An end to the Greek row in sight?

The next decision on Greece is to be reached at a special meeting of the Eurozone finance ministers on May 9. According to EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, the creditors and Athens are "99 percent of the way" towards agreeing on a reform package. Commenters suspect that in view of the threat of Brexit the EU wants to avoid a new dispute at any cost.

Open/close all quotes
Avgi (GR) /

Creditors finally showing mercy

The left-leaning pro-government daily Avgi is optimistic that Greece will soon be able to relax after Athens and the creditors reach a deal on a reform package:

“The downside is that the long period of uncertainty has had serious consequences for the economy. The upside is that the package that has now been agreed on contains a reduction of the debt. That means the difficult situation we have been in for 18 months now won't continue. The European institutions have decided to close Greece's wound because it still poses a risk to Europe's unity. The turbulence that could result if the British opt for a Brexit is unpredictable and frightening. Wolfgang Schäuble has gone too far and und Jean-Claude Juncker is facing personal failure. The Greeks have been tortured for long enough. ”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Brexit fears strengthen Athens' hand

Brussels can't afford a bitter row with the Greek government with Britain's EU referendum just around the corner, the Irish Times concludes:

“As summer approaches, the prospect of a rerun of last year’s Greek drama is looming large on everyone’s minds. ... Europe’s leaders are desperate to avoid the kind of acrimonious negotiations witnessed last year as Britons go to the polls. ... Europe’s twin challenges of the refugee crisis and the Brexit referendum may strengthen Greece’s hand as it enters a crucial stage in its bailout negotiations. What is clear is that all parties will be working to avoid the kind of bitter brinkmanship that the world witnessed last summer.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Euro partners must accept debt haircut

Rather than triggering another wave of panic over a Grexit Greece and its creditors should both make compromises in the interest of reaching an agreement, admonishes the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“Alexis Tsipras wants to take centre stage; he wants a top-level debate because he thinks he'll be able to achieve more than his finance minister did. But no matter at which level the decision is taken in the end, one thing is clear: both sides must make compromises. Greece must finally push the agreed reforms through parliament. And the creditors must stop pressing more and more emergency austerity measures on Athens simply because the Euro partners want to get the International Monetary Fund back on board as a creditor. If they want to do that they will have to be willing to offer debt relief.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Athens must repay its debts

Now Europe's taxpayers will have to fork out for Athens' lack of discipline, Corriere del Ticino rails at the prospect of a debt haircut:

“Like a number of other debt-ridden countries in the Eurozone (Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus), with a little budgetary discipline Greece could have made some real progress. But the constant interruptions in its budgetary measures have hindered improvement despite the bailouts the country has received. Now the calls for debt relief - to the detriment of the creditors - are growing louder once more. But the creditors are now mainly the taxpayers of other EU countries, and Athens has already been granted concessions by private creditors. If Athens gets the green light for another debt restructuring the non-repayment of debt will become the rule. A negative principle that would be dangerous for all.” (GR) /

Fresh elections would be a risky undertaking

In Athens there is already speculation that Prime Minister Tsipras will call new elections in view of the lack of progress in the negotiations with Greece's creditors. Website Protagon trashes the idea:

“We can't go on holding elections every six months. Both Tsipras and the opposition should know better after last summer's adventure. This government has the obligation to bring what it promised to completion. Any other option would be an adventure and a criminal attempt to evade responsibility. And the opposition? Certainly it is obliged to point out the negligence and delays of the government, but to suggest that a different government would have done everything differently is pointless. We should learn our lesson from what happened with Tsipras, who made the mistake of toppling the Samaras-Venizelos government in December 2014 [when Syriza ushered in new elections by refusing to support presidential candidate Stavros Dimas] and only made things worse by doing so.”

Diário Económico (PT) /

Soon we'll all be talking about Greece again

Commenting in the business daily Diário Económico economist Luis Tavares Bravo sees signs of the Greek crisis making a comeback:

“Alexis Tsipras has adopted a reserved tone. He seems more focussed on encouraging the debate in Europe than forcing a unilateral break with the euro. But Greece's 'absence' from the media agenda may soon be over. … The first warning sign came at the start of the month when whistleblowing platform Wikileaks published reports according to which Tsipras was trying to provoke early elections. This caused the yields on Greek bonds to rise and led to a drop in the country's stock market indexes. And that at a time when the negotiations on the release of new loans from the third bailout are going anything but smoothly.”

To Vima (GR) /

No one will fight for Greece this time round

The Greek government cannot count on Europe's help this time, the Greek daily To Vima warns:

“Tsipras's government has worn out the patience of its EU partners. Even those who sympathised with Tsipras in the past are no longer ready to help and seek initiatives to support Greece. As a result it is crucial that an agreement is reached as soon as possible. Any delay or complication will leave the country facing huge financial problems once more. ... There is a risk that last year's dramatic summer will be repeated. Except that this year hardly anyone will lift a finger to reach a new agreement with Greece. This time round we will be left to our fate - at least that is what those with an insight into the negotiations fear.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Berlin must stop the phalanx of blackmail

Alexis Tsipras purportedly asked Angela Merkel to avert new austerity measures for Greece on Tuesday. And just a few days earlier, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called for Eurobonds to finance refugee aid. Nothing but blackmail, the conservative daily Die Welt believes:

“Simultaneously with the flood of refugees, a phalanx of blackmail seems to be moving across the emerging countries of Southern Europe toward Central Europe. And the threat of monetary destabilisation is being used as a lever to force transfer payments from the North to the South. Or at least that's what the Eurosceptics say. However, the argument is false, because the cause for this sudden crisis is a mass exodus that has nothing to do with either the euro or the Southern European countries' failure to get their finances in shape. The failure of the states on the southern edge of Europe threatens to move northward, corroding everything in its path. Stopping it will cost money - whether it's euros or deutschmarks - and calls for a cool-headed, pragmatic policy. Also towards blackmailers.”