(Brussels) The results of the Greek Referendum, 61.31% NO, 38.69% YES, abstention 37.5%, triggered rapid political developments in Greece while causing worry in Brussels*.
Brussels was expecting a marginal victory of Alexis Tsipras. The Greek society, although divided until the referendum after the announcement of the results and the resignation of the president of the New Democracy, the leading opposition party, are now united around the winner of the referendum. The Greeks seem enthusiastically ready to support Alexis Tsipras, in a new round of negotiations, all the way through. The Greeks, quite unpredictable people, despite and broke, are short of cash, and look determined to accept any deal, or even no deal, Alexis Tsipras will achieve.
On the other hand, Brussels is perplexed and unclear as to how to handle this new situation. Brussels is used to handling any kind of linear crisis, yet it has no experience as to how to handle the unexpected. We have seen that in Ukraine and it is likely to see similar signs of confusion in handling the Greek crisis.
In practical terms, on the one side we a have a system, “the system,” well organized, equipped and prepared, composed of the best administrative brains of Europe with a variety of conventional weapons at its disposal; banks, cash, sanctions and other similar instruments. On the other side we have a lone rider, with a blank cheque, and a ‘license to kill’.
The lone rider, Tuesday afternoon, after a series of preparatory Eurogroup meetings, will come to the Euro summit to negotiate a solution.
We understand that the man, Alexis Tsipras, will go to the meeting to negotiate what he thinks could be a “fair deal.” The question is whether “Brussels” can afford a fair deal. Indeed if Tsipras gets a “fair deal” that for SYRIZA would signal victory, would reflect on the November 29 Spanish elections and then to others. This is well fixed in the mindset of conservative Europeans, that is the three political families ruling Europe since the end of the WWII: Popular, Socialist and Liberals. Thus, instead of a “fair deal” Tsipras might bring back to Greece some “generous” …humanitarian aid.
Furthermore, if “the system” thinks the ground is fertile, “Brussels” may offer some interim concessions to Tsipras, against the dismissal from his cabinet of his leftist comrades. This might be the first step for a grand coalition government (always under Tsipras as he got 61%), which will negotiate a final deal that will include a substantial reduction of Greece’s foreign debt and at the same time obligatory provisions for real structural reforms to resolve the Greek deficit problems once and for all that no government has attempted, so far.
However, the big problem in our case is that while the Greeks understand well the “Brussellosis”, the latter know nothing about the Greeks. The only Greeks the Europeans know well are the politicians of the traditional systemic parties, certain businessmen and a few ship-owners. The Greeks they are dealing with now, is a different class of Greeks. They are Leftists of far-left, anarchic origins who seek power and the establishment of their rule.
The “Brussels” leadership do not know who they are, where they are coming from, where they are heading to, what they believe in and what their values are.
Thus the attempt of tomorrow’s summit to punish SYRIZA while helping Greece with limited humanitarian aid to survive until Tsipras falls, is a non-realistic scenario. The Greeks are waiting for an “honest deal,” nothing more, nothing less and any deviation will infuriate them further.
“Brussels” is the most sophisticated and by far the best administrative machine of the world. Yet, they do not understand politics and how to deal with communists.
Because if they did, in the past five months they would have turned SYRIZA into a traditional systemic party, easy. Indeed, look at today’s European Commission and think about where the best right-wing Commissioners come from …