Is Greece out of the woods yet?

The finance ministers of the Eurozone have decided to release just part of the agreed next instalment of the bailout loan to Greece. Athens will receive 1.1 billion euros now, while the remaining 1.7 billion could be paid out by the end of October. Commentators call for a final decision in the row over Greece's debt.

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Capital (GR) /

No hope for Greece

Greece will have to leave the monetary union if an agreement can't be reached, according to media reports. The business portal Capital paints a grim picture of the country's future:

“Almost seven years after its insolvency in 2010 nothing has changed, and Greece is still on the brink of the precipice. After Tsipras ceded on the austerity policy in the summer of 2015, the government is now trying to portray a return to the markets as the next target. So in 2017 or 2018, roughly speaking, the country should once again reach the level it was at in 2014. All of this indicates that the threat of a collapse of the Greek economy and a shock for Greek society is looming once more. ... The next twelve months are particularly critical not only as far as Greece's future within and outside the Eurozone is concerned, but also regarding the fate of the Eurozone and the EU themselves. Developments in the region show that the coming years will also be vital for the country's territorial integrity.”

Sydsvenskan (SE) /

Keep up the pressure on crisis states

The EU must insist that crisis countries fulfil its demands, Sweden's finance minister, Magdalena Andersson, has urged. Sydsvenskan agrees:

“Europe's economy is stalling. In addition to Spain and Portugal, Italy and Greece are also still struggling. Clearly investments by the EU and changes to the general economic framework are needed, also to promote European growth. But this alone is not a solution for countries that need structural reforms. In the long term it will be difficult to keep together and defend a union in which member states can break the rules without any risk of repercussions. What do we want with an EU whose rules are merely symbolic? Sooner or later the people will start asking this question. The EU's leaders must make it clear that certain requirements must be met to enjoy the advantages of the EU.”

Dimokratia (GR) /

Berlin's sadistic game with Athens

The decision to release only part of the new credit instalment was cruel, writes Dimokratia:

“No one was surprised to see the same old sadistic game with 'the next instalment' being played here. Some see it as a comedy, but for our country it is an eternal tragedy. The Germans are providing funds in little drips and grasping unchecked at anything they can get or that is offered to them. Dividing up the instalments and setting new conditions for further credit even though all that had been agreed was implemented helps the Germans to stay in control - which they love; it's almost like a fetish with them. None of Merkel's team, never mind Schäuble, wants to see the Greeks take heart once more, because when the victim is constantly in fear of being choked the attacker needn't fear any resistance.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Like it or not, debt relief is coming

Germany's reluctance to give Greece debt relief is just a sham, Die Presse believes:

“It will take a big leap instead of the small steps of the last eight years. That big leap could be either a new start after state bankruptcy or debt relief that is painful for all the creditors. If the uncertainty remains, a growing number of relevant firms will leave. The government in Athens is trying to shirk its responsibilities by pointing to the IMF's demands. And Berlin's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is just playing for time: he knows that the Eurozone finance ministers have long since told the IMF they will tackle the necessary debt relief programme as of 2018. By then the next German elections will be over and it will be time to make unattractive decisions once more.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Worst scenario for Greece

There will be every reason to worry if the IMF really pulls out of the bailout programme, the business paper Naftemporiki believes:

“The participation of the IMF in the financing and supervision of the Greek programme hangs in the balance. The Fund has given itself until the end of the year to make up its mind. Until then its decision-makers will assess the programme's parameters, and particularly Greece's debt sustainability. The government in Athens is worried because it could lose an 'ally' that supports its main goal, namely debt relief. It also assumed that in the coming negotiations the demands for structural reforms would be milder with an IMF presence. It's a nightmare scenario: if the IMF opts out, the debts will remain and even more painful reforms will have to be pushed through.”

Večer (SI) /

Neoliberalism to blame

What Greece really needs to get back on track after years of crisis is a new economic model, Večer argues:

“The IMF and the European creditors favour neoliberal measures that have failed to produce the desired results over the last six years. These measures have emptied the pockets of the average Greek citizen, while a few rich Greeks have retained their privileges and wealth or have even gotten richer thanks to bargain buys within the context of the privatisation measures dictated by the international creditors. In the current capitalist system in which profit counts more than people, there is no solution for Greece. Nor has the euro crisis been overcome. It's on hold, just as it has been for Greece in recent months. The crisis that broke out in 2008 wasn't enough to bring about a transition to a more just economic system.”