Troika to return to Athens

Athens and the Eurogroup ministers have agreed that delegates of the creditors will travel to Athens to reassess the stipulated reforms in a new move aimed at resolving the row over Greek debt. At the same time Athens has consented to carry out further reforms that were a prerequisite for new bailout loans. Observers don't expect the situation in Greece to improve and look back on how the crisis has evolved.

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Protagon.gr (GR) /

Greece is a failed state

Athens' negotiating position has gone from bad to worse, Protagon comments:

“The fourth austerity memorandum seems unavoidable. Leaving aside the absurd discussion about the Grexit, the country will have to ask for both more time and money from its partners. The IMF won't even come to the negotiating table [because of dissent over a debt haircut], meaning that the next austerity memorandum will be a purely European affair. ... Greece is becoming a painful and never-ending problem for Europe. And this is effectively leading to to its marginalisation. Both what it has to say and its role in international affairs are losing value. ... As long as Greece can't stand on its own two feet, it will look more and more like a failed state that depends entirely on its creditors - and is completely at their mercy.”

Sabah (TR) /

US is the root of all evil

The US bears the blame for Europe's ongoing financial crisis, Sabah argues:

“In 2008 Spain's debt was lower than Germany's. Italy was always a country that got along with small budget deficits. Greece was able to pay its debts. Then what happened? 'In 2008 the global monster was toppled, Wall Street lost its money and the crisis was exported to Europe', says [former Greek finance minister] Varoufakis. ... The US saw that the global plan it had long been pursuing had collapsed and decided to save itself. ... Europe and China were left in the lurch. ... Europe, with its weak banking system and cumbersome bureaucracy, was unable to react to this 'knife in the back'. As a last resort, Germany decided to protect its own profits and in so doing brought about the current state of affairs.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Greece just shooting own goals

Nothing will change because rather than implementing proper reforms Athens just wants help from abroad, the business daily Naftemporiki explains:

“We're just trying to buy time, no matter how many 'goals' are scored against the Greek economy. Every now and then we agree that we don't agree with the terms we agreed to with the creditors, but in the last minute we take measures that are purely financial in character. ... We expect the Germans to vote for Schulzand the French to vote for Macronand that these two will then announce the end of the austerity policy, point the EU in a different direction and bring about the long hoped for 'turnaround'. This is certainly a positive scenario. But there is an alternative one, too: Le Pen winning in France and the CDU winning in Germany along with a strong AfD. As long as we keep passively waiting for the others to take action Greece will continue to shoot own goals.”

Új Szó (Slowakei) (SK) /

Are creditors hesitant for fear of populists?

With elections in the three most important creditor countries this year it is doubtful that Athens will get a new bailout, the Slovakian daily Új Szó comments:

“Whether it likes it or not, Greece is dependent on financial help, otherwise it faces national bankruptcy by the summer if not before. The IMF is even talking about waiving debt. ... The problem is that elections will be held in April in the Netherlands, in May in France and in September in Germany. And these very same three states are Greece's major creditors. … With elections just around the corner the frugal Dutch and Germans and the financially weakened French will be very reluctant to reach into their pockets and pour even more money into a bottomless pit. That would be grist to the mill of populist and anti-EU forces.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Bailout programme remains unrealistic

Handelsblatt has a good idea how the row over the bailout programme for Greece will end:

“The IMF, which just a few weeks ago was insisting that the austerity targets were unrealistic, will play along after all. Over the last seven years this institution has often acted as the economic conscience of the notoriously overoptimistic Europeans, but in the end it has always given in. To make this easier for the IMF this time round, the German government will promise certain debt relief measures for the period after the bailout programme ends in summer 2018. Having already transferred around 250 billion euros, the next instalment will also be paid out. Just why a bailout programme that hasn't worked properly for seven years is supposed to suddenly be successful remains unclear. The whole plan is unrealistic. … It is an attempt by all the involved parties to just get by until 2018.”

To Vima Online (GR) /

Pointless procrastination continues

The deal doesn't bring Greece any closer to solving its problems, To Vima sighs:

“The compensations the government expects, for example collective wage agreements and financial programme for creating jobs, are in theory a good thing. But they won't do much to change the tragic situation thousands of households are facing. … The nearly one-year delay in completing the examination of the austerity programme has not improved Greece's situation but only aggravated it. The government and the Europeans are simply buying time because it suits both sides - provided, of course, that the negotiations with the troika end successfully and a political deal is reached that ensures the release of the next loan instalment.”