Athens presents new reform proposals
The Greek government sent a new reform plan to its negotiating partners on Thursday. After examining the list, the EU leaders plan to decide on a new aid package on Sunday. This emergency summit is the last chance to prevent the collapse of Europe, some commentators warn. Others criticise that the negotiations will continue as before.
Greeks need Grexit plus debt relief
A Grexit combined with debt relief is the only way to save Greece, the liberal news website Zeit Online advises: "Since Greece has made it very clear that it possesses neither the economic nor the political maturity for Eurozone membership, a way must be found for it to make a smooth exit from the monetary union. The structural reforms needed to turn Greece into an economy fit for the euro would take years to implement. The Eurozone can't finance the country for that long - and the Greeks won't want to be controlled by others for that long either. … Greece must find its own way, with assistance from the EU, but no longer under a 'money for reforms' dictate. At the same time it needs debt relief. If Greece isn't put into a position in which it is able to put the little surplus its economy generates into restructuring its administration and boosting its economy, it will never recover."
Europe must awaken from its slumber
The Europeans have become so used to the Greek crisis that they may miss the last chance to save the situation at Sunday's emergency summit of EU leaders, warns British historian Timothy Garton Ash in the centre-left daily El País: "We have seen so many 'last chance' eurozone summits about Greece that many Europeans have almost lost consciousness. We doze in the passenger seat even as the car goes over the cliff. But this is it. If the EU's heads of government don't find a way forward at their emergency summit this Sunday, then on Monday a 70-year-old project of European integration may start to unravel. If you think it's just the future of Greece that's at stake, think again. … Will that existential crisis then finally be seized as kairos, the opportunity for decisive action? As a European, I hope it; as an analyst, I doubt it."
Athens will remain a bottomless pit
Even though a compromise will no doubt be reached on the weekend the crisis is far from over, the liberal daily Dennik N fears: "To cut pensions it simply takes courage and a majority in parliament. By contrast introducing an effective and fair tax policy will take years. ... Fundamental changes require willpower, hundreds of experts and a strong political mandate. Greece has none of these things. Theoretically they could invite experts from the OECD, the IMF, the World Bank or the EU Commission. However Syriza refuses to restructure the state under external pressure. On the contrary, the electorate gave it the mandate to fight the European institutions and their reform initiatives. Consequently Syriza will keep on trying to blackmail the EU with the threat that Athens will let its own state sink into chaos."
The referendum as a collective hallucination
Stathis Kouvelakis, a member of the Syriza leadership and political scientist at King's College in London, criticises the resumption of negotiations between Athens and its creditors on the alternative website ThePressProject: "How can an overwhelming 'no' to austerity be interpreted as a green light for a new austerity memorandum? … What was the point of holding a referendum if something even worse and more restrictive than EU Commission President Juncker's proposals is now to be signed? What was the point of the no campaign? And of course: why did the no camp win such a resounding victory? … The absurd thing about this is that people are acting as if nothing had happened, as if the referendum was a collective illusion. … But the referendum took place and it wasn't an illusion. … Let's say with all clarity that any attempt to invalidate the people's will is hubris in the old sense of the word. He who dares lead the country and the left into submission and humiliation better be ready for his nemesis."