Debt negotiations usually seem to get resolved at the very last minute. After all, the resolution is almost always that someone is not going to get paid as expected, and this gives every "someone" strong incentive to hold out as long as possible, in the hopes that intransigence will get them a slightly better deal.
Patience with Greek politicians has evaporated among its creditors. During a conference call on Saturday, eurozone finance ministers bluntly told Athens to deliver on its promises and agree to reforms or face default next month.On one level, this is entirely amazing.
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the eurozone group of finance ministers, told Der Spiegel at the weekend that the possibility of bankruptcy should encourage Athens to "get muscles" when it comes to implementing reforms.
"If we were to establish that everything has gone wrong in Greece, there would be no new programme and that would mean that in March they have to declare bankruptcy," he warned.
Mr Samaras last week threatened to veto the package unless concessions were made on private sector wages, claiming the cuts would prolong a recession already in its fifth year. Mr Karatzaferis also opposes further austerity measures.
The two sides were still far apart over projected cuts of 25 per cent in private sector wages, 35 per cent in supplementary pensions and the closure of about 100 state-controlled organisations with thousands of job losses.
And yet, in another way, it's entirely understandable. How would you, Ms. Private Sector Employee, like to be told that you had to take a 25% wage cut because your government had borrowed too much money, and then cooked the books and lied about it? I would be rather miffed, I think.
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