By Vasiliki Siouti
Recent reports have suggested that an operation was undertaken to ‘smuggle’ the €11 billion of the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility (HFSF) – set up to contribute to the stability of the Greek banking system – in order to prevent main opposition Syriza from using it, if it comes to power.
The Fund’s treasure amounts to 11.6 bn. According to the latest announcement (pdf) by HFSF on December 12, “as of September 30th, 2014 the portfolio of the EFSF bonds remained unchanged from December 31st, 2013 at €10,932.9m in nominal terms.” As for the Fund’s cash and deposits in Bank of Greece, they stood at €625.3m as of December 31st, 2013.
The initial plan provided for the use of this 11.5 billion euros cushion as a preventive support if Greece were to exit its EU / IMF program. Greek media reports are describing it as the government’s final act to pull the rug under the feet of Alexis Tsipras and to prevent him, if he forms a government, from using this amount to help implement the programme he announced at the Thessaloniki International Fair.
The government, critics say, has been at a dead end for some time now. And for this reason, it has set in motion its next-phase strategy to trap Syriza, even before it takes over the country’s governance.
The main goal of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the country’s lenders is to ensure that Syriza is unable to implement its policies, not even the programme it announced in September.
‘Forget it Alexis’
The left wing party’s programme entails an initial period of limited measures, and was presented as plan of immediate relief to the victims of austerity, and a way to deal with the country’s unfolding humanitarian crisis.
Syriza had pledged to implement the programme once it comes to power, before it commences negotiations with Greece’s lenders, and that it will partly finance it from the cushion provided by the Facility – a ‘left over’ after the recapitalization of the banks.
Germany’s current stance, on the other hand, shows it would do anything to mine the field and bar a Syriza government from standing on its feet, unless it gives up its programme and mutates, like Samaras’ ‘anti-bailout’ New Democracy party did once it came to power.
Berlin is expected to insist on the 19 conditions set by the troika within the framework of its last evaluation and on the seven conditions the lenders set for the credit line (in other words, to loan Greece money that it has already borrowed with harsh terms).
As for Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, he is widely expected to reject any haircut request from Tsipras, if he becomes prime minister. The German minister will just replace the name in the phrase of his usual reply:‘Forget it Alexis’.
Meanwhile, according to reports in the left wing press, a slander operation against Syriza is set to commence in the German media over the next few days. The operation could, might as well, be dubbed “Schreckgespenst”, which means the ‘ghost of terror’. It’s a word already employed to describe the prospect of a left wing government in Greece.
Initial reports of the new period that is ushering in are already referring to Tsipras as a ‘former Stalinist party member’ and describe him as a ‘Communist’ who wants to give the Greek debt a haircut. In other words, ‘for the German taxpayers to lose their money.’
German media are also reportedly saying that Syriza wants to end Greece’s fiscal reform effort and terminate the harsh austerity in place. These same reports are suggesting that if Syriza doesn’t implement the bailout programme and pursues the policies it says it will, then Germany will kick Greece out of the eurozone.
Everything seems to point to the fact that the government and Greece’s lenders are launching a relentless war to defeat the left wing party, before it even comes to power and even if it does come to power, its stay will be a short one.
The drums of war are beginning to pound.