Tem­pers flare as EU seals deal on Greece

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHARLES MI­RANDA

THERE were ap­par­ently raised voices, rep­ri­mands and out­right hos­til­ity, but at the 11th hour of a long day eu­ro­zone lead­ers have agreed on a plan for a third bailout for Greece.

Another € 53.5 bil­lion ($ A80 bil­lion) will be given to Greece in a three- year deal to pile on top of its al­ready more than € 300 bil­lion debt.

But Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras ca­pit­u­lated on his de­fi­ance and agreed to push through pen­sion, mar­ket and pri­vati­sa­tion start­ing this week.

It was a tougher deal than when it was first of­fered by the 18 eu­ro­zone lead­ers more than a month ago and was sim­i­lar to one first mooted in 2012, but with the be­lea­guered coun­try on the verge of col­lapse there was lit­tle Mr Tsipras could do.

He now has just three days to show his coun­try has be­gun to en­act the cuts to un­lock the res­cue pack­age.

“We found our­selves be­fore dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions, tough dilem­mas. We took the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the de­ci­sion in or­der to

re­forms avert the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the more ex­treme aims ( of) the more ex­treme con­ser­va­tive cir­cles in the Euro­pean Union,” he said.

While the Euro­pean mar­kets re­joiced at the news, there was som­bre re­ac­tion for his agree­ment back home in Greece, where more than 60 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion re­cently voted not to ac­cept fur­ther aus­ter­ity cuts and de­mands from EU lead­ers.

It is not clear how Mr Tsipras will be able to get the mea­sures through his own par­lia­ment for ap­proval, but he MEXICO mounted an all- out man­hunt on Sun­day for its most pow­er­ful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guz­man, who es­caped from a max­i­mum- se­cu­rity prison through a 1.5km tun­nel from a small open­ing in the shower area of his cell.

The elab­o­rate un­der­ground es­cape route, al­legedly built with­out the de­tec­tion of author­i­ties, al­lowed Guz­man to do what Mex­i­can of­fi­cials promised would never hap­pen af­ter his re­cap­ture last year – slip out of one of the coun- try’s most se­cure pen­i­ten­tiaries for the sec­ond time.

“This rep­re­sents with­out a doubt an af­front to the Mex­i­can state,” Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto said while on a pre­vi­ously sched­uled trip to France.

“But I also have con­fi­dence in the in­sti­tu­tions of the Mex­i­can state ... that they have the strength and de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­cap­ture this crim­i­nal.”

If Guz­man is not caught im­me­di­ately, the drug lord will likely be back in had ear­lier threat­ened to dump rebel MPs from his own party who did not sup­port his lead­er­ship on the is­sue.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, as the leader of the EU’s big­gest len­der to Greece, will rec­om­mend to her par­lia­ment to now ac­cept the deal “with full con­vic­tion”.

She, too, had been un­der im­mense pres­sure from the MPs from her own party to main­tain a hard line on Greece.

The Ger­man del­e­ga­tion had even floated the idea of al­low­ing Greece to tem­po­rar­ily com­mand of the Si­naloa Car­tel within 48 hours, said Michael Vigil, a re­tired US Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion chief of in­ter­na­tional oper­a­tions.

“We may never find him again,” he said. “All the ac­co­lades that Mexico has re­ceived in their counter- drug ef­forts will be erased by this one event.”

Mexico’s ex­tra­di­tions of drug sus­pects to the US have dropped un­der Mr Ni­eto’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, with Mexico pre­fer­ring to try them at home. drop out of the eu­ro­zone while it fixed its own fi­nances, an idea roundly re­jected by other EU lead­ers, no­tably France’s Fran­coise Hol­lande who had been en­gaged in a war of words with Dr Merkel.

Ger­many’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter also yelled at the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank chief Mario Draghi “don’t take me for a fool” as the Ital­ian banker talked about pos­si­ble debt re­lief op­tions.

Un­der the agree­ment, Greece is to in­crease sales tax, cut pen­sions and sell more public as­sets.

Thirty em­ploy­ees from Alti­plano prison have been taken in for ques­tion­ing about the es­cape on Satur­day.

A wide­spread man­hunt be­gan im­me­di­ately for Guz­man, whose car­tel is be­lieved to con­trol most of the ma­jor cross­ing points for drugs at the US bor­der with Mexico.

Gu­atemala’s In­te­rior Min­istry said a spe­cial task­force of po­lice and sol­diers was watch­ing its bor­der with south­ern Mexico for any sign of the fugi­tive.

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