Greeks say no to more austerity
The Greek voters gave a clear no to the creditors' austerity demands in the referendum on Sunday. Some commentators believe it's time for a Grexit, and that this is not the worst solution. Others still want a deal and call for a Marshall Plan and a debt conference as alternative solutions in the debt dispute.
Time for a Grexit now
The Greek people have voted to go their own way, writes the liberal-conservative Neue Zürcher Zeitung, calling on them to follow up on this decision consistently now: "An exit by Greece from the monetary union can't be forced but it is the logical consequence of the Greek no. The Syriza troop should seek a way to balance its revenues and spending without relying on the 'rich uncle' from Brussels. And the Greeks must sooner or later realise that they have no option but to become economically competitive. This will be easier to achieve with a Grexit. Regional policies and humanitarian aid for the EU member state must prevent it from sinking into chaos. But Athens must now walk its own, difficult path - the more consistently, the better. Europe won't be hurt by this."
Greece needs a Marshall Plan and reforms
After the Greek no the onus is on both sides to act, the centre-left daily Der Standard believes: "The Greek government must present a plan for how it wants to actively shape the country's future. If you want something from others you have to honour your agreements. Reforms are necessary in many areas. Just saying no isn't enough - either in Brussels or in Athens. Former EU Commission President Jacques Delors has put forward a three-point plan involving short-term aid to restore financial liquidity, a re-evaluation of Greek debt, and help through EU funds and programmes to foster economic development. That's the kind of Marshall Plan that made Germany's reconstruction possible after World War II. Greece, too, needs a new beginning. The referendum shows us the way."
A debt conference for the future
To prevent ill-feeling among Europeans from intensifying after the Greek referendum, the liberal daily Le Soir calls for a major European conference on the challenges of the future: "Ideally it would be good to come up with a way to clear up the confrontation between Greece and Europe by finding a global solution, and not just one for individual cases. Why not organise a Eurozone debt conference along the lines of that held in the post-war, in accordance with the proposals of [economist Thomas] Piketty and others? 'An adjustment in favour of the young generations' - not just in Greece but in all of Europe. The best thing about this idea is that it would give new life to bonds of solidarity among the peoples of Europe."
Tsipras government did poor job of negotiations
The no to EU austerity demands won't help the Greeks at all, the liberal tabloid Expressen writes and blames the Tsipras government for the failed negotiations with the creditors: "The Greeks had no power - even if they thought they did. This is why they voted no and celebrated it yesterday - they were celebrating the pride they believed long lost. The problem is that this has nothing to do with the reality of the situation. … The Greek government has betrayed its people, who by all appearances did want more euro loans, but on better conditions. A way forward would have been conceivable if there had been trust in Greece. But the Tsipras government put an end to any hopes that the country would change. … It turned relations with the creditors into a destructive game in which the reforms were just a stepping stone to get more money."
The euro project is severely damaged
Even the most enthusiastic supporters of the single currency must now concede that it has landed Europe in huge problems, the conservative daily The Times observes: "The euro project, a vision of political and economic harmony achieved through the common use of a single currency, is now severely damaged. Those new members of the European Union who once eagerly committed themselves to the future adoption of the euro are now seeking ways to hold on to their own currencies. Those idealists who once trumpeted the single currency as a way of integrating Europe's disparate economies and giving them a new collective strength are now sheepishly talking down their hopes and admitting to difficulties."
EU's democracy to be put to the test
Alexis Tsipras's government will adopt a different attitude to Greece's creditors in future, the liberal daily Delo believes: "After the general elections in January and the rejection of its proposals by the creditors for the past six months, the Tsipras government took a risky and politically irrational step with this referendum. The 'oxi', or no, now gives it the mandate for a more resolved stance. This is not, however, a mandate for leaving the Eurozone, let alone the EU. That was never an option. Now the ball is in the court of the European officials and financial experts. Until now they haven't taken the democratically elected Greek politicians seriously. Their reaction to the clear no from the Greek population will show how democratic the EU really is."