Weeks from running out of cash, can Greece only blame itself for failure to reach a deal?

Ruth Lea

Ruth Lea is economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, says Yes

As expected, there was no deal concerning Greece’s funds at Monday’s Eurogroup meeting. Since Syriza took power, Greece’s creditors have consistently and unambiguously stated that it must agree to significant reforms before they endorse the release of the remaining €7.2bn (£5.2bn) of the current €172bn bailout package. The EU has membership rules. Yet the Greek government has behaved as if Greece should be an exception, as if rules are for other people. Amazingly, it has made remarkably few concessions in the past three months. The main stumbling blocks, including pension and labour market reforms, persist. And defiantly, it has even reversed some previous reforms. Crunch time for the negotiations is looming, as the end-June bailout deadline approaches and Greek coffers dwindle. There is still time for compromises to be made, on both sides, in order to close the deal. But the major compromises must come from the Greek government.

Marina Prentoulis is senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia and spokesperson for Syriza London, says No

Since its election in January, the coalition Greek government has done everything possible to establish a mutually beneficial agreement with its Eurozone partners. Its creditors, on the other hand, have continually refused to make concessions – refusing to acknowledge the achievement of the Greek government in making radical reforms to address the problems of corruption and tax evasion. Only these reforms, allied to policies to enable the growth of the Greek economy, can bring about a solution for both Greece and the Eurozone. The failure of the creditors to recognise this, and their persistence with failed and stifling austerity policies, has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis on European soil. Their lending agreements, far from remedying the situation, have destroyed the fabric of Greek society and contributed to a 60 per cent increase in Greek debt.

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