Public Affairs Networking
14/07 – Detailed reaction to the deal on Greece

Today’s media outlets widely report about the agreement that has been found after a 17-hour marathon negotiation between Athens, the Eurogroup and the 19 heads of state of the euro area.

A third aid package will be granted in exchange for a number of major reforms – to be voted by the Greek Parliament within two weeks -, plus the privatisation of €50 billion in public assets, used to recapitalise Greek banks, cover the debt burden and invest. The WSJE gives further specifications, saying that the deal would provide Athens with as much as €86 billion ($96 billion) in fresh bailout loans over the next three years.

Het Financieele Dagblad reports that the decision to give the European Commission, the IMF and the ECB a mandate for the negotiations for a so -called Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) can be taken Wednesday. It is further said, in Ta Nea, that yesterday’s Eurogroup meeting did not lead to find a solution for the immediate financing of Greece in order to pay off the €3.5 billion tranche to the ECB on Monday. Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem admitted that the issue is particularly complex and the finding of a solution was assigned to a team of experts. The Greek daily highlights that the target is the undertaking of a decision by Wednesday, which will allow the ECB to increase the ELA ceiling for the Greek banks. Eleftheros Typos notes that IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice expressed the intention of the international institution to continue providing help to Greece.

Most newspapers say that yesterday’s agreement is synonym of defeat for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his country, as reports for instance Le Figaro’s Jean-Jacques Mével. He says that Tsipras paid the “exorbitant cost” of seeing his country placed under “monetary, fiscal and political supervision” to avoid a Grexit and obtain a third aid package. “Greece loses part of its sovereignty,” adds Mr Mével. “

The Europe of austerity has won,” Reform Minister Georges Katrougalos commented, quoted by Le Figaro. Corriere.it says that former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis blamed Alexis Tsipras considering that the Greek PM reached an agreement abiding by further concessions made to the creditors. Mr Varoufakis claimed that the Eurogroup to be “dominated by Germany”. El País notes that Greek PM Tsipras faces a potential split within the ranks of its party, likely to be staged Tuesday at the Greek parliament’s vote on the Brussels deal. More than 30 MPs from the far-left coalition are set to vote against it, adds the Spanish daily. El País’ José Ignacio Torreblanca considers that the Greek Prime Minister’s “confrontation strategy” has pushed him to political suicide.

Several commentators believe that Mr Tsipras has been forced to accept far stricter requirements than the ones he had always categorically rejected before, as says so Wirtschaftsblatt’s Wolfgang Tucek, while Dziennik Gazeta Prawna’s Rafal Wos believes that the outcome of the Greek crisis was not a compromise but rather an order or an ultimatum.

Several reactions of EU leaders are released. In an interview with a ZDF programme, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker says to be “glad” that a Grexit has been avoided as such a situation would have had “unpredictable consequences.” Now, the Greek government has accepted the proposals of the European Commission and the “overall deal” is positive for Greece and the rest of the Eurogroup, stresses President Juncker.

The EC leader is also quoted in The WSJE, stressing that “the agreement was laborious, [that] it took time, but it was done.” “There won’t be a Grexit,” he added. On the sidelines of the Eurogroup summit, speaking with journalists, Commissioner Moscovici underlines it is important to restore trust between the Europeans and the European institutions; the fact that a Grexit has been ruled out is a result which goes in this direction, says Rai news 24. Commissioner Moedas’ opinion is reported in PT, believing that yesterday had been a great day for Europe and Greece, adding that after weeks of negotiations Europe had proved that an agreement was possible.

A tonne of comments are also to be reported, mostly expressing sceptical points of view on yesterday’s deal and, therefore, on EU’s future. “This agreement takes Europe into dangerous waters,” titles a Guardian editorial, describing the deal being one “that nobody likes”, as well as being one that “may very well fail to achieve its objective of rescuing the Greek economy”. An Independent opinion piece argues that despite an agreement being reached, Greece’s future in the euro area is not secure.

In an opinion piece for FAZ, Berthold Kohler notes that Athens only remains part of the Eurogroup because the EU political opinion leaders consider the political and economic consequences of a Grexit more dangerous than the costs of a further alimentation of the Greeks. Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Christiane Schlötzer remains doubtful that Greece will “rise like Lazarus.” She considers the new rescue offer a risky gamble. It remains uncertain if the Greek government will be able to implement the reform promises. Furthermore, she wonders how Greek PM Tsipras will explain the reform programme to the Greeks, after they had rejected reforms at the referendum.

The possibility of a Greek debt restructuring is still on the table, but no debt relief and no investment plan. With only austerity, Greece’s future is likely to remain bleak for a long time, Libération reports. Along the same lines, EuropaNova Think Tank Founder Guillaume Klossa does not believe that conditions for re-launching the Greek economic growth have been created under the agreement signed yesterday, as he said on BFM TV. He further thinks that, in a second phase, France must play an important role in defining the conditions that will boost Greece’s development. “Greece Deal Will Take Time to Reach Banks,” titles another item of The WSJE, while Noah Dapontesmith writes on Forbes.com that the Greek Deal spells the end for the democratic European project. Le Soir’s William Bourton and Jean-François Lauwens wonder whether Europe will recover from the Greek psychodrama.

Meanwhile, Greece’s Kentriko deltio eidiseon notes the stance of Germany in the negotiations for the achievement of an agreement for Greece caused intense reactions and harsh criticism. The reaction movement that started via Twitter, where millions of users made posts using the hashtag #ThisIsaCoup, was particularly impressive, adds the Greek media. In an opinion piece for Público, José Vítor Malheiros also severely criticises Germany for its attitude towards Greece and foresees the end of the EU as a consequence. Mr Malheiros reminds that the EU was above all a dream of the Europeans and that this powerful idea died when the EU chose its strategy to deal with Greece’s crisis, he stresses.

In today’s editorial of Die Presse, Anna Gabriel considers that Greek PM Tsipras is not the only one to blame for the rift and the distrust in the euro area. This environment has also been caused by hardliners such as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who has set out to prevent any change to the crisis policy.

©europeanunion2015

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