On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

Dijsselbloem to Schauble: "Wolfgang, just think for a moment; I think we are making a tremendous mistake with Greece"; this could or should be Mr Dijsselbloem's saying to Mr Schauble yesterday afternoon during the Eurogroup gathering in Brussels. The photo is black and white probably because it will be one that will endure in the European history books of the future to open the "pandora box" EU chapter. From left to right, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Finance Minister of Finance and Wolfgang Schauble, German Minister of Finance, during yesterday's historic Eurogroup meeting in Brussels (EU Council TV Newsroom, 16/02/2015)

Dijsselbloem to Schauble: “Wolfgang, just think for a moment; I think we are making a terrible mistake with Greece”; this could or should be Mr Dijsselbloem’s saying to Mr Schauble yesterday afternoon during the Eurogroup gathering in Brussels. The photo is black and white because it could be one that will endure in the European history books of the future, opening the “pandora box” EU chapter. From left to right, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Finance Minister of Finance and Wolfgang Schauble, German Minister of Finance, during yesterday’s historic Eurogroup meeting in Brussels (EU Council TV Newsroom, 16/02/2015)

It’s clearly a very bad moment for Europe; unfortunately much worse than our wise European leaders can grasp. The Greek issue is inescapably bringing to the surface the political incompetence of many key figures in Brussels and beyond. Dijssebloem and the peer were never prepared for the Greek stubbornness; most likely they were never ready to govern.

Let’s not forget here that both the Greek government and the EU had made quite a few steps back last week at the previous Eurogroup and EU Summit, to the extent that many were talking about a lovely Valentine’s weekend spent in Brussels on the technical details of the agreement. Nevertheless, sadly yesterday’s Eurogroup finished not only with an absence of white smoke coming out from Brussels but most importantly with a clear widening of the distance between the two sides. Some say it is Germany’s preferred tactics to bring Greece to its knees, some say it is the Greeks insisting on a vaguely defined “new programme”. But let’s face it; it is pure incompetence after all.

European Incompetence

In a negotiation incompetence is more than often shared between the two parties. Here on the one hand there is Mr Dijssebloem, Mr Schauble and their peer who seem to be naturally unable to empathise with the Greek matter, and on the other hand there is a fearless immature leftist government that does not know anything about political tactics. In any case it is Europe to lose out of this and the Europeans to pay for the so many incompetent political leaders gathered together at this too bad timing.

The criticism that Berlin has been long doing mainly business in the EU rather than politics is not only coming from this publication. Anybody who can walk and chew gum at the same time is able to understand that on his own. Many media have criticised the stance of Germany “against” the rest of the EU. Even European political leaders master this very well; some more than others of course. An example is QE (Quantitative Easing), that came out from Mr Draghi’s lips a couple of years later than it should have due to Germany’s refusal to stop benefitting from the expensive euro. Matteo Renzi, Italy’s Prime Minister, has also been repeatedly saying that Europe is not only economy, but politics as well.

Is Mr Jeroen Dijssebloem, Minister of Finance of Holland, a good politician? The Dutch graduate of Agricultural Economics is taking part in a government back home that has been waving the austerity flag for long. Moreover, recent Dutch polls show that in the next Dutch elections in a couple of years time Mr Dijssebloem and his Dutch governing colleagues will not be present. The same politician who is largely failing his own country is now failing Europe. The Ultimatum he gave yesterday to Greece, to sign the extension of the current programme until Friday, is the best proof that bad politicians today fail Europe!

After so many talks, discussions, visits to Athens and back and also positive messages from last week’s EU Summit, Mr Dijssebloem managed to create a dead-end for Greece and for Europe. You need to be really talented to do so after so much advocacy that preceded; alas destructively talented. It is evident that sadly nobody in the EU took the Greek case seriously enough. It was all about accepting and accommodating Mr Tsipras or Mr Varoufakis to their countries, talking nice to them and buying them nice dinners, just so show how solidarity is fundamental at the heart of European leaders. Of course that was made only to serve their own political causes, trying to convince their vastly disappointed electorate that they do not have to go left or further right in the next elections since mainstream right is caring enough…

Greek Incompetence

On the other side, the cream of the current Greek government, the one that is making the European tour, Mr Tsipras and Mr Varoufakis, is a bunch of left idealists that are determined to open a whole in the wall with their heads or to die trying for. The audacious immaturity of Greece’s political elite is more than clear. They are naive enough to believe that they would meet in Brussels “Schuman’s children”, who will sit with them hand in hand to contemplate with the matter in a democratic way and give a political solution with compromises for the best of Europe. Well, they are wrong!

It is hard to believe that Mr Tsipras and Mr Varoufakis could not see this coming. It is unreasonable not to be able to keep the “Greek ethics” outside of their suitcases on their way to Zaventem airport in Brussels. It is also a political crime that they cannot get in its full amount the public sentiment of the “fellow” Europeans in the other member states who have lended their painful tax contributions for the Greeks to drink ouzo under this wonderful sun. They cannot either fully understand that it is a political crime to allow the “Grexit” word to linger in the world’s media headlines for over a month. Is it because Mr Tsipras is making just now his first flights abroad? Is it because he is not a cosmopolite who has lived here and there and is able to decode culture and anticipate diverse behaviours?

The Wise and the Unwise

But even if that is the case, the “great cosmopolites”, “political geniuses” of Brussels and Berlin should know what to expect from the Greek “guys”. Just by seeing a picture of where the Greek Prime Minister lives, a middle class block of flats at the centre of Athens, it should be enough to Mr Dijssebloem that Alexis has nothing to lose. He is not used to villas, expensive cars and watches and all those great things that 90% of the European political elite takes benefit from. He came to fight for his people and he will do it till the end. This is something that very few European political geniuses can even grasp, be it for cultural reasons, or historical reasons or vested interests.

On top of all that, Mr Dijssebloem and his “brilliant” peer do not know history and particularly Greek history. In history there is only one way that Greeks have repeatedly answered to Ultimatums, and that is with a “No” at any cost. It is now a national, ethical and ethnical thing for the Greeks and it is Dijssebloem’s, Schauble’s and the rest of the wise peer’s fault for letting this be dragged into those uncharted waters.

However, it might be that Mr Dijssebloem did not realise that he launched yesterday evening an Ultimatum to Greece. It can be that he was just busy with other EU or national issues and did not care enough to close the matter last weekend like he should have done as the ultimate “guardian” of Europe’s economy. In any case, he is clearly incompetent to grasp and tackle so hard and tough moments in European history and he should be removed from the position promptly for the good of all.

Grexit is imminent

All in all, as things evolve, Mr Varoufakis, Finance Minister of Greece, will not sign any ultimatum if it is not rephrased in a way that he can sell it to his voters. The word “programme” needs to be taken out and replaced by the world “loan” and other remarks like that which he has already openly made. If the graduate of agricultural economics, President of the Eurogroup, does not care enough to edit this document today, then Greece will be officially outside the Eurozone by next week.

Pandora’s box

If that would occur, it would be first of all the responsibility of the leftist ideologists and beyond reality Greek negotiators. Then it would be the responsibility of political incompetence in Europe to tackle “real” situations effectively and promptly. If the politically experienced and wise do not sit with Varoufakis in a room, lock it and do not come out in the next couple of days without a mutually agreed and signed document, then sadly the Eurozone will crack and the European Union will crack consequently.

And even if Berlin has surely modelled the risk of Grexit and think they can handle it, even if Draghi claims to be well prepared, this would not be the first crack of the Union but the beginning of the end.

Incompetence is and should be dearly paid.



















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  1. PeeGee says:

    Incompetence is the order of the day throughout the EU government , as the economic state of the EU shows . And the lack of certified accounts , and the missing billions are another reason for the EU to disappear .

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