Having been shamed what seems like numerous times now by the Eurogroup in recent weeks, Greece suffered its greatest humiliation today. First, the farcical renaming of 'Troika' to 'Institutions' was summarily dismissed as "semantics," as France played good cop (asking for the group not to call it Troika) while Germany's bad-cop Schaeuble used the T-word four times in one interview. And second, Eurogroup chairman Dijsselbloem stated that "technical teams will begin considering Greek reform plans on Wednesday," adding that some of the negotiations will have to take place "in situ in Athens." So instead of discussing reforms with institutions in Brussels, the Varoufakis-defined "cabal of technocrats" Troika will be back on Greek soil to straighten out the nation.
Reuters explains that, despite the Eurogroup deciding to call the Troika "institutions"...
The Eurogroup now calls the troika "the institutions" and the talks will, formally at least, be based in Brussels. EU ministers say they do not want "semantics" to get in the way of negotiations intended to prevent Greece going bankrupt and potentially being forced to abandon the single currency.
Not everyone did... (as The Guardian notes)
Greek officials are not hiding their frustration at the reappearance of the dreaded word “Troika” in statements made by several euro zone finance ministers today, reports Helena Smith.
The German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble, no less, used it four or five times - in what some are calling a deliberate act of spite.
To which the Greeks responded...
“Why couldn’t he just say institutions? We agreed on February 20th that there was no more Troika.”
And the French played peacekeeper...
"It's important to make the effort" of not speaking about the troika anymore, says Sapin.
Then things got even worse for the Greeks credibility...
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has previously insisted the "troika is finished," describing them as "a cabal of technocrats that used to enter ministries with power play that smacked of colonial attitude."
He was instead willing to discuss reforms with the institutions in Brussels, but as The Guardian reports today, European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas, stated some of the negotiations between Greek authorities and technical teams, aimed at fleshing out reforms, would have to take place "in situ in Athens."
As Dijsselbloem explains, The Eurogroup discussed the current review of the Greece's commitments under the existing arrangement. Ministers agreed that Greece and the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund would begin discussions on Wednesday (11 March), in Brussels.
Technical teams from the institutions will be welcome in Athens to support this process.
Greek FinMin Varoufakis stomped his feet a little... (as ekathimerini reports,)
"The idea of troika visits, comprising cabals of technocrats from the three institutions in lockstep walking into our ministries and trying to implement a program which has failed ... that is a thing of the past,"
"We will consult wherever possible but #Greece can't ask permission for every single thing" #Greece
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So Troika is back with boots on the ground in Athens... austerity continues... and the country has 3 weeks or less cash until it is done... but apart from that - as Spain said this morning "I see no risk of Greek bankruptcy."