As European head of State and government were still on a last-ditch summit over Greece in Brussels, European dailies were expressing disappointment about the consequences for the Union of a crisis that had pushed to the limits the nerves of the European citizens and leaders.
Merkel is tougher than ever on Greece, writes De Volkskrant in an analysis. On Sunday afternoon she repeated the essence of her position on Greece: “A deal is still possible, but should not come at any price.” Merkel knows her fate is connected to what happens to Greece and has to take into account the fact she has to deal with both the German citizens – she promised more than once they wouldn’t have to pick up the check – the disagreement in her own party, the CDU-CSU, the “decomposing” French-German axis, the IMF, the threat of the opposition party AfD and the US.
The field of forces in which she has to operate is a complex entity, consisting of partially conflicting domestic and foreign interests that she can’t possibly serve all at the same time. That is why she is cautious, as ever.
“If this weekend’s discussions allow us to see more clearly each party’s position, the future they promise is not a happy one for Europe. For the very idea of Europe”, David Carzon writes in the French daily. For Carzon —
The confidence argument will end up going against those parties who betted on a Grexit. How can we believe in a Europe that prioritises domestic political considerations above everything else? If we are not convinced of Greece’s ability to respect a repayment schedule, we should not start talking about its departure from the eurozone. But rather about what conditions will actually allow Greeks to get their heads above water and rediscover some of that famous confidence. And that along with our own confidence in the future of a Union for solidarity and democracy that is close to European citizens.
Writing in the Monday edition, foreign editor Stefan Kornelius reminds us that Europe and the eurozone are a “political and legal community,” which “can only function if the laws and political boundaries of all partners are respected.” Both of which Greece did not do. He adds that the ESM asks for stricter rules than his predecessor the EFSF, but these do not come from Germany, but are the result of years of political consensus. Different rules for different countries would lead to the end of the euro as we know it.
Greece is not failing because of Germany or the nearly dozen countries that have similar ideas than Germany. Greece is failing because of itself. But this is also true: if the eurozone invents a Lex Greece, it will need a Lex France and a Lex Italy. This would be the end of the euro.
For a long time France and Germany have been the main engines of the EU integration. But as far as the Greek crisis is concerned, they stand on opposite sides of the barricades, writes Bartłomiej Niedziński in Dziennik Gazeta Prawna –
Paris is the most willing to make concessions to Greece while Berlin is among the most intransigent [member states]. According to unofficial information, last week French advisors had even assisted Greece in drafting the newest proposals and when they were finally presented, president François Hollande called them ‘serious and credible’ […] As the French economy lags more and more behind the German one, France’s readiness to compromise results from its own anxieties and fears.
Casimiro García-Abadillo, the editor of Spanish daily El Mundo, considers the negotiations on the Greek crisis to be centered on “an essentially political dilemma”, because —
What does membership of the euro mean? Budgetary discipline. What is the essence of Syriza’s programme? An end to cuts, and so a refusal of budgetary discipline. What does membership of the EU mean? The progressive loss of sovereignty. What is one of the essential characteristics of Greece’s extreme left? Nationalism. The mistrust towards Tsipras is therefore not only supported by his own negotiating style, but also by the fact the the Greek Prime Minister cannot accept certain principles without betraying himself.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and Conservative MP, reacts to the new German proposals with disbelief, seeing them as nothing less than the abandonment of Greek sovereignty to Berlin. Johnson, a well-known critic of the EU, offers a typically pugnacious solution to the crisis —
What will the Greeks do? My heart says they should tell Schäuble to get stuffed. […] What have they gained, by staving off the inevitable? More unemployment, more misery, more poverty. What have they got to lose? Nothing but their chains – the servitude that goes with a cruel monetary version of the Ottoman empire.
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