A look from media around the world shows little sympathy for Greece’s reckless spending ways and having its hand out all the time.
Crunch Time: Greece Risk Rising Again
CNBC – Holly Ellyatt
A detailed list of concrete reforms from Greece had yet to be submitted to the country’s international creditors Monday, prompting analysts to warn that Greece risks are rising – again.
The country’s leftwing government outlined some reforms on Friday, but officials from the bodies overseeing its bailout – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission and European Central Bank (ECB) – were not convinced by its latest attempt to get a final – and desperately needed – tranche of aid.
One euro zone official told Reuters that the list resembled more of a “collection of ideas,” than something to be presented to the Eurogroup of finance ministers, while another said a more technical list could be received Monday. The measures have to be approved by the euro zone ministers before more financial aid is released to Greece.
Time is tight for the country, which is expected to run out of money by April 20, according to a Reuters report. It has loan repayments to make to the IMF and a large wages and pension bill coming up which will put further pressure on its depleted finances.
Greece’s Fate Lies in Athens’ Hands, Not Berlin
Wall Street Journal – Simon Nixon
One of the Greek government’s biggest mistakes since taking office in January has been to assume that its fate lay in German hands.
For the first two months, it refused to deal with the “troika” of international lenders—comprising the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund—since renamed “the institutions,” now known as “the Brussels Group.”
It was reluctant even to negotiate with the Eurogroup of European finance ministers, which has had political responsibility for overseeing all eurozone bailouts.
Instead, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras believed that Greece’s fortunes hinged on a “political deal” that pitched Athens against Berlin.
Over 10 hours of talks in both Brussels and Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to convince Mr. Tsipras that he was wrong: he had overestimated Germany’s power and underestimated the importance of respecting eurozone rules and processes.
Mr. Tsipras may have dug himself into a hole by promising voters that he would end the bailout but Ms. Merkel could do little to pull him out.
That doesn’t mean Ms. Merkel is indifferent to Greece’s fate. Ms. Merkel doesn’t need homilies from anyone on the importance of keeping the eurozone intact. After all, she defied domestic opinion and the advice of senior ministers when she agreed to Greece’s 2012 bailout that prevented a messy euro exit. She said then, and repeated this month, that she believes that “if the euro fails, then Europe fails.”
The German government is fully aware that a Greek euro exit could have geopolitical as well as economic consequences.
But Berlin is adamant that it cannot deliver what Athens has been effectively demanding: unconditional loans. For Germany, it is a vital legal principle that the deal struck by the previous Greek government whereby Athens would receive loans—the bulk with 30-year maturities at very low interest rates—in return for fiscal and reform commitments remains a continuing obligation of the Greek state …
What is clear is that the decisive moves in this saga will be made in Athens, not Berlin. Mr. Tsipras campaigned on a promise to keep Greece in the euro but also to change the eurozone. Now it is clear he cannot do both, his challenge is to reach a deal with the institutions and then sell it to his party and Parliament. That makes this crisis a far bigger test of Mr. Tsipras’s political skills than those of Ms. Merkel.
Greece and Other Benefit Social Scroungers
Social Europe – Simon Wren-Lewis
Whenever I write a post critical of German views on Eurozone policy, I get comments which can be paraphrased in the following way. Greece (and maybe other Eurozone countries) are incapable of governing themselves properly, and when they get into difficulties Germany has to bail them out, so it is only reasonable that as a price for this Germany should insist on imposing changes to the way these countries do things.
To say such an attitude is inherently wrong (wrong in any possible circumstances) seems to be too strong. The IMF, after all, has played a very similar role many times. Many may criticise the kinds of reforms that the IMF has demanded as part of its conditionality, but to suggest that conditions are never made as part of such a loan package seems unrealistic.
But while conditionality of any kind cannot be ruled out, it can also go far too far. It should never become imperialism, and the choices of a sovereign people should be respected and accommodated, not ignored.
It is clear that the Greek government ran up unsustainable debts, and tried to hide these. As a result, it was bound to default on those debts.
As doing so would exclude it from the markets for a time, it was also reasonable to lend (not give) Greece money to enable it to gradually rather than immediately achieve primary balance …
There is a strong danger that the same dynamic may occur in the continuing standoff between Greece and the Eurozone. Having encouraged a rhetoric where a virtuous Eurozone has shown nothing but generosity to a feckless Greece, politicians feel compelled to live up to that false narrative by acting tough in negotiations, which does no one any good to put it mildly.Source: The National Herald