Europe’s most abstruse pen pals were busy yesterday, locked in correspondence to seal a four-month extension of its bailout program for Greece. Let’s cut through the bureaucratic language to see how the continent is papering over the lack of consensus on its economic problems.
The letters all came in response to the new Greek government, which sent a plan to extend its bailout program to Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutchman who heads the group of euro-zone finance ministers known as the Eurogroup. The authors were the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission, which sent their tentative approval of Greece’s list of reforms, with an emphasis on tentative, to Dijsselbloem, who reluctantly did the same.
Here’s our translation of key passages in the letters from eurospeak into plain English:
Now, parliaments in a handful of euro zone countries must vote to approve the four-month extension by the end of the month, or else the stress on the Greek financial system may lead to full collapse. Greece still won’t receive any further aid from its lenders until it gains final approval of its new reform packages, and judging by the above, the country has bought itself time to make its case, not confidence.
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