Michael: Well, when Johnny was first starting out, he was signed to a personal services contract with this big-band leader. And as his career got better and better, he wanted to get out of it. But the band leader wouldn’t let him. Now, Johnny is my father’s godson. So my father went to see this bandleader and offered him $10,000 to let Johnny go, but the bandleader said no. So the next day, my father went back, only this time with Luca Brasi. Within an hour, he had a signed release for a certified check of $1000.
Kay Adams: How did he do that?
Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Kay Adams: What was that?
Michael: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.
--The Godfather, 1972
…the document…said: “The above forms a basis for an extension of the current loan agreement, which could take the form of a (four-month) intermediate programme, as a transitional stage to a new contract for growth for Greece, that will be deliberated and concluded during this period.”
As this is exactly what the Greeks wanted, it explains the shock, and the urgent nature of their briefings to journalists Monday afternoon when it was replaced by a much harder form of words.
The Eurogroup text said “the Greek authorities have indicated that they intend to successfully conclude the programme taking into account the new government’s plans”. A leaked copy showed these words crossed out by Mr Varoufakis, who peppered the paper with angry annotations.
Part of the dispute appears semantic but has political implications. The Greeks want a new arrangement, but that would require a vote in the German, Dutch, Finnish and Slovak parliaments, where patience with Athens is exhausted. The Eurogroup is insisting on an “extension” of the programme, which does not require parliamentary assent.
Yet the clash runs deeper. The text said the Greeks must toe the line on “tax policy, privatisation, labour market reforms, financial sector and pensions”. It said Greece must continue with “fiscal surpluses” imposed by the troika, meaning that Athens would have to raise the primary budget surplus from 1.5pc of GDP in 2014, to 3pc this year and 4.5pc next year.