Public Affairs Networking
23/07 – Greek parliament approves second wave of reforms

In the coverage of the Greek crisis, many media outlets report that the Greek parliament approved the second wave of reforms. The Greek Parliament gave a green light with 230 positive votes, reports. Some 63 deputies, out of whom 31 were Syriza members, voted ‘no’. Il Sole 24 Ore says a new challenge has begun with some Syriza members of parliament. But Hilde Stadler reports for ARD that Syriza would have the absolute majority in case of new elections and Tsipras’ position would not be at stake.

Meanwhile, Malte Pieper reports for MDR that many in the Eurogroup look “with suspicion” on the vote in the Greek parliament. On the opposite hand, Brussels seems “relaxed.” The European Commission stresses that Athens has so far implemented all the required reforms on time. Meanwhile, a new deadline looms in all media: 20 August is the date by which negotiations on a third bailout must be achieved.

In other news, the ECB decided yesterday to maintain its financing to the Greek banks, offering ELA financing worth €900 million, the same sum as the previous week. Naftemporiki adds that the European Commission, acting precautionary, managed yesterday to ensure the next financing needs of Greece (€5 billion) in case the achievement of the agreement is not possible before 20 August. The European Commission proposed to make permanent the decision of the 28 EU leaders for euro area countries to be financed by the EFSM under the condition that the other 9 non-euro area countries will be ensured via guarantees.

Meanwhile, media (including Naftemporiki, Mega TV, Publico, Luxembourgish, Bulgarian and Cypriot media) continue to comment on EC President Juncker’s interview with Le Soir. Mega TV said it caused a stir, as President Juncker stated that the agreement between Greece and the creditors was not a wise agreement, but a product of fear for a Grexit. Público’s editorial says that President Juncker came out with something we already knew, that the agreement was struck out of fear, and something we didn’t, that Portugal opposed the discussion on the Greek debt relief in October, because of electoral motivations.

Prime Minister Coelho reacted saying that the idea was to wait for a positive first evaluation of the Greek efforts, but if the Greeks are already acting internally on the agreement, why wait for a first evaluation. Juncker also spoke with Die Welt, stressing the same things: the worst has been prevented in the Greek crisis “not because we were particularly smart, but because we were simply scared.”

In other comments, German journalists continue to express their scepticism towards Greece. The author in Tagesspiegel notes that it remains and will remain uncertain whether Greece stays in the Eurogroup. It is difficult to deal with a government which will never fully implement the requirements for the third aid package, but which does just enough to avoid the final decision.

Mike Szymanski comments in SZ that one cannot expect too much reform efforts from somebody who does not believe in the reforms. The Greek government’s goal is to comply with requirements just enough to get further aid loans. Die Welt further advocate in favour of a Grexit. If Greece is to remain part of the Eurogroup for political reasons, Athens must implement reforms. Anyway, the euro area needs reforms, the authors stress.

Some commentators argue in favour of a reform in light of the recent events. The Times features a comment piece by Simon Nixon, in which he argues that the fact that a Grexit now seems to be less likely “does not mean the eurozone is out of the woods.”


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