Athens gets money again
The Eurozone's finance ministers approved Athens' reform programme on Tuesday. After the decision the creditors held out the prospect of extending the bailout payments until the end of June but demanded improvements to the proposals. For some commentators Greece has capitulated. Others write that the government now has a unique opportunity to reform the country.
Follow iron fist with kid gloves
Now that the EU has forced Athens into submission it should take a softer approach with Greece, the liberal business paper Il Sole 24 Ore comments: "Tsipras's Greece has mournfully raised the white flag to avoid bankruptcy and a Grexit. But now the country faces a new dilemma: How to reconcile the decision of a responsible and disciplined EU partnership with control of Syriza's party base, which is openly rebelling against the prime minister? The one-month-old coalition government led by Tsipras will come under major pressure in the parliamentary vote on the reforms. Political instability and even new elections are in the cards. The Eurozone could soon be faced with a new Greek crisis that is no easier to deal with. No one will gain anything by insisting on the iron fist approach towards Athens, particularly now that the far-left government has capitulated."
Maintain full pressure on Greece
Greece's reform proposals are just pretty words for now, the conservative daily De Telegraaf warns: "The political decision to keep the country in the Eurozone was crucial for the approval - that much is clear. Because in terms of content the six A4-sized pages on which the flimsy plans are laid out leave much to be desired. Mario Draghi and his IMF colleague Christine Lagarde, among others, have made this clear in their biting letters. They remain very unconvinced that the long list of Greek promises is realistic and practicable. ... So the stance must be to see before we believe. In the coming months the pressure on Athens must be maintained in full and the country prevented from slipping back into half-hearted measures. If Europe doesn't do this the Greek chaos and the threat of a Grexit will come hurtling back towards us in the summer like a boomerang."
Rebellion of the Syriza left just dogmatism
The left wing of the Syriza party has voiced strong criticism of the compromise with the Euro Group on an extension of the bailout programme. But that's out of place, the conservative daily Dimokratia comments: "Those who criticise the government fail to see that the people in this country didn't want to worsen their situation [by breaking with Europe], but on the contrary were resolved to improve it. They fail to recognise that the people who voted for Syriza aren't Stalinists, Maoists or agitators in disguise, but the former middle class. ... The government has committed itself to doing all it can to keep the common currency, for many reasons. Exiting the Eurozone could end in a real tragedy."
Syriza could whet Greeks' appetite for reforms
Athens' fierce resistance in the negotiations over new bailout payments could also guarantee that the Greek government will be able to count on the people's support in implementing the necessary reforms, the left-liberal daily Delo writes hopefully: "If we believe in an optimistic scenario the Syriza government may succeed where the old political elite failed miserably. Despite the left-wing rhetoric, with Europe's help the government may be able to push through the necessary neo-liberal reforms. This could make Greece, which is hostage to cronyism, competitive once more and release it from perpetual dependence on foreign aid and loans. Just as the Republican Richard Nixon became the first US president to visit communist China, Syriza may be able to convince the people of the advantages of the reform policy they so despised."