Juncker threatens with Grexit
The Euro Group has given Athens until an EU emergency summit on Sunday to convince it to release new funds. If it fails to do this the scene will be set of Greece's exit from the Eurozone, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said. Europe would put its global clout at risk with a Grexit, commentators warn, while others see the move as the way out of the crisis.
EU puts its global importance at risk
The creditors have given Athens until Friday to present new reform proposals. If an agreement isn't reached at the EU special summit on Sunday a "black scenario" couldn't be ruled out, said European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday, indirectly threatening a Grexit. Former deputy foreign minister Marta Dassù explains in the liberal daily La Stampa why Europe needs to bailout Greece at all costs: "The EU can't just be a community of the strong, it must be able to integrate the weaker, peripheral economies. In addition, global competitiveness is realised at a continental level. … And finally, the EU may be able to deal with the shock from Athens at an economic and financial level, but at a political level this would be a huge defeat for Brussels too. For Europe to have a future, European solidarity and national responsibility must go hand in hand. … If this game is lost, Europe is unlikely to be able to succeed at the global level."
Grexit must not become success model
Even though the Euro Group seems to be intent on pushing Greece out of the single currency it fears a Grexit for one very specific reason, economist Jacques Sapir writes on his blog for the weekly magazine Marianne: "One thing completely terrifies Europe's leaders: that Greece might demonstrate that there is a life outside the euro, and that under certain conditions this life could be better than the present one. That's their main fear, and it has them cringing with horror. Because it would show everyone - the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Italians and the French - which way to go. And it would reveal not only what an immense fraud the euro is, which has brought neither growth nor stability to the countries that adopted it, but also the tyrannical nature of the non-elected Euro Group and ECB."
Separation the best solution
Like a quarrelling couple, Greece and the rest of the Eurozone have become so estranged that they should simply end their relationship, the liberal daily The Independent believes: "We have reached the point when it would be much better for all concerned to end the madness and negotiate an orderly exit for Greece from the European single currency. Like marriages and commercial partnerships, what seemed a good idea at the time sadly sometimes turns out to be a contract made in hell. In those circumstances the best answer is to accept reality and move on. ... To extend the analogy, the Greeks have been abusing the joint current account they hold with 18 other nations for some years now, and the others' patience has run out - understandably."
Athens should finally leave the Eurozone
After the referendum Athens should seriously consider voluntarily exiting the Eurozone, Aris Chatzistefanou writes on his website Infowar: "The ECB and Berlin aren't treating Greece the way it deserves to be treated as a member of the Eurozone. The government is now struggling to remain part of a bankers' club that offers only problems and no advantages. ... For the first time the Greek government has the chance to explain to the Greeks what exiting the euro would mean and the risks - but also the enormous opportunities - it entails. Naturally not just because the introduction of a national currency would directly affect people's lives, but also because all that staying in the Eurozone promises is continual blackmailing without any advantages."
Germany gets off scot free
Greece is by no means the only country responsible for the current crisis, the Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet points out: "Who will hold to account the German and French banks that gave the Greek banks countless loans at high interest rates? ... The Greeks then spent the borrowed money on goods from the big EU states. This system allows German companies to turn handsome profits not only in Greece but also across Europe, making them world champions in exports. Will no one call this system into question? Will no one stand up to the Germans, who rose from the ashes of WWII without repaying much of their war debt? This is a déjà vu. Just as no one questioned the American banks that started the crisis in 2008 by creating the real estate bubble - and were even rewarded for doing so - no one is questioning the technocrats in Brussels."