The German press is filled with extensive commentary concerning the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) report on Greece that was released on Friday. The report recommends a reduction in pensions while reiterating the IMF’s position on relief needed to ensure the viability of Greek debt.
Handelsblatt – German stand linked to elections
Handelsblatt’s commentary in particular reports that the “IMF is placing pressure on (German Finance Minister Wolfgang) Schaeuble” and is locking horns on the debt issue as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Schaeuble don’t want to proceed with specific commitments concerning debt relief just one year prior to the German elections.
Handelsblatt reports that “government circles in Berlin are stressing that the agreement of last May” is in force, meaning that debt relief will only be discussed after 2018 and only if this is deemed necessary. It is believed that if the Greek government doesn’t implement agreements, it is possible that the IMF will make a decision concerning its participation in 2017 and not at the end of 2016. The German side, however, wants the landscape to clear up as the current program has already been running without the IMF for a year. German government circles state that Plan B has not been discussed yet.
N-TV – German side doesn’t care if Greek debt is viable
The N-TV network has also discussed the report, stating that it is yet another indication that the German positions cannot be satisfied as the IMF has repeatedly stressed that it would only participate in a “viable” rescue plan that can only be carried out with a debt haircut that the current government rejects.
Die Presse – Greek results prove that the plan isn’t working
Austrian publication Die Presse states that the “IMF is showing relevant understanding for Greece’s dilemma: Despite reforms, Greek debt has increased, according to the relevant report. This indicates that the Greek economic results cannot be aligned with the especially demanding measures. The goals set are not realistic, according to the IMF.”
German newspaper Berlinger Zeitung was caustic in its comment of last Saturday’s leaders summit in Vienna. It stated that the European Union is not failing due to the refugee crisis, but as a result of being undermined by its own member states. “For one and a half years, the political protagonists, are indifferent to institutional and legal frameworks concerning the refugee crisis, and in this way they are weakening (the union).” The newspaper states that the latest example of this is the leaders summit itself that took place in Vienna instead of Brussels and where countries such as Italy and Malta, directly affected by the agreement with Egypt, weren’t even invited. The newspaper stresses that Greece is right to not consider Turkey a safe place to return refugees and that it is following the basic standards concerning human rights. “In reality, Greece is at this stage, the only EU country that is credibly defending European values.”