Waarom Griekenland zijn eigen geld maar vast moet gaan drukken

The gaps between Greece and creditors look too large to bridge.

Following the No vote in yesterday’s Greek referendum, the battle lines are being drawn around Europe. The Greek crisis is forcing the eurozone to face up to the existential question which it has dodged since the crisis hit – whether to integrate further or whether to adjust its membership. However, not unexpectedly, a number of countries have different reactions to this question and the splits are already emerging.

One thing all sides agree on is the need for more talks – they do love a good emergency summit in Europe. Of course, it would be nearly impossible to reject new talks out of hand, as it would seem as if eurozone leaders were rejecting the democratic vote in Greece, which would play into Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ game of blaming the creditors for all of Greece’s woes.

The substance of the talks is an entirely different matter though. A German government spokesman drove this home saying the “preconditions have not been met” for a new bail-out deal for Greece and debt restructuring is not on the table. France’s Finance Minister Michel Sapin went a bit easier saying there is “nothing automatic” with regards to Grexit, adding that there is “a basis for” negotiation. The Baltics and the Dutch unsurprisingly rallied around the German hard line, while Italian Prime Minister has tempered his initially tough tone somewhat.

The fault lines and divisions across Europe have once again been exposed by the crisis. The difference this time is that papering them over will prove much harder. There is little wiggle room in these current talks. Tsipras has made it clear he believes Greece needs some kind of debt relief and is unlikely to budge after being emboldened by the strong No. Given that 76 per cent of Greek debt is held by taxpayer-backed institutions this would inevitably involve some kind of transfer, which will have to be explained to taxpayers across the eurozone. It is clear there is no consensus around such a prospect and pushing it through would be democratically and legally impossible.

Lees deze column van Raoul Ruparel verder op The Telegraph