A final installment for Athens

The Eurozone finance ministers have decided to pay a final installment to Greece, which will allow the country to act independently once more on the lending markets as of August. In addition deadlines on debt repayment have been pushed back ten years. The media have plenty of holes to pick in the solution.

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Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Postponing is not solving the problem

Corriere del Ticino's financial expert Carlo Rezzonico believes the problems have simply been postponed again:

“Excuse me for not joining the chorus of praise. ... Because with the extended maturities the current government is simply leaving the problem to its successors. The latter will have two options for dealing with it: they, in turn, can ask for new extensions and pass the problem on to the next generations. Or they can decide to cut the debt and say in their defence: 'Sorry, but it wasn't us who caused the damage.'”

Le Quotidien (LU) /

Merkel's unbearable indifference to history

The worst thing about the whole Greek drama is the German chancellor's lecturing, groans Le Quotidien in its leading article:

“We only need recall her country's economic history to see how utterly inappropriate this is. Because Germany went bankrupt three times in the 20th century alone! In 1953, for example, the London Debt Agreement erased over half of the Federal Republic's debts from the time before and after the War. Germany has obviously forgotten that half a century ago it was only able to get back on its feet again thanks to its creditors' decision to draw a line, while the rest of Europe was caught up with repairing war damages. ... One of these creditors was Greece - which must be regretting its decision today.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Debt relief has simply been postponed

For Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Greek crisis is far from over:

“The maturities for Greek loans have reached absurd lengths. The assumption that Greece will reach a precisely calculated primary surplus target year after year over an extended period is similarly absurd. Economic growth on a level that would enable this continuous surplus is almost impossible. It's even less likely that Greek budget policy will be able to adhere to the corresponding terms. And there is no indication that the Greek economic structure has durably improved. In other words, the Greek debt burden remains unsustainable and the debt relief that will be inevitable in the long term has simply been postponed again.”

To Vima (GR) /

Greece needs a growth plan

Only solid growth can pull Greece out of its crisis, To Vima explains:

“Yet another cycle of delusions and self-deception closed before dawn on Friday in Luxembourg. The Eurogroup decision to provide debt relief for part of the Greek debt is a far cry from the expectations that the government had cultivated from time to time.... The truth be told, the only way for Greece to escape the vise of perpetual austerity is none other than economic development. Greece will stand on its own feet only if from now until 2022 it can achieve annual growth rates of over three percent. A chain of positive developments for businesses, labour and the state itself is the only thing that can transcend the doubts and suspicions of the international economic system and ensure trust.”

El País (ES) /

A new model needed for the future

The EU has made too many mistakes in trying to manage the crisis, El País concludes:

“Even if there is little doubt today that it was a mistake to let Greece convert to the euro, it is just as true that the terms imposed by Europe on Portugal, Ireland and Greece were too drastic, their social cost too high, they were ineffective in helping the economy recover and damaging to Europe's political stability. The model that ended on Friday also comprised grave technical errors which limited the governments' economic leeway and caused salaries to drop even further. ... Greece has taught us that the Eurozone will have to make major changes to its bailout model if there is another global financial crisis.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Greeks shoulder Herculean task

Die Presse is full of praise for the government in Athens' restructured budget:

“It is pointless to complain that we should have let market forces prevail and allowed Greece to go bankrupt. That was too risky for the powers that be, and perhaps they were right. It is pointless to complain that an organised euro exit would have been the cleverer solution. The Greeks rejected the idea, they don't want to live in a marginal country, outside Europe's gates. And because of this they have endured and continue to endure many hardships. For Hellas is still in ruins. Two years of timid growth after a slump in the economy of 28 percent are nowhere near enough. Favouritism, corruption and poor tax morals continue to thrive under Syriza. But to turn a 15-percent budget deficit into constant surpluses was a Herculean task and should be an inspiration to Austria's tentative budget refurbishers.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Well done, Syriza!

It is entirely thanks to the Syriza government in Greece that anti-European populists have failed to form a mass movement there, the taz comments admiringly:

“Their representatives have always rejected the creditors' policy as wrong, pursuing it with the attitude of a blackmail victim - without ever lapsing into anti-European resentment. On the contrary, the Greek government continues to be staunchly pro-European. Well done! ... The euro countries now have a chance to at least partially remedy their mistakes. They must support Greece's new path as much as possible, with EU subsidies as well as bilateral programmes. And Germany's government in particular has a lot to make up for with Greece - and Europe as a whole.”

L'Echo (BE) /

The troika has not covered itself in glory

The way the troika handled the Greek bailout was shameful, L'Echo declares:

“A state, a European democracy was disempowered. ... That was the condition for this rescue act - and for protecting the banks and ensuring their survival. ... The Euro Group, the black box of the eurozone, imposed measures without any democratic control on a European level. The EU Commission proved incapable of correctly assessing the consequences and embedding them in strategic long-term growth. Not to mention the third felon, the IMF, whose readiness to play along in this game without calling for Greece's debts to be slashed preventatively, made it guilty of repeating past mistakes.”