It's hard to believe that Tuesday's emergency meeting in Brussels between the new, less abrasive, Greek finance minister and his Eurogroup colleagues apparently ended up fatefully displaying the (substantive?) gap of €60 million separating the two sides. This is the same amount Jean-Claude Juncker had referenced last week, when expressing regret over the walk-out of the Greek delegation from the discussions pending the hastily scheduled referendum in Greece on Sunday, July 5th.
For a fistful of euros, the President of the European Commission acquiesced, at the time, to sell Greece down the river, proclaiming from the EU's seat in Brussels that a mere shortfall of -- a 'two-bit'? -- 60 million euros nevertheless prevented the imminent resolution of the Greek credit crisis that condemned the Greek nation to years of undeserved agony and suffering. Amazingly, this unbridged 'gap' was what 'decisively' separated the two sides and caused the fatal collapse of talks between the two perennial interlocutors.
Even more significantly, as it turned out, matters were further complicated by the controversial referendum that followed. It was a pure reflection of the massive distress to which people in Greece have been subjected over five consecutive years of Europe's ill-conceived draconian policy of blind austerity, which is flawed both in design and execution.
Regardless of political affiliations, the Greek people have now formally registered their protest. At the same time, they accept the Greek government's commitment of defending the integrity of their country as a full member of the eurozone. As we all see it, we are destined to remain gracing the European Union's beautiful southernmost reach into the Mediterranean. But, with such short notice to enroll Clint Eastwood's services, together with my hastily assembled posse of a few well-to-do donor friends in Greece, the decision by now has already been made to go ahead and pay in full the ransom for liberating our country from its horrifying ordeal.
All the President of the European Commission has to do is call off his greedy gang of Greece's tormentors -- certainly canceling their next session this week, including the ultimate summit on Sunday, July 12th. And let us, instead, have details of the European Union's current account anywhere in Brussels. In doing so, he will spare himself and everybody else from us storming his otherworldly headquarters there -- with our euros blazing. Demanding, as we intend to, the immediate completion of precisely that formal agreement he said was imminent last week -- but for the €60 million that had been previously separating the two sides.
_______________ Nicos E. Devletoglou, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Athens, is author of the books Academia in Anarchy: An Economic Diagnosis (Basic Books) written jointly with Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics James Buchanan; and Consumer Behaviour: An Experiment in Analytical Economics (Harper and Row).