The waiter formerly known as ‘Martin D,’ who managed to spill 5 pints of beer down the back of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, could well be heralded as a modern day demigod in Greece. Martin the waiter told German newspaper Bild that it was a complete accident: “I was shoved from behind, and tried to catch the beers, but it was too late.” He added that “A colleague should have brought her the beer. But she was so nervous, she asked me to do it for her.” It is a little suspicious that an amateur filmmaker managed to capture the mishap on his camera phone; anti-austerity measure Greeks will no doubt be pleased by Martin D if the soaking was actually a pre-emptive attack.
Greeks of course have a lot more to worry about than crying over spilled milk beer. Standard & Poor’s credit agency downgraded Greece to SD – selective default. The move came as the Greek government added ‘collective action clauses’ to its national bonds which give Athens the authority to force bondholders into taking losses, even if they decline to take part in voluntary debt restructuring.
S&P consider the move as the beginning of a selective default – not as severe as a hard default, but a default on debt obligations all the same. The ISDA who govern the use of Credit Default Swaps have not reacted as swiftly as S&P but they are expected to make a decision over the next week as to whether Greece forcing bondholders to take 75% net value losses counts as a credit event. If they play fair and say ‘yes this does constitute a default,’ it will trigger CDS payments, which act as compensation for the aggrieved party: insurance if you will.
The five pints of effervescent golden beer appeared to bounce of Merkel like water off a ducks back. The woman frequently likened to ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher, due to her uncompromising attitude was hardly moved by the spillage and got up shortly afterwards to give her speech onstage.
Reports from a hospital in Greece have shown how some doctors have gone from €800 monthly state wage packets to €0 with the threat of having to pay back an additional €140. The people hit hardest by the IMF/German imposed austerity measures will have been exasperated yesterday as Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union passed a bill through parliament to keep Athens in the Eurozone and keep Greece under the thumb. Greek euro-dissenters will be hoping for more Martin D spillage rather than CDU pillage.