by Heather Stewart at The Guardian
On Channel 4’s The Three Day Nanny, modern-day Mary Poppins Kathryn Mewes arrives in a household of tantrum-prone tots and has just 72 hours to transform them with tough love and discipline into model family members. Judging by Greece’s latest bailout deal, its lenders, led by the German government, are adopting much the same approach.
It was already clear in the wake of eurozone leaders’ marathon all-night talks last month that the governing leftist party Syriza was being punished for its temerity in challenging the eurozone orthodoxy of austerity.
But when the 29-page memorandum of understanding prime minister Alexis Tsipras signed with his creditors emerged on Wednesday, the full scale of the discipline to which Greece has been forced to submit became clear. It’s a full-blown, three-year, big bang modernisation with a hefty price tag attached – not just in austerity measures, but in surrendered sovereignty.
The memo sets out not just the budget savings Tsipras and his ministers will have to try to deliver over the next three years, but a litany of specific policies they have pledged to implement under the general headings of modernising the economy and the state.
Athens will have to review its entire welfare system, for example, and throw open a series of restricted professions, including bailiff (surely a fruitful occupation in today’s Greece). It will have to liberalise the tourism rental market, review labour-market practices, scrutinise all the members of major bank boards to make sure they’re fully independent, accelerate the procurement of VAT collection software… the list goes on and on.
Once it gets down to the nitty-gritty, the abrogation of political control signalled by the memorandum is extraordinary
Many measures are not objectionable in themselves: they are couched in the language of “best practice” and will be carried out with the