Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Greece Considers Re-Opening Close Contacts With Putin

A map of the Mediterranean to hand is useful when reading the news on the Cyprus stand-off.  Now it is reported in the Fatto Quotidiano that the Cypriot Finance minister is no longer talking just to his Russian counterpart, and  that talks which were originally about extending the Russian loan and reducing its interest rate have now moved to another venue and onto "other matters'.  What these might be can be readily guessed and their importance and generality intuited  if the further suggestion that Mr Putin has asked the President of Cyprus to come to Moscow is correct.

Meanwhile the Church has intervened to offer its full support to the Cyprus government and  points out that it is the largest land owner on the island and wholly disposed to making land available to the state.  It suggests also development bonds for the land that would be subscribed down to parish level throughout the island.

Greece too is now wondering if it should seek renewed close contacts with Mr Putin via former Conservative prime minister Costas Karamanlis, whose vision of Greece as an energy hub dovetails with Russian gas delivery via South Stream into Europe and particularly to Italy.

Northern European Union moral hazard nerds are uniting a Southern European community of interest  they do not seem  to have fully grasped.


Nick Drew said...

what an amazing prospect - an Orthodox power-bloc founded on Russian gas

if you ever look at Gazprom maps of gas supplies to Europe, they have these big, bold red arrows arcing from east to west, and you cannot help but be reminded of, errr, ...

well, Жу́ков and Конев, to be precise

Jeff Wood said...

It is becoming a chess game played in several dimensions.

In the matter of the EU, and the IMF as led by FruFru Lagarde, it is usually safest never to attribute to incompetence what can be explained by malice, but now both seem to be in play.

I am amused by the increasing frequency of the high heid yins getting a poke in the eyeball. Perhaps Greece will make up for their previous passivity.

hatfield girl said...

Very fine, isn't it N.

I particularly like the fact that the Troika members, Maarten Verwey for the EU, Delia Velculescu ('mission leader') for the IMF, and Isabel von Koppen Mertes for the ECB, have taken on the role of animators of this scenario.

Nothing like a taught Masters from the University of Groningen is there? Or membership of the European team at the IMF; or a couple of occasional papers (from the in-house vanity publisher) as the third and fourth named author, to display your credentials for dealing with EU member states in the delinquent South. Particularly if you have already shown your junior mettle whacking the Greeks. History doesn't absolve them, does it.

Their photographs do them justice though (or at least the only justice we'll ever be able to deliver).

Fancy setting off the current arm -wrestling between Berlin and Moscow (let alone the massive runs and resource-shifting that's been going on) because of petty level administrators' knee-jerk responses to moral hazard.

hatfield girl said...

Hello J, There must be room for the suspicion that Lagarde nearly had a heart attack when her 'mission leader's' best efforts started paying off (or playing up).

One of the unacknowledged problems of England being so remote from the EU and in particular the Eurozone, is that imperial experience and knowledge is untapped. No English civil servant's political antennae would not have twitched at the very word Cyprus, never mind Cyprus and Russian bank deposits. They'd have been in with the Treasury and the Foreign Office, and Defence, before you could say Makarios.

I wonder that these troikerenes didn't notice not one but two British sovereign bases on the island. Why here, they might have said to themselves (but didn't).

Perhaps the Dutch are better when it comes to the East Indies. Don't know what Bulgarians are good at, or the daughters of the European aristocracy.