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Thread: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

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    Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    An interesting meeting that reveals the fractured nature of the EU. Furthermore, depending on how things pan out, it may be a sign of a rather significant shift in the balance of power in the Mediterranean. There has been quite a bit of Russian investment that has suffered because of the financial crisis. Not only that but Greece has been denied access to Russian markets at a time when its economy needs such support. If Russia can pull this one off, it would be quite significant. However, that is not likely. What it does do is put some pressure on the EU and the US to come to some sort of reasonable terms with Greece.

    Welcoming the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, to Moscow at a time of badly strained relations between Russia and Europe, President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday declared that the visit “could not have come at a better time.”

    Mr. Tsipras, who is in tough negotiations with fellow European leaders over international financial assistance that Greece needs to avoid bankruptcy, arrived here on Tuesday night. His visit has raised eyebrows across the Continent because of a perception that he may be trying to gain leverage by cozying up to Mr. Putin.

    Although Greek officials have said that Mr. Tsipras would not use the visit to appeal directly for financial assistance from Mr. Putin, the prime minister’s public criticism of Western sanctions against Russia as “a road to nowhere” has heightened concerns that the visit is evidence of emerging cracks in European unity over the Kremlin’s policies in Ukraine.

    Appearing briefly together at the Kremlin before their meeting on Wednesday afternoon, the two men appeared relaxed, with Mr. Putin in a suit and tie, and Mr. Tsipras dressed more casually in a blue blazer and a white shirt open at the collar.

    Greece, like some other European countries, has suffered from Russian countersanctions barring the import of agricultural products, and Mr. Putin emphasized that trade would be a primary focus of the talks.

    “We need to discuss the issues of recovery of the trade rate of growth,” he said, noting that trade between Greece and Russia had doubled from 2009 to 2013, but last year dropped by 40 percent.

    “This is why we have to recover the rate of growth,” Mr. Putin said.

    Expounding on his point that the meeting was well timed, Mr. Putin noted that it was occurring just before Orthodox Easter, and that Greece and Russia share “common spiritual roots.”

    Mr. Tsipras said he expected their meeting to address “stability and security” in the broadest sense of those terms.

    For Russia, the visit is a welcome departure from the mostly tense interactions between the Kremlin and the West over Ukraine, including mounting frustration over the lack of movement toward implementing the political components of a cease-fire agreement signed in February that was brokered by Mr. Putin, President François Hollande of France, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
    ...
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/wo...isis.html?_r=0

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Greece has no choice, their economic model is floating in a toilet bowl and we are ever closer to their confrontation with their creditors. Including Germany.

    Speak of. Of course the same day that Greece talks to Russia happens to be when Greece finally put a price tag on WWII reparations. Greece says Germany owes it €278.7 billion for various reasons related to WWII (everything from occupation to stolen archaeological objects.)

    It really is clear that those in charge in Greece have lost their collective minds.
    "Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for safety, and the government answers by taking rights away from good people." - Penn Jillette.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    An interesting meeting that reveals the fractured nature of the EU. Furthermore, depending on how things pan out, it may be a sign of a rather significant shift in the balance of power in the Mediterranean. There has been quite a bit of Russian investment that has suffered because of the financial crisis. Not only that but Greece has been denied access to Russian markets at a time when its economy needs such support. If Russia can pull this one off, it would be quite significant. However, that is not likely. What it does do is put some pressure on the EU and the US to come to some sort of reasonable terms with Greece.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/wo...isis.html?_r=0
    My original worry was Greece trades a Naval Base for Financial assistance after it leaves the Euro.

    But Russia just doesn't have the cash for that.... China on the other hand does.

    I wouldn't actually expect too much to come from this, Greece is bound by certain agreements for as long as it remains part of the EU and so this to me looks more like a political stunt aimed at getting their European creditors jittery.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    My original worry was Greece trades a Naval Base for Financial assistance after it leaves the Euro.

    But Russia just doesn't have the cash for that.... China on the other hand does.
    Actually Russia could pull it off. They have reserves and could get a loan. Not only that but the price of oil will rebound and as such, Russia is not such a risky bet on such a loan. It would put them in a much stronger position in the Mediterranean. I don't think that Greece really wants to get that deep in bed with Russia however. But they might, if forced into a corner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    I wouldn't actually expect too much to come from this, Greece is bound by certain agreements for as long as it remains part of the EU and so this to me looks more like a political stunt aimed at getting their European creditors jittery.
    Yeah, most likely a show to demonstrate that Greece could change the geopolitical landscape if they are not given some sort of deal that is reasonable. As such, I really don't expect much to come of it in terms of Greece moving towards Russia in the way that you described. It will however result in Greece getting some terms that are more favorable from the EU in return for financial assistance.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanSlug View Post
    Greece has no choice, their economic model is floating in a toilet bowl and we are ever closer to their confrontation with their creditors. Including Germany.

    Speak of. Of course the same day that Greece talks to Russia happens to be when Greece finally put a price tag on WWII reparations. Greece says Germany owes it €278.7 billion for various reasons related to WWII (everything from occupation to stolen archaeological objects.)

    It really is clear that those in charge in Greece have lost their collective minds.
    I don't think they have lost their minds at all. Actually what they are doing is quite intelligent. They should have exited the EU back in 2008. They would be in a much better position now if they had.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    Actually Russia could pull it off. They have reserves and could get a loan. Not only that but the price of oil will rebound and as such, Russia is not such a risky bet on such a loan. It would put them in a much stronger position in the Mediterranean. I don't think that Greece really wants to get that deep in bed with Russia however. But they might, if forced into a corner.
    Regardless of if oil rebounds soon or not, if I've read correctly Greece needs about 200 Billion to begin to do what the government wants to do...

    That's 10% of Russias GDP right there, you gotta remember Russia is only a $2 Trillion economy, that's not a whole lot of give for a loan of that size.

    Yeah, most likely a show to demonstrate that Greece could change the geopolitical landscape if they are not given some sort of deal that is reasonable. As such, I really don't expect much to come of it in terms of Greece moving towards Russia in the way that you described. It will however result in Greece getting some terms that are more favorable from the EU in return for financial assistance.
    Thing is Greeces petulant behavior has already pushed them to a point where they would not be missed.

    This latest spat with Germany and the reparations will get Greece nowhere and my far fetched theory about Russia doesn't hold up to scrutiny when you analyze them numbers.... China on the other hand is a dark horse in this scenario.

    For China, it's a 2% of GDP question.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    Regardless of if oil rebounds soon or not, if I've read correctly Greece needs about 200 Billion to begin to do what the government wants to do...

    That's 10% of Russias GDP right there, you gotta remember Russia is only a $2 Trillion economy, that's not a whole lot of give for a loan of that size.
    Russia has 360 billion USD in foreign reserves. They could use part of that and get a loan for the rest. China and India could most certainly facilitate such a loan. Remember there is the BRICS alliance. And while both China and India will take advantage of Russia, both, especially China, are not comfortable with the way in which the U.S. has been throwing its weight around. They are certainly going to keep Russia on life support at the very least as a hedge against U.S. hegemony. Such a loan might suit their purposes well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    Thing is Greeces petulant behavior has already pushed them to a point where they would not be missed.

    This latest spat with Germany and the reparations will get Greece nowhere and my far fetched theory about Russia doesn't hold up to scrutiny when you analyze them numbers.... China on the other hand is a dark horse in this scenario.

    For China, it's a 2% of GDP question.
    Of course Germany does not give a damn if Greece leaves the EU. But you can bet, the U.S. certainly gives a damn about Russia being able to access the Mediterranean through a Greek naval base. As such there will definitely be pressure on the EU as a result of this.
    Last edited by MildSteel; 04-08-15 at 09:54 AM.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    An interesting meeting that reveals the fractured nature of the EU. Furthermore, depending on how things pan out, it may be a sign of a rather significant shift in the balance of power in the Mediterranean. There has been quite a bit of Russian investment that has suffered because of the financial crisis. Not only that but Greece has been denied access to Russian markets at a time when its economy needs such support. If Russia can pull this one off, it would be quite significant. However, that is not likely. What it does do is put some pressure on the EU and the US to come to some sort of reasonable terms with Greece.



    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/wo...isis.html?_r=0
    The Europeans have stuck together a miserable excuse for a Union. And now their populations like Greeks or Spaniards and neighbors like Georgia, Ukraine or Syria are paying the price for the arrogance, illegality and unprofessional handling of three generations of dishonest and largely corrupt party politics and politicians that bred.

    Sorrily it is this instant in time the US has chosen to leave them with some responsibility for their area.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by joG View Post
    The Europeans have stuck together a miserable excuse for a Union. And now their populations like Greeks or Spaniards and neighbors like Georgia, Ukraine or Syria are paying the price for the arrogance, illegality and unprofessional handling of three generations of dishonest and largely corrupt party politics and politicians that bred.

    Sorrily it is this instant in time the US has chosen to leave them with some responsibility for their area.
    Although much of what you said is most certainly true, you can bet the U.S. would be very concerned about the prospects of a Russian naval base in Greece. As such, there will be some pressure on the E.U. to cut Greece a reasonable deal.

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    Re: Putin Meets With Alexis Tsipras of Greece Amid E.U. Strains

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    An interesting meeting that reveals the fractured nature of the EU. Furthermore, depending on how things pan out, it may be a sign of a rather significant shift in the balance of power in the Mediterranean. There has been quite a bit of Russian investment that has suffered because of the financial crisis. Not only that but Greece has been denied access to Russian markets at a time when its economy needs such support. If Russia can pull this one off, it would be quite significant. However, that is not likely. What it does do is put some pressure on the EU and the US to come to some sort of reasonable terms with Greece.
    Greece is desperately seeking increased leverage. However, Greece very likely has far more to lose if it exits the EU than if it stays in the EU. Were Greece to become a de facto Russian puppet in EU meetings via its regularly vetoing measures that would increase or sustain pressure on Russia, its days in the EU would be numbered.

    Russia is currently under economic and financial pressure. Russia will not deal with Greece in an altruistic fashion. It would seek significant concessions that benefit its interests in exchange for significant financial aid. President Putin is very focused on advancing Russia's interests.

    The EU is not naive. It has a pretty good understanding of President Putin. It also understands that Greece won't materially increase its bargaining position in its outreach to Russia given the above trade-offs, especially now that the risk of contagion for a Greek exit is lower than it was a few years ago.

    In the end, Greece might secure some assistance from Russia, but it probably won't be substantial, much less an alternative to the EU's/IMF's package. Greece cannot make the kind of commitments Russia would seek for a full-fledged financial rescue without inflicting even greater harm on itself (possible loss of EU membership, loss of access to the Common Market that would more than offset any increased economic activity with Russia, undermined standing within NATO, etc.). Indeed, the EU might not find a modest Russian package too objectionable, as it could spread the proverbial risk in helping Greece through its challenges.

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