No new loans for Athens yet

When the Eurozone's finance ministers meet on June 15 they are supposed to finally reach a decision on new loans for Greece. Concerned by the lack of agreement among the creditors Europe's commentators are less than optimistic about the future.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

Germany wants to gobble up what's left

It's easy to see through German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's strategy regarding bailouts for Greece, La Repubblica believes:

“Shortly before the meeting he attacked Athens and accused Prime Minister Tsipras of excluding the rich shipping companies from the austerity measures and targeting only the weaker classes. ... The idea that Germany, after taking control of the Greek port system, now wants to gobble up Greece's last remaining 'industry' awakes nasty memories. For instance of the Morgenthau plan which foresaw Germany being turned into a purely agricultural state after the war. A Schäuble version of Morgenthau is the last thing the Greeks, and above all the EU, need now.”

Eleftheros Typos (GR) /

Greece has just one year left

It is the Greek government that needs to act now, Eleftheros Typos counters:

“The answer to the debt question is being postponed until the summer of 2018. The ECB won't include Greece [for now] in the so-called quantitative easing [the central bank's economic stimulus programme] and all that Tsipras can hope for is that Greece will return to the markets. … For that to happen there must be trust in the economy; investors must be able to buy bonds and be confident that they'll get their money back after three to five years. But this doesn't seem to be the case, as the standstill in investments and the continuously dwindling deposits show. … Greece must gain full access to the financial markets by the end of the third austerity programme. So we have twelve months to do what's necessary to pay back part of the debt.”

Alternatives économiques (FR) /

No interest in real compromises

The European partners are not interested in serious negotiations, economist Michel Husson criticises in Alternatives Economiques:

“The way in which Greece is being taken for a ride shows that there can be no more talk of negotiations here. The Greek minister might just as well not bother attending the debate in which the IMF stance is clashing with that of the EU Commission. Compromise solutions are never even examined although back in February the IMF made precise proposals for making Greece's debts manageable: extending the repayment period from 10 to 30 years, postponing interest payments until 2040 and capping interest rates for 30 years at 1.5 percent. … The fact that such a compromise currently seems out of reach gives us an idea of how cruelly the Greek people are being treated.”

euinside (BG) /

Agreement with Athens has top priority

The ministers of the Eurozone still fear potential negative consequences of giving Athens the debt relief it is demanding, Adelina Marini comments in her blog euinside:

“The main factor here is a lack of trust. Germany and the Netherlands in particular fear that a debt haircut would hamper reform in Greece and have a demoralising effect on other highly indebted Eurozone countries. This is also the reason why they're not in such a hurry to deepen Eurozone integration. … But in the short term the main goal right now is to reach an agreement by June 15 so that Greece receives the next instalment of 7.3 billion euros. Otherwise all the efforts so far will have been in vain.”

Protagon.gr (GR) /

The prime minister's shameless promises

Tsipras once promised to wear a tie when the debt row was resolved, and said last week that that moment would soon arrive. An arrogant provocation in Protagon's opinion:

“Tsipras has no qualms about making arrogant predictions. He is willing to accept whatever debt arrangement he is offered in order to be able to present it as a success story. … Just as the government celebrated the agreement supposedly reached on Monday - which wasn't the case - it will celebrate the deal that will supposedly come in June - regardless of what the solution looks like. The same people who, as the opposition, spurned the biggest restructuring of Greek debt in economic history [participation in the PSI programme in 2012, which resulted in a debt haircut] and then defended it when they came to power are now celebrating something far less valuable that also entails a harsh austerity programme.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Victims of the German election campaign

Once again Greece's fate depends on Berlin, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:

“This was often the case in the last seven years. But this time there is a dangerous combination of realpolitik and campaign strategy goals that is making it so difficult to find a solution. On the one hand Merkel must make sure the IMF participates in this, the third bailout programme - otherwise she would be in breach of a decision made by the Bundestag. On the other the parliamentary election campaign has begun, severely limiting the political room for manoeuvre. … A nation has thus fallen victim to the election campaign. The longer the tug of war over debt relief drags on, the harder it will be for Greece to preserve its achievements regarding reforms. As long as so much uncertainty prevails, trust cannot be restored. Who will be willing to invest when the future of this country remains so unclear?”

Le Monde (FR) /

ECB should be able to buy Greek debt

Le Monde proposes an alternative way out of Greece's debt drama:

“The ideal solution would be an orderly cancellation of part of Greece's debt. This scenario is impractical before the German elections - and no doubt afterwards as well. For that reason the choice will be taken to extend Greece's loans and lower its interest rates. But there is a second, less glorious but very effective alternative: allowing the European Central Bank to buy Greece's debt - as it does with other Eurozone countries. The manoeuvre, which for technical reasons requires the involvement of the International Monetary Fund, would allow a drop in Greece's interest rates and facilitate Athens' return to the financial markets. And Greece would emerge from ten catastrophic years of submission.”