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Troika – The EU’s Frustrating Gatekeeper

January 29, 2015

This, I think, is the most important development in Greece and it is being lost in the white noise. Trying to shoehorn a lot of narrative into preconceived forms makes for easily digestible, but largely opaque reporting.

Greece is effectively refusing to negotiate with the troika (the triumvirate of European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) or separately with Germany – as first and sole ports of call. This is a distinct break from the past – it is what every incoming Greek government has done in the last few years (and to an extent, Spanish, Irish, Portuguese, Italian governments), under threat of penury.


This attitude does not mean Greece is eschewing its obligations or destabilising the union, despite what some hysterical reporting would have you believe. It simply means Greece will discuss its obligations and the best way to discharge them through democratic EU structures (Council of Ministers, European Parliament), rather than bureaucratic EU structures. Which is entirely proper. That it will treat Germany as an equal partner, with say proportional to their influence. Which is entirely proper. That it will discuss the mandate, democratically handed to a new government by the Greek people, with other democratic representatives. Greece is simply reclaiming its seat at the adults’ table.

If there is a feeling that Greece (and Spain, Italy, Ireland or Protugal) does not deserve this seat – and I understand why there might be that feeling from certain quarters – then let the rest of the partners relegate it. Openly, democratically, officially. Not by administrative guile.

We should all take note of how this is presented as strange and radical. We should take note of how uncommon it has become. The troika is the unquestioned EU gatekeeper in such matters. It is in place, evidently, only to assess progress. More often than not, however, it acts as the jobs-worth who says “computer says no” to any request for flexibility – however circumstances may have changed – and even refuses entry to those with the authority to discuss it. We should take note at how rarely this position of absolute power of three entirely undemocratic structures is questioned.

I said a few days ago, that Greece had much more support than analysts estimated. That a lot of entities were quite pissed off at Germany’s and the troika’s autocracy. Many derided me. Within the last few days, a former IMF director, the Bank of England and the US President, are all shaking the pom-poms of Keynesian economics, like lovestruck cheerleaders, at Tsipras. Yes, austerity may not have been the way to go, they all concede. They do now, anyway. Had the Greek people not voted for change, would they?

All these shows of international support and softening of hard positions are partly theatre, of course. If Tsipras fails with the whole world against him, the result will be more anger, more riots, more instability. If Tsipras fails with the whole world rooting for him, then the Greek people only have themselves to blame (again) and progressives everywhere should take careful note. They want him to be a cautionary tale; not a martyr.

The truth remains that dealing directly with each other as partner nations is what all EU member states should be doing, on all top level matters, all the time. Voting things through the European Parliament, ditto. Running directly to Merkel, Juncker, Draghi and Lagarde, as soon as one is elected, to kiss papal rings and plead for mercy and then trust that them to impose whatever was agreed behind closed doors by force on all the other partners, is precisely what is at the heart of rising anti-EU sentiment across this continent.

Everyone needs to understand this. Especially those four.


13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2015 10:11 am

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Hunterchaser permalink
    January 29, 2015 10:16 am

    Hear Hear! Sound words. A shame the smug, self satisfied, self opinionated self deluding idiots of politicians in Europe will not have the same attitude.

  3. January 29, 2015 11:14 am

    If Greece is successful in insisting they the other members of the EU have a right and responsibility not to delegate negotiations to an unelected Troika this could start a reaction where democracy is seen to operate fairly in the EU.

    It could also be a blow for UKIP who project the lack of democracy as a fundamental problem with the EU or it Comissioners.

  4. January 29, 2015 12:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  5. January 29, 2015 1:22 pm

    Excellent, I’ll share it!

    • January 29, 2015 1:25 pm

      Κυρία Μαχαίρα! Πόσο χαίρομαι. Σας στέλνω πολλή, πολλή αγάπη.

  6. January 29, 2015 1:58 pm

    As usual a rational approach from sturdyblog, maybe it will give other EU nations, the strength to argue their point. But I can hear Cameron (who i am convinced wants us out of Europe to keep the city laundering despots money) say something along the lines, ‘see The EU is broken’. Whipping up anti EU feeling here with the money ‘donated’ from his rich friends. Keeping London the playground for the rich villains.

  7. January 29, 2015 3:02 pm


  8. January 29, 2015 6:50 pm

    The Troika have no right in dictating Greek fiscal policy, especially now that there is a new government and the second round of lending has finished.

    Greek debt is unsustainable and it will be restructured or there will me a messy default within the EZ which everyone wishes to avoid.

    Therefore it is good that the new Greek government appear determined to not accept further rescue loans unless the conditions are such that will render loan repayment affordable after they have been paid. For that two happen a very long debt repayment plan will have to be adopted, with minimal, if not zero, interest and whose servicing will be tied to the growth of the economy.

    There is little doubt that the official default of the Greek state will be blamed on syriza, for ideological reasons. However such a stance is the only way to ensure that the crisis will not deepen much more.

    Now whether this government will succeed in implementing a mechanism to actively increase demand cannot yet be determined; it is still a desirable goal.

    I also hope that they will do something in this term to rid Greek society of the violent neo-fascists.

  9. Constantine Dimitriou permalink
    February 1, 2015 12:13 am


    Στις 9:56 π.μ. Πέμπτη, 29 Ιανουαρίου 2015, ο/η sturdyblog έγραψε:

    #yiv3041006178 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3041006178 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3041006178 a.yiv3041006178primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3041006178 a.yiv3041006178primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3041006178 a.yiv3041006178primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3041006178 a.yiv3041006178primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3041006178 | sturdyblog posted: “This, I think, is the most important development in Greece and it is being lost in the white noise. Trying to shoehorn a lot of narrative into preconceived forms makes for easily digestible, but largely opaque reporting. Greece is effectively refusing t” | |

  10. janeylee permalink
    February 1, 2015 12:08 pm

    Let Greece learn from Cameron ‘no mates’ recent humiliation when he pontificates what he wants and finds no-one to support him. The EU must be quite aware of what is not working and would be stupid not to adapt principles to retain its status as a united force to be reckoned with. The new approach for Greece seems reasonable and intelligent and I firmly hope they lead the way to creating an EU that works for the whole and not just the few.

  11. Rose permalink
    February 6, 2015 2:30 pm

    Superb analysis x

    Sent from Samsung Mobile


  1. Troika – The EU’s Frustrating Gatekeeper – Sturdyblog | Vox Political

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