An editorial titled “Europe and Greece are at war over nothing” on Bloomberg says that “on substance, the distance between Greece and the other euro countries two sides has narrowed almost to nothing – yet the stalemate and the risk of a new financial crisis drag on as if it were vast”.
“The EU is staking the future of its monetary union not on principles but on semantics”, Bloomberg stresses.
As Bloomberg points out “Greek government now wants a new bailout with softer terms and a temporary arrangement to bridge the financing gap between the present deal and the new one. Reportedly, it’s even willing to call this bridge an ‘extension’.”
However, Bloomberg notes that “with Germany’s government leading the demand for strict propriety, Europe’s response has been to say that the current program must be successfully concluded, perhaps with some flexibility, before anything else can be discussed”.
Bloomberg argues that “the difference between an extension that’s a bridge to a new program and an extension with flexibility pending agreement on a new program is too little to care”.
“The situation is all the more absurd because the details of any transitional provisions don’t much matter anyway”, Bloomberg says, while stressing that “what’s crucial are the terms of the new longer-term agreement – which the EU is refusing to discuss until Greece capitulates”.
Greece needs a gentler programme
“Designing new terms won’t be easy, but the case for a gentler program is compelling. Citizens of Greece have already suffered greatly”, Bloomberg argues.
Bloomberg notes: “Germany’s blockheaded rigor requires the new Greek government to nakedly break all its election promises. That’s fine with Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who seems to think Greece’s voters need to be punished for their lack of judgment. If they and their popular new government are humiliated, a far-right party even less palatable to the rest of the EU stands ready to give it a try”.
“The risk persists that an avoidable financial collapse in Greece will put other euro members under renewed strain”, Bloomberg adds.
“The EU’s refusal to come to terms with Greece — to accept concessions short of unconditional surrender — doesn’t serve its interests. There’s no need for this impasse to end in disaster. If it does, Germany and its supporters will be more to blame than Greece”, the editorial concludes.