As Greece struggles with a crushing economic crisis, German media is reporting that dispute mixed messages, that the country may be granted a two-year extension to meet fiscal targets to reduce its debt and implement more austerity measures.
Greek Prime Minister is hoping that the country’s international lenders, of which Germany is the biggest contributor to $325 billion in bailouts, will give him until 2016 to make the reforms they have demanded.
He is trying to get a $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan through Parliament and approved by the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) but is running into resistane from his coalition partners over radical changes to labor laws.
Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras earlier this week said the Troika was willing to grant the extension but that was quickly shot down by officials from all three who said nothing had been decided yet. But the German media believes it will happen.
“Two more years for practically doing nothing,” Der Spiegel headlined, noting that, “There is no objection in lightening the burden of the crisis for the Greeks. The emphasis however should be given to Greeks, such as the treasurer and the graphic artist, the teacher and the nurse, for example. And that because they are actually suffering under recession and unemployment. However, the extension facilitates a particular profession’s survival : that of political governors and especially in Athens. And they do not deserve that. ”
At the same time, the newspaper Bild, on its front page, accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government for being inconsistent in its handling of the Greek crisis. “How many more stories will we be served over the Greeks?” it wrote. The paper added that, “Angela Merkel fell into the trap. Of course, she never clearly promised to grant Greece more time, but she guaranteed in fact that Greek remain in the Eurozone. ”
Conservative daily Die Welt wrote: “Well, clemency shown for one more time. But for the last time. And that’s because someone who considers the monetary union and its composition inviolable, is well considered small and can be hijacked. And in a final analysis, it does not provide any good service in the whole European idea.”
The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung put it this way: “The two-year delay reveals the depth of Greece’s misery, and the helplessness of its so-called saviors. Experts and creditors alike have reached a dead end; their plans to fix Greece have failed. Indeed, they need a two-year break at least as badly as does the increasingly fragile government in Athens.”