Greeks relieved but mistrustful

The new rescue plan announced on July 21 after the extraordinary Eurozone summit eliminates the risk of Greece going bankrupt, but the Athenian press is divided about its implications.

Published on 22 July 2011 at 11:00

What was a crucial summit for the eurozone has concluded with "an agreement for Greece and Europe," reportsKathimerini. "Europe, which had reached the end of its rope, needed to send a strong message of solidarity — and it has done just that," remarks the centre-right daily, which adds that "the French President succeeded in exerting the necessary pressure to fortify Europe against attacks on financial markets."

Leading with the headline, “A Marshall plan for Greece,” Ta Neareports that economic aid now totalling 158 billion euros will "give the government and the country room to breathe." At the same time, the newspaper warns that “it does not mean that there should be any let-up in the drive to push through reforms and cut spending to ensure that the country is perceived as solvent. This means that the second austerity plan will have to produce results: in particular the privatisation programme" demanded by Europe which is expected to yield 50 billion euros.

"The agreement will be a breath of fresh air," arguesTo Ethnos, which nonetheless wonders if it will "completely resolve the problem of Greek debt. At the end of the day, we are simply postponing the day of reckoning and the fear of contagion has not disappeared."

Eleftherotypia expresses another word of warning in much more trenchant terms: "People left to bleed for another 30 years." Announcing "An agreement, but for whom?" the left-wing daily remarks that "the real question is the cost to the people who have already been bled dry by austerity. The government will have to prove itself to the Europeans by adding to the burden weighing on Greece’s citizens who are already stifled by current measures."

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"The country has entered a 30-year borrowing tunnel," addsEleftherotypia, which points out that "Greece faces an uncertain future, with no guarantee that it will break free of international economic tutelage, especially when you consider that Greek debt will now be downgraded to selective default by the ratings agencies." In conclusion the newspaper wonders: "Can we really speak of a rescue package?"

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