IMF: Athens needs a third bailout
The IMF estimates in its latest analysis that Athens will need around 52 billion euros in new loans until 2018, as well as debt relief. Instead of talking about bailouts the Euro Group should finally talk about a debt write-down and Eurobonds, also commentators warn, pointing to how Argentina once solved its debt crisis.
No improvement without debt relief
The debt relief taboo must finally be broken, the centre-left daily De Morgen demands: "This is not the first time the IMF has argued in favour of debt relief as the key component of a solution. But it is highly remarkable that the international creditor has come now of all times with a recommendation that deviates gingerly from [IMF chief] Lagarde's unbending stance and presents something that until now had been a major political taboo as an absolute necessity. Up to now the IMF's calls for debt relief have always met with opposition from the European governments. In its latest analysis the IMF ignores this. The situation is now so bad, the economists say, that the one-sided method of 'sink or swim' won't work any more, even if the political leaders continue to support it."
Eurobonds instead of bailout programmes
The euro will only remain viable after the Greek crisis if member states share the burdens of risk and responsibility, the liberal business weekly The Economist warns: "To protect against downturns, euro-zone members must create automatic mechanisms, such as collective unemployment insurance, that channel extra funds to countries in recession. Instead of bail-outs, the single-currency area needs more joint pooling of risk and responsibility - some form of 'Eurobonds' or jointly guaranteed sovereign debt - governed by fiscal rules more binding than today's. ... The moral of Greece's disaster is that Europeans must face up to the euro's contradictions now - or suffer the consequences in more ruinous circumstances."
There is life after default
Greece is in a similarly difficult situation to the one Argentina faced in 2001, economists Joseph Stiglitz and Martin Guzman point out in the centre-left web paper El Huffington Post: "In both countries, recessions turned into depressions as a consequence of austerity policies - making the debt even more unsustainable. In both cases, the policies were demanded as a condition for assistance. Both countries had rigid currency arrangements that gave them no possibility for running expansionary monetary policies during the recession. In both countries, the IMF got it wrong, providing alarmingly flawed forecasts of the consequences of the imposed policies. Unemployment and poverty soared, and GDP plummeted. ... Defaults are difficult. But even more so is austerity. The good news for Greece is that, as Argentina showed, there may be life after debt and default."
Global perspectives: Tsipras's campaign against austerity has failed
The Greek government's negotiating style has alienated all the Eurozone countries, the liberal daily The New York Times observes: "Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has spent the last six months, since his left-wing Syriza party came to power, trying to shift the entire political framework of his country's bailout negotiations. That effort has failed. ... The Greek government was surely hoping that by walking away and calling a referendum, the creditors would rethink their intransigence, fearful of the economic and geopolitical consequences of letting Greece leave the eurozone. If anything, it pushed Germany and France, as well as Spain and Italy, closer together, full of exasperation with the Greeks' negotiating style and aggressive demands."
Greek government sullying left ideals
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis are betraying the ideals of the left, journalist Werner Stanzl criticises in the liberal daily Wiener Zeitung: "The editors of almost all German-language newspapers, radios and television stations have rushed to present the empty verbiage of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as leftist thought - or even as its elixir. Nothing does more to disqualify this view than the in part intentional, in part naive lack of criticism with which the half-truths and falsehoods from Athens have been cast as part of a pan-European socialist programme. .. Leftist politicians would never have taken risks with such catastrophic repercussions for the entire populace. Syriza's gamble is a display of contempt for human lives, and has completely besmirched the ideas of the left."
Angela Merkel coordinating a putsch
The European Commission and European politicians have warned the Greeks in recent days not to vote against austerity in Sunday's referendum. This provokes harsh criticism from the liberal anti-government weekly Proto Thema: "What we are now seeing is a post-modern putsch coordinated by Berlin and aimed at toppling the left-leaning government. [German Chancellor] Merkel said yesterday that the current differences of opinion were of a political nature and not about money, 400 million euros, or any other sum. It was for this reason that [german finance minister] Schäuble rejected the Greek government's last proposal for compromise. It's clear that what Berlin wants is not an agreement but the fall of the government and the unconditional surrender of the country. If this government can be accused of one thing it's that it has allowed itself to be dragged into a war that it wanted to avoid."