put it in the books–agreement on a third Greek bailout

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, a fine defensive outfielder who had been batting .097, hit home runs in each of his first three at-bats at Citi Field yesterday.  He became the first Met ever to hit three HRs in a single home game.

Shortly thereafter, Greece accomplished a similar reversal of form.  It agreed to a (third) sovereign debt bailout from the EU/IMF–under terms that were far more rigorous than those it had rejected in a voter referendum a week ago.

That referendum appears to have convinced the EU that Greece would never abide by the bailout terms it had previously proposed.  So, despite pleas for a softer line from France and Italy (both presumably thinking of their own structural problems), the EU opted for tougher terms and a stark choice:  either immediately pass laws breaking down anti-competitive barriers and nullifying ones enshrining vested interests; or leave the EU for five years, with reconsideration of membership at the end of that time.  The unwritten subtext–left to its own devices Greece would go from bad to worse and never qualify for reentry.

The ruling left-far left coalition in Greece has dissolved and been replaced by a left-center one whose primary goal is to retain EU membership.  The legislative changes demanded by the EU are apparently going to be passed this week.  The domestic political strategy will likely be to blame the “evil” EU for changes in the status quo.  Whether Prime Minister Tsipras, who will be the public face of capitulation, survives in office is an open question.  Nevertheless, the outcome is much more favorable for the EU, and  ultimately for Greece, than anyone would have imagined when negotiations started.

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