New bailout package for Athens
Athens and the international creditors on Tuesday agreed on the fundamentals of a new bailout package of up to 86 billion euros. Some commentators see this as a glimmer of hope that could usher in an end to the crisis. Others are convinced that Greece will need more money and a debt haircut.
Chance for an end to the permanent crisis
The agreement on new loans for Athens holds out the prospect of an end to Europe's permanent crisis, the liberal business paper Il Sole 24 Ore hopes: "Europe must now show courage and political foresight if it is to move beyond the ugly chapter of July 13, when it was only Tspipras' bold surrender that stopped Greece being expelled from the euro. ... The sooner the agreement with Greece is signed the better, especially in a climate of growing global uncertainty. Europe would give the world a sign of unity and cohesion that has been absent for so long. Could this really be an end to the nightmare and a squaring of the circle in a more realistic and more sensible Europe? The Greek crisis has crippled Europe for too long, and not only Athens is to blame. If Europe really wants to build a better future, then it is time to end the crisis."
Time for another growth package
A new bailout package running into the billions will only help Greece if the economy is revived at the same time, the centre-left daily El País is convinced: "Now that Greece has accepted the conditions for remaining in the Eurozone, economic aid must be provided for the plan to work. In any event the idea behind the third bailout is that it won't be the last. Clearly, the conditions that have been hammered out leave little room for anti-cyclical economic policy. The third bailout plan won't prevent the country from going bankrupt if in addition to the agreed obligations, the euro governments fail to pass measures to stimulate the Greek economy. ... Above all that means using European funds to boost public spending."
Debt haircut just a matter of time
Regardless of the agreement on the third bailout package a debt haircut for Greece is unavoidable, the liberal daily Pohjalainen believes: "Understandably, debt restructuring has always been unacceptable for the Euro countries, as they saw that Greece was opposed to many economic reforms. That was correct. ... Nevertheless, sooner or later we need to accept that part of Greece's debt must be written off. Common sense tells us that Greece, whose gross national product is considerably less than 200 billion euros, will never be able to pay off its 320 billion euros in debt. Debt restructuring will come about as soon as the Europeans are convinced that Greece really is determined to get back on its feet."
Ideology triumphs over sense
The agreement on a third bailout package for Greece shows that economic arguments were secondary in the debt crisis, the centre-left daily Der Standard contends: "The debt conflict between Athens, Berlin and Brussels was never really about economic factors or actual politics. The conflict was ideological. The alliance of creditors led by Berlin set a hegemonic codex. Austerity, more competitiveness and privatisations would save southern nations like Greece. The left-wing Syriza movement in Athens was right to question this dogma. … But Germany and the other creditors were not prepared to make compromises on ideology. The message to the Greeks was always: Sign an agreement with us on the basis of our principles and we will make concessions. This seems to have happened. … But politically speaking disquiet remains. Because it has become clear that dissent is not tolerated in Europe today."