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Tsipras announces resignation

Many EU media report on Alexis Tsipras’ resignation, which was announced in a televised speech yesterday evening. While some commentators express their outrage, others note that the announcement does not come as a surprise. Kathimerini says the Commission, in its first official reaction on behalf of the Troika, chose to see the glass as half full, with Martin Selmayr stating that the swift elections in Greece can be a way to broaden the support for ESM stability support programme.

In his televised speech, Tsipras said the hard negotiation with the creditors was a great test both for the government and the country, speaking of pressures, blackmails, ultimatums and credit asphyxiation and that the agreement reached is not what the government wanted, ERT1 reports. However, he stressed that the government brought the best possible agreement given the circumstances. Kathimerini reports that the creditors are not surprised by the decision of the Greek PM, however, they are concerned due to the consequences that the new period of political uncertainty and to the implementation of the prior actions.

Le Figaro also reports that even though no first rank European politician expressed his opinion after Mr Tsipras’ announcement, most of the EU governments were in favour of a reshuffle of the Greek political landscape. A commentary in FAZ argues new elections may cost the country some time, but could help Greece to attain the stability it needs to realise the negotiated reforms. Either Alexis Tsipras will be able to convert his great popularity into an absolute majority for a new Syriza party or he enters into a stable coalition with the middle-class Nea Dimokratia party.

In her commentary for DLF, Annette Riedel lists 3 good reasons for EU politicians not to hope for a change of government. Europe cannot afford another impasse. There are no alternative candidates available among the corrupt political establishment. Finally, Mr Tsipras has proven himself, even to his opponents. In more alarming reports, the WSJE’s and the FT’s front page leads report say the announcement will plunge the country “into weeks of political paralysis just as it seemed to have scraped through a summer of fraught bailout talks and near-bankruptcy.”

In his commentary for Bild entitled “Tsipras, the unreliable”, Jan W. Schäfer criticises Tsipras’ announcement one day after Greece’s creditors agreed on providing a third bailout package for the country, calling the step “appalling.” Instead of moving forward on the reforms Greece so urgently needs, Mr Tsipras is beginning a “new election battle.” The Daily Mail quotes Jennifer McKeown, of Capital Economics, who said: “This all increases the risk that Greece will fail to pass the first review of its bailout and confirms that the threat of Grexit has far from evaporated.”

In Greece, Imerisia reports that the announcement caused the direct and fierce reaction of the opposition parties, accusing him of trying to escape from his responsibilities. In other news, Naftemporiki comments on the reactions to the ESM’s approval of the first instalment worth EUR 26 billion and the immediate disbursement of the first EUR 13 billion yesterday. Vice-President Dombrovskis said that Greek authorities have an opportunity to restore financial stability. Commissioner Moscovici said that the conclusion of this programme is great news for Greece and the EU as a whole, creating conditions for more growth, stability, investments and jobs.

The EC also issued an announcement, noting that the new programme will help lift uncertainty, stabilise the economy and help the country return to sustainable growth. Efimerida ton Syntakton says the Commission’s report on the social impact of the third Memorandum presents the “bleeding” of the social security system and the fragmentation of welfare as the only (and perfectly legitimate) salvation for Greece. Berliner Zeitung’s Stephan Kaufman also portrays the European Commission’s assessment as hypocritical. Such a conclusion seems “surprising,” since everyone knows that Greece will be facing growing hardship.




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