to leave their native lands.” Meanwhile, those staying in conflict zones or on the territories controlled by terrorist groups, are living under a permanent threat of human rights violations, repressions and brutal treatment, the statement’s authors say.

Agapova has added that IOPS will carry on its activities in support and defense of Christianity in the Middle East. The organization is planning to be more active in collaboration with UNESCO as well as OSCE in the field of protection of world cultural heritage in the Middle East countries.

RIA-Novosti

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Police locate building where Xiros and Conspiracy of Fire Cells prepared bombs

Press reports on Thursday note that the counter terrorism police has located a building where convicted member of the notorious 17 November terrorist organization Christodoulos Xiros and the Conspiracy of Fire Cells (SPF) terrorist group prepared and tested out explosive devices.

According to the same reports, the building is located on the outskirts of the Loutropyrgos village, near the 290th kilometer of the old Athens-Corinth national highway.

One report in the To Vima newspaper said that Xiros and other SPF members tested explosive devices against a cement wall, in preparation for an ambitious prison escape plan that was foiled after Xiros’ arrest. The same report also noted that officials are on-site collecting trace elements and other evidence for further investigation.

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Historic Greek Orthodox Church being renovated after 142 years in S.Turkey

The Greek Orthodox Church of Agios Georgios Church, which is gound ten miles from the center of Alanya, near the resort town of Antalya and within the limits of the village of Hacı Mehmetli in Turkey is apparently being restored by the municipality.

According to reports, the Alanya municipality is supervising the TRY 138,000 renovation and the church will soon be used as house of worship, cultural center and multi-purpose hall.

The property rights were transferred in 2013 from the Directorate of Foundations to the Alanya Municipality for ten years. The renovation of the church was approved by the Antalya Regional, Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board, and it is expected to be finished within four months.

Stating that Alanya has been a home to many civilizations over the centuries, Alanya’s Mayor Adem Murat Yücel said, “To protect Alanya’s history, we have begun renovating it for the tourism of the region.”

The exact date of the church's construction is not known. From the inscription, a carving in both Greek and Turkish and exhibited in the Museum of Alanya, it was last restored in 1873. By the year 1924 the church was used continuously.

More recently, the building's use underwent a renaissance and has been made available to the Russian Orthodox Christians in the city once a month for services.

The building will now be restored as close to to its original state as possible. An official from the municipality said, “We have information which indicates that before the population transfer between Greece and Turkey in 1922, it was used as a place of worship. Afterwards worshippers were able to pray here on special days and with official permission.”

pravoslavie


March 25, 2015

I am the Hellene that... - MUST READ

These are the times when we need a nudge to remind us to be proud of our heritage and history. As we celebrate and remember our struggles and achievements during the 1821 war of Independence let us NEVER forget our ancestors and the struggles they experienced to bring us to where we are today. Indeed, we are still struggling, but thankfully it is at a different pace. The following poem is a personal interpretation from a poem titled "Είμαι ο Έλληνας!" (video below), and my way of nudging at all of you to stand in pride for simply being Greek.

Signed
HellasFrappe Editor
Marina Spanos

I am the Hellene that...
  • battled the barbarians and the Persians in Marathon in Plataeas and defeated them all
  • the one who did not kneel at Thermopylae when faced with death
  • and the one who was never afraid to die, but rather chose to fall as a proud man on that day
I am the Hellene that...
  • created language and words, founded the arts, set the foundations for the sciences and culture
  • the one who gave the world the Olympics and taught all of you about what "fair play" in sports actually is
  • taught the world how to sell their goods, and then enjoy life through art
  • and the one who mastered citadels such as the Acropolis, Epidaurus, etc.
I am the Hellene that...
  • taught the world how valuable FREEDOM is
  • the one who made it clear that if man is deprived of this right, then he deserves to die for it while singing "Hail, Oh Hail ... Freedom ..."
  • the one who invented the word "filotimo", and showed all of you how to honor this word
  • and the one who showed you how to truly value friendship and family
But... I am also the Hellene that...
  • the world does not want to allow to thrive and prosper
  • the one that they strike at the most by sowing discord
  • the one that the world continually limits and does not allow to develop
  • and all this because I am probably the only one that they all envy the most... 
Yes... I am an Hellene... And I AM BACK!
 The Time For Re-Hellenization Has Arrived



March 24, 2015

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Tsipras' trip to Berlin & the normalization of relations between Germany and Greece (VIDEO)

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Berlin on Monday may have yielded few results for Greece, but it has generated greater expectations about the future of negotiations. Without a doubt the main gain from the meeting was the somewhat normalization of relations between both countries.

In an interview to ANT1 Tv on Tuesday morning, government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis said that Tsipras' talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel focused on the outline of the reform proposals that are set to be presented by Athens to the institutions (Troika). He did however note that both leaders did not elaborate about the reform agenda.

In a separate interview to the state owned Athens News Agency, Sakellaridis was asked if the outline of the reform proposals was satisfactory to Angela Merkel and he replied that there are "points of convergence" while he said that "there was a constructive discussion around these issues."

Sakellaridis also stressed that the meeting restored communication channels between the governments of Germany and Greece.


Late on Monday night, and following a lengthy working dinner, both leaders reserved their differences, but appeared with a conciliatory rhetoric in front of the press after their first face to face meeting.

Merkel expressed her willingness to continue cooperation with Greece in a spirit of trust and noted that the extension of the Greece’s program should be utilized in the best way possible to compile the list of reforms.
     "We want Greece to be economically strong, to have growth, to fight unemployment, especially among the young, to implement the necessary structural reforms, to create a functioning public administration etc,” Merkel told journalists, adding that the two sides will discuss how the cooperation between Athens and Berlin will continue in the framework of the Greek-German Partnership and the Task Force.
She noted that the agreement of February 20th is the starting point for negotiations and that the Troika (oops, institutions) needs to have economic data from Greece to see which reforms can be implemented. Merkel did however clarify that it’s not Germany that is going to decide, but the Eurozone as a whole.
     "We both want to cooperate in a climate of trust, to be in a position to ask each other difficult questions, but in a spirit of cooperation. We face common challenges. We are determined that the structure of peace which is Europe is a resounding success and it must continue from the next generation,” she said. 
Tsipras, on the other, underlined the need to respect popular sovereignty as well as the agreements, but said that the bailout program was not a “success story”. He said that Greece needs to complete the reforms but at the same time also promote social justice.

The Greek premier pointed out that the issue is not to destroy any positive reforms that have already been done in the past few years, but to change the (mixture of) policies that will eventualy tackle perennial problems in Greece's economy.

Turning to Greek-German relations, Tsipras said that the SYRIZA-ANEL government’s priorities include smashing stereotypes that claim Greeks are lazy and Germans are responsible for Greece’s woes. Also he said the government is keen on making a joint effort to fight corruption on scandals like the one involving German firm Siemens and resolving differences of the past which “cast shadows”, such as the occupation loan and war reparations.


Highlights of the joint press conference:

Statements by Angela Merkel
  • There are difficult issues, in which we have completely different thoughts and views.
  • The Greek government will tell us how much longer it wants to continue the cooperation with the Task Force.
  • There must be a balanced budget – Reforms are need in all sectors
  • Economic figures must be clear – Decisions will be taken by the Institutions.
  • We have very warm and substantive contacts with the Greek people – We want to cooperate in the best possible way
  • We warmly welcome the Greek Prime Minister in his first visit to Berlin.
Statements of Tsipras:
  • Issue of wartime reparations and occupation loan is a bilateral issue with a moral value.
  • There is no member of the Greek government that expressed intent for the Greek state to take over buildings own by the German state (in Greece). This is not true. The Goethe Institute activity and contribution in Greece is very important.
  • War reparations issue a moral issue; we must find a common solution in partnership with the German government – We owe this to both peoples, which paid a high price in terms of blood.
  • We ask for the judicial cooperation of German authorities in order to investigate the issues linked with the Siemens case, and for justice to be served.
  • Greece's priority must be to break stereotypes – Greeks are not lazy, Germans are not at fault for all the land’s ills.
  • Today’s meeting was productive, as common ground was determined, as were the differences between us.
  • We must proceed with necessary structural reforms that previous governments did not take.
  • It’s simplistic to say that foreigners are responsible for all the problems we face, that someone else is at fault
  • Social inequity has dramatically increased in Greece over the past five years.
  • Greece has completed five years of implementing a bailout plan, which brought about an unprecedented fiscal adaptation, however, in our opinion, it was not a success story.
  • There is no other path except for dialogue, in order to bridge whatever differences there are between us.
In Brussels, the President of European Parliament Martin Schulz estimated that an agreement could be reached by the end of week in order to provide emergency funding assistance to Greece. Schulz told the Italian La Repubblica newspaper that the Greek government is going to have three months to present a credible, detailed and definitive plan of reforms.

On Tuesday Tsipras arranged to meet with quite a few German officials. At 10:15 he would meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, followed by a meeting with the chairperson of Die Linke Katja Kipping and the president of the party’s Parliamentary Group Gregor Gysi. It was also announced that he would meet with Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel at 14:30, followed by a meeting with the President of The Greens at 16:00. The Greek Prime Minister is also scheduled to visit the Holocaust Museum at 12:30.

Editor's Note: Tsipras’ trip to Berlin also showed a change in his rhetoric. HellasFrappe believes that this return to reality change suggests that greater political developments are looming because it is almost certain that the PM will face criticism and resistance from within his own government and party, (particularly from the Left Platform, which may challenge him in Parliament.) Tsipras' acceptance of the previous government's contribution and reforms and the need to continue these reforms, is also positive. The next few days are crucial and time is tight. The initiatives that Tsipras announced in Berlin must be implemented as soon as possible, so that SYRIZA can prove that it has the will to carry out what it said it would do.

Sources: YouTube, DailyMotion, Reuters, ANT1 tv, MEGA tv, Skai Tv, ProtoThema


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SYRIZA-ANEL organize ‘alternative’ way to celebrate March 25th

The annual March 25 festivities marking Greek Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary are apparently going to be different this year to what Greek citizens are accustomed to. The coordination of the festivities has been designed by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and Attica Region’s Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Prefect Rena Dourou. The SYRIZA-ANEL government said that it is planning to offer Greek citizens an "alternative" way to celebrate the events and from what we read it certainly will be a unique event, or at least resemble something of a Balkan feast.

Parallel to the official military parade, the state plans to stage a number of other happenings at Syntagma square including Greek traditional songs and dances. Also, there will be no special stand for VIPs at the parade on Wednesday and all dignitaries will be forced to stand with the crowd.

The state is also going to distribute thousands of blue and white flags to onlookers to wave during the march and at the end of the event, the 90-member military band (s) will stay behind and entertain everyone as dance troops from around the country perform.

Leftist groups against military parades were quick to compare the events to those held during the time of Greece’s military junta, but SYRIZA quickly responded that the junta only danced “tsamika” (a traditional folk dance).

The leader of the (media-backed) Potami party, Stavros Thoeodrakis, together with several PASOK groups quickly slammed SYRIZA for allowing ANEL to organize the event, so Panos Kammenos in return advised Theodorakis not to attend the event.

(Good one)


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OPINION: MEDIA IGNORANCE IN BERLIN - Tsipras & Merkel reach out for more trust

By John Ward (The Slog) - As Draghi this morning confirmed the strictures applied to the Greek fiscal situation, the ECB denied any blackmail of Athens on its part. And in Berlin, Greek Prime Minister (Alexis) Tsipras had 48 hours of his precious time wasted reviewing troops, attending a non-meeting with (German) Chancellor Angela Merkel, giving a surreal press conference, and then eating dinner.

I flicked desperately across various UK, US and French news site broadcasts around 18:30 CET, but it rapidly became clear that none of them were going live to the Berlin press conference starring ageing juvenile lead Geli Merkel, and new kid on the block Alexis ‘Johnny Cash’ Tsipras. After trying a German station offering zero translation, I reverted grudgingly to the Daily Telegraph site, whose open blog told me most of what I needed to know.

In the build-up to this meaningless charade, Bloomberg TV, BBCNews, SkyNews, the FT, Telegraph and Guardian spent much of the time warbling on about ‘Grexit’, a possibility that at the moment doesn’t exist in the Treaty of Lisbon. So too did the sites at Reuters, AP, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

So far in the last month, I have seen one (1) account in the Western/Anglo-Saxon MSM attempting to discuss the issue of Grexit being impossible, and stratagems that might be employed by the Troika to force such an issue. But as Goebbels remarked nearly 80 years ago, one big lie works far more effectively than a dozen small ones – if repeated often enough. I find it terrifying that two entire continents have been led by low-grade media information (and deliberate EU intent) into believing in “a likelihood” that is a myth. But then, Jihadist beheadings (when genuine) are based on very little more than 1500 years of lies about virgins in Heaven.

Following some dire forebodings at the weekend, whoever is stage-directing this latest episode in David & Goliath II had decided the euro needed perking up a bit: so throughout the day we were gradually given more and more hints, tips, ‘feelings’, ‘senses’ and ‘airs’ about the possibility of a deal. Indeed, the euro had gained five cents since its low point, standing at 1.37 to Sterling. This appeared to be its holding position until such time as there was more solid information.

Talking of which, as The Slog predicted earlier, the news conference was put back an hour (this particular plot device should be laid to rest from now on: it’s become a cliché) and so as the hour ticked by and another half hour passed, we were relieved when Tsipras (who, it turned out, was invited to dinner) emerged free of bruises and able to stand up unaided.

It is significant that neither leader was sporting a translation earphone. This followed closely the tradition thus far of neither side listening to what the other was saying.

Merkel spoke first, and it was beyond tame. There had been a debate, it had been heated, nothing had been agreed or decided. Greece, she said, needed many structural reforms, and a strong budget. Europe needed to be able to trust Greece. Europe expected Greece to fulfil its obligations.

Tsipras followed, and was well-mannered – perhaps even conciliatory: unbelievably, he said “there is no other way to understand each other than to engage in dialogue” – amusing given that neither leader knew what the other was saying. But he was aware of the cash-flow (cash-low, even) problem. Greece, he said, needed time, big reforms and a strong economy. War reparations were an ethical issue.

There were no signs at this point that big reforms and structural reforms, strong budgets and strong economies, or cash-flow problems and obligatory trust might be congruent in any way whatsoever. The presser was 100% deficient in solid information. It was virtual information, but in the old pre-digital sense of the word: that is, almost but not quite information just yet, as such.

In fact, the one solid promise the Syriza leader made was not to do something. He promised not to confiscate German government buildings in Athens as any kind of down-payment on the Nazi rape of Greece from 1941-44. Joy was uncontained at the news.

This farce is, let’s face it, more ridiculous than any satire could ever be. But nihil desperandum squire, because we still have market reactions to come; they’re usually good for a gag or two.

I’m sorry to return to an old theme, but the game being played here is more obvious than the dress sense of tarts in Montmartre. [Sorry, sex workers. Must be correct at all times]. It is to waste the time of – and demand the provision of information from – every level of Greek Government to ensure that there’s no spare time during which anything too radical might happen: and meanwhile, to undermine that government in myriad other ways.

Only today, for example, the ECB denied it was ‘blackmailing’ Syriza. But then Salvador Draghi  defended the ECB’s stance on banning Greek bonds as collateral and reaffirmed his position that Athens prove its commitment to reforms. Er, this isn’t blackmail?

Also – as I keep bashing on about but nobody’s prepared to listen – the refusal to give Greece the benefits haha of QE is illegal under the codicils of the Lisbon Treaty and eurozone central banking law. But there I go again, being picky. Shame on me. I am obviously an incurable non-violent extremist: please, for God’s sake, stop me before I point at the Emperor’s flaccid penis again.

As to the immediate future, I think we can take it as read that the Syriza government will be required to produce yet more fiscal information, and explain more of its reform ideas… thus keeping them too busy to notice that time is dribbling away into the lower half of the egg-timer, and nothing of any use to the Greek citizenry is getting done. Athens will, in turn, continue to suggest daft ideas while trying to fulfill its electoral commitments without Troika2 noticing.

I’m also assuming that in no more than 72 hours, there will be more disagreement about the lack of agreement, and hence the need for a further agreement to have another meeting to see if more time can be wasted in trying to reach another agreement prior to disagreements about the content of that failure to reach an agreement.

While all that’s going on, nobody will spot that one head of State with no right so to do is brokering an agreement affecting the whole of the eurozone. If they noticed and thought about it for a few seconds, however, they would quickly reach an agreement that this is indeed the case.

As if to verify the falsehood (so to speak) the France News anchor noted later that “the paymaster of Europe hosted a meeting with its weakest link”. This stereophonic piece of arrant propaganda was greeted with no more than a series of nods by the Woman On the Spot. “Absolutely,” she agreed.

After that one, I counted to ten and switched the telly off: without the 1-10 cooling off period, it would’ve been another gardening boot through the TV monitor.


Verdict for Papakonstantinou expected by Special Court today

UPDATE 19:00

The Special Court on Tuesday acquitted George Papakonstantinou of felony charges of breach of faith and doctoring a document in the infamous Lagarde List scandal. In a majority ruling, the panel of 13 judges found him guilty of doctoring a document but reduced the count to a misdemeanor. He faces a maximum five-year sentence but will not spend time in jail as the offense can be suspended or converted to a fine.

Original Story

Greece's Special Court is expected to rule on the case of former Minister of Finance George Papakonstantinou. The latter has been facing a trial in relation to the scandalous Lagarde list. He is facing two charges (attempted breach of faith and tampering with an official State document).

The Lagarde list is an electronic file that was sent to the Greek finance ministry by French authorities several years ago, containing the names of wealthy Greeks with sizable deposits in the Geneva-based branch of HSBC. It was received when Papakonstantinou was finance minister, under the George Papandreou government.

The prosecution has already proposed a guilty verdict. Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou argued that Papakonstantinou must be found guilty of both charges and has expressed the hope that the decision helps to improve the State and its administration.

Dimitriou believes that Papakonstantinou had a key motive in erasing the names of his relatives from the infamous list (to their benefit), while at the same time protect himself by appearing to not be involved in the case.

It should be noted that Papakonstantinou is not protected by the statue of limitations, which dictates that offenses allegedly committed by ex-ministers expire if two parliaments have sat since the offense.

Papakonstantinou, who undoubtedly has enormous responsibilities in this scandalous case, simply reminds us of how corrupt and distraught the whole political system in Greece actually is.

HellasFrappe also firmly believes that this very same "system" has manipulated the financial crisis so as to acquit people like George Papandreou, and EU puppet Evangelos Venizelos. Little do they realize that there never is a perfect crime. Once you do the crime, sooner or later you will have to pay the time!

In any case, George Papakonstantinou is the first politician after the late Andreas Papandreou, Menio Koutsogiorga, Dimitri Tsovola, Panagiotis Roumeliotis and George Petsos who not only faced the Special Court but could also be sent to jail.

*Editor's Note - The PASOK party and three decades of proven scandals... No the truth is not a technological breakdown in the "system" it is simply the the road to hell. - The song below is dedicated exclusively to the once mighty PASOK party that once again proved to us how utterly corrupt to the core it really is.-)


We suggest that you also read:

Falciani: Sarkozy "Blackmailed" Papandreou To Accept The Troika Because His Mother's Name is on Lagarde List
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2015/02/falciani-sarkozy-blackmailed-papandreou.html

Ta Nea Report Claims 86 entries missing from “Lagarde List”
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2015/02/ta-nea-report-claims-86-entries-missing.html

Supreme Court’s Judicial Council Refers Papakonstantinou to Special Court
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2014/12/supreme-courts-judicial-council-refers.html

Papandreou Offended For Being Included In Lagarde Scandal Probe
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/01/papandreou-offended-for-being-included.html


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EC calls on Greece to recover state subsidies from Cosco

The European Union has apparently ordered the Greek government to recover state subsidies which were received by Cosco’s subsidiary in Piraeus, since they consider them to be non-compliant with European legislation. The announcement of the decision came a few hours prior to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday and ahead of Vice Premier Yannis Dragasakis’ trip to Beijing, China.

The Commission claims that the tax exemptions and preferential treatment that Cosco’s subsidiarity received conflict with EU competition law. As such, the EC has demanded that a number of main terms and clauses in the contract between the two sides be removed.

The Commission believes that Cosco was exempt from various taxes and received preferential treatment, especially in foreign investments.

(More details should soon be available in the next edition of the Official Journal of the European Union.)

EC spokesperson Ricardo Cardoso told the To Vima newspaper that while the European Commission is planning to delineate the method for recovering the State subsidies, it is up to Greek authorities to establish how much these subsidies amount to, as they alone have the relevant information.

Editor's Note: Call us foolish, but HellasFrappe feels that this is just Brussels' way of hitting China via Greece. The port of Piraeus was not only revamped under the Cosco management, but this investment generated tens of hundreds of jobs for many people in the area. It also made the Greek port one of the busiest and most prominent in all of Europe. The Commission -which we all know tilts towards the Left- should stop protecting the State, and begin supporting the private sector in Greece.


Katseli new chairman of National Bank

A board of directors meeting on Monday appointed Louka Katseli as the new chairman of the National Bank of Greece, replacing George Zanias. Leonidas Frangiadakis was also appointed as the new CEO and is expected to replace Alexandros Tourkolias.

The appointment of Katseli as well as Frangiadakis now needs to be approved by the European Central Bank's Single Supervisory Mechanism.

The NBG expressed its gratitude to Zanias and Tourkolias for their valuable contribution to National Bank of Greece and its Group, and wished the new management every success in the work it undertakes.

It should be reminded that Mrs. Katseli is an active member of SYRIZA and a former Minister of PASOK under the George Papandreou government.

Lufthansa group adds more flights to Greece

Four airline companies, all members of the Lufthansa group (Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines) announced that they will be raising the number of flights to Greece this summer in order to meet growing demand.

According to reports, Lufthansa added four extra weekly flights to Athens from Munich and said it plans to begin a new direct flight from Munich to Herakleion by May 30th. The German airline is expected to also reinforce the line between Athens and Frankfurt with some 25 flights every week during the summer season.

On the other hand, Austrian airlines is going to offer its customers four additional (evening) flights every week from Vienna to Athens with return flights to Athens the next morning, raising their weekly flights to Greece from seven to eleven.

Moreover, Swiss announced that it is planning to raise the number of flights from Athens and Thessaloniki to Zurich and Geneva, and at the same time said it plans to connect Geneva with the airports in Herakleion, Corfu and even Zante.

Finally, Brussels Airlines announced that it will offer its customers direct flights to Athens, at least four times a week, with connections to other European, African and North American destinations.

March 23, 2015

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Samaras on Tsipras-Merkel meeting

Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Monday stressed the need for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to handle the meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel "in a practical and realistic way having the needs of the country and the economy as criterion," adding that "there should not be any words for domestic consumption."

Referring to Tsipras' letter to Merkel, Samaras said that informing foreign leaders that the country's situation is desperate is a "theatre" of the proud negotiation as at the same time he was assuring the Greek people that there is no problem with liquidity, loans and pensions.
     "Being proud is to take the country out of the crisis, having no need for further loans and not whining to the foreign leaders. I hope and I urge Mr Tsipras to deal practically and realistically with today's meeting with the Chancellor and have the needs of the country and the economy as a criterion instead of the known words for domestic consumption," Samaras noted.
ANA - MPA

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PROVOCATION - New Greek-Turkish dogfight over the Aegean

credit Defencenet
According to the National Defence General Staff, six Turkish F-16 fighter jets violated Greek airspace at 11:04 (local time) on Monday between the islands of Lesvos and Chios (just before flying over the Fournon islands), without having submitted a flight plan.

Greek F-16 fighter jets immediately took off from the island of Skyros and put missile firing parameters -long-range AIM-120 (BVR)- against the Turkish fighters. (On account of the low availability of Mirage 2000-5 and F-4E Peace Icarus, the F-16 took off from Skyros.)

When the Turkish fighters realized that the Greek planes had placed a trapped signal on them they immediately split into formations of four and two. At 11:27 the four fighter jets flew to 25,000 feet and the other two planes flew at 12,000 feet (or just a bit before the Greek airplanes approached them carrying air-to-air short range missiles). It was a classic move by Turkey to provide assistance to both its fighters from the Greek jets.

At 11:30 and after being pursued by Greek fighter jets, the Turkish planes then left Greek airspace flying over south of the island of Samos after being detected by Greek F-16 fighter jets.

Monday's incident is just one of many violations from Turkish jets over the past few days. It has become a daily habit to read about Turkish violations and continuous dogfights over the Aegean.

For instance, last Thursday and Friday a whopping 103 violations were recorded but luckily each incident was quickly intercepted by Greek fighter planes. Quite interestingly, last week's incidences were taken to heart from Ankara to the point that the Turkish General Staff issued a statement speaking of "harassment" on the part of Greece (against its planes) in what it termed "international air ... space", on account of an entrapment radar. Ankara went as far as to complain that Greek fighters harassed Turkish F- 16 five times (for 13 minutes and 50 seconds), with an entrapment radar, and said that all they were doing was merely conducting a training flight in international airspace. They did, however, admit that the Turkish F-16s had also locked the Greek fighters.

Source: Defencenet



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Gov't confirms FT Report on Tsipras' letter to Merkel which led to the 7-part meeting (VIDEOS)

Government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis on Monday in statements to Mega TV confirmed that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on March 15 sent a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, just as Financial Times reported. He noted that this letter was sent to other European leaders and officials, including French President Francois Hollande and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
     "It said nothing more and nothing less from what we already said last week…that there are difficulties with the liquidity and that political initiatives need to be taken," he said.
Sakellaridis said this letter triggered the so-called seven-part meeting on the sidelines of the EU summit and added "all those issues were discussed during this meeting and an answer was given."

In the letter, dated March 15, Tsipras warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel that it will be "impossible" for Athens to service its debt obligations due in the coming weeks if the EU fails to distribute any short-term financial assistance to the country. The letter, the report noted, came just before Merkel agreed to meet Tsipras on the sidelines of an EU summit last Thursday and invited him for a one-on-one session in Berlin, (scheduled for Monday evening, at 18.00 -Athens time-).

According to Peter Spiegel's report from Brussels, Tsipras in his letter warns that his government will be forced to choose between paying off loans, owed primarily to the International Monetary Fund, or continue social spending. He blames European Central Bank limits on Greece's ability to issue short-term debt as well as eurozone authorities' refusal to disburse any aid before Athens adopts a new round of economic reforms.
     "Given that Greece has no access to money markets, and also in view of the 'spikes' in our debt repayment obligations during the spring and summer...it ought to be clear that the ECB's special restrictions when combined with disbursement delays would make it impossible for any governments to service its debt," Tsipras wrote among others, according to the British paper.
On his part, Syriza MEP, Manolis Glezos, called on the government to ask for a moratorium on debt repayments for a period of 12 months, if no agreement on a bailout is reached. Speaking on Mega Tv, Glezos noted that if Greece’s creditors do not agree, then Athens should impose the moratorium unilaterally.

Meanwhile, the former president of the European Commission told CNBC, that Greece will remain in the euro zone as long as Athens is willing to compromise, noting this is what most Greeks desire.
     "I believe we should be flexible with Greece, but Greece has to respect the need to pursue with reforms, to be competitive, and if that's the case, I have no doubt that all the other governments in Europe want to support Greece," Jose Manuel Barroso told CNBC at the 18th annual Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong.
     "The government also should accept and respect the Greek people who elected them – and a huge majority of them want to remain in the euro area," he said.
With the press ranting on on the probability of a Grexit, St Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Monday that an exit of Greece from the euro would be possible but prove very painful for Greece itself.
     "I think it's (Grexit) much more manageable than it would have been a couple of years ago and so I do think it could be done but I don't think it's advisable to try to go down that path," he told CNBC in an interview.
     "Greece would face a very different and I think bleak future if it went in that driection but i don't think the spillover into international markets as it would have been."

Sources: MEGA Tv, YouTube, ANA-MPA, CNBC, FT, Reuters


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OPINION: Merkel & Tsipras: Good for gold - bad for the euro, or vice versa

By John Ward (The Slog) - This morning (Monday), gold is leaping up and down like a seismograph on the San Andreas fault, as everyone waits to see what sort of smoke appears at 5 pm CET from Berlin. And don’t forget we must allow an extra hour for Tsipras to be beaten up before the press conference. The general tenor of feedback so far is that it’s not going terribly well between Geli and the Greek, but she who walks on water is hinting that there may be a way through.
     “Greece is not obliged to carry out all Troika reforms if they have better ones,” she said last night.
Not sure that’s how the IMF sees it, but there you go.

What you believe on this one really depends on what media you normally consume.

If you’re American, then Merkel will stand no nonsense and Greece will be Grexited by Thursday. If you’re Irish, then compromise is in the air. If you’re Spanish and have your editorials written by Rajoy, then Greece is letting the side down and should be punished. If you’re a Bild Zeitung fan, German troops are massed on on the Greek border. And if you’re British, Girl, 12, tries to kill mother with bleach for taking away her iPhone.

The problem is, we don’t know what colour of smoke we’re looking for. But if it’s pink and emerging from Merkel’s ears, I think we should fear the worst. Or hope for the best, depending on one’s viewpoint.

Anyway, 5 pm is the scheduled press conference: that’s 11 am EST at the moment.

So one thing to keep a very close eye on will be the euro’s value during the US afternoon. If the news from the Reich is anything from woffle to bad, I think I might bring some euros over Tuesday morning. But what I suspect we’re seeing in gold’s mini-recovery is (for once) genuine market sentiment. It’s not just Greece, or the eurozone or even the EU: it’s how the dominoes will start to wobble once people grasp that everything is connected – just not in a positive Buddhist way. The best laid plans of Goldman & Sachs gang aft awry.

Although I continue to feel that (Greek Finance Minister) Yanis Varoufakis has not acquitted himself very well of late, it is worth going back to his 2010-2012 utterances: they are many and varied, but if nothing else they prove a mind-concentrating point: if by some quirk of fate he’d been the all-powerful EU Finance Minister five years ago, the eurozone would be out of the woods by now. As it is, with every day the euro looks more and more like dead wood.

I’d feel happier if I thought that either Berlin or the ECB’s Prince of Darkness gave a monkey’s about the fate of the euro any more. But I see no sign of it: unless of course they’re both stupid and insane, which I think highly unlikely.

More clarity later. Allegedly.

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