Elton John sang that “sorry seems to be the hardest word”. In the case of the protracted comings and goings surrounding the possible Grexit (Greek exit from the Eurozone in case you’ve been residing in a cave for the last six months), the word “finally” seems to be the hardest, It’s nigh on impossible to keep track of the missed deadlines and ”last ditch” talks.
The negotiating process is like an infinitely stretchable piece of elastic, as each failure to agree produces yet more talks, more failures, more talks and so on and so on. It’s reminiscent of the nightmare unfolding in Kafka’s The Trial where every time the main character thinks he’s proved his innocence he finds there’s another legal hurdle to jump.
The main sticking point seems to be the Greek government’s plan to raise taxes, rather than reduce spending, to pay back the shedloads of borrowed eurowonga. The IMF thinks it should be the other way round. For example, raising the retirement age would cut the pension bill and cut government spending, but you can imagine how hard that would be to sell to Greek voters.
You have to feel great sympathy for younger Greeks, who had no part in ramping up Greece’s debt but who are now snared in the economic maelstrom. According to newspapers Tuesday next week is supposed to be the new ”final” deadline when an IMF loan comes up for repayment. I’ve got news for them: “finally” doesn’t seem to figure in the Greek dictionary.