Monday, July 06, 2015

Greece tables unified set of negotiation principles with EU

The PM of Greece fired his first opening shot in the coming negotiations with the Troika of faceless technocrats and panoply of politicians, by huddling with the opposition parties and then releasing their statement of principles.

Employing one of the necessary steps in Harvard U’s Getting to Yes negotiation handbook (a must for every politician, not to mention anyone engaged in business or personal relationships), the PM has tabled a set of interests that Greece wishes to attain in the talks.

By making it an agreed set of principles of all the major parties, the PM is leveraging off the overwhelming No vote (61% to 39%) in the referendum, and presenting a united front to its EU members.

The principles are realistic, attainable and useful, and the EU politicians should be able to nudge talks forward on the basis of these principles, along with the Greek plan of reform that will be handed to them tomorrow:
President Prokopis Pavlopoulos’s office issued a joint statement on Monday by the leaders of five of the seven political parties represented in Parliament after a meeting led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza party.

Here is the text of the joint statement by the five party leaders (the Communist Party leader attended the meeting, but didn’t sign the statement, and the leader of the far-right Golden Dawn party did not attend).

The recent verdict of the Greek people is not a mandate for rupture but for the continuation and reinforcement of the effort to achieve a socially just and financially viable agreement.

It’s in this direction that the government assumes the responsibility for the continuation of negotiations. And every political leader will contribute, as well, within the remit of their institutional and political role.

The common aim is to achieve a solution that will secure:
• Sufficient covering for the country’s funding needs.
• Credible reforms based on the fair distribution of the burden and the promotion of growth with the smallest possible recessionary impact.
• A strong, front-loaded growth program, chiefly aimed at tackling unemployment and boosting entrepreneurship.
• A commitment to the launch of a substantial discussion as regards tackling the problem of the sustainability of Greek public debt.

The immediate priority is to restore liquidity to the banking system, in coordination with the E.C.B.

Mr. Tsipras was expected to announce a more extensive cabinet shake-up later Monday.

Note the use of the words “substantial discussion” of the sustainability (read: need to forgive a big chunk of) Greece’s debt.

Note also the key words “a strong, front-loaded growth program”.  The proposals made by the EU and the Troika technocrats have lacked any such growth program. However, using a carrot and stick approach, a deal is possible for such a program, funded by the EU, with Greece earning more stimulus and support for its economy and exports and job creation programs as they meet the steps in their reform program.

The EU has taken the lead in innovations in the political and economic fields in the past two decades, and it should not be a problem to arrive at a variety of stimulus measures, not all of which need by cash handouts.

One suggestion for the PM: consider solving your horrendous unemployment of your young people by asking the other EU members to “adopt” a significant number of your young people, by providing them with employment opportunities, at the EU members’ costs, within Greece and in each EU state.

Now let’s wait for some serious talking about how to wrench the ancient and tottering Greek economy into the 21st century.

Nice job so far, PM Tsipras!

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