Stalled negotiations on bailout fuel debate
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis clashed in Parliament yesterday in a debate that was intended to focus on crime but dealt primarily with Greece’s stalled bailout negotiations. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to have undertaken an effort to bridge differences between Berlin and the International Monetary Fund over the best way to deal with Greece.
According to daily Die Welt, Merkel spoke with IMF chief Christine Lagarde and determined that the Fund will participate in Greece’s third bailout after all. Der Spiegel went further, reporting that the Fund would contribute 5 billion euros to the third bailout, significantly less than had been initially expected. Merkel and Lagarde are expected to meet on Wednesday for talks that will likely focus on Greece. Speculation about the meeting was keener yesterday than that related to Mon- day’s Eurogroup, where European Union officials do not expect any decisions on Greece’s bailout. At most, officials had hoped for a decision on when bailout monitors might return to Athens, but that goal also seemed out of reach yesterday. Sources indicated that envoys will likely return to Athens at the end of next week or early the following one.
In Parliament meanwhile, Tsipras and Mitsotakis blamed each other for the deadlock. Tsipras called on the ND leader to take a position on the “irrational” demands for additional austerity being made by Greece’s creditors, intimating that Mitsotakis was identifying with the IMF by not distinguishing his stance.
The conservative party leader, for his part, lashed out at Tsipras for the impasse, claiming that Greece’s creditors are only demanding additional austerity from Athens because of the left-led administration’s footdragging.