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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Rigid Refusal to Renegotiate: Blaming the Greeks

As Greek party leaders struggled to put together a government in May 2012 after a splintering election, a major (and contentious) issue was whether to demand a renegotiation of the bailout agreement. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left known as Syriza (which made large gains in the election), was declaring the agreement null and void given the mandate implied by the gains made on the far right and left (both being opposed to the austerity program). The New York Times reports that Tsipras believed he “had changed the debate to the point that the formerly dominant parties that had signed the loan agreement were . . .  indicating they might agree to demand it be renegotiated.” Tsipras’s statements were enough to prompt a firm Nein! from Angela Merkel in Berlin and a related “tightening of the screws” from the committee of the European Financial Stability Facility.

The full essay is at Essays on the E.U. Political Economy, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.