Greece’s ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led government has lost its credibility with international lenders because of bad politics, unkept promises and foot-dragging, some world media views say.
Greece Made Unrealistic Promises Says Barroso
The Greek government made “completely unrealistic promises” to voters that it cannot now fulfil, the former European Commission president has said.
Jose Manuel Barroso, who left the key post last October, said that Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza-led administration lacked experience.
Greece’s demands were “completely unacceptable to other countries”, he told the BBC’s Business Live programme.
In its election campaign, Syriza promised to ease economic austerity.
Mr Tsipras pledged new jobs and a rise in the minimum wage. But Greece’s creditors have made it clear they will not support a bailout for the country unless there is a comprehensive plan to reduce spending and increase revenues.
On Wednesday, the Greek government submitted fresh reform proposals. The new plan foresees increasing government revenues through a crackdown on tax evasion and fraud, and a new lottery designed to encourage payment of sales tax.
But it also includes extra spending, including increased pension payments and and rise in the minimum wage.
Greece’s creditors will now decide whether these latest reform proposals go far enough to unlock the bailout money.
In the interview, Mr Barroso pointed out that there were poorer countries lending money to Greece who would not support the idea of Greece’s debts being written off.
He called on Greece to take responsibility for its financial plight and implement structural reforms, which was now the most important issue for the country.
“It was not Germany or any other member of the EU that created the problems in Greece – the problems in Greece are structural: low productivity and previous governments.”
Nations such as Ireland, Portugal and Spain had come back from the financial brink and Mr Barroso said Greece could do the same: “There is nothing regarding Greece that prevents it being successful, but… bad politics have created a lot of problems for Greece.”
Greece Dragged Kicking and Screaming to Reform Table
Reuters – Neil Unmack
Greece is coming kicking and screaming to the reform table. The Syriza government’s latest proposals include some concessions to its public creditors. The plan still lacks detail, and reneges on past promises. The risk of an accidental euro zone exit is rising.
As agreed in February, the left-wing Syriza government needed to flesh out its own reform agenda to unlock funding from its international public creditors. Some 1.8 billion euros of debt matures next week, including 430 million euros owed to the International Monetary Fund.
Yet the most important number in the latest document, submitted on April 1 and published by the Financial Times, is 23.4 percent – the government’s new unemployment rate estimate for 2015. That’s almost 1 percentage point more than the previous forecast. Barclays meanwhile expects unemployment to reach 24.5 percent of the labour force. This turn for the worse is the cost of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ push to renegotiate the bailout with euro zone creditors.
The latest plan from Athens represents some progress. There is an effort to flesh out a previously-vague plan to reform taxation and fight evasion from which the government expects to magic 3.1 billion euros. Commitment to privatisation looks a little more serious now, with proceeds of 1.5 billion euros to be raised this year.
Alternatively, as the pressure mounts, he could also jettison the most leftist fringe of his party, cobble together a new coalition and reach terms with Europe. The faltering economy – Barclays forecasts a 0.5 percent slump this year – may ultimately break Syriza. Yet it will also make the road to recovery even longer, and Greeks more desperate.
Greece Tells Creditors It Will Go Broke April 9
The Telegraph – Mehreen Khan
Greece will go bankrupt in within a week, government officials have told their creditors, as the country’s bail-out negotiations push the cash-starved government to the wire.
A Greek government representative is reported to have told eurozone officials at a teleconference on Wednesday: “there is no way we can go beyond April 9″ – a reference to an impending International Monetary Fund repayment deadline. The claims were later “categorically” denied by the finance ministry.
The warning shot came as creditors failed to rubber stamp Athens’ latest bid to unlock vital bail-out cash.
Greece’s interior minister has already promised to postpone a 450 million euro loan repayment to the IMF, saying the saying the Leftist government would prioritise its payment of public sector wages and pensions rather than adhere to the repayment schedule of the Brussels Group.
A failure to pay back the Fund next Thursday would see the country fall into arrears in a process that could take 30 days to register with the IMF’s executive board. This would then be followed by the Orthodox Easter bank holiday weekend which runs from April 10-13.
The cash-strapped government also faces €274m in interest payments on its government debt in April.
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