Europe’s misinformation campaign about Greece continues

In the aftermath of the deal Greece was forced to accept , public opinion  in many European countries, including Germany, has forced politicians to defend their decision – but not necessarily by providing the public with the truth. An apparent attempt is being made to  sanitize the agreement and make it appear as a good deal for Greece, generously made by the European family  in good faith, and with the aim to help the people of Greece.

Reuters reports that German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel  in a TV interview at the weekend, said   that the Greek deal could succeed where previous ones failed because the European Union now emphasises growth and investment rather than just austerity (!) Strangely enough, this is exactly the deal what the Greek government was arguing for in the first place, but their argument wasn’t even listened to. So, it would seem that if  Mr Gabriel tells everybody that this deal emphasises growth he either does not know what are the terms of the deal, or he is deliberately misinforming the German public.

The success of the deal would depend on reforms being enacted, he said,   and “convincing the population that this is a path that allows Greece to assert itself rather than becoming a permanent alms-receiver,”  Gabriel, again is confusing spending cuts with reforms, implying that the naughty Greeks do not want reforms,  something which is also entirely untrue.

Gabriel rejected accusations Germany had been too hard on Athens and criticised Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for suggesting Greece could quit the euro zone temporarily.

The challenge for euro zone leaders is  to convince their electorates of the merits of the deal, with more than half of Germans thinking that the planned deal with Greece is bad, while significant numbers would  like Greece left out of the euro zone, as a YouGov survey seen by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag showed.

Similarly French President Francois Hollande, who pushed hard for a deal, felt the need to present the deal in a positive light to the French public, saying that  the Greek crisis had weakened Europeans’ faith in the European project.

“What threatens us is not an excess of Europe but its insufficiency,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, reiterating calls for the creation of a euro zone government, but omitting any mention  that the fading of the european ideal could also have something to do with the lack of democracy in the German dominated European institutions.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis called on the Greek parliament to pass laws on reforms “very quickly,” in an interview due to be published in German newspaper Bild on Monday. He said negotiations on a third bailout for Greece would take several weeks, according to comments released ahead of publication.

Dombrovskis defended the decision to grant Greece bridge financing even though the Greek parliament had not yet passed its whole reform program, saying that the funds were important to prevent the country from sliding into insolvency and had only been granted once the Greek parliament had passed some reforms‎.

But he warned that the EU would “in the worst case scenario” hold off paying funds to Greece from the EU budget if Greece broke agreements and did not pay back the emergency loan. He said a Greek exit from the euro zone “is not on our agenda,” but Athens needed to stick to its agreements and carry out reforms in return for solidarity.

What he meant  is that Europe will lent Greece more money to pay back the interest on the money Europe lent Greece to save European banks, and will add the amount on the Greek taxpayer’s bill. And that this  money will be secured against the grants Greece is entitled to, being a member of the European union. But that sounds too complicated ….