Varoufakis in negotiations with troika
The negotiations between Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and the country's three main creditors on the terms for further bailout loans start this Wednesday in Brussels. Germany has forced this meeting with the troika and is demanding impossible reforms, some commentators complain. Others believe Varoufakis doesn't have a proper overview of his state finances.
Athens in the dark about its own finances
So far the performance of the government in Athens has been amateurish, the left-liberal daily Der Standard concludes: "The rehiring of dismissed officials and the reversal of all privatisations is a signal that Syriza has failed to grasp the deeper causes for the economic misery. In this situation Tsipras and his cohorts have displayed a degree of dilettantism unmatched by any other government since the start of the euro debt crisis. They've lost control of the state finances; and if they haven't presented concrete figures to Brussels it's because they haven't come up with any themselves. While the Greek economy is grinding to a standstill, the cabinet dallies, lectures others and bluffs. Varoufakis's thinking aloud about a nebulous referendum has further undermined the EU partners' trust. Let's not forget, it was just such an idea that led to the resignation of former prime minister Giorgos Papandreou in 2011."
Finance minister gives too many interviews
Many Greeks had great hopes when Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis took office. But after six weeks a sense of disappointment is spreading, the liberal business daily Jornal de Negócios comments: "Although it's true that the expectations were far too high, Varoufakis himself is to blame for a lot of the disappointment. He has frequently contradicted himself or made inappropriate remarks. ... He gave endless interviews while Athens was in a race against time to avoid being left with no money. ... A large part of the energy put into the negotiations with the EU partners has been wasted on repairing the damage wrought by certain statements in those interviews. ... It's time for Varoufakis to start talking less and doing more. ... The 'real' negotiations with the troika being today, Wednesday. Perhaps then we'll see the 'real' Varoufakis too."
Varoufakis is not the one who's talking rubbish
Greece is being asked to do the impossible when it comes to reforms, the left-leaning daily taz writes in dismay: "Above all Germany insisted on the return of the troika - and got its way. It also got its way with the attitude that Athens must now 'deliver' and implement the agreed reforms. ... That's simply impossible. No government in the world can turn its entire administration inside out and underpin the costs and benefits with figures in just 20 days. It's not [Greek Finance Minister] Varoufakis who's lost touch with reality, but all those who have set completely unrealistic conditions. It's still true to say that Greece needs more time. ... And there's no point expecting the hardliners in the euro club to relent. The Euro Group may talk continuously about reforms - but it itself hasn't dared to push through a single one. The return of the troika says it all."
Schäuble talks like an arrogant schoolmaster
After the meeting of the Euro Group, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told journalists that he had accused Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis of being foolishly naive vis-à-vis the media. The left-leaning pro-government daily Avgi finds Schäuble's tone unbearable: "He acts in a way that is unfitting for a minister of a European country: with the arrogance of a ruler. ... But history teaches us that when the ruler lacks wisdom, he's all the worse off for it. Schäuble has plenty of experience and he's well aware of all this, meaning it's highly probable that his harsh statements are meant to score him points at home. In playing the hard-liner on Greece, he's diverted attention from the fact that he hasn't wasted a word over France's being given more time to fix its budget deficit."