The First Defeat

ATHENS/BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) – Germany’s imposition of its austerity policy suffered a first serious defeat in yesterday’s Greek referendum. Over 61 percent of the Greek voters rejected an agreement with the creditors that would have provided for a continuation of the German austerity measures. This defeat is all the more serious for Berlin, because German politicians had massively interfered in the Greek referendum debate. The decision whether there will be new negotiations – and if so, under what conditions – must now be taken. Whereas many Greeks celebrated the rejection of the austerity dictate yesterday evening, German politicians declared that it is “difficult to imagine” new negotiations with the government of Prime Minister Tsipras (the German Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel). Greece is heading toward a Grexit and a “humanitarian catastrophe” (Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament). Paris however is risking conflict with Berlin. Yesterday evening, the governing Parti Socialiste (PS) took a clear stand “against the austerity measures,” which has “shriveled Greece’s Gross Domestic Product and driven a large number of Greeks into poverty.” Today’s meeting between the German chancellor and the French president may produce the first decisions.

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