SYRIZA’s spin game is getting out of control as it tries to satisfy voters and lenders at the same time, a review of the world press finds.
Here are some excerpts:
SYRIZA Struggles to Deliver Promises as Cash Runs Out
New York Times – Jim Yardley
Having promised an anti-austerity revolution, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party are now having a taste of comeuppance.
Even as Syriza leaders say their program remains on track, the party is struggling to transition from rebel outsiders plotting to wrest Greek’s economic sovereignty back from Berlin and Brussels to running a government that is rapidly running out of money.
Infighting is worsening as hard-core leftist factions grow frustrated by some of the compromises made by Mr. Tsipras in his continuing negotiations with creditors.
Critics on the left and right are questioning whether the government has a viable plan to restart economic growth. And still unresolved is whether the government can strike a deal with Europe to keep the country afloat,
Greek finances have deteriorated as postelection anxiety over uncertainty about the bailout spurred a spike in bank withdrawals. Tax collections also plunged, raising questions about whether the government would be able to pay state workers and meet other obligations.
Having held office for only two months, Mr. Tsipras’s government might seem to be facing grossly unrealistic expectations, yet they are largely self-imposed.
During the campaign, Mr. Tsipras told buoyant crowds that Syriza would repeal punitive austerity laws — practically on Day 1 — rehire fired public workers, stop privatizations of state-owned assets, force creditors to write down the national debt and tackle the corrupt oligarchical business elites that dominate the economy.
As yet, none of that has happened, and the contentious talks with European creditors have created a sense of parallel realities, as Mr. Tsipras and his outspoken finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, continue to declare that Greece, not the lenders, are winning the standoff, even as they have already retreated from some campaign promises.
Barroso Says Greece Should Blame Itself
CNBC – Mia Tahara-Stubbs and Leslie Shaffer
Greece’s problems can be laid at its own door and the country needs to provide a clear commitment to reform to reach an agreement with its creditors, Jose Manuel Barroso, the former president of the European Commission, told investors in Hong Kong.
“The Greek people went through extremely difficult moments, hardship. But these difficulties of Greece were not provoked by Europe,” Barroso said in an address at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong.
“It was provoked by the irresponsible behavior of the Greek government.”
“The situation of Greece is the result of unsustainable debt that was created by the Greek government, mismanagement of their public finances, huge problems with tax evasion and tax fraud [and] problems of the administration,” he said, noting that the country had also misled the European Union by filing false figures on its economy.
Draghi Denies ECB Blackmailing Greece
Bloomberg – Alessandro Speciale and Ian Wishart
Mario Draghi pushed back against an accusation that the European Central Bank is blackmailing Greece and compounding the pressure on the country.
“Let me disagree with you about everything you said,” Draghi told Portuguese lawmaker Marisa Matias during his regular hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels. He was responding to a question about the withdrawal of a waiver that allowed the ECB to accept the country’s junk-rated debt as collateral.
“It’s bit rich when you look at our exposure to Greece” which totals 104 billion euros ($113.8 billion), Draghi says. “What sort of blackmail is this? We haven’t created any rule for Greece, rules were in place and they’ve been applied.”
The exchange came amid signs that Greece could run out of money by early next month. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is meeting today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss reform commitments that could unlock stalled aid money. Draghi said the ECB will reintroduce the waiver at some point, ‘‘but several conditions have to be satisfied.’’
Shut out from ECB funding, Greek banks currently rely on emergency liquidity from their national central bank. The ECB reviews the allowance on a weekly basis to make sure it doesn’t run against a ban on state financing.
Draghi said Greek lenders are solvent ‘‘at present,’’ even though ‘‘the liquidity situation has been deteriorating.’’Source: The National Herald