No solution to conflict over Greece in sight
The battle lines in the conflict over Athens' debts have emerged more clearly after the meeting of the Euro Group on Friday in Riga. Euro Group leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem stressed that without sweeping reforms no further payments would be made. After three months of negotiations there is no sign of an agreement between Greece and its creditors, commentators write, and attempt to find a culprit for the fiasco.
Negotiations end in fiasco
The Greek government hasn't gained a thing from the three months of negotiations with its creditors, the conservative daily Kathimerini writes in disappointment: "One thing's for sure: the government now has fewer friends and allies. ... The accursed uncertainty over a possible Grexit has returned, scaring off investors and menacing the economy. The great hopes for debt relief or a haircut have turned out to be mere dreams. ... No money has been secured from non-Western financing sources, and the foreign press has sided against Greece. Someone is responsible for this fiasco. By the looks of it the government has developed a negotiation plan that's based on a bluff and takes neither the prevailing power structures nor the disastrous repercussions of sustained uncertainty into account."
EU tramples on democracy
The EU's position in the negotiations with Greece is unproductive and hypocritical, writes economist and political scientist Jacques Sapir in his blog for the left-liberal news magazine Marianne: "Far from welcoming the arrival in office of a party and coalition truly bent on tackling Greece's structural problems, such as corruption, clientilism and nepotism, the EU has never stopped trying to undermine it and impose a different programme to the one it was elected for. In this way it has shown its complete disdain for the democracy whose virtues its leaders so love to extol. However the current crisis is resolved, be it with a rotten compromise, an insolvency or even a Grexit, the EU's abhorrent attitude will remain etched in the memory of all Europeans - and the rest of the world."
Financial aid only in exchange for reforms
The disorganised Greek government must finally follow through on the reforms it has promised, otherwise it shouldn't get any more money from its EU partners, the conservative daily The Times writes: "This flight of capital is not some nefarious capitalist plot to thwart the will of the people. It is a rational response to the flailing of a government that has no idea how to resolve the country's crisis and which appears to imagine it an effective negotiating strategy to threaten self-immolation. Greece's government should pipe down and propose credible, detailed structural reforms to an economy that does not work. Then, and only then, will Greece's partners and creditors have a moral obligation to parley with them seriously."
Respect successes of other euro states
The crisis in Greece has blinded observers to the successes of the other states of the Eurozone, the liberal business paper Handelsblatt criticises: "Of course the Eurozone still isn't a growth locomotive for the global economy. Nevertheless most states - with the exception of France - have introduced growth-enhancing reforms. For at least the next two years they can reckon with a strong tailwind from monetary policy. Greece is definitely the exception and not the rule here. The leftist government is in the process of destroying the fledgling trust of investors at home and abroad. For that reason it's also not surprising that the governments of Spain and Portugal don't want to go along with the Greek revolt against the troika's requirements."