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Failing to deliver reforms, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras is losing his allies in Germany, the ECB as Greece struggles to pay pensioners, world press reports say.

Some excerpts:

Greece’s German Allies Aghast, Tsipras Fails to Reassure

The Guardian – Birgit Jennen and Patrick Donahue

Even Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s friends in Germany are getting exasperated with his government after a visit to Berlin fueled skepticism that he can do what’s needed to end the impasse over his country’s finances.

While the atmosphere was good in talks between Tsipras and Chancellor Angela Merkel this week, an improvement in tone may not help resolve a standoff over the reforms required to unlock aid, according to a German government official familiar with the chancellor’s strategy on Greece who asked not to be named because the meeting was private.

Members of Merkel’s Social Democratic coalition partners, who have sought to strike a more moderate tone on Greece than her party, were left unconvinced that he can resolve the crisis.

“What’s coming out of Greece is moving completely in the wrong direction,” Joachim Poss, a Social Democratic lawmaker who is the party’s deputy parliamentary spokesman on finance policy, said in an interview. “The situation is really worrying — we’re stunned watching the developments.”

Tsipras’s difficulty in persuading even more measured German policy makers he’s on the right track risks entrenching a conflict with Greece’s European creditors as his government runs out of money.

More than a month after winning an extension of the country’s bailout deal, Greek officials will finally submit plans on how they’ll meet the conditions for releasing aid on Friday, an official from Tsipras’s administration said.

The delay led Thomas Oppermann, the Social Democrat Bundestag floor leader, to join Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in speculating about a possible Greek exit.

Is ECB Right to Play Hardball with Greece?

Forbes – Raoul Ruparel

The tensions between Greece and the European Central Bank (ECB) have been palpable for some time – years even. But they have recently become increasingly public and relations have become more strained.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has described the ECB as “asphyxiating” the Greek economy by depriving it of much needed liquidity.

Unsurprisingly, this has provoked the ire of the fiercely independent (at least in his mind) ECB President Mario Draghi – reports abound of him shutting Tsipras down at a meeting on the side-lines of last week’s EU summit.

Why have tensioned escalated between the ECB and Greece?

Beyond its usual role in the Troika (which oversees the EU bailout in Greece) and its hard-nosed insistence of stringent economic reforms there are a couple of key decisions which have brought tensions back to the surface.

Greece Can Pay Pensions – This Month

Financial Times – Kerin Hope

Some of the money has come through strong-arm collection tactics, and some through enticements.

Whatever the case, Greece’s leftwing government will be able to cover pension and civil servants’ salaries due at the end of the month, according to the deputy finance minister for expenditure, who has been frantically scraping together the funds in recent days.

“Whatever needs to be paid will be paid on time — that means wages, pensions and the subsidy to IKA (Greece’s biggest health and social security fund),” Dimitris Mardas told the Financial Times.
He dismissed speculation that the cash-strapped government would have to issue €500m of IOUs to cover part of the €1.7bn bill as “quite unfounded.”

However, Mr Mardas could not give any assurances about a separate €450m payment to the International Monetary Fund due on April 9, which is overseen by a separate department within the ministry.

A new sense of alarm has surrounded Greece as several eurozone officials have come to the conclusion that the new government, led by the leftwing Syriza, does not have enough money to cover both the pension and IMF bills and could soon default.

Source: The National Herald
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