In this interview with Mediapart, a senior advisor to the Greek government, who has been at the heart of the past five months of negotiations between Athens and its international creditors, reveals the details of what resembles a game of liar’s dice over the fate of a nation that has been brought to its economic and social knees. His account gives a rare and disturbing insight into the process which has led up to this week’s make-or-break deadline for reaching a bailout deal between Greece and international lenders, without which the country faces crashing out of the euro and complete bankruptcy. He describes the extraordinary bullying of Greece’s radical-left government by the creditors, including Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s direct threat to cause the collapse of the Hellenic banks if it failed to sign-up to a drastic austerity programme. “We went into a war thinking we had the same weapons as them”, he says. “We underestimated their power”.
France’s newly-elected president François Hollande has promised he will seek a reform of European austerity policies, beginning with a re-negotiation of the so-called fiscal compact treaty, and the introduction of economic growth initiatives. But his programme faces stern opposition from Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has ruled out any change to the fiscal compact. With a busy international agenda ahead, including summits of the G8 and NATO later this month, and crucial parliamentary elections in France in June, Hollande's room for negotiations before an EU summit on June 28th is uncomfortably tight. Meanwhile, the deepening political crisis in Greece continues to threaten an explosion of the eurozone. Lénaïg Bredoux and Ludovic Lamant report on the official and unofficial manouevering as the new French president prepares for his first major test in power.