Greece Prepares Reform Promises
Greece’s government prepared reform strategies on Sunday in the attempt to secure the financial lifeline from the euro zone, but the response was negative and the government was attacked for selling ”illusions” to voters. This is in response of failing to keep a promise to extract the country from the international bailout.
The euro zone finance ministers agreed to extend the bailout agreement for four months with a condition: for the government to come with a list of reforms by Monday. The Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted this was a negotiation success, but the population does not agree with him.
Friday’s deal avoided or at least postponed a banking crisis, as fellow euro zone Ireland announced that such a crisis is possible and that it could have erupted in the coming week. Greeks reacted with relief and this showed that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras kept at least one promise: to keep the country in the Euro zone. Under this new deal, Greece will still live under the EU/IMF bailout and a new program must be proposed and negotiated by this summer.
”Greece achieved an important negotiating success in Europe”, he said on Saturday. In spite of the Prime Minister’s relief and pride in the results of the negotiations, top Marxist members of the coalition party of the left, the Syriza party, remained so far silent. This is a clear evidence of the fact that the compromises made to win the Eurogroup agreement are painful.
But veteran leftist Manolis Glezos was not silent about the agreement and wrote in a blog: ”I apologize to the Greek people because I took part in this illusion”. Even though Glezos is not a party heavyweight, he does command moral authority. He became a national hero during World War Two when, as a young man, he scaled the acropolis, ripped down the Nazi flag and hoist the Greek flag.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he is confident that the list of reforms will be approved by all institutions, this being a new step towards stabilization and growth.
Government officials said the reforms would include a crackdown on corruption and tax evasion.
The Brussels deal offers the possibility to free up some funds to ease the effect of pension cuts and the painful 25 percent unemployment and it also avoids language that has inflamed many Greeks angered and tired of four years of austerity imposed by foreign creditors.