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Friday, May 18, 2012

Letting the cat out of the bag

Update 2.15pm:  At least two more European Commission spokespersons have denied Commissioner de Gucht's claim. After Mina Andreeva (see below), Olivier Bailly tweeted,
The European Commission denies firmly being working on exit scenario for Greece. The Commission wants Greece to remain in the euro area.
Then Simon O'Connor tweeted,
We're not working on the basis of a scenario of Greek exit.
So it's settled then...

Here's our original blog post:

It's Ascension Day today, and the EU institutions are closed. Still, someone at the European Commission felt the need to say something on Greece.

In an interview with Belgian daily De Standaard, EU Trade Commissioner, Belgium's Karel de Gucht, said,

"A year and a half ago maybe there was a risk of a domino effect. But today, there are [people] in the European Central Bank, as well as in the Commission,  working on emergency scenarios if Greece shouldn't make it."
He also added,
"A Greek exit does not mean the end of the euro, as some claim."
De Gucht's comments were not appreciated by his colleagues at the Commission, however. Within hours, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva moved to deny the existence of any such plans, saying,
"[The European Commission] is working on scenarios to keep Greece within the eurozone, not to make it leave."
According to the spokeswoman, Commissioner de Gucht was speaking "in his personal capacity". This isn't the first time Karel has annoyed colleagues by letting the cat out of the bag (well, on a potential Greek exit, the cat wasn't exactly in the bag). He was the first one to admit
"We knew that Greece was cheating [on its public accounts]."
That was in May 2010.


Anonymous said...

I would have hoped that he had used Acension day to talk about the rapture and having the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. I pray every day - Ascension holiday or not - that such day comes soon. Please go. Leave the rest of us alone.

Leo Tindermans

Rik said...

1. Of course the EU/EZ should work on alternative scenarios. These scenarios should already have been there from the beginning and certainly be made after the crisis had started (and not 2 years after that).
2. I doubt if they are really able to do that btw. What we have seen is that the EU's legal services only focus on EU law and totally neglect national law, especially of the most important countries.
If you would do that here (as standard procedure) it simply gets an even bigger mess in Greece (and nobody benefits from that).
3. EZ-membership is mainly based on the EU treaty which will likely create similar problems as with 'Your Dave' vs the financial transactions tax. Greece basically will have to leave the EU as well unless most likely the present treaty is changed on certain points (requiring Dave's approval).
Another example of the legal mess this is.
Effectively only a sort of at least negotiated exit can happen without creating a big mess especially in Greece. The legal and financial links are simply too big especially since Greece won't be able to pay off its debt to the rest be it ECB or other CBs or other countries and the E-rescue mechanisms.
4. Opening possibilities for Dave to bring up different forms of membership, as that you would have to create for Greece anyway. May be not a certainty, but it might work if he takes chances if they arive.

Rollo said...

If the EU had any decency, they would be working to help Greece get out of the Euro and start to rebuild their economy. If...