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Who will pay the cost of Europe’s defaults?

23rd May 2011 Socialist Action 0

By Nicky Dempsey

Open disagreements have broken out between the EU Commission and the European Central Bank on the issue of whether Greek government debt should be ‘restructured’  or ‘reprofiled’ in some way.  Debt restructuring would require that the bondholders, mainly European (including British) banks, take some losses on their bonds by having their value written down. ‘Reprofiling’ is a much more modest proposal which may involve little more than extending the life of the bonds, so that interest and capital repayments are drawn out over time.

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Guns, not butter for Greece

31st March 2010 Socialist Action 0

By Nicky Dempsey

The leading countries of the European Union, led by France and Germany have insisted that the Greek government must respond to the financial crisis by a series of ferocious attacks on working class living standards. Job losses have mounted rapidly as pay has been cut, welfare and pension entitlements slashed and the retirement age suddenly increased. Yet one area of spending is exempt from this otherwise absolute requirement to reduce government spending, the military budget.

In what the Reuters news agency describes as “a bizarre twist to the Greek debt crisis, France and Germany are pressing Greece to buy their gunboats and warplanes, even as they urge it to cut public spending and curb the deficit.” France is looking to sell frigates, helicopters and fighter aircraft for €3.5bn while Germany is looking for back payments of €520mn plus €300mn for a submarine which failed sea-worthiness tests. It is reported that the deficit negotiations were used to strong-arm the Greek government into making the purchases.