After extensive 17 hour talks at the Summit eurozone leaders have agreed to a THIRD bail out for the Geeks. The full report of the terms and conditions of the arrangement can be found here. In ball park figures this is a package worth around €82bn-€86bn. Thats a hell of a lot of money! There are many t’s&c’s to this deal and huge reforms have to be in place from as early at the TODAY but the question on the table now is – is the rest of the eurozone happy about it? To be specific – is this THIRD offering of money making eurozone leaders unfavourable with their fellow country men and women. Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a bold claim in his 2013 election priorities that he would not let the Netherlands be a part of such deals after Greece failed to reform after the first 2 bail outs. However since talks he has backed down and, possibly without choice, agreed for The Netherlands to be a part of the handout. This is not the end of his bold statements claiming, on Monday, that “any money for Greece will not affect the Dutch budget and there will not need to be any additional cuts in public spending.” I’m not too sure how he’s planning that one! The majority of the money will come from the European Stability Mechenims (yep I’d never heard of that before either!) with contributions from the IMF from early next year. Greece’s debt is 176% of their economy, almost 100% more than The Netherlands 73.5%, unemployment in Greece is the highest in Europe with 1 in 2 young people without a job compared to 7.2% in The Netherlands and figures suggest that Germany would come out the worst from a Greek exit but Slovenia is most at risk should the Greeks eventually go under as 2.6% of their economy is tied up in their debt.
So my question is this – Has Mark Rutte committed political suicide by agreeing to it? Currently in coalition with Labour the VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democarcy) aren’t in the strongest position to bat these claims away. An outcome had to be reach and if we are asking out ‘brightest and best’ eurozone leaders to debate this then surely their decision was the best offer (?). The Greeks have had a very good life up to now with little controls over taxation (1/5 of Greek transactions are done on the black market making no contributions to the government) and savings. The Greek laid back atmosphere is widely known across Europe and the rest of the world, especially now with English media portraying them as jokers who want to carry on on this downward spiral they have seemingly brought upon themselves. The people of Greece voted ‘Oxi’ in the recent referendum, to stay in the Euro but on different terms. The big debate for some people in the UK is the amount of money spent on foreign aid, sent out to Europe, given to countries believed to be in a poorer position that ourselves and its the same in the Netherlands. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron is in talks to renegotiate our deal with Europe ahead of a UK referendum in 2017. People want their money staying in their own country. Is this a side effect to being a part of the Eurozone? Can more money really help Greece and if its down to the stricter terms and conditions why weren’t these agreed in Bail Out No.1? Rutte is strong in his justification for being a part of the bail out but is still not ruling out an exit from the Greek’s in the future. As much as he has stepped backwards on his promise he has been strong in doing so quoted by ITV news as saying “there is no other choice, they must be ready to accept deep reforms.” These decisions haven’t been taken lightly by anybody and if the Dutch have to be a part of it I am sure they will ensure its success but will the Dutch voters remember this when the go to the polls in 2017?