European parliaments vote for bailout package
The German Bundestag approved a third bailout package for Athens on Wednesday. The parliaments in Spain, Austria, Estonia and the Netherlands have also given it the green light this week. Some commentators see the move as proof of the resilience of European solidarity. For others, Europe has missed the chance to reshape its future.
The idea of solidarity lives on
The agreement on a third bailout package for Greece is proof that European solidarity is not yet a thing of the past, writes the conservative daily La Vanguardia: "Despite all the discontent and populism, Europe stands firm. People are saying that the agreement with Greece is just a brief reprieve, a pre-emptive move, and that the thunderclouds will soon return. And no doubt this is true, but below all the problems and mistakes the pulse of European identity continues to beat. The big challenge now is to construct a fairer Europe. Now everyone, from the Varoufakises to the Schäubles, must start working towards that goal and will perhaps reach an agreement some day."
The Europe of the future needs debt write-down
The German Bundestag has given the green light for the Greek bailout package but the waiving of debt is still taboo, the Catholic daily Avvenire laments: "Athens has been saved, at least for now. This is not the old Europe, because once again the birth of a new Europe has been prevented. Without at least a partial debt write-down the European Union will face the same dilemma three years from now: should it lend Greece more money or lose an entire country and split up over it? ... The German parliament's yes has been given in the spirit of an old Europe. This Europe is crippled with fear. Just mentioning the word 'write-down' could give populist movements in other debtor countries with upcoming elections a boost. The new Europe should have shown political farsightedness and appropriated the term 'debt write-down' in a display of solidarity. Solidarity is far more important than the outcome of this or that election."
Future generations will pay the price
The Bundestag's approval for the new bailout for Athens shows that Europe's politicians are deluding themselves when it comes to aid for Greece, warns the liberal conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung: "Nowhere in Europe are the promises to send aid reflected in the national budget. On the contrary, the finance ministers of the Eurozone have ruled out a nominal debt write-down. They are maintaining the fiction that the Greeks will repay their debts at some point - perhaps in 60 years' time according to the IMF. These camouflage tactics are pathetic. Those who are giving Athens money yet again should at least assume the financial responsibility for doing so. Those who service old debts with new ones, make the repayment periods ever longer and slash the interest rates are only passing the buck from generation to generation, almost like a chain letter."
Tsipras benefits most from new bailout
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is the main beneficiary of the third credit package for Greece, writes the conservative daily Die Welt: "The prime minister's Syriza movement is without doubt on the brink of a split. But Tsipras is still popular. Now and perhaps for some time to come, a government in Athens not under his leadership is almost unthinkable. And Tsipras's position vis-à-vis his Eurozone partners has also been strengthened. … Once the third bailout programme starts the payments would only stop, leading to a Grexit, if Tsipras completely refused to meet the terms and made a big show about it to boot. As long as he even just pretends to be willing to go along with their demands the creditors won't drop him. … Tsipras definitely has the upper hand now. And he will use that to his advantage."
Friends of Europe rare in the Netherlands
The Dutch House of Representatives approved the new bailout package for Athens by a slim majority on Wednesday afternoon, the last parliament to do so. The camp of friends of Europe is disintegrating, the centre-left daily De Volkskrant laments: "Only a small group still backs the prime minister in his efforts to rescue Greece. If the opinion polls are anything to go by, the opponents will have a broad majority in the next parliament. The no by the former governing party CDA is striking indeed: for decades it was one of the pillars of European cooperation. ... Now leader van Haersma Buma stands for a very restricted vision of Europe limited to financial matters. European solidarity and the political and strategic significance of Greece in the Eurozone are of hardly any interest to the CDA whatsoever."