Crisis meeting in Greece conflict
In the conflict over Athens' debts Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande will meet for discussions today in Brussels. Some commentators accuse Tsipras of continuing to defend the privileges of Greek public servants. Others say the EU should give up the project of reforming Greece.
Tsipras really fighting for the privileged
Athens' reforms are not true reforms, and rather than fighting for the weak Tsipras is fighting for employees who have always enjoyed privileges, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera rails: "No one is asking Greece to scrap pensions and social benefits. It's about reforming an unfair system that favours the higher income classes and allows public sector employees to retire at 55. Sadly the sticking point is the following: in Brussels Tspiras und Varoufakis assume the role of champions of social policy. But at home they defend the privileges of certain categories of public sector employees and professions that are organised into trade unions and associations. … The Hellenic social welfare state had enormous deficits long before the crisis. The European Union has good reasons for demanding the reform of the welfare state."
Let the Greeks stay poor
The fact that the Syriza-led government in Athens is as popular as ever is proof that the Greeks don't want serious reforms, economist Francesco Giavazzi complains in the liberal daily Financial Times: "If the Greeks do not want to modernise, we should accept it. By a large majority, they have voted for a government that, six months after the election, remains vastly popular. Its popularity with the electorate signals a wish to remain a nation with a per-capita income half that of Ireland, less than that of Slovenia. ... Without economic and social reforms, Greece will remain a relatively poor country. But it is not for the rest of Europe to impose reforms on Greece. It should merely make crystal clear that without serious reforms, new official loans are over."
Euro losing its credibility
With an agreement between Athens and its creditors yet to be reached the crisis in the Eurozone is taking on a new dimension, the liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias writes: "It is highly likely that we will see the euro go down even further against the dollar this week. Not just because the chance of a Grexit is increasing but also because the euro's credibility as the world's second reserve currency is suffering more than ever before. Many investors, including the central banks, who have amassed billions of euros in their portfolios will conclude that it's better to get rid of the euro as a means of payment because it represents a monetary union that clearly isn't in a position to prevent its own collapse. A monetary union that is stuck in a bitter power struggle with a small country that was first destroyed and is now being driven out of the union."