Juncker breaks off talks with Athens

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday broke off a mediation attempt in the debt conflict with Greece owing to major differences. While preventing a Grexit is imperative, the creditors must make no further concessions to Athens, some commentators argue. Others believe a Grexit would strengthen Europe.

Open/close all quotes
Le Figaro (FR) /

Do not capitulate to Greece

Europe must not capitulate to Athens for fear of a Grexit, the conservative daily Le Figaro warns: "Greece has taken the Europeans to the cleaners often enough already. Now there must be an end to concessions. After ruining itself through its own carelessness and being rescued by Europe at the price of unprecedented efforts, it has repeatedly demanded debt write-offs, the review of its reform commitments and new bailouts! Needless to say all of this is not envisageable for reasons of principle and cost, but also out of a sense of fairness to the countries that tightened their belts to overcome the crisis. The second reason is that Greece would be the biggest victim of a break with Europe: with bank insolvencies, lost savings, and the destruction of entire business sectors. … If it is still at all possible to reach a reasonable compromise - including a debt restructuring - it is in everyone's interest to make this happen."

euinside (BG) /

Eurozone would be stronger without Greece

Greece should leave the Eurozone before it plunges the EU into a crisis of values, Adelina Marini writes on her blog euinside: "The investors are calling on the Greek government to show a sense of responsibility not only toward its own voters but also toward the voters of other EU countries. ... And what do they get in return? The typical Balkan arrogance backed by nothing but hot air. That is a true clash of values. ... The EU has made so many compromises as regards its own rules and values that the departure of Greece, which disregards these rules and values, would do more to strengthen the Union than to undermine trust in it. ... Millions of people have sacrificed their lives for European values. Let's not forget that they are set down in Article 2 of the founding treaty, and not just in some annex. They are the foundation of the EU, and more valuable than any state bankruptcy."

De Tijd (BE) /

Tsipras plunging his country into poverty

A Grexit is increasingly likely after the abrupt end to the talks with Greece on Sunday, the business paper De Tijd comments: "Greece must reform its economy and get back on a sound footing. As long as this is not in the cards, Greece won't be able to regain the trust of the financial markets. ... In terms of reforms, for example, the country hasn't budged for half a year. That has to do with the fact that the radical left coalition won the elections with the promise of remaining in the Eurozone while refusing reforms. The combination of these two promises is increasingly taking on absurd proportions. More than ever Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is faced with a decision: either he is the statesman who saves his country. Or he is an all-but communist who manages to save his principles while plunging his country into ever increasing hardship. From the looks of it, he's making the wrong choice."

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Danger of a gigantic financial crisis

The renewed failure of the negotiations with Greece will lead to a financial crisis of epic proportions in Europe, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera points out: "Yet the financial markets and many observers don't seem to be worried by this. They are probably convinced that an agreement will be reached in the end. In the worst case the European Central Bank will sort it out and banish the danger of contagion, they think. But the theory according to which monetary policy will be enough to limit the impact of the crisis on the financial markets and on the real economy has already proven wrong in the past, most recently when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September 2008. … So history threatens to repeat itself. First the problems are underestimated, then because of the hope that others will solve the problem the decision is put off for so long that the crisis gets out of hand."