Debt campaigners slam Greece's creditors' 'imperial politics'

July 13, 2015
'This is not an agreement but an outrageous imposition on the Greek people,' said the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

Leading British campaigners against global debt have slammed the creditors over a deal reached between the European Union countries and Greece, likening the deal to the imperial politics of the 19th century.

The debt campaigners also drew parallels with the way debt was used to control Latin American nations in the 1980s.

“This is not an agreement but an outrageous imposition on the Greek people,” said Tim Jones, economist at the Jubilee Debt Campaign. “If implemented, it will continue the five-year long crisis in the Greek economy since the first disastrous bailout of European banks in 2010 for another decade or more.”

Jones explained how “Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America suffered from 20 years of economic stagnation and increasing poverty in the 1980s and 1990s because of a refusal to cancel debt and the imposition of austerity overriding democracy. The same now awaits Greece and the Eurozone unless there is a sudden change of direction.”

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has labelled the international creditors’ actions against the debt-ridden country as a form of financial “terrorism”.

“Is it so unthinkable to put the rights and livelihoods of ordinary people ahead of threatening the interests of the banks? The European governments and institutions seem to think so,” said Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now, adding that “the lives and rights of millions of Greeks, and now the very existence of the EU as a democratic union, come a poor second to the economic fundamentalism of Merkel and the Troika."

He described the deal forced on Greece “as nothing to do with a democratic union of countries, but rather resembles the imperial politics of the 19th century,” said Dearden.

The latest deal means Greece will have to cut spending through tough austerity measures, in exchange for staying in the eurozone and receiving as yet undefined financial aid. Greek banks have been closed for two weeks and ATM's have limited withdrawals of 60 euros per day as Europe turned off financing for the banks.

Greece has received two previous bailout packages in 2010 and 2012, worth a total US$272 billion from the so-called troika -- the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank -- with nearly all the bailout funds being used to rescue European financial institutions.

Tsipras is facing opposition from his own party, Syriza, after the July 13 announcement of a new bailout deal between Athens and the EU. At least 15 Syriza lawmakers have opposed the new plan and the party's faction called Left Platform called the deal a 'humiliation'.

Tsipras will meet with his party on July 14, after his arrival to Athens, to explain the terms of the bailout deal.

Analysts believe that, if Syriza continues to be divided over the deal reached, the party could fracture leaving Tsipras no choice but to negotiate an alliance with the opposition. Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Greek Parliament against the new deal.

The prime minister's main obstacle will be to justify some of the measures included in the plan – many of them which would end recent government policies – in order to maintain the support that led him to head the country.

Experts believe that the EU’s proposition was politically-motivated and was aiming to oust Tsipras by imposing ever-tougher conditions. “This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief,” wrote Nobel laureate Paul Krugman in a New York Times op-ed.

[Compiled from TeleSUR English]

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