When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Greece

IMF Chief Lagarde Pulls No Punches With Greece, Greeks Punch Back

LE MONDE (France) THE GUARDIAN (United Kingdom)

PARIS - It may be a sign that the euro zone crisis is reaching a new low when political leaders say out loud what they share behind closed doors. The typically careful managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has let loose with some plain talk about what has led debt-riddled Greece -- and therefore the rest of Europe (and the world) -- into such a dire financial situation.

Here is what she said in an interview published in British daily The Guardian on Friday:

"Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax."

She also said she thought more about the "little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education," because, according to her, "they need even more help than the people in Athens."

French daily Le Monde reports that Greek politicians were quick to address her comments. Socialist Party leader Evangelos Venizélos said she had "humiliated" the Greek people.

Social media users were also very critical of the former French Finance Minister.

But the fallout even extended to other countries in Europe, including Lagarde's native France. The spokesperson for newly-elected François Hollande's Socialist government called her comments "caricatural." Even Laurence Parisot, head of the largest employer's union in France, said that what Greece needed was help, not more humiliation. The Guardian followed up on the issue in an editorial, calling her "partly responsible" for the banking crisis and criticizing her role as France's finance minister.

For her part, Lagarde posted a statement on her Facebook page, which has since garnered more 20,000 comments. She expressed her sympathy for the Greek people, and said "everyone should carry their fair share of the burden, especially the most privileged and especially in terms of paying their taxes."


You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest