Agony in Athens

The Game Is Rigged Against Greece

Demonstrators shouts slogans against austerity during a protest to support the Greek government in Lisbon, Portugal June 22, 2015. Rafael Marchante / Reuters

In a recent article for Foreign Affairs, I wrote that, in the negotiations over the Greek bailout, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would likely sign the EU’s proposed debt agreement and the Greek Parliament would ratify it. The reason? The unanimity of decision-making within the EU and the ECB’s control over the liquidity of Greek banks gave the EU the upper hand.

As I write this postscript, I do not know whether my predictions were accurate. There is still great uncertainty about whether Greece will accept or reject the current EU offer (which may be slightly modified) or instead prolong its agony, and the world’s, by getting one more extension.

What is obvious is that these negotiations have lasted way too long. Understanding the reasons the talks have been so protracted may help the EU avoid similar situations in the future.

There are two possibilities: the first

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