Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Received a call about an hour ago from an old friend with whom I hadn't spoken in years.  I had emailed him about the Greek situation, asking for his views. He's retired from the European Commission from some enormously high paying non-job and is pretty well connected.  Hadn't heard back when out of the blue he rings.

"Charlie, their brains have been beaten out."  Hans, despite having lived in England for years and having been married to an English girl, continues an uncompromising and losing battle with the language.

"You mean they folded."

"Ja, at least that's what I am told."

"Remarkable!  Are their any details?"

"Ha, Charlie!  The nail you hit on the head.  They tell me they draft by next week, Monday maybe.  I say then you have nothing and they say oh no, the Greeks have agreed."

"Do the Greeks know they have agreed?"

Charlie, I think the Greeks had you say..."


"Ja, clue.  They go without a stop all day.  They agree, we agree, everybody agree.  Everybody go to bed.  These guys know the game; Greeks are virgins.  When they wake up they say, "we agree to what?" But, the Welt, it fights to live another day."

"You mean...oh never mind.  What are the chances of there really being an agreement?"

"Mien lieber freund, I am just an old bureaucrat...

"Like hell!"

Ach, but I am.  But old is not so bad because what has been you seen and now you have knowledge.  In this, I think someone wins and someone loses.  Charlie, mien Kommeraden in Brussels...losing, they do not like."

"Thanks, Hans.  It was really good of you to call.  Can I ring you in the next few days to catch up."

"For sure.  Up to catch what?"

"Guden nach, Hans, however you say it.  It's always a joy."

All I know is what Hans tells me.  An old colleague used to say that the smartest guy in the room is he who reads the Financial Times first.  I'll be up early.

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