Greece: So far, I've yet to find anyone who differs with the view that the deal has done nothing but buy time and exhaust the participants. Postponing the day of reckoning in the process. No one seems to think the Greek government will be able (even assuming it's willing) to deliver much of what it's promised. So, a crisis postponed, rather than resolved. It would be negligent in the extreme if the EU's politicians and bureaucrats didn't have a Plan B for next time Greece comes begging. But who can be confident of this? And will it mean an orderly exit (the Grexit) from the eurozone? Of course, the real question is - Who's next? The betting seems to be on Portugal. Followed by Italy, Ireland and Spain. With Germany being willing to do almost anything to keep them in the EU and the eurozone. Unless, of course, the German people are asked. Which they probably won't be.
Some feel that Greece won't get anywhere - except further down the plughole - on her own and that she merits something akin to the Marshall Plan. I'm betting this isn't Plan B and that it'll never happen. If only because there'd immediately be a long list of additional mendicants. No, as of now Greece is a pariah state and sometime within the next year or so will become the first ex-eurozone state. But probably not the last.
Sensing scope for an easy ride, Madrid has said Spain won't be able to achieve a deficit of 4.4% this year (after 8.8% last year) and will be asking Brussels to accept a figure in excess of 5%. Meanwhile, the European Commission will publish its latest forecasts for Spanish growth tomorrow. They're widely expected to be lower that last autumn's.
But it's not all bad news; Spain's exports continue to grow at a healthy lick. In 2011, they were 15.4% up on the previous year.
And 72% of French people surveyed recently said they 'love' Spain. Followed by Germany (63%), the USA (62%), Japan (53%) and Brazil (52%). I'm not sure the UK even made the list. From the opposite standpoint, 47% of Spaniards said they'd like to live in France and 48% said they'd like to work there. Interestingly, while 68% of Spaniards felt that France was a leader in fashion, only 60% thought it a leader in international cuisine,
Rabbits are proving something of a nuisance on the AVE high-speed train tracks near Valencia. So a company called ADIF has spent half a million euros(!) hunting them down, "using ferrets as bait". I can easily believe they used ferrets but "as bait"??? Can anyone imagine a rabbit approaching a ferret?
Having started this post with a disaster, I'll end on the same theme . . . Are we sleep-walking towards a war with Iran? God/Allah forbid. But that's the only possible reading of the runes right now. What a dreadful thought. But at least it will take Greece off the front pages.