Politics

Greece: Stuck in the Middle

Greece seems to be stuck between political forces on the left (the Syriza party) and fiscal forces on the right (debt burdens, European Monetary Union austerity controls). Is there a viable way out? What are the options? Brooks Ritchey, senior managing director at K2 Advisors®, Franklin Templeton Solutions®, harkens back to a popular 1970s tune as he explores these and other questions.

Brooks Ritchey

J. Brooks Ritchey
Senior Managing Director at K2 Advisors®, Franklin Templeton Solutions®

Periodically, when commuting home in the evenings, I enjoy listening to a bit of music. The songs that resonate with me most are those typically associated with meaningful memories or events from days gone by—sappy ‘70?’s glamour band ballads for example, invoking awkward recollections of grade-school dances. On a recent drive I was accompanied by the classic tune from Stealers Wheel, “Stuck in the Middle With You,” which brought to mind the current situation in Greece.

The Greek Odyssey: How We Got Here

To understand where we are with Greece and what can potentially happen, I think, as investors, we need to understand some history. I’ll summarize the situation for context—at least as it pertains to finance.

Roughly four years ago, Greece fell into crisis. Its debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio was around 170%,1 and interest rates on Greek 10-year bonds spiked above 40% in 2012 as investors worried about default. It was clear at the time that Greece could not pay its debt. After much hand wringing and last-minute negotiations, the Greek government, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) collectively agreed to a support package. Back in 2012, we pondered whether the Greek story as it pertained to the euro had “jumped the shark.”

In American pop culture, the phrase “jump the shark” signifies the exact time a television program, band, actor, politician or other public figure (we would add eurozone member country to this list as well) has taken a turn for the worse, gone downhill or become irreversibly bad. The expression derives from an episode of the 1970s American television sitcom Happy Days, where a water-skiing Fonzie (Henry Winkler), wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, jumps over a confined shark, answering a challenge to demonstrate his bravery. For a show that in its early seasons depicted universally relatable experiences against a backdrop of 1950s nostalgia, this marked an almost cartoonish turn toward attention-seeking gimmickry. Critics of the show suggested that the shark-jump episode marked the beginning of the end as the show became a caricature of itself before its ultimate demise in 1984.

So, back to 2012, when the panic surrounding Greece was diffused temporarily with a European Union (EU) bailout package, everyone seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, and interest rates on Greek debt fell to levels even lower than before the crisis a few years prior. Of note, the EU’s decision to bail out Greece was not an entirely altruistic move, as the vast majority of what was owed was to French, German, Italian and other core banks. So a support to Greece was at the time really a support to the entirety of Europe.

Fast forward to today: While some role players have changed (enter the Syriza party), circumstances have generally not with regard to the Greek debt burden. For the most part, Greece and the EU seem to be right back where they started, except this time the core European banks appear to be better insulated.

We have arrived at this circular juncture because the “solution” established in 2012 did little in terms of long-term sustainability, in fact—quite the contrary. We view Greece as having been pushed further into depression, and years later, unemployment still stood above 25% (more than 50% among its youth).2 Currently, Greek debt-to-GDP is above 170%,3 and the country is again faced with the prospect of not being able to meet its debt obligations.

0415_K2_GreekDebtholders Greece

Enter Syriza

In January of 2015, the Greek electorate, frustrated with years of imposed austerity and not seeing much in the way of progress economically, decided it wanted change. They voted the left-leaning Syriza party into office on the back of campaign promises to reverse many of the EU-mandated austerity measures that were implemented as part of the 2012 bailout agreement.

The Syriza view is that the austerity Berlin and the rest of Europe demanded in 2012 was unreasonable, making it more difficult in the long run for the county to address its debt burden. Greece’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, publicly raised the issue of renegotiating Greece’s $365 billion in debt, and is pushing for relief in the way of longer maturities, lower interest rates and repayments linked to the country’s economic growth.

In response, Germany has made it very clear that restructuring of the debt is not an option, and other eurozone members have generally presented a united front in this regard. In addition, stringent austerity measures would still be attached to any Greek bailout package in the future. For Syriza, however, this doesn’t seem an option.

So, politically, it seems we have reached an impasse; on one side we find German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, and on the other we have the Greek electorate and the Syriza party. Stuck in the middle are Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his compatriot Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, faced with the seemingly insurmountable dilemma of trying to give the Greek people their cake while allowing the rest of Europe to eat it as well.

That is to say they are faced with trying to serve two masters. Opinion polls show that many Greek voters support Athens’s tough negotiation tactics. But the polls also show that most Greeks want their country to remain in the eurozone—but to do so would require agreeing with the zone’s austerity demands. I think this would be the technical definition of a pickle.

“Grexit” Scenarios: The Potential Impact on Greece

Some members of Syriza believe that the best option for Greece to regain its financial independence would be to default on its debts and cut loose from the euro. I am not sure this would be the best approach, but let us consider the potential impact of such an action.

As Syriza imagines, on the surface this may seem like an attractive option. Presumably by doing so, Greece’s debt would be cut to more manageable levels, and bringing back the drachma would allow the country to devalue its currency and strengthen its competitiveness. One might say this is the utopian vision. The potential reality of bringing back the drachma (the legacy Greek currency), in my view anyway, looks a bit more nightmarish.

if Greece were to suddenly leave the euro the implication (at least as we see it) is that Greece’s banking system/economy would be, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt. As such, Greece’s currency would presumably be about worthless in the near term, and likely be the last place outside investors would be willing to park their capital; hence a sharp decline in value against the euro. Our worst-case vision: Banks could totter, cash machines would likely be emptied, interest rates would probably spike, and companies would go bankrupt, including, perhaps even the country’s largest electric utility. Would businesses have liquidity to bring in vital commodities like oil, medicine and food? In this disaster scenario, tax revenue would probably plummet, and the newly insolvent government would not likely be able to borrow abroad. International investor faith would be shaken, and it is probable Greece would not be able to raise money for several years.

How would the citizenry respond? Argentina’s declaration of bankruptcy in 2001 saw violent riots and looting. The Argentina example also shows how long it can take for an economy to recover; tens of thousands of Argentineans left their country. Would many Greeks do the same? Envisioning this situation going from bad to worse, the Syriza government (which was voted in on a promise to increase spending) could simply choose to print more drachmas to fill the financial hole; perhaps fueling dangerous hyperinflation.

Could Greece Default on Its Debt while Staying in the Euro?

In our view this outcome is a possibility, but it would still likely result in misery for the country and its citizenry. The Greek banking system would likely still be bankrupt, financial institutions would likely still not be able to get funding from the eurozone to recapitalize the banks, and the only alternative we see would be to “bail in” depositors—offering shares in the banks as collateral for the deposits. This would also likely entail capital controls. In the interim, the government would still be trying to balance its budget, a daunting prospect given that the collapse of the financial system would all but crush economic growth. While this is largely conjecture, the bottom line is there are many ways in which we could imagine this potentially playing out. The intersection of business, finance and economics and politics is decidedly complex and interconnected.

“Grexit” Scenarios: The Potential Impact on Europe

What about for greater Europe? What could Greece’s departure mean for the core?

Initially, the impact would probably be manageable. Longer term, of course, consequences are more difficult to ascertain, but certainly they could be meaningful. I imagine the European Stability Mechanism14/sup> could be used in the beginning as a backstop in case of any spillover effect with other periphery nations. I view these countries as much less susceptible than they were in 2011 to Greek risk; while, the possibility of a crash appears minimal.

Naturally, there could be financial losses for partner countries. The European bailout fund and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have provided roughly €300 billion to Greece over the years. Germany directly or indirectly guarantees almost €65 billion of these loans. If Greece leaves, a large part of this money would probably evaporate with its departure.

Conversely, the political risk to Europe/Germany could be significant. For five years, EU political leaders have worked diligently to keep Greece in the EU at any price. In the end, leaving would be an almost incalculable economic risk for Greece, but one that could pay political dividends. The opposite is true for the rest of Europe. Politically, I believe it would be an abject failure for Europe.

And, while it does not want a Greek exit, Germany is also worried that making concessions to Syriza would increase the popularity of other anti-system parties throughout the eurozone. Spain, Portugal and Ireland—countries that have received bailouts in recent years—will hold elections between late 2015 and early 2016. Berlin fears that if Syriza can successfully renegotiate Greece’s debt, other governments will demand similar concessions in the future.

This also explains why the current conservative governments in Madrid, Lisbon and Dublin have taken a hard stance against Greece’s requests for debt relief. These governments have defended austerity measures in the past and likely cannot support concessions for Greece that they did not request for themselves. From the EU perspective, it looks to me to be politically impossible to accept an overt debt haircut on Greece’s outstanding obligations at this point. It also appears politically and economically undesirable to allow Greece to leave. Stuck in the middle.

What Should Greece Do?

Let us assume we are Greece. Setting aside the moral/ethical implications for defaulting on one’s obligations, and the short-term pain, from a purely utilitarian standpoint (or Machiavellian)—maybe in the long run it just makes better sense for Greece to exit the euro. Again, I am not suggesting this is the best course of action, but if we consider that scenario, we would assume that eventually, Greece would be allowed back into the bond market, as unlikely a reality as that may seem currently.

Greece could in theory balk on its debt and return to the drachma, let the market set the value on the currency, and then work to get its fiscal house in order. We think that’s certainly a daunting prospect.

Another interesting approach: According to the CIA World Factbook, tourism represents 18% of Greek GDP.5 Why not try to make it 25% or 30%? Make Greece the most compelling, best-value, most pleasurable destination in Europe? Certainly, the US dollar-to-euro exchange rate is an enticing incentive for consumption-minded Americans. At a minimum, Greece has got the topography part nailed down, the food is outstanding, and certainly its citizenry is as hospitable and friendly as any in the world. If Greece committed to an extensive tourism drive, and to treating each visitor like a king bringing gold (because figuratively that is what he/she would be), I think the country could do quite well for itself in terms of generating GDP.

If a business wants to open a factory in Greece, make that happen—give all of the incentives you can to encourage foreign investment. Minimize red tape, just entice corporations to bring their money and jobs, and the Greek government will take care of the rest.

While it would be difficult, there are a plethora of examples of countries that have done the same with much less, certainly without the natural geographic advantages afforded Greece by Mother Nature.

In the end, all we can do is position our portfolios prudently and wait to see what happens; the ultimate outcome at this stage is very difficult to know. What I do know is that the next time I hear the song “Stuck in the Middle” on the radio, I will think of Greece and the EU. Perhaps now you will as well.

Brooks Ritchey’s comments, opinions and analyses are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or to adopt any investment strategy. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, comments, opinions and analyses are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment or strategy.

This information is intended for US residents only.

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What Are the Risks?

All investments involve risks, including the possible loss of principal. Bond prices generally move in the opposite direction of interest rates. Thus, as prices of bonds in an investment portfolio adjust to a rise in interest rates, the value of the portfolio may decline. Special risks are associated with foreign investing, including currency rate fluctuations, economic instability and political developments. Investments in developing markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors, in addition to risks associated with these markets’ smaller size, lesser liquidity and the potential lack of established legal, political, business and social frameworks to support securities markets. Currency rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time, and can reduce returns.


1. Source: Eurostat, 2011 data.

2. Source: Eurostat, 2014 data. Youth unemployment defined as under age 25.

3. Source: Eurostat, as of January 2015.

4. Established in February 2012, the European Stability Mechanism is the permanent crisis resolution mechanism for the countries of the euro area. The ESM issues debt instruments in order to finance loans and other forms of financial assistance to euro area member states.

5. Source: CIA, The World Factbook.

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  • WorldFixer

    ****The corrupt Brussels Media Machine is finally Exposed for all to see!

    In politics, whoever
    can better influence the international media to push forward their views has
    the upper hand, say political communications insiders. And this isn’t just the
    case during election campaigns: in the European Union, decision-making power depends
    not only on the size of a given player’s economy, but also on how it deals with
    international media.

    It’s
    no secret that in Brussels
    lies a well-oiled media machine, which can distribute information to all major
    media outlets across the continent in a matter of hours. The machine, which has
    risen in influence since the financial crisis broke in 2008, operates on the
    basis of maintaining the anonymity of journalists’ sources that feed it; one of
    the sacred principles of journalistic ethics.

    However,
    here this principle of anonymity is also used to protect the Brussels media machine itself and ensuring it
    remains hidden from public view. No journalist in the Belgian capital is
    prepared to risk their job to expose how the system works, thus preserving a ‘code
    of silence’ around it.

    The
    hard core

    The most influential group in the Brussels media machine is
    made up of the euro zone’s ‘hard core’ bloc. This means the Permanent
    Representation of Germany, located in Brussels, and assisted by political and
    financial satellite countries of Germany: Spain, Portugal, Slovakia and the
    Baltic states (among which, Latvia currently holds the EU presidency). France and Italy have clearly less influence
    and access in this system.

    In
    terms of collection and distribution of news, the main players in the system
    are the three major European-level media outlets: the agencies Reuters and
    Bloomberg, and the Financial Times newspaper. Whatever this group reports, all
    other media outlets in Europe rush to
    reproduce. Thus – intentionally or not – articles published by the group are
    spread widely.

    Information
    that enters the Brussels
    media machine comes from three sources: people working inside the EU
    bureaucracy who monitor critical meetings (interpreters as well as civil
    servants), the politicians themselves (or their aides) and senior officials of
    the European institutions. These sources are used to satisfy the need for
    timely, exclusive coverage of news events, which makes journalists extremely
    competitive in pursuing information on what is discussed during these meetings.

    The
    most common means of communication from these sources to journalists is SMS. When
    it comes to more detailed leaks though, journalists from the three main media
    players (together with others from mostly German and British outlets) are
    invited to an unofficial press conference and briefed. This has been the case
    for the past few months.

    In
    these meetings, the person doing the briefing is very often an official that
    also works at the European Commission’s Spokesperson’s Service. Of German
    origin, this man sets aside EU etiquette as well as the theoretical neutrality
    of his professional position.

    A
    recent example that highlights how well this system functions was in Riga, during the recent
    Eurogroup meeting. On April 23, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis
    participated in a dinner with his colleagues, in order to prepare the issues
    for the forthcoming meeting. Everything proceeded normally. But the following
    day, the media ‘revealed’ highly aggressive rhetoric against Varoufakis from
    his colleagues during the Eurogroup meeting itself.

    The
    alien

    That same senior official of the
    European Commission, moments after the conclusion of the Eurogroup meeting,
    invited eight journalists for the ‘established’ daily informal press
    conference. “There was a lot of anger towards the Greek delegation,” a
    Brussels-based journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, told us. “When we
    asked about Mr Varoufakis’ position in the meeting, the official said ‘The guy
    lives on another planet’, and made derogatory gestures. This isn’t something
    we’ve seen before – neither from EU officials nor this particular person.”

    An
    identical ‘update’ was given by two further EU officials, one working for the
    Eurogroup and one from a diplomatic mission of a Southern European country. “They
    were equally aggressive; trying to present Mr Varoufakis as an ‘alien’”, said
    the journalist, who was present during these discussions. “When we got to the
    heart of the matter concerning the Greek economy, the ‘sources’ refused to say
    any more. They just blamed Varoufakis.” These briefings were followed by tough
    statements from various ministers, echoing the German government’s point of
    view.

    This
    specific information about the events of the Eurogroup meeting in Riga was published in all
    three aforementioned major media outlets, giving the impression of a war-like
    atmosphere at the meeting and breaking the unwritten rule of maintaining a
    professional distance from harsh words. Following these events, the Greek
    delegation decided for Varoufakis to not attend the planned dinner on the
    evening of April 24, to express his displeasure with the way his colleagues
    treated him and Greece.
    However, the ‘aggression’ from ministers, EU officials and the media did not
    subside. On the contrary, Reuters presented Varoufakis as “isolated”, simply
    because he did not attend the dinner, without asking for a statement from the
    Greek side. They also commented on Varoufakis’ decision not to wear a tie.

    The
    go-ahead for this latest smear campaign was given by SMS, from a German
    official to a journalist at one of the three major media outlets. The
    journalist in question then called some of his sources in Athens in order to warn them what was coming.

    The
    wall

    During the Eurogroup meetings last
    February, the Greek government tried to breach the seemingly impenetrable
    ‘media wall’ being built around it. “The fact that the draft of Jeroen
    Dijsselbloem’s ‘decision’ was leaked by the Greek delegation, which essentially
    subverted debate on it, outraged many people in Brussels,” the journalist told
    us. “War was declared, and from that point on, the Greek positions were
    repeatedly leaked to Peter Spiegel of the Financial Times,” he added.

    “Will
    Mr Varoufakis be able to survive the pressure?” asked the journalist. “At least
    Mr Tsipras still trusts him,” we replied.

    “Then inform them in Greece,
    both the government and the people, that they can expect even more of these
    attacks,” he said.

  • C M

    Very interesting analysis. However, you didn’t make reference to the contingent positives aspects of an agreement between both sides (if there are any)… And why it could be that bad to alleviate the burden of Ireland, Portugal and Spain?

  • Astrit Kasa

    EU is using the debts to change its structure by pushing the debt nations to approve the fiscal union which their people refused so far. Greece is the best actor in the EU show or play which is called a tragedy comedy inside the EU babel or Babylon which is transforming its many colors to a single light in the EU spectrum. So people go in the beach and stop talking about Greece and EU. You are all in the net like fishes and you cant leave the boat container and go back to the sea…and…be free again

  • Demetri Apostle

    TAKE THAT PRETEND FLAG AWAY FROM OUR GREEK FLAG BEFORE WE BURN IT AGAIN….AND THAT IS BEING VERY NICE.

    Mr. Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, my brother….if its brown…or in Germany’s case : ” Black, Red & Yellow….Flush it down the TOILET…”

    I really don’t expect you EuroNazi’s to read between the lines, it may hurt your feeble minds to finish long sentences, and have any discernment within your dishonorable deplorable selves.

    Dijsselbloem you are a piece of Schmidt…a coward, deplorable little pipsqueak.

    Greece Will Leave the EU…and guess where the deplorable, cowardly EuroNazi’s will end up ?

    The EU COMMISSION, IMF & ECB is now considered by EU Citizens a FRAUD & FARCE– Junker, Rehn, Merkel, Schultz and Legarde have become rich from the EU & IMF salaries they make and thus all have become hypocrites to the rest of EU citizens who are suffering austerity! — Did you know IMF head Legarde had her house raided by French Police for financial fraud? Same with Junker who is in trouble for Fraud, and then we have ECB’s Mario Draghi worked for corrupt Goldman Sachs group in Europe—- It is absolutely incredible the Criminals we have running the IMF & Euro Zone, who have been using Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Cyprus as a “test cases” to see just how gullible EU citizens are, by trying to make them Debt-Slaves for life!

    . When Siemens was sued in Germany in 2011 over unethical business practices, it was revealed that it has doled out millions upon millions of euros to Greek politicians to grant Siemens lucrative government contracts regarding major public works projects related to the 2004 Olympics. ( In fact, 90% of all companies that were charged with bribery in Greece are German and the German government knew what was happening) so Berlin also needs to accept much of this responsibility and not try to play stupid with Greece. )

    It was also revealed in that trial that the German government at that time (Gerhard Schroeder) knew about these bribes but did nothing about it because Germany was in a recession back then and the German government knew that if German companies got those contracts, it would mean new jobs in Germany. And let’s not even get into the unpaid war reparations Germany still owes Greece (which amounts to 398 billion euros adjusted for inflation). So before you tell us what a great country Germany is, you may want to look at the big picture first.

    Anyone would think that 95 % of the people who insult and make absurd comments against Greece 24/7 days a week does not know what these schemers are insinuating in their term ” Default and Grexit “:

    It means —- ( Thank Samaras for his cowardly treason )Germany wanted an airport in dead center of Athens to fly their military aircraft over Greece. . .Germany wanted 12 1/2 of our Greek Islands. .. Germany wanted the country to close hundreds of foreclosed properties from their illegal austerity measures that the little rat Samaras approved, along with cutting more than half of the elderly retirement source of living, and closing hospitals for medical care, their electrical power lines for heating this winter, and cause families to near homelessness. You lost Germany – we don’t treat our people the way you do.

    Germany wanted the mineral rights to Greece – from renewable wind power, solar power plants, gas and oil, to drilling off of Crete and 12 other islands… to furthermore insult and try to destroy Greece. Get out – nobody in Greece wants anyone of you EuroNazi’s and we will never allow our country to be German – that’s preposterous. !!!! ”

    @ European Countries —You are now a plutocracy / dictatorship country without a future… controlled by fascism, occupancy and debt slaves.

    You don’t even have a government that is fighting for you yet .

    It can only get worse if don’t fight – ” Stop Fraudulent Voting ” .

    PLUTACRACIES HAVE NO POLITICAL SOLUTION. ONLY CHAOS AND TOTAL DOMINATION OF YOUR GOD GIVEN BIRTH RIGHTS.

    How would Americans react in their current 30 %underemployed/unemployed circumstance… if China started to impose spending cuts and tax hikes on each the person, that would amount to $3 trillion a year ?? There would be also wage cuts on a scale averaging down 25 percent from their peak, and the unrelenting abuse each hour to force citizens into homelessness , lack of medical emergency and destitute ?

    The Federal Reserve and its Parent the Bank of England has been successful in stealing millions of properties through the housing crises which occurred in England prior to it happening in the US. Here’s how it works in a nutshell. The banks which are provided funds by the Federal Reserve (digital funds) loan money to every breathing soul in America without feeling the need to have documents to prove anything stated on the loan doc EXCEPT the false info that was written. Then as the money is flooded into the demand side of home buying and the prices move upward rapidly, people are borrowing greater amounts of fake digital money that never existed, then the Fed manipulates the interest rate up, starts a rash of defaults which as we all know a default means the BANK owns the property now. So the bank which never put up any real money for the loan (just digital money that they did not have) gets the property when you default. Multiply this scam x millions and you have transferred the deed and title of millions of homes to the banks. Then to top it all off, the bankers convince our (in on the scam congress and the president) to make the citizens bail out the banks so not only did the banks become the owners of all these properties but they also got nice gifts for their epic scam in the form of cash from the citizens who have to pay back the bail out.

    The idea that one central bank of the EU can set monetary and fiscal policy for 28 nations is where the problem lies. All other countries who control their currency are manipulating their economies despite debt loads exponentially greater than Greece. Did you think we would just sit back and not fight? Just let our agriculture rot away and decrease over 40 % of our economic monetary funds because Germany said so. Or let thousands of immigrants flood our country because Germany’s business pal Turkey found huge profits from dumping those poor people without medical passes or documents into Greece. That is the sole responsibility of Germany to pay for all those immigrants who have flooded Southern Mediterranean counties.

    You slander Greeks but there are many other countries in Europe that have more debt than Greece has .Italy and Spain debt to GDF ratio is 325%, the U.K is more then 500%, and Ireland is 667 %. But I don’t here you or anyone calling them insulting names and criticizing there nation. This is no way to treat a nation that you admire so much. And part of those faults are even our own… we still fight the prior Greek government which continues to bribe kids into starting riots and make false propaganda From Samaras. why don’t you start talking about the other countries exiting ? Or have they been continuously paid off to shut their mouths ?

    ( Evil always hates those who are fighting against it – no matter what side its in. )

    Deadbeats should be kicked out of societies with disciplines and responsibilities. Greece has always paid every single cent. Banks do not led out funds to countries who don’t pay. A half of billion Euros were paid last week, and instead of receiving a simple gesture…insulting comments and false bantering from every bribed country is what we continue to receive 24/7.

    Germany who owes Greece loans from 1950,1952,1999, and without counting yet interest accrued on “”” 278.7 billion euros ($302 billion)….equaling : $398 billion with accrued interests in War reparations. “””” LOOK AT YOURSELVES FIRST – YOU OWE… AND PAY-UP !!!

    Russia and China represent the 9th and 2nd largest economies in the world. They are not deadbeats as Germany is, and Greeces ports on the Med provide a very strategic location to both import and export gas and oil to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. You seem to want to talk about rhetoric instead of real issues.

    If EU wants to kick Greece out…Go Ahead . You are playing with fire. ( I believe other poor economies who have taken in the bribes will be tempted to leave) and The EU doesn’t want to push them toward Russia. And guess where those countries will go asking for help? But what will those countries have to offer?

    Would you offer Insults and bantering in trying to make uneducated blind lemmings follow the lies they can print each hour 24/7 ? People are beginning to see they are being fooled. Shut your lying mouths with your moronic puppets from Bloomberg, Rueters and elsewhere…Your stupid comments only encourage the criminal EuroNazi’s to continue ” illegal ” austerity Tax and create more rhetoric, not just for Greece – but against your own gullible selves … the welfare expanded, political correctness over in the factual news, and as the public media kept putting out functionally lies against Greece 24/7… illiterate minorities throughout EU and America, deteriorate common principles into what it is today…blind lemmings who get their info from perverse comment boards encouraging overzealous hatred, with moronic one liner petty opinions.

    Personally, from all the insults you seem to love making…I want you all to go deal with it yourselves. How much of a loser can you possibly be…

    how deplorable and flat out cowardly. Germany must be dead inside, and the only sense of living they feel is to insult and Banter Greece, and make everyone in Europe feel miserable and angry against us. Go ahead keep making rhetoric against us. Appease yourselves with over zealous lies

    Pathetic…How deplorable …and flat out cowardly…

    Germany owes Greece 398 Billion Euros in War reparations, which does not include the gold looted out of Athens by Hitler’s Army, and the artifacts taken by other countries which need to return.

    Don’t worry about us Greeks, we are a very proud nation with huge resources and tremendous human capital United to fight. Worry about yourselves for believing you can not survive with the EuroNazi’s. Shame on you all.

    Do you have any idea how many of our fathers died against fascism, occupancy and slavery ? There is No chance for Germany or anyone on this Planet to ever change our Greek culture and customers.

    The Glass is Broken – We Will Never Forget. Come Try And Take Us…