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On the road to Grexit?

Alexis Tsipras, current Greek PM and SYRIZA leader

Alexis Tsipras, current Greek PM and SYRIZA leader

Is Greece leaving the Eurozone by the end of the next week? On my previous article, I was quite optimistic on a negotiated solution about Greece’s financial situation and bailout. According to some EU and national civil servants and negotiators from the Eurogroup, an agreement was near and everything should have been on tracks again. Greece should not default and cope with its reimbursement.

But the Alexis Tzipras’ decision to organize a referendum about the current negotiations with the Troika (IMF – Commission and Eurogroup) questioned everything. To justify his decision, the current Greek leader argues Greek people should have his say, on the behalf of democracy. A way to the left radical SYRIZA leader to force his EU partners to make important concessions and, why not, keep financing Greece’s economy without it making any effort, in other words, pursing the structural reforms.

Some political analysts now seem to be afraid on what is going on next: Grexit is no longer a hypothesis, it is clearly a possibility, especially if the IMF refuses to make the concessions Tzipras wishes and if the Greek people rejects the plan proposed by the Troika. In fact, nobody can really predict what is going on after, except the situation will be worse and worse.

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Alexis Tzipras is clearly aware his country should not leave the Eurozone because it really needs it. But proposing a referendum, he wants to cope his EU partners and the IMF with a fait accompli: “I’m ready to jeopardize the EU integration if you refuse my plan to get Greece out the crisis. If you are really attached to the European Union, you have no other choices than accepting my conditions”

This is a quite hazardous strategy when we know the Eurogroup and its chairman Jeroen Dijssembloem is very reluctant to make new concessions to Tzipras considering, by deciding a referendum, he actually left the negotiations table. Greece has been under EU-assistance for so many years and knows it has to make the needed reforms to save its economy and ensure the political stability of his country. Alexis Tzipras won the previous elections by putting and end to austerity measures, persuading that his partners, fearing a Grexit, make important concessions and why not, dispensing the country to make structural reforms on pensions and public spending for instance. Tzipras uses the referendum as a political posture and find an exit solution to keep his legitimacy.

So, SYRIZA leader really hopes by consulting his people, he obliges the EU and IMF institutions to adopt a more moderate position and make them yield to his proposals. It is a coup de poker but coping with the firmness of his partners, the Greek government seems to be aware of taking important risks for its immediate future and it is not by chance Yanis Varoufakis the minister of finances said the door is still open to negotiate.

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Euro-sceptic from the radical left and the far right surely celebrate and drink champagne after Tzipras’ decision to organize a referendum. But at the end, they should not! If Grexit really happens, the political and economic consequences will be inestimable for Greece but also for the rest of Europe and France. A last minute agreement should be found, maybe, by the 30th of June, we are dealing with the future of the European Union and it is not a Greek issue only, it matters to all of us.

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