Euro Group examines Athens' new reform plans
The finance ministers of the Eurozone will discuss Greece's new reform proposals today, Monday. Sources close to the German government described the proposals as inadequate on the weekend. Some commentators call on Athens to stick to the rules and present concrete reforms. Others believe the country can only get back on its feet after a Grexit.
Even new elections can't save Athens
The Greek finance minister threatened in an interview on Sunday that he would hold a referendum and new elections if the Euro Group rejects the reform plans. But that would only leave Athens even more isolated, the conservative daily Naftemporiki warns: "Whether we like it or not, there are European rules that have existed for centuries. Now, however, we're trying to change them in a matter of weeks. And we're doing that with creative ambiguity, while the creditors demand creative clarity. We've lost valuable time since the last meeting of the Euro Group, and now we have to let the figures speak for themselves. ... Neither new elections nor a referendum can save us. On the contrary, that would just leave us even more isolated."
Grexit would do Greece good
Instead of following the same policy it demonstrated in negotiating the agreement on bailout payments, Athens would do better to exit the Eurozone, the left-leaning blog Criticatac recommends: "There can be life after the euro: even a better one than the Greeks have experienced in the past five years. The government must assume control of the banking system. The banks must become public institutions that don't serve the interests of the Greek oligarchs and foreign capital, but of the normal citizens - for example with speedy loans to farmers and small businesses. Such control would also prevent a massive flight of capital that would paralyse the economy. Because a true leftist government puts the right of 99 percent of the population to a dignified life above the free movement of capital for the remaining one percent."
Deep rifts impede compromise
If Athens and its euro partners don't talk the same language, reaching a compromise will once again be difficult, fears the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera: "On the one side you have the Eurozone partners. They are concentrating on Greece's economic and financial situation. Because only here can they intervene by passing a bailout plan. On the other side is Alexis Tsipras's government which is pursuing a different goal: a change of policy to which it feels entitled by the election victory of 25 January and the growing consensus. Now Athens is conveying and intermittently reinforcing the impression that this change of policy should be introduced not just in Greece but in the rest of Europe and against the will of 18 of the 19 euro countries to boot. ... A clear boundary must be drawn between radically reforming the country without dismantling the welfare state and reconstructing it with the help of EU loans. Otherwise the negotiating partners will continue to be on different levels."