First, from Eurostat, the latest debt-to-GDP ratios for the European Union, with the ration for all 28 nations in blue and for the 18-member common currency [euro] zone in red:
And from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, Greek debt soars again:
More from To Vima:
The Greek statistics authority ELSTAT has published its latest figures of the quarterly non-financial accounts of General Government for the second quarter of 2016, according to which the country’s public debt increased to 315.29 billion euros, from 301.26 billion euros last year.
The quarterly non-financial accounts of General Government provide information on the aggregates constituting General Government revenue (taxes, social contributions, capital transfers, etc) and expenditure (compensation of employees, intermediate consumption, social benefits, interest payments, etc).
And there’s lots that’s objectionable, given that much of the debt was extorted by German companies through bribes.
From To Vima:
The Greek public debt continues to cause tension between the USA and Germany, as the IMF’s Annual Meeting is about to begin. The IMF’s Christine Lagarde has repeated that the debt is not sustainable, while US Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew argued that Greece needs debt restructuring as soon as possible.
Speaking at an event on the sidelines of the IMF meetings, the US official stated that “the only consistent answer to a non-sustainable debt is its restructuring” and that “the more you delay it, the harder it gets for the economy sustaining it”. Mr. Lew also pointed out that the last bailout agreement stated that debt restructuring should be on the table and that it’s not sustainable.
In response Germany’s Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble insists that the problem is not the public debt, but rather that level of competition in the Greek economy. The German official further claimed that the focus on the debt issue is deceiving the Greek people, thus preventing what needs to be done.
Meanwhile the Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis commented that the Greek program is operating very well and that the Greek economy is returning to growth. Mr. Dombrovskis added that the completion of the second review will help restore financial stability.
Finally, European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici clarified that he wants the IMF to continue to participate in the Greek bailout program and that an agreement on the debt may be examined by the end of the year. Mr. Moscovici stressed that Greece must, however, continue implementing the program as agreed. Should the second review be successful and the financial climate improves, he explained, then measures regarding the debate will be discussed, as agreed at the Eurogroup in May.
The latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver tackles predatory used car lending, complete with abducted babies, annoying beeps, and warnings that yet another lending bubble is about to burst.
As usual, it’s both amusing and omnious, and, as always, well worth your time.
From Last Week Tonight:
Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Auto lenders can steer vulnerable people into crushing debt. Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban help John Oliver show exactly how.
From the Wall Street Journal via Popular Resistance, with a H/T to Undernews:
With Greece reeling under demands to repay debts to German banks, Greece is preparing demands that Europe’s economic giant should make good on the costs of German looting, extortion, and other damage inflicted during World War II.
The findings of the intra-party committee which was set up to look into Greek claims for German war reparations are expected to be submitted to Parliament in early September, reports said on Friday. The committee wrapped up its probe on July 27.
Greece is demanding 269 billion euros – adjusted to inflation – for damages incurred during the Nazi occupation in World War II, including forced loans plus interest.
According to German magazine Der Spiegel, the 77-page report recommends that Greece employs diplomatic means to persuade Germany but doesn’t rule out legal action if that fails.
The reparations issue has been repeatedly raised by the SYRIZA-led coalition and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras timed an appeal last week – to European leaders for solidarity over the country’s debt burden – to coincide with the anniversary of the so-called London Debt Agreement in 1953, which secured West Germany a write-down of more than 50 percent of the debts it accumulated during the two world wars.
Given that much of the money extracted from Greece in recent years went to Germany, debts that have driven the nation deep into economic misery because of austerity measures imposed by the German-dominated European Central Bank and the European Commission, plus the International Monetary Fund, we think the Greeks have an excellent case.
Add in the fact that much of that debt comes from contracts to German firms, companies that extracted the wealth by criminally bribing officials of previous conservative Greek governments, there’s goof cause for debt relief, and reparations is a good first step.
The supposedly radical government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras swept into power in January 2015 on a promise to end the austerity and debt slavery imposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
But when push came to shove, Tsipras knuckled under, and yet more jobs were cut, more salaries lowered, more pensions slashed, health care reduced, and still more Greek national assets were sold off the sate the banksters of Northern Europe [read Germany].
And now, with austerity biting deeper, three-quarters of a million Greeks are about to lose their homes and businesses.
From To Vima:
About one and a half million tax payers may face foreclosures from tax authorities for debts over 500 euros. Half of them – 755,806 – are expected to face mandatory liquidation measures, namely property and bank accounts seized.
At the end of June the tax authorities announced that 4,003,372 have tax debts. The General Secretariat of Public Revenue may enforce mandatory liquidation measures on 1,492,088 of them, given that many debtors may either not have assets or may be bankrupt.
Tax debts amount to almost 90 billion euros, which is about half of the country’s gross domestic product. The new overdue debts generated in 2016 amount to 6.8 billion euros, with 5.956 billion euros being unpaid taxes. In June alone 1.2 billion euros worth of debts were generated, with 903 million euros being unpaid taxes.
Despite [or more likely because of] the severe austerity imposed on Greece by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, there’s no sign of a recovery as both imports and exports continue to decline according to the latest data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority: