Tag Archives: Alexis Tspiras

So, the gloves are off. Anyone who thought negotiations between the new radical-left Greek government and its creditors were going to be conciliatory, or even rational, must think again. It’s only a few days since Syriza’s seismic election victory and the installation of Alexis Tspiras as Prime Minister. Yet discussions over Athens’ €350bn (£240bn) debt mountain – owed mainly to other eurozone governments, the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank – have already turned ugly.

Greece and its official creditors are now issuing full-blooded threats and counter-threats, regardless of the impact on financial markets. The Athens Stock Exchange endured single-day double-digit percentage falls last week. On Tuesday, Greek banks, effectively controlled by official foreign creditors, lost over a quarter of their value.
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Some 10 million Greek voters went to the polls yesterday, in an election with big implications for the future of monetary union. Even if Greece stays in the single currency, after choosing a party determined to defy the European Central Bank, negotiations over bond repayments between Athens and Frankfurt will be extremely hard-fought. The upcoming rhetorical slugfest, whatever the outcome, will have ripple effects across other “peripheral” members of the 19-country currency bloc which could send global bond markets haywire.

This Hellenic election holds big significance for Britain too. Ahead of our general election in May 2015, fears of renewed eurozone turmoil, which this Greek vote could spark, will bolster eurosceptics across all parties. That could lead to an earlier vote on UK European Union membership.

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