Provisional compromise in debt crisis
Athens and the euro finance ministers have agreed on the continuation of bailout payments to Greece for the next four months. The Greek government sent a list of proposed reforms to its negotiating partners on Sunday evening. Commentators see the compromise as a defeat for the government of Alexis Tsipras, though some believe the Syriza leader can now expect a more accommodating stance in the next round of talks.
Tsipras has failed to achieve his goals
The deal struck on Friday between Athens and the Euro Group simply means the new Syriza government has gone back on its election pledges, director of the Fundación Alternativas Carlos Carnero surmises in El Huffington Post. "It can really all be summed up in one sentence: after winning the election Syriza declared the bailout programme signed by the preceding governments invalid only to accept it in all points on February 20. And unless it completely reverses its tactics and Europe strategy it will do the same with the third bailout package. Tsipras had overlooked several factors - among others the fact that his government is no more legitimate than those in the rest of the Eurozone."
Tsipras may be more successful in next rounds
After the compromise reached on Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras can hope to encounter a greater spirit of cooperation in future negotiations with the Euro Group, the conservative Sunday paper Welt am Sonntag believes: "A real debt cut is unlikely, but even longer maturities and lower interests on the bailout loans are not. The current compromise seems to bear more the rather pragmatic signature of Angela Merkel than that of her tough Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, and there are plenty of indications that Europe will be ready to take more such steps. If it can prevent Tsipras from reversing important structural reforms and stopping Greece's nascent achievements in their tracks, it could well pay off. Because only when it's once more competitive will Greece have any chance at all of paying back at least part of its loans. So Tsipras's spectacular defeat in round one could well be followed by victories in rounds two and three."
Greeks weaken their government with bank run
Savings deposits in Greece are at their lowest level since the start of the crisis in 2009, according to media reports. No matter how much they demonstrate in support of their government, the people are only stabbing it in the back by sending hundreds of millions of euros out of the country every day, blogger Pitsirikos writes,: "There was no need at all for the EU partners to [make the Greek afraid] by causing a liquidity problem for the banks. The Greeks have done it all on their own. At the same time they're calling on the government to put up a fight at the negotiations. But anyone who believes they're strengthening the government's negotiating hand by taking their money from the bank - and thinks the Germans and other EU partners won't notice -, has no idea how things work. We citizens also took part in the negotiations, even if most Greeks believe they don't participate in anything."
Berlin takes the helm again
Europe should be grateful to Berlin for bringing Greece back in line in the debt negotiations, the conservative daily Irish Independent writes: "Europe and Greece will resume negotiations this week. The stakes are high, as everybody seems to agree, but the outcome is still inevitable. The programme, in name or not, has been extended and make no mistake, Greece will continue to be held to the flame - and not just by Germany. ... Three years ago, the then Polish foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, said there was one thing that scared him more than German action and that was German inaction. Last week we saw German action - again. The rest of Europe should take heed and be thankful."
Global perspectives: German austerity dictates disastrous for Europe
The austerity policy imposed by Berlin is having disastrous consequences for all Europe and must be stopped, the US magazine Foreign Policy argues: "The policy stance set by Angela Merkel's government in Berlin, implemented by the European Commission in Brussels, and sometimes tempered - but more often enforced - by the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, remains disastrous. Continuing with current policies - austerity and wage cuts, forbearance for banks, no debt restructuring or adjustment to Germany's mercantilism - is leading Europe into the ditch. ... So settling for a 'compromise' that shifts Merkel's line by a millimeter would be a mistake; it must be challenged and dismantled."