No new reform list from Athens for now
Athens will not present a new reform list at the meeting with the euro finance ministers on Thursday, Greek Finance Minister announced after inconclusive talks with EU Commission President Juncker and the IMF. The negotiations are proving so tough because the IMF and the Eurozone are pursuing different goals, commentators point out, and warn against underestimating the consequences of a Grexit.
IMF and EU heading for disaster
The International Monetary Fund is showing no regard for European sensitivities in its negotiations with Greece, the centre-left daily Libération criticises: "The IMF could hardly care less about whether Greece remains in the Eurozone, or even about the continuation of the European Project. It doesn't care about such political issues. For the Eurozone it's precisely the opposite: politics takes top priority. Its goal is to prevent a Grexit which could threaten the very survival of the common currency. ... Because the IMF and the EU are acting together, they are both unwilling to compromise, and hence demand the impossible from Athens: austerity measures meant not only to achieve a balanced budget but also an unrealistic primary surplus to help it repay a debt that is practically 'untouchable'. The two goals are irreconcilable, and so the threat of an unprecedented disaster looms over Europe."
Don't believe proponents of a Grexit
Those who are downplaying the dangers of a Greek exit from the Eurozone now have already been wrong in the past, the centre-left daily The Independent warns: "The panjandrums of the eurozone insist that there will be no financial or economic 'contagion' if Greece slips out of the euro embrace, because the system has been shored up in the past three years. Europe can take or leave Greece, they insist. Perhaps they're right. But we'd do well to remember that these are the same people who confidently predicted back in 2010 that Greece would rapidly return to growth after taking an invigorating dose of their carefully distilled austerity medicine. And look how that turned out."
No alternative to debt cut
Only if the creditors decide to dispense with some of the money they are owed will Greece be able to get back on its feet, the centre-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung comments: "Such a debt cut can't be organised at the drop of a hat or within a few days but will require detailed negotiations. No one should know this better than the German government, because Germany has had parts of its debts waived no less than four times in the last century, and from that it has benefited massively - something that everyone who is judging Greece and advocating its exit from the monetary union these days seems happy to forget. ... Germany's debts weren't waived because it had earned it but because it made economic sense to do so. The Greeks certainly haven't earned a debt cut either; but there is no way round it, for both economic and political reasons. The alternative would be a disorderly national bankruptcy."
Creditors want to topple Athens' leftist gov't
A deep rift divides the people of Greece from the powerful in Brussels, the liberal daily Politis observes: "The Greeks want a Europe that shows solidarity, not one that acts against it. A Europe that doesn't try to recoup its loans from the pockets of the poor through a rise in VAT and 300-euro pensions. ... What's more, the Greek government should try to get out of this tug of war that is increasingly sapping its strength. It's clear that the demands of the neoliberal power centre in Brussels are of a political, not an economic nature. Their goal is to humiliate this leftist government before the eyes of the Greeks. ... And the inexperienced Greek government should understand that it's not dealing with partners but with foes."