Comment: Off the leash – Greece refuses to pay IMF bill

Greece has refused to pay the £219m bill to the IMF planned for today, as an angry reaction to the ultimatum presented by the country’s creditors.

Along with the much-needed £5.2billion that was offered to Greece by its creditors, the ultimatum presented included further cuts and tax rises.

The Greek government described the terms presented as ‘shocking, dishonourable and provocative’.

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek PM and leader of left-wing party Syriza, argues that the only viable and reasonable arrangement is that suggested by his government.

Earlier this week Tsipras reassured Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, that Greece was ready to make the payment.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said.

Greece was said to have the money for today’s payment, marking the decision not to pay as a negotiating tactic rather than anything else.

The new plan is to bundle Greece’s four June payments into one, which will be due on the June 30.

The last time a country needed to bundle up multiple payments into one was in the 1980s in Zambia.

Tsipras did not hesitate to open Pandora’s box once again by contacting Russia’s Vladimir Putin this afternoon to discuss energy issues.

The opening of additional doors with Russia, despite the EU’s recent sanctions, only adds to the gambling tendencies of the newly elected government.

In this game of poker, the Greek government has decided to bravely play ‘all-in’ with all its fellow players who are surprisingly still in the game.

When the new left-wing government came into power in January, the people of Greece made an obvious statement: they wanted change. And in theory, they got what they asked for.

However, in a country stricken by the crisis for more than five years now, change is relative.

The new government has been in power for almost six months now and its creditors are still not convinced that progress is being made.

The Greek population is still struggling and the government’s negotiating tactics have not resulted into any kind of relief for anyone involved.

Today’s decision has increased the chances of a Greek default or an election sooner rather than later.

Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has asked Angela Merkel to visit the country and give a ‘Speech of Hope’ to the Greek people.

With the hopes of a recovery still looming, not even a ‘Speech of Hope’ by Mrs Merkel would make things better.

The government is in great need of a direction to help the country recover, instead of pushing it further deeper into recession.

The Greek PM is planned to address the Greek government later today.

Picture courtesy of Fredrik Rubensson, with thanks

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