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26/06 – Patience running out after yet another failure on Greek talks

Media widely comment that patience is running out after yet another failure in Greek talks. But all parties expect an agreement to be struck by Monday. The “umpteenth” negotiations failed on very little differences, notes El Pais. The difference between Greece’s latest offer and the final proposal was barely €107 million in VAT revenues and issues of little importance concerning pensions and privatisations.

“It is strange that we fail to reach an agreement over €100 million,” said one of the closest aides to EC President Juncker. Some media comment on the tense atmosphere and growing impatience, with Les Echos summing up the situation with these words: after four Eurogroup meetings and two EU summits within a week’s time, the Greek issue remains unresolved and default is still possible for Athens. Kathimerini says Alexis Tsipras appeared isolated and was strongly criticised by several European leaders. Capital.gr quotes President Juncker saying that marathon meetings are not the proper way of working because they cannot take up the correct decisions if they are exhausted.

In Bild, Peter Tiede wonders why the creditors let themselves “be tortured” by the Greeks. Die Welt’s Ulf Poschardt portrays the negotiations as farce that moves on without any climax or solution in sight and has gone on “for weeks, months, years.” Mario Dobovisek wonders on DLF when the Greek debt drama will finally be over and notes that it seems as if everybody was scared of putting an end to the drama. In ARD, Marcus Bornheim comments that Greece has been a problematic case for more than five years: Athens has forced the EU from one crisis summit to the next – without any results.

Le Figaro’s Ivan Rioufol depicts Greece as an unreasonable, childish country filled with unrealistic whims and urges the EU not to give in to Mr Tsipras and his “government of cheaters”. After last night’s unsuccessful meeting, another Eurogroup has been scheduled for Saturday in order to find an agreement by Monday morning at the latest, which Angela Merkel declared a necessity. Capital.gr quotes ANZ Bank saying that there is strong political will to reach an agreement, as President Juncker said that all sides will work until the last minute towards this direction.

Daniel Marans writes on Huffingtpost.com that even if all parties are reportedly within striking distance of a lasting new bailout deal, it could still be dead on arrival in the parliaments of either Germany or Greece. El País regular columnist José Carlos Díez argues that the Greek crisis will “rumble on” and face another knife-edge situation in six months’ time. Media comments continue to revolve around a possible Grexit. Among those who do not believe in a Grexit, there is Martin Schulz. In an interview with ARD, he is “astonished” that Alexis Tsipras has not taken the offers the EU has made and hopes Athens will come to “its senses,” stressing that Athens must understand that Europe wants to help.

Among those who believe in a Grexit, many German media criticise the Greek government and argue in favour of a Grexit. President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research Hans-Werner Sinn stresses that a Grexit is the only way for Greece to regain economic growth and private investment in a guest article in Wirtschaftswoche. To him, Athens should file for insolvency, go back to the drachma, but keep the euro as a parallel currency. In WSJ Europe, Matthew Dalton argues that “Grexit isn’t the scary matter it once was.” Others comment that Greece should serve as a lesson for Europe to integrate further.

In a commentary in Wirtschaftswoche, Miriam Meckel says the default of Lehman Brothers’ brought about greater banking controls, yet the EU continues its “laissez-faire” attitude when it comes to economic rules. What Europe needs, she argues, is a unified “economic government.” In a column in Le Figaro, Ivan Rioufol states that Greece, knew very well that the EU is a “house of cards” bound to collapse if any of its cards fall, has let its debt run wild. The EU needs to be re-thought with a focus on “sovereignties, citizens, cultures.”

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