When it comes to domestic debate on Greece, people largely just snipe at each other. Let’s fix it. (Photo: Vrachati beach, July 12, 2012)

Crowdsourced proposals for Greece

Here in Greece, the quality of debate on the country’s negotiations with its creditors is appallingly low. It’s divisive, aggressive, diagnosis-heavy, superficial… but more than anything else, it’s unconstructive.

So earlier today I tried to get some positive proposals from people on Twitter — most of them Greece-based — on the subject of the Greek debt talks. I asked them:

I was surprised at the result: 21 people replied, many with well-thought out, concrete suggestions. I’ve gathered the most relevant responses below.

Hopefully this crowdsourcing experiment could be a step towards a more productive discussion than we’re currently having. Or at least, a proof of concept to show that a constructive, civil domestic debate on Greece’s challenges— despite all the snark and grumbling— is still possible.



@dadoudis had some specific policy proposals the Greek side could put forward on tax, funding and the retirement age:

@telloglou had another take on these ideas:

Which areas would he cut?

@GreekAnalyst would keep most of Greece’s current programme in place:

Which parts of the programme would he renegotiate?

@yani_giaz had suggestions on both content and style:

@bicyclope felt that Greece’s creditors weren’t getting the message:

@quadrant4th would accept lenders’ demands, with some conditions:

@sage_of_voula outlined a three-step plan for the Greek government:

What might those proposals look like? He had a lot of ideas:

@canis_liberatatis had a pretty straightforward take:

@fly_dervish mentioned some quick policy ideas:

While @J_Tartatovsky had a simple strategy for the Greek government:

@Sophia17Alex had some suggestions on process:

@ChristinaKatara thought an information campaign was the best option:

While @gailvCrete conceded that if she were running Greece’s debt talks, she’d hold nothing back:

Update 18/05/15

@eschizas contributed some very detailed proposals (below). If any of you have further ideas, tweet them at me and I’ll add them to this post.

1. Issue statement to the effect that Greek government acknowledges and assumes all Greek public debt but will hold Eurogroup to 2012 promise to examine further debt relief requests for debt relief. This must be done on the basis of a new debt sustainability analysis.
2. Ask Eurogroup to affirm in exchange that past debt sustainability analysis was incomplete and that they will provide debt relief to the extent that our debt is unsustainable.
3. Agree a realistic target growth rate given shrinking and ageing working age population (bearing in mind this involves permanent risk of deflation)
4. Agree in broad terms how much we need government and business to invest to reach growth target. Investment must explicitly include education spending and healthcare for working age population, which will however be audited by the institutions to ensure the relevant budgets don’t get overwhelmed with pork.
5. Find out what we can afford to pay while growing: commission a new debt sustainability analysis which assumes the agreed growth target for public investment (including education, health) as non negotiable.
6. Work backwards from (4) to calculate bank capital that must be ring fenced for business loans. Many options exist for finding /using such capital, including Varoufakis’s proposals. Ultimately political question, but creditors may find it easier to approve if they own the actual financing vehicle.
7. Keep discussions of debt relief and fiscal adjustment separate. To reduce moral hazard, any agreed debt relief should come in stages, contingent on sustained primary surplus of ca. 1% and Greek government meeting agreed investment target. Any spending cuts beyond 1pc primary deficit to be matched 1 for 1 with tax cuts.
8. Work on new law for forgiveness of bank npls under conditions similar to those adopted by e.g Cyprus. (ecb already approved those). Where necessary, recapitalise through new equity issuance to the EU ms creditors.
9. Demand that institutions link minimum wage commitments to business investment (ie minimum wage cannot fall while investment is stagnant or falling, or before it reaches a certain threshold) , so that wage developments do not undermine capital spending and productivity growth.
10. Increase retirement age and shift benefits structure so that older beneficiaries receive more through services in kind (eg health spending) and younger ones receive more in cash.
Long-term priorities
10. GR government to develop an action plan for re-formalisation of the Greek private sector with a goal of reducing reliance on micro enterprises (less than 10 employees) and increasing reliance on small and medium ones. (50 to 249 employees)
12. Greek govt to complete its proposals on switch to electronic payments, e-procurement and e-invoicing, bearing in mind the transposition date for the 2nd payment services directive (2017).
13. Greek government to develop a plan for labour market reorientation towards new industries; plan should focus on educational offering to build required skillset (part funded and audited by creditors), and assume significant job losses through automation.
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