IMF breaks off talks with Athens
The IMF representatives pulled out of talks with Athens in Brussels on Thursday. A spokesman for the organisation complained that the differences of opinion were too great. It is unclear when the negotiations will be resumed. In the end the creditors won't abandon Greece to its fate, commentators write, still convinced that an agreement is possible.
Americans won't let Athens fall
Despite all the differences of opinion between Athens and its creditors in the end a solution will be found because the fear of a Grexit is simply too great, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino predicts: "The first concern is the solidity of the single currency. Greek's exit would prove that this European construction is not built to last. The other, even greater fear (for the Americans) has to do with the financial markets. Athens' collapse could trigger a fatal chain reaction that affects precisely those instruments that were once referred to as 'toxic papers' and today are even more widespread than in the times of the subprime crisis. The real fear, above all in Washington, is the consequences for the financial markets, doped up with the constant flow of money from the central banks and the vast amount of instruments the financial world has thought up. No one wants to risk Greek going bankrupt. A temporary solution will be found to buy a few extra months' time."
Agreement with Greece still on the cards
Despite the turbulent relations between Athens and its creditors, the centre-left daily The Irish Times believes both sides will soon reach a consensus: "A lot of time has been lost in the talks between Greece and its creditors already. The tactics of the Syriza-led government have angered its creditors, who feel that it is not showing enough determination to implement the necessary economic reforms. All sides must realise by now that some restructuring of Greece's debts to official creditors will, at some stage, have to happen. However this is only likely to come on the table if Greece puts forward a credible reform plan. And so far it hasn't, rejecting the plans put forward by its creditors, but not yet coming up with detailed alternatives. Some way must be found to restore the trust needed to come to a deal."
Tsipras doing the same as his predecessors did
According to media reports, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has proposed that the bailout programme for Greece be extended until March 2016. That means everything will just continue as it has until now, the liberal website Capital laments: "Tsipras has demanded the extension of the austerity memorandum that the previous government put in place, although he had opposed it so fiercely and wanted to see it legally abolished. The continuation of the bailout programme [initially for four months] on February 20 and the insecurity it entailed has resulted in an enormous flight of capital from the banks, economic stagnation, a return to recession, rising unemployment, fewer hopes for tourism this year and the inability to attain a primary surplus without additional measures. ... Why should prolonging the programme for another nine months change this negative mood?"