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31 March, 2015

A "Schultz faction" undermines negotiations with Greece

globinfo freexchange

A hard political background and lobbying with "Schulz's signature" is being played behind the negotiations in Brussels Group - a background that seems to be aimed directly at extending the credit crunch and the delay of any agreement for Greece.

Some sources close to the Greek negotiating team describe the climate of the negotiations in Brussels Group as "quite good and constructive".

However, despite the disagreements concerning additional measures, the basic problem is clearly political, as lenders demand from Athens to present instantly specific figures for the fiscal targets of 2015. The lenders insist on these figures without taking account the output of the latest tax regulations, the expected income from the tax fraud, or, the perspective of a debt relief claimed by the Greek side.

The pressure is enforced mainly by Martin Schulz's euro-socialists who have a strong presence in the negotiating teams and appear to be stronger hardliners than those of Angela Merkel's team. According to some sources from Brussels, the "Schultz faction" continuously lobbying the Greek positions, targeting Tsipras' policy, as the president of the euro parliament is the number one candidate for SPD and the chancellery.

A potential success of the Leftist government under Alexis Tsipras is considered a threat against the power of the Social democrats in Europe, therefore a threat against the current political status.

This specific "lobbying" appears to be responsible for the recent leaks who blame the Greek side about "bad preparation", "amateurism" and "lack of coherence" inside the Greek negotiating team. These tactics, according to some sources, aim to delay any agreement and worsening the fiscal situation of the country. The ultimate goal is to drag the Greek government into a heavy "third rescue package" in June.

Under such a possibility, the result would be the weakening of Alexis Tsipras' political "purity", who would be forced to cooperate with systemic political forces, like Potami, as being quite popular among the "hardliners" in Berlin and Brussels. "Potami should be here", is one of the phrases being heard recently in Brussels.


There are two basic conclusions coming from the whole story. First, obviously, the European Socialists are in panic as they feel a threat by a potential general rise of the Left in Europe, which will fill a large political gap. As the Socialists adopted the neoliberal doctrine, suddenly, they are left with no role to play in the European societies. The Socialists in Greece almost vanished, while in Spain, France and elsewhere lost much of their power already:

... to me, the most important change and transformation over the last two decades, as financialization went into overdrive, is the collapse of all social democracy, the social democrats. [...] obviously, in Europe and elsewhere, it has collapsed. And the reason it's collapsed is because it basically accepted, lock, stock, and barrel, the arguments of neoliberalism, the idea of the market, the idea of financial growth, of financial expansion. It really believed in it. And the ones who argue most forcefully still for that are actually social democrats. It's incredible. And, therefore, their influence, certainly in Europe, it's just a vanishing. The social democratic party in Greece has disappeared. The social democratic party in Spain is disappearing nearly as fast. Social democrats in Portugal are nowhere to be seen. In country after country--in Germany, the social democracy is hobbled because of that, because they've accepted these--they've got nothing to propose which would be the equivalent of what they used to propose back in the '50s and the '60s and the '70s, ...” (

Second, the systemic establishment inside and outside Greece, tries to "downgrade" the Left politically, by dragging it closer to the dominant neoliberal doctrine. The lenders of Greece are taking advantage of the devastated landscape caused by their policies and use every mean to make Tsipras administration compromise. If they succeed they will achieve a major victory for three reasons:

1st: They will manage to continue the interrupted (for the moment) experiment in Greece and expand it in Europe.

2nd: They will hit heavily current Greek government popularity and acceptance.

3rd: They will probably prevent a further rise of the Left in Europe, as the disappointed voters will realize that the Left is not able to keep its promises for a different Europe away from bankers, lobbyists and the new Feudalism.

Scenario 2: SYRIZA will not gather the required percentage to form an autonomous government. As the options are limited in the political anti-austerity front, it may be forced to cooperate with the Socialists (PASOK), which may be presented with a more populist profile to persuade that they start to abandon neoliberal ideology, and the River [Potami] party, which is clearly a creation of the media to attract voters from the Left. These systemic parties will try to control as much as possible the coalition so that some basic 'achievements' of the Greek experiment will not be threatened. Subsequently, these parties may be used to destabilize the government by breaking the coalition.” (


  1. I'm afraid Tsipas and Varoufakis are trying to resurrect some kind of "Old Europe" social democracy from the neo-liberal institutions (including the nominally Social Democratic parties) that were its assassins. See The SYRIZA Moment: A Skeptical Argument

    1. SYRIZA needs Leftist coalitions. We are in a transition phase where societies try to defend themselves from the neoliberal hurricane which crushes every European nation and opens the road for the new Feudalism. SYRIZA is now in a defence position until it finds (if it finds), wider alliances in Europe to start the real Left counterattack for the European people.