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Why is Europe worrying about SYRIZA?

PARIS | By Francesco Saraceno via MacroPolis | It is most likely that from the elections of January 25 will emerge a SYRIZA-led government, the main uncertainty being how large a coalition Alexis Tsipras will have to gather to obtain a comfortable parliamentary majority. This is seen with a fair deal of preoccupation in Europe. A preoccupation that does not seem warranted. SYRIZA is no longer the radical party of the beginning, which called for the exit from the euro and for a default on Greek public debt. 

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Eurozone’s plight

MADRID | By JP Marín ArreseOnce again, Greece has ignited the flame of instability in the Eurozone. The prospect of early elections coupled with the left-wing party´s scores in the polls has resulted in severe shock-waves hitting other South-Med countries. The promised debt default by the better placed candidate in this race stands as a formidable threat to Europe. What happens in this relatively small country is bound to hit all of us. Confidence in sovereigns will dramatically fall while financials will also bear the brunt. 

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Greece: Where did it all go wrong?

ATHENS | By Nick Malkoutzis via MacroPolisWhen Greece returned to international bond markets in April this year after a four-year exile, it was trumpeted by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as another step towards the crisis exit door. “Confidence in our country was confirmed by the most objective judge – the markets,” he said after investors snapped up three billion euros of five-year bonds with a coupon of 4.75 percent. Exactly seven months later, though, the yield on those bonds shot up to almost 10 percent. Suddenly, the markets do not seem so confident. So, what went wrong? 

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No happy returns for Greece

ATHENS | By Jens Bastian via MacroPolisLast week saw Greek politicians clock up air miles to European destinations. Government representatives flew to Paris in order to meet a troika delegation that has repeatedly delayed its return to Athens. 


Waiting for Godot in Greece

ATHENS | By Jens Bastian via MacroPolisAccording to its Wikipedia article, Waiting for Godot by Irish writer Samuel Beckett is an absurdist play, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. The current situation in Athens has remarkable similarities with this classic piece of European literature. 

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Is there (sustainable) growth in Greece?

ATHENS | By Jens Bastian at The AgoraGreece finally exited its six-year long recession in the third quarter of 2014. The Hellenic Statistical Authority ELSTAT said that the economy grew by 0.7 percent in the third quarter (compared to the same quarter in 2013). The positive third quarter reading is the first after 24 consecutive quarters of negative GDP performance dating back to Q3 2008. Still, the economic damage from this recession is staggering. It will take years – perhaps even decades – to bring Greece’s real economy back to the levels last achieved in 2007. 


Crush the Greeks!

ATHENS | By Yanis Varoufakis via TrumanTim Geithner is now on the public record, confirming that which we have always known: In February 2010, clueless as to the Euro Crisis that was about to engulf them, Northern European leaders decided to crush Greece. Collectively to punish (against even the Geneva Convention) a nation for having gone bankrupt within a Eurozone whose architecture never took into consideration the possibility that a member-state could become insolvent.

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Greek debt viable, no haircut needed

MADRID | The Corner | As Greece and its euro-area creditors meet on Thursday to review its progress ahead of another round of talks on repayment terms for its public deb, the worst for Athens seems to be over. The Mediterranean country doesn’t need a haircut, its debt is sustainable, as head of the EFSF ESM Klaus Regling commented in Brussels on Tuesday. However, and despite the profound, painful reforms the country has been through, recovery is hampered by private debt of households and companies: about 164 billion euros ($208 billion), 90% of GDP.

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Does Greece need a third programme?

By Jens Bastian via MacroPolis | During his visit to Berlin this week, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras repeatedly emphasised that Greece does not require a third financial support programme. In his conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel he highlighted that the Greek sovereign was able to successfully return to international bond markets in April after a three-year forced hiatus.