First step of an agreement with Greece reached, but . . .

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council


An agreement between certain European and Greek leaders was reached:

July 13, 2015

PARIS—After 17-hours of negotiations in Brussels, eurozone leaders reached a deal that would see Greece enact difficult reforms in return for a massive new bailout.

But the agreement reached by Greece and the other 18 eurozone members is by no means a done deal.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must now get his country’s parliament to approve tough new austerity measures by Wednesday.

Tsipras must also sell the measures to a Greek public who rejected less stringent bailout terms in a referendum just the week before.


Several eurozone members, including Germany, one of the biggest skeptics of a new deal, must also seek parliamentary approval just to start negotiations on a new assistance package for Athens.

But leaders, starting with European Union President Donald Tusk, hailed the accord.

“The decision gives Greece a chance to get back on track with the support of European parliaments. It also avoids the social, economic and political consequences that a negative outcome would have brought,” Tusk said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after Greek parliament approved the conditions, she would recommend “in full confidence” that German lawmakers approve the deal.

Merkel said there was a broad array of supports, which, if implemented, would pave the way for Greece to return to growth, but it would be a long and difficult path.

Tsipras faces some difficult days ahead as he seeks approval at home.

The new austerity demands come in return for a new three-year, $95 billion bailout agreement for Athens.

Tsipras said his team had fought a tough battle, but he had to make some tough decisions to avoid a harsher outcome.  Without an agreement, Greece risked bankruptcy and a possible exit from the eurozone.

The EU wants to help Greece, Greece wants the help, but difficulties remain.

The European Union wants Greece to be part of the Eurozone. It does not want Greece to possibly turn to Russia for financial assistance. This situation is tough for the Germans and the Greeks. The Germans feel that they have lent Greece money in good faith and that they are not being paid back as agreed, while the Greeks feel that they have sacrificed enough.

Here is a report related to what Greece needs to do as part of the agreement:

July 13, 2015

Here is a look at what Greece must do:

— Request continued support from the International Monetary Fund after its current IMF program expires in early 2016.

— Streamline consumer tax and broaden the tax base to increase revenue. Laws on this are due by Wednesday.

— Multiple reforms to the pension system to make it financially viable. Initial reforms are due by Wednesday, others by October.

— Safeguard the independence of the country’s statistics agency.

— Introduce laws by Wednesday that would ensure “quasi-automatic spending cuts” if the government misses its budget surplus targets.

— Overhaul the civil justice system by July 22 to make it more efficient and reduce costs.

— Carry out product market reforms that include allowing stores to open on Sundays, broadening sales periods, opening up pharmacy ownership, reforming the bakeries and milk market and opening up closed and protected professions, including ferry transport.

— Privatize the electricity transmission network operator unless alternative measures with the same effect can be found.

— Overhaul the labor market. This includes reviewing collective bargaining, industrial action and collective dismissal regulations.

— Tackle banks’ non-performing loans and strengthen bank governance.

— Significantly increase the privatization program, transferring 50 billion euros worth of Greek assets to an independent fund, based in Greece, to carry out the privatizations.

— Modernize, strengthen and reduce the costs of Greek administration, with a first proposal to be provided by July 20.

— Allow members of the three institutions overseeing Greece’s reforms — the European Central Bank, IMF and European Commission, previously known as the ‘troika’ — to return to Athens. The government must consult with the institutions on all relevant draft legislation before submitting it to public consultation or to parliament.

— Re-examine, with a view to amend, legislation passed in the last six months that is deemed to have backtracked on previous bailout commitments.

One idea that had been floated, but is not listed above, is basically that Greece would pledge some of its islands as collateral.  Notice a report claiming that the deal will make Greece a colony of the northern Europeans:

July 13, 2015

Tsipras insisted he had fought “a righteous battle” to secure the deal. He predicted that the “great majority of Greek people will support this effort”.

But after sacrificing most of his election promises to keep the country in the euro, the novice premier’s political survival could be at stake, despite his high popularity.

Labour Minister Panos Skourletis, a former Tsipras spokesman, predicted Monday that the government would lose its majority in parliament and have to hold elections later this year.

“There is now an issue of government majority (in parliament)…. I see (elections) in 2015, it’s imperative,” Skourletis told state TV ERT.

‘Debt colony’

The Iskra website, which echoes the views of Tsipras’s chief party opponent, eurosceptic Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, did not pull its punches either.

“After 17 hours of ‘negotiations’, the leaders of eurozone states reached a humiliating agreement for Greece and the Greek people,” the website said.

Greece would become a “debt colony” in a “German-supervised EU,” the hardline leftist outlet said.

According to reports, Tsipras is considering reshuffling his cabinet to axe Lafazanis and a few other anti-euro hardliners.

So, it would seem that many in Greece will not love this deal, and some in Germany will be disappointed with the lack of tangible assets.

The government of Alex Tsipras finally seems to realize that the Europeans/Germans have been subsidizing their nation for some time and that lack of subsidy will hurt.   (Of course, most Americans do not realize how much they have been subsidized and big problems will hit the USA because of it per Habakkuk 2:6-8.)

There will be difficulties in Greece. Notice something from the Wall Street Journal:

July 13, 2015

Greeks gave a mixed reaction Monday to news that Mr. Tsipras had reached a deal with lenders that includes punishing austerity measures that go far beyond the ones overwhelmingly rejected in a July 5 referendum.

Mr. Tsipras now finds himself in a surreal position politically. The new deal —in which Greece would receive bailout money totaling up to €86 billion ($96 billion) in exchange for heavily opposed reforms such as pension cuts and VAT hikes—represents a spectacular U-turn for Mr. Tsipras, who was swept into office in January on an antiausterity platform.

Now, he must back tougher versions of the measures he has vehemently disavowed for months. And to get the new package through Greece’s parliament by Wednesday, as required by Greece’s creditors, he must rely on backing from political opponents, rather than his own left-wing Syriza party.

Every day of delay in the agreement would seem to mean a delay in Greece getting funds and funding, so ‘necessity’ may get this through the Greek parliament.  And on the European side, the leaders there are likely pleased that Greece will now not have to turn to Russia or China and away from Europe.

I still expect to see more civil unrest in Greece, as well as parts of Europe that civil unrest would seem to be almost unheard of, before Europe more fully comes together.

As regular readers of this news page are aware, the Bible is clear that the final European Beast power will be a mixture of of weak and strong parties that do not adhere particularly well together per Daniel 2:41-43. But it will adhere for a time and the end result will be that the Beast power will arise and surprise many (Revelation 13:1-4).

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