Greece’s roiling debate with international lenders and increasing erratic behavior by its political leaders has some in the world media think it can’t be saved.
Some excerpts of world thought:
Greece Optimist Throws in Towel Over “Plain Nuts” Tsipras
Bloomberg – Simon Kennedy
Erik Nielsen likes to spend Sunday mornings ruminating over the world economy at a cafe near his west London home.
Finding his favored Caffe Nero too crowded on Mother’s Day, the chief global economist of UniCredit Bank AG beat a retreat to his own study. From there, he also changed direction on Greece.
“I am throwing in the towel,” Nielsen wrote in his “Sunday Wrap” report. “If they don’t want to play by the rules (and the past weeks give me little hope,) they should get ready to leave!”
“And please appreciate what a difficult conclusion that is to draw for a deeply committed European like myself,” said Nielsen, who previously worked at the International Monetary Fund and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The reason? Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s call last week that Germany pay World War II reparations shows things have gone “plain nuts” in Athens. That, combined with what he called “blatant hypocrisy” and ignorance of the constraints facing the European Central Bank, shows all the parties need to brace for Greece’s exit from the euro.
Tsipras is facing the choice of either signing up to economic policies demanded in return for aid or accepting life outside the euro area and “virtually certain collapse” of the economy, according to Nielsen.
“If the Greek government does not want the first option, it should prepare for the second option so that the exit becomes as orderly as possible,” he said, proposing the choice of reform or rupture be put to the electorate.
The Greek Debt Crisis’ Great Divide
The New York Times – Nikos Konstandaras
When CNBC conducted an Internet poll asking which Oscar-nominated song best described the Greek crisis, 51 percent picked “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.” In Greece, we have grown accustomed to tension with our partners in the European Union.
But when even a flippant American poll shows impatience with our plight, the magnitude of our isolation is frightening. A Greek television station reported the poll, and my son, who is 16, muttered, “They hate us even when they don’t know us.”
Fatigue with the Greek crisis has taken hold at a crucial time. With state funds expected to run out before the end of the month, the new government needs to persuade its creditors that it will carry out reforms and earn the release of funds tied to a 240-billion-euro bailout agreement it had promised to scrap.
The government is trapped between creditors who don’t trust it and hard-line Syriza members who insist on rolling back earlier measures — even at the cost of Greece’s exiting the eurozone, which most Greeks want to remain part of.
When voters elected Syriza on Jan. 25, they were expressing hope for the impossible mission that it promised: loosening austerity and slashing the country’s debt while maintaining the funding from Europe that would allow Greece to stay in the eurozone.
Many observers, including prominent economists, hoped to see an alternative to the austerity-for-reform model, which they believe to be a failure. But the past few weeks have been marked by increasing economic instability, with revenues collapsing while a viable deal between Greece and its partners remains elusive.
Even more alarming is the war of words between the two sides, which is testing the European Union’s foundations of equality and solidarity.
Since late 2009, when it became clear that overwhelming debt would force Greece to seek its partners’ support, we have seen the end of diplomacy as we knew it in the European Union, when compromises would be hammered out behind closed doors, with just enough ambiguity to allow consensus among nations.
Greece Should Not Expect Special Treatment
Greece has to present detailed proposals on how it wants to complete its current bailout programme and should not expect special treatment from its euro zone partners, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted on Friday as saying.
International creditors have frozen the disbursement of any more bailout funds to Greece pending a review of the new leftist government’s reform agenda. Economists have warned that without a cash injection, the country could go bust in the coming weeks.
“The Greek government now has to present its programme for the fulfilment of the current second aid package. That’s the only thing we should now focus on,” Volker Kauder, parliamentary leader of Merkel’s conservatives, told the mass-selling daily Bild.
Now is not the right time to discuss a possible third programme for Athens, he said, noting that Europe’s bailout rules that were also applied to help countries such as Spain, Portugal and Ireland could not be changed for Greece alone.
“Greece won’t get special treatment. We won’t be swayed by yobbish speech from Athens,” Kauder said, referring to an acrimonious war of words between Greece and Germany, which has long insisted that debtor nations take tough austerity measures.
Source: The National Herald