Greece bailout: European press responds

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (L) and Prime Minister Lucas Papademaos
Image caption Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (L) and Prime Minister Lucas Papademaos in Brussels

Many European news websites highlight the problems that still lie ahead for Greece after the second bailout agreed by eurozone finance ministers.

Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung says the "bankrupt state has been saved - for now". But it adds that whether or not the deal can work "will only be clear by the beginning of March" when the extent of private-sector participation is confirmed. According to the paper, the involvement of the International Monetary Fund is uncertain, too, and experts have doubts over whether the deal provides a long-term solution to Greece's debt problem. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung urges caution over the debt reduction targets envisaged by the deal, as it is "not very clear how Greece's economic performance will develop and how fast reforms can be implemented".

France's Le Monde concurs that Europe is "far from resolving the problems of Greece", which is "mired in recession". The Paris daily Le Figaro says Greece has cost the EU, banks and international institutions 350bn euros over the past 20 months, "as much as the debt which the country continues to roll uphill like Sisyphus his boulder". The paper judges that the agreement fails to "guarantee absolutely" that Greece's debt will be reduced to 120 per cent of GDP by 2020. It adds that "no doubt the Greeks will be left with the bitter taste of a potion imposed from outside".

Belgium's De Standaard leads on criticism of the deal voiced by a senior Euro-MP. The paper quotes the leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, as saying that the "very imbalanced" agreement again asks Greek people and companies to make an effort while structural reforms are being neglected.

The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad says the agreement "may bring the euro back into somewhat calmer waters", but it too warns that "it is not certain that this has moved Greece away from the brink for good".

For Italy's leading business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, the new agreement "cannot at this point be allowed to fail, even if there are already those who say that in reality it will serve simply to postpone the day of reckoning". However, the article's author also doubts whether "this Europe of cold accountants and meticulous lawyers, incapable of seeing beyond even very modest figures and percentages, can ensure the success of Greece's new bailout". "The real risks for the survival of the euro come from these false masters," warns Il Sole 24 Ore.

A top headline on the website of Spain's El Mundo reads: "The Eurogroup saves Greece from abyss, Greece in turn cedes its sovereignty". The Brussels correspondent of Spain's El Pais, Claudi Perez, also stresses that Greece will get help "in exchange for a huge transfer of sovereignty… probably the largest ever by a country in peacetime".

Some Spanish papers compare Greece's situation with that of their own country. The top headline on the website of La Razon reads "Spain cannot be Greece", while ABC quotes Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos as saying that Spain's economy is very different from that of Greece.

The Turkish daily Today's Zaman writes that "there are still questions over whether Greece can pay off even a reduced debt burden". The paper recalls that austerity measures wrought from Greece are unpopular and predicts "difficulties for a country that is due to hold an election in April".

"Europe saved Greece from bankruptcy after all," writes Bulgaria's Dnevnik. The online newspaper quotes EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding as saying that Greeks should concentrate on rebuilding their state rather than blaming scapegoats outside the country for their plight.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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