Log in
A+ A A-

Tranche not released, as ECB and Tsakalotos cross swords

Undoubtedly, the spotlight was cast on the Eurogroup's latest qualms over releasing the sub-tranche and the formal completion of the third evaluation, but the essence is reflected in the outbuster of Greek minister Tsakalotos and in the frantic confrontation with Mario Draghi.

Both the Greek side and the Europeans - Senteno and Moskovici - tried to downplay the incident, saying that such "lively" debates are always taking place, and that, anyway, something else happened in yesterday's Eurogroup.

However, the mere fact that the "heated" episode was leaked before the Eurogroup meeting was completed shows that some in Brussels wanted to point the finger at the Greek side.

The one thing that has caused discomfort in Athens is that Europeans, and especially the ECB - which was once again not represented at the press conference after the Eurogroup - appear particularly skeptical about forced auctioning. Senteno and Moskovici may have officially maintained that this is a matter outside the government's sphere of action, but officials in Brussels and Frankfurt are aware that Europeans are charging the government with long delays in taking the necessary legislative initiatives to unblock auctioning of foreclosed properties in time, as well as the lack of determination in the early stages, which was much later replaced by the slogan "we are only after the strategic non-payers."

So, the Greek Finance Minister may be right to say that there is ambiguity in the prerequisite, since there are no quantitative targets, but on the other hand it is obvious that  Europeans will continue to press the government for 100-200 auctions a week, in Athens and Thessaloniki, and more in other areas.

The other thing, which seems to be causing even more irritation on the Greek side, is the objections or reservations that Europeans and especially the ECB have to the strategy of a "clean" exit from memorandus. In fact, Mario Draghi's reference to the 7-year bond issue, which "inflated" right after its release, was just the tip of the iceberg.

What concerns and worries Europeans is that if Greece finds itself exposed to the markets and a crisis similar to the past ensues, it will be the easy target, as the weakest link. The planned $ 16-17 billion pillow covers Greece for 12 months after the end of the program and, according to the Greek side, is more than enough to absorb any shocks.

However, European decision-makers do not all share this view, especially since Greek banks, which want the ECB's cheap money and the cheap cash from the interbank market, can only be guaranteed by a waiver. And because the "umbrella" of the ECB is not provided without some kind of program, the situation is complicated.

For many, the hardest part of the game in the critical months that will come will not be the IMF, nor, of course, the European Commission, which desperately wants to put the seal of success on the Greek program. The hardliner will now be the ECB, as in the period of the first Memorandum, and the "heated" episode between Tsakalotos and Draghi will probably not be the last.