ATHENS – Panagiotis Pikrammenos, former Prime Minister of Greece, confirmed the important role that the United States played during the height of the economic crisis in Greece. At the time that the US intervened, Greece’s participation in the eurozone was hanging by a thread. Prior to the Greek national elections held on June 17, 2012, Pikrammenos sent a letter to US President Barack Obama asking for American intervention to prevent the imposition of capital controls.
As Kathimerini more specifically reported:
Mr. Pikrammenos spoke Wednesday night at the American College of Greece. He did so following a speech given by Katerina Sokou, a Kathimerini correspondent in the United States, about the American role in the Greek economic crisis.Mr. Pikrammenos during the course of his speech referred to a briefing by then Greece central banker Giorgos Provopoulos that the European Central Bank had rejected the further increase of the ELA limit for Greek banks (something that is denied by sources of the European Central Bank).
According to Mr. Pikrammenos’ narrative he said, “we wrote a letter to the American president and the American ambassador was called that Saturday morning to receive it.” The US Ambassador then confirmed that Mr Obama had received the letter by entering Air Force One to travel to the G20 summit hosted in Mexico.
In her detailed presentation, Ms. Sokou referred to the US as a “pragmatic mediator” between Greece and official creditors, and the US played a critical role in the prevention of Grexit.
As she stated, the main reasons for the active American intervention evolved from the fear of a total and complete economic decline across the entire continent of Europe that would result in the creation of multiple failed states. At the time there were already numerous countries in the geopolitical sphere of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea that were already sinking into the abyss and the chief fear was that this sort of systemic decline would spread to Europe, one country at a time. Contacts by the Americans (especially to Germany) were frequent throughout this period, particularly in the notably unstable summer of 2015.
The United States did not limit the pressure to European partners such as Germany, the same was true of the pressure that was put on the Greek side of the equation. Ms. Sokou referred to the constant phone calls between American Secretary of the Secretary, Jack Liu and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. She also referenced the unofficial admonitions of former President Bill Clinton towards Prime Minister Tsipras ahead of the critical summit that happened on July 12, 2015 and warned him, “not to leave the room”.