Europe continues to demand sacrifices from Greece, and the Syriza government continues trying to protect the most vulnerable social classes. These, in essence, were the opposing messages this week from Eurogroup and the government of Alexis Tsipras.
To close the evaluation phase on Athens’ progress, the European Union finance ministers asked Prime Minister Tsipras to approve extraordinary measures that look very much like those that in Italy are known as safeguard clauses: measures taken only if fiscal targets, particularly with regard to revenue, are not met.
In the coming days, these terms should be defined in detail, in collaboration with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. By Thursday, Eurogroup wants to close this delicate phase. The problem, of course, is there for all to see. The group’s insistence on austerity will slow the recovery, and the Greeks, stuck in a perpetual depression, won’t be able to hit their fiscal targets.
Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that in recent days there have been important advances in the negotiations with Greece, insisting, however, on the importance of the Greek Parliament approving the safeguard clauses.