The most problematic of the EU's economy for the first 20 years showed signs of recovery from depression - Greece's budget became surplus. Against this background, the IMF and Brussels have stepped up the pressure, as if demonstrating that "Shrugged" Athens still will not give. In this situation, the proud, but poor Greeks - almost the main Russian friends in the EU - only hope for Marine Le Pen.
Greece is traditionally considered the conductor of Russia's interests in the EU, especially since the current prime minister of the country, Alexis Tsipras, is friendly towards Moscow and rather skeptical towards Brussels. Athens has repeatedly objected to the extension of anti-Russian sanctions and demonstratively did not participate in attempts to "isolate" the Russian Federation - the same Tsipras arrived in Moscow during the most acute crisis in Russian-European relations. But it would be naive to expect more from the Greeks - they themselves urgently needed help, primarily from the EU. But then came the day when the patient, it seems, went on the mend.
According to the Greek statistical service Elstat, at the end of the year 2016 the total public sector budget of the republic for the first time with 1995 year was closed with a surplus. The primary surplus was more than 6,9 billion euros (3,9% of GDP), and the total - 1,3 billion euros. For comparison, a year before that the Greek budget deficit was equal to Euro 10,427 billion (5,9% of GDP), while in the year already 2013 23,749 billion euros.
This was achieved by increasing revenue while reducing expenditures. However, revenues grew too much - the Euro 2,65 billion a year (mainly due to the increase in tax revenues and insurance funds), but the costs were cut immediately to 9 billion - up to 86,185 billion euros. Actually, this is the one of the major conditions of the international financial institutions and the European Union exposed to the Greeks: we will help you if you cut public spending wherever possible.
On Tuesday, Alexis Tsipras in his television appearance affirmed loyalty to the course: "We have to vote for austerity measures to get the solution to the problem of public debt." But until this problem is still far from being solved. In the 2015, the public debt of Greece was 311,668 billion euros (177,4% of GDP), and in 2016 year stood at 314,897 billion euros (179% of GDP).
The situation is compounded by the fact that the process of the second assessment of the situation with the Greek debt by creditors may not be completed for several months, and without it the next Greece (and very necessary for her) aid tranche receives. In this case, the part of creditors regularly sound the warning statement.
For example, a few days ago the director of the IMF Kristin Lagard said that the Fund may refuse to support Greece if its debt will not meet "reasonable parameters." However, she recalled that Greece receives assistance through the European Stability Mechanism, and also recognized the need for "some restructuring" of existing debt.
For its part, Tsipras again accused of putting pressure on lenders to Greece and tightening their assessment of the situation with debts, stating that they demanded "in 42 times more measures" than those already undertaken, such as the next of layoffs of civil servants. Prime Minister insists that the assessment should be completed before 22 of May, ie the date on which the next scheduled meeting of the Eurogroup on Greece.
The well-known Russian economist Vasily Koltashova, who lived for several years in Greece, Athens achieving budget surpluses should satisfy the IMF and other creditors of the country, because their goal is not the elimination of the debt and its stable service with a limited budget deficit, or its absence. But the Greek economy while any recovery does not feel and it is unlikely in the near future will feel: the standard of living in the country has fallen too far.
"The last time some positive news for Greece was in 2014 when it was announced that the European economy had overcome the crisis, but since then there has been no change for the better," says Koltashov. - All results in the field of budgetary economy have been achieved by absolutely brutal means - for example, the liquidation of a large number of vacancies. The "budgetary" miracle in the Greek economy does not change anything, and achieving a budget surplus will not entail any bonuses. If Greece itself copes with this task, why should she help? This is the logic of creditors. "
Has not led to proper results and the calculation for the privatization of various assets, which, according to the Greek creditors, had to attract investment into the country: the right number of people willing to invest in a depressed economy can not be found, and if some of the major sites and managed to sell to foreigners, it happened it is a big scratch.
A recent example is the transfer to concession by 2051 of the second largest in Greece port of Thessaloniki to an international consortium consisting of Deutsche Invest Equity Partners GmbH, Belterra Investments LTD and Terminal Link SAS. A few days ago, this group won an international tender for the acquisition of 67% stake in the port, offering for them 231,9 million euros and pledging to invest in it another 180 million euros in the next seven years. However, the search for investors for the port of Thessaloniki lasted almost three years, and in the process, such large structures as Russian Railways and the Danish container operator Maersk were considered as bidders for the purchase, but in the end they lost the tender.
In this process of privatization under pressure from Western creditors in Greece, there was an increase traditionally low (for state-subsidized) rates for the use of waterways, with the result that the population was less use of sea transport, and communications between mainland Greece and its islands weakened.
The tragedy of the Greek situation, stresses Koltashov, is that the country can not repay its debt or to rebel against it, because in this case, will lose one of its main sources of income - tourists from the European Union, primarily from Germany. "To resist is quite impossible, and most importantly, no one. Only in case of victory Marin Le Pen and the formation of a Franco-British unit that something can change. Otherwise, Greece will suffer all the humiliation which only want the IMF and the European Union ", - says economist.
In this case, the official circles of Greece - at least much of it - is hardly willing to implementation of such a scenario. Immediately after the victory of Emmanuel Makron in the first round of presidential elections in France, Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President at the opening of the Forum of ancient civilizations in Athens, said the following:
"European culture reveals that she wants to recover. We, the peoples of Europe are determined to not leave at the mercy of those who advocate the destruction of Europe, for the destruction of European civilization. European nations do not want to keep the remnants of Nazism and fascism, so that they interrupted the course of European civilization, and yesterday the results of voting in France showed that. "
Yes, Greece - a parliamentary republic, and the Prime Minister Tsipras attributable to the Euro-skeptics, much more authority. However, from his former militancy and determination was gone - he continues to Greece in the pan-European line, in spite of all the losses (for example, from the anti-Russian sanctions). And it seems that the choice he is not there.