May 12, 2010

Time for Greece to Play by the EU’s Rules For the time being, the markets have been pacified. For the moment, the riots in Athens have subsided. Only “hundreds” of demonstrators came out over the weekend, fewer than the rioters who killed three people during a violent petrol bomb attack on a bank last week. But this temporary truce in Greece has been bought at a high price -- by which I don’t just mean that it was expensive. In front of me as I write is a draft version of the Council of the European Union’s most recent “decision” on Greece. It isn’t a classified document: Bits of it have been in the newspapers; the Greek parliament has already voted to pass some provisions; and a similar, though less comprehensive, decision was published last February. Yet while it’s not secret, no one is talking much about its political significance either. For this is no ordinary piece of Euro-bureaucracy: This is the kind of thing a surrendering field marshal signs in a railway car in the forest at the end of a bloody war. Europe and the International Monetary Fund will spend billions of euros to rescue Greece. And in exchange, Greece will not merely agree to reduce its vast public deficit but will adopt, by June, no fewer than 17 specific legal and budgetary changes. Among other things, the council declares that Greece “shall” reduce the “Easter, summer and Christmas bonuses” of civil servants and pensioners; increase taxes on fuel, tobacco and alcohol; reduce the operating costs of local government; and pass a law to simplify the rules for new business start-ups.


I'm a watchman for Christ, looking on the horizon in expectation for the fulfillment of God's Word.

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