Negotiations between the troika and the Greek government on the possibility of less stringent conditions for financial aid are to proceed in a “climate of gloom”, remarks Kathimerini, which reports that the arrival in Athens of representatives from the European Commission, the IMF and the ECB was preceded by rumours of a further restructuring of the country’s debt, or even of its exit from the euro.

In this context,notes the Athens daily, José Manuel Barroso’s decision to visit the country for the first time since 2009 has been “perceived as gesture of support” to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, even if the Commission President “is expected to pressure Greece to honor its commitments.”

The troika will attempt to determine if the deficit reduction targets of 3.5 billion euros in 2012 and €11.5bn in 2013, can be achieved without further austerity measures, explains Kathimerini. The Greek government is convinced these targets can be met, even though the Greek economy is expected to shrink by 6.2% this year and 0.9% in 2013. The situation is therefore difficult, and the daily argues that it has been made worse by a chorus of doomsayers who insist that it cannot be remedied —

There is nothing more infuriating than the self-satisfied know-it-alls who have been saying that the Greek effort to tackle the debt crisis will not work, without offering an alternative of their own.

The bad thing is that we have no national narrative to counter the doomsayers. It is true that it is difficult to stand up against such thrilling rhetoric by using the words of accountants looking to cover up gaps. This the government’s biggest challenge: convincing a skeptical and tortured populace to hang in there and to have faith there is a way out of the crisis.