January 28, 2012

Germany calling for Greece's Indentured Service


Germany has made a request that is extraordinary. The Financial Times has a pair of articles on this:

German Government Calls for Greece to Cede Sovereignty to Eurozone "Budget Commissioner"

Please consider Call for EU to Control Greek Budget

The German government wants Greece to cede sovereignty over tax and spending decisions to a eurozone “budget commissioner” to secure a second €130bn bail-out, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by the Financial Times.

In what would amount to an extraordinary extension of European Union control over a member state, the new commissioner would have the power to veto budget decisions taken by the Greek government if they were not in line with targets set by international lenders. The new administrator, appointed by other eurozone finance ministers, would take responsibility for overseeing “all major blocks of expenditure” by the Greek government.

Even before Germany circulated its proposal, the EU and International Monetary Fund had presented a 10-page list of “prior actions” Athens must implement before the new bail-out is agreed. According to a copy of the document, also obtained by the FT, Greece must cut an additional 150,000 government jobs within three years.
Actual Text of Proposal

The Financial Times posted on its website the complete text of the proposal. Here are snips from Assurance of Compliance in the 2nd GRC Programme
1. Absolute priority to debt service
Greece has to legally commit itself to giving absolute priority to future debt service. This commitment has to be legally enshrined by the Greek Parliament. State revenues are to be used first and foremost for debt service, only any remaining revenue may be used to finance primary expenditure. This will reassure public and private creditors that the Hellenic Republic will honour its comittments after PSI and will positively influence market access. De facto elimination of the possibility of a default would make the threat of a non-disbursement of a GRC II tranche much more credible. If a future tranche is not disbursed, Greece can not threaten its lenders with a default, but will instead have to accept further cuts in primary expenditures as the only possible consequence of any non-disbursement.

2. Transfer of national budgetary sovereignty
Budget consolidation has to be put under a strict steering and control system. Given the disappointing compliance so far, Greece has to accept shifting budgetary sovereignty to the European level for a certain period of time. A budget commissioner has to be appointed by the Eurogroup with the task of ensuring budgetary control. He must have the power a) to implement a centralized reporting and surveillance system covering all major blocks of expenditure in the Greek budget, b) to veto decisions not in line with the budgetary targets set by the Troika and c) will be tasked to ensure compliance with the above mentioned rule to prioritize debt service.
If Greece agrees to this proposal is indentured service if not it is broke in a matter of weeks.

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