The European Central Bank said on Thursday it opposed forcing private creditors to take part in debt relief for Greece, pushing back against Germany, which has demanded a bond swap to lengthen Greek debt maturities.
Errrrm. . .
ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet signalled the hard line at the bank's monthly news conference, as new figures from Athens showed the Greek economy shrank by 5.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, a far sharper rate than expected.
5.5%? 5.5 bloody percent? Sweet Mary, mother of Jesus and all the baby orphans. Can you imagine the triumphalism if our economy managed to grow by that much in one quarter? 5.5% is a bloody catastrophe.
The data cast fresh doubt on Greece's ability to meet targets for cutting its budget deficit, part of a 110 billion euro (97.6 billion pound) bailout agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in May last year.
I'm not bloody surprised, the country is bleeding to death. How on Earth have they ended up being down so much that even almost £100bn gifted to them doesn't solve the problem?
The EU is now considering another aid package for Athens, and euro zone sources told Reuters on Thursday the new deal would total about 120 billion euros, with the EU and IMF providing up to half of that sum and the rest coming from Greek privatisation revenues and private creditors.
So that totals £200bn give or take. That is an unimaginable figure. It's all very well talking about privatisation revenues, but does the Greek government (and by that we really should say the Greek people) own assets amounting to £50bn? Even if they did, how would they ever expect to reach that revenue total given that the whole thing promises to be a fire sale of epic proportions?
Moody's Investors Service warned a Greek default could impact the ratings of Ireland and Portugal, the two other euro zone countries that have required bailouts.
So if the Greek people dig their heels in, they could bring down Ireland and Portugal? Bloody hell.
The ECB, the European Commission and countries including France have warned against any Greek debt restructuring that involves coercion of investors, for fear that it could alarm markets and spread contagion to bigger members of the euro zone such as Spain.
And Italy, and probably everybody else involved in the currency.
Greece has to default, it is the only way they stand a chance to recover. Voluntary bankruptcy is often held up as a (last resort) solution to personal financial ills, but surely it is better than lying in the gutter with the rats feeding on your still warm corpse?
They have to pull the plug. They have to wipe the slate clean, they have to re-introduce their own currency, a currency which will make Greece so much more attractive to tourists and importers of produce, they simply cannot survive in this millpond with the grinding stone hanging around their neck, they will drown.
Look, I want the Euro to collapse, I want the hateful, horrible and corrupt EU to disappear, but bloody hell, no-one deserves this. Unfortunately I fear it will be an oft-repeated sight as the lights in the Eurozone wink out one by one, and a whole continent of people will be reduced to penury. It will stand as a monument to the vanity and arrogance of the EUrocrat class that have the gall to demand still more of our produce is poured down their throats.
The Greeks, already poor, will be impoverished, whilst their 'betters' vote themselves bigger expense payments, higher wages and ever more extravagant largesse. For shame.
Can we leave yet?