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Lagarde insists on debt relief prior to IMF representative’s arrival in Athens
In coverage of the Greek crisis, media report on Ms Lagarde’s statements on an “inevitable” debt relief prior to the arrival of the IMF’s representative in Athens for talks. They also comment on Mr Tsipras’s interview with a Greek radio station where he defended his term. IMF director Christine Lagarde underlined yesterday the need to restructure the Greek debt.
Mentioning the haircut in Die Zeit, Professor Franz Mayer notes that even though Wolfgang Schäuble said a further haircut for Greece is illegal, there are legal leeways in the EFSF framework contract. APúblico editorial says that Europe should avoid past mistakes and avoid throwing Greece into the arms of the most radical; it should give Mr Tsipras a plan C, namely a serious debt restructuring. These statements come prior to the arrival of Delia Velculescu, the IMF’s lead representative, for talks. The Guardian says discussions between Greece and its creditors will step up a gear on Thursday when she arrives.
However, there is growing speculation that it will be impossible to wrap up negotiations for a third bailout by the 20 August deadline, the IMF being seen as one of the biggest obstacles to achieving a new bailout because it has warned that Greece needs significant debt relief as part of any deal, something that its fellow creditors in the euro area are less willing to provide. Some media report on the interview granted by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Syriza’s “Sto Kokkino” radio station. All media note that Mr Tsipras stressed that if he does not have a parliamentary majority, he will be forced to call an election.
The INYT notes that Tsipras said Greece could get relief from its huge debt burden as early as November. A spokeswoman for the European Commission declined to comment on Mr Tsipras’s expectations about debt relief by November. Naftemporiki notes that Mr Tsipras defended his six months in office, claiming that he is proud of the negotiations with partners. L’Humanité notes that Alexis Tsipras compared the Greek people to “a prisoner who was held in solitary confinement because he tried to escape the prison of austerity.” 
Meanwhile, Greek media widely report on the Commission being satisfied with the current negotiations. Just a few hours after the beginning of talks with the representatives of the creditors, Brussels announced that the agreement will be reached quickly, Alpha TVreports. Commissioner Moscovici is quoted by Naftemporiki telling Europe 1 that the talks are taking place under “good conditions” and that the risk of an exit of Greece from the euro area is gone. A European Commission spokesperson is quoted saying that the talks are progressing in a “positive” and “constructive” way. However, Alpha TV underlines that the taxation of farmers remains the “thorn” in the side of the negotiations.
 In other news, rumour has it that former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis could be sued. reports that, although he is inviolable as a member of parliament, the Greek high court is attempting to get rid of this inviolability due to him endangering Greece with his plans for a new currency. Meanwhile, Yanis Varoufakis told Stern that the reform programme which the Greek parliament has decided on is not a “betrayal of the Greek people,” but that Syriza is “betraying itself.” In his opinion, the aid package is a “diktat” and the Eurogroup acts without any control and “takes decisions about life and death.
De Standaard publishes a piece by Yanis Varoufakis. Mr Varoufakis says the creditors are refusing a debt relief because debt gives power to creditors.  Meanwhile, Ethnos reports on Commissioner Moscovici’s interview with Europe1, noting that the Commissioner harshly criticised Mr Varoufakis’s plan B and his lies. Mr Moscovici stated that the plan B is unimportant and that everything that was said was irrational, for example that the Europeans, the creditors, have been controlling the banking and taxation system.
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