The next hurdle in the Greek bailout
The parliaments in Berlin and Vienna will vote today on the start to negotiations of a new bailout package for Greece. On Thursday the EU finance ministers agreed on a bridging loan for Athens until mid-August. While some commentators urge all EU countries to show solidarity with the crisis country, others point out that aid should not flow from poor countries to richer ones.
Lithania must show solidarity with Greece
Lithuania's government gave a green light to further negotiations on financial aid for Greece on Thursday. Now is the time for solidarity with Athens, the business paper Verslo žinios writes in praise: "An EU country is in dire straits, and the members of the Union must help it. Can Lithuania just remain on the sidelines? ... When we joined the EU and the euro club of our own free will we read the rules and knew about the European Stability Mechanism. We were fascinated by the European principle of solidarity, so why should we disdain it now? The sun can't shine every day. ... .. Heaven forbid that we should ever get into such a difficult situation. But if we did, how painful it would be if the members of the European family turned their backs on us. ... As far as the Greeks are concerned, all we are left with is the hope that they will finally learn from their many mistakes, and that in addition to being proud of their ancestors and their glorious past, they'll roll up their sleeves and start to work hard."
Bulgaria has no money left for Athens
The European Union can't expect Bulgaria to contribute in any way to a bailout package for Greece, the daily newspaper Standart comments: "Bulgaria's position was always that it's not normal for a poor country to support a rich one. Moreover we're not even in the Eurozone and therefore don't enjoy its privileges. So we can't be expected to help carry its burdens. … If Greece were to get trapped in a hyperinflation spiral and become so poor that the Greeks didn't even have enough money for food, then we, as neighbours, must of course help. But it hasn't come to that yet. Despite Syriza's policies the Greek economy hasn't collapsed entirely and it is still stronger than Bulgaria's. Saving the Greeks is therefore not really our responsibility."
Austria's Greens right to say no
The German Bundestag and the Austrian parliament both vote on the Greek package today, Friday, with majorities in favour in both bodies seen as secure. The leftist daily taz calls on the German Green Party to follow the example of their colleagues in Vienna: "The voting behaviour of the Greens on this side and the other side of the Alps will be different. Unlike the Greens in Germany, those in Austria plan to vote 'no'. They see Greece as being 'put under European tutelage' by the EU's terms and refuse to give their approval for the 'annulment of democratic political principles'. The German Greens should follow this example and vote 'no' along with the Left Party. The Tsipras government may have no other choice in the current situation but to bow to the EU's dictates. But in the Bundestag it's out of the question to support Schäuble's anti-democratic, antisocial and anti-European approach."
Parliament vote in Spain just an election tactic
Spain's ruling party Partido Popular (PP) wants to let the Spanish parliament vote on the bailout for Greece. These democratic impulses are nothing but election propaganda, the centre-left daily El País comments in annoyance: "There is no obligation to ask the MPs, nor was the parliament consulted about saving the Spanish banks in 2012 when the same head of government was in office with the same majority. The opportunism is evident in this change of opinion about the parliament's functions. … The government is making a last-minute attempt to exploit the issue for its election campaign. Also lamentable is the insinuation that Podemos is 'Tsipras's party' and the attempt to tar the socialist candidate Pedro Sánchez with the same brush."