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TODAY 13/01 – Is GREXIT a real possibility?

The Economic news across the EU today continues to focus on the situation in Greece. In France, L’Opinion publishes an opinion piece by former Belgian PM and current ALDE President in the EP Guy Verhofstadt in which he says that ousting a country that wants to remain in the euro area is not possible according to the treaties, and that refusing in advance any discussion with the next Greek government would be “reckless”.

Le Monde reports on Greek PM Samaras’ election programme, which continues with the austerity measures, although the candidate avoided using this term. In Germany, Deutschlandfunk includes an answer from the German Ministry of Finances to Syriza’s allegation that Germany owes Greece a debt since the end of WWII, denying the existence of any such debt, while Handelsblatt publishes an article by Syriza chief Alexis Tsipiras in which he outlines his party’s programme for the country and tries to dissipate any fears the German taxpayer may have. The paper also includes an interview with Banque de France Governor Christian Noyer, who considers condoning any reduction in Greece’s debt an “instrument of last resort.”

Die Welt interviewed ECB Executive Board member Benoît Cœuré, who is also opposed to any debt forgiveness. In Belgium, Métro reports that the consequences of the Greek elections are the main risk weighing in the euro area. Hakon Redder writes in Denmark’s Børsen that the cost of Greek borrowing will go up after the election. The INYT says that Greece should never have been allowed join the monetary union in the first place, although no one really wants it to leave now.

Hospodářské noviny in the Czech Republic comments that European banks and financial corporations are preparing for the eventuality of a Grexit. In Hungary’s Napi Gazdaság, Berkeley economics professor Barry Eichengreen writes that the “Grexit” would have worse consequences for the financial markets than the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In Spain, Publico.es ponders the consequences of Syriza ordering a comprehensive audit of the Greek debt, as allowed by EU regulations, while El Mundo reports on PM Mariano Rajoy’s surprise visit to Greece in support of Antonis Samaras’s candidacy.

The editorial in El País asks for the EC bailout extension proposal to be accompanied by debt-restructuring deal. Diário Económico criticises the attitude the Commission has shown toward the Greek elections, as well as the austerity policy the country has been subjected to. In the UK, the Financial Times writes that Greece’s debt may induce a capital flight from the country.

The Greek press focuses heavily on the matter, with Kathimerini commenting on media comments from other countries. In another article, the same paper criticises the lack of a clear timetable for the implementation of the majority of measures proposed by any of the main political parties in Greece. A third article reports on Syriza’s difficulties with the Greek Ministry of Finance.

Naftemporiki includes an article reviewing the current state of the country’s finances, noting that there are irregularities in public spending between November and January. NERIT reports on Syriza’s criticism of the other majority party ND, which it accuses of hiding its Troika commitments with the smokescreen of a possible “Grexit”. © European Union, 2015

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