Greece Under the Spotlight

Abascal, Argandoña and Pastor on Syriza, debt and troika

13/02/2015 Barcelona

Syntagma Square
The Greek “Indignados” (“outraged”) during a demonstration at Syntagma Square in Athens in 2011 / Photo: Ggia

Uncertainty about Greece’s future within the European Union began the moment that Syriza’s election victory and the new Greek constitution were confirmed. The main point of conflict is over the public debt which represents 175 percent of GDP. But beyond the "Greek problem" there are questions about the future of the euro and the relationships between EU member states. Profs. A. Argandoña, A. Pastor and E. Martínez Abascal give their views and on these issues and discuss the negotiations between the troika and Alexis Tsipras’ government.

"Greece: A Quick Summary," by Eduardo Martnez Abascal

"Unfortunately for Syriza,a default of the Greek Government is not a big deal. Greece's public debt is not that much compared with the financial power of the EU, the ECB and the IMF combined. After all Greece makes up less than 2% of the EU GDP. The consequences would have been totally different five years ago in 2010. I wonder if Syriza is aware of this different scenario, because it certainly changes its power to negotiate." (Read More)

"Citizens and Debt," by Alfredo Pastor

"The negotiation should be based on mutual interest and not legitimacy or justice: We must not forget that the Greek public debt was freely entered into. As such, it is surprising that, simply because the debt is so huge, many consider it unfair or illegitimate and view not repaying it as something perfectly natural." (Read more)

"We Don't Understand the Greeks," by Antonio Argandoña

"Syriza doesn't want to pay his debt (well, that was part of his campaign platform). The eurozone rejects the idea of releasing Greece from its obligation (of course, what you expect!). Thus begins the negotiation. And although I wouldn' t say that anything goes in a negotiation,certainly intentions should not be openly revealed from the outset. As such, it is logical that Greece (now the country as a whole, not just a political party) would ask for as much as possible, and that the eurozone would deny everything it can." (Read more)