The UK media are unanimous in declaring that the end of the Greek crisis exists mainly on paper, as they express their scepticism about the country’s present and future.
Although the British commentators recognise that there are some optimistic signs, such as the return to growth, the further rise in tourism and the fall in unemployment, they note that the heavy public debt load, the obligation to achieve high primary surpluses for years to come and non-performing loans are huge challenges. The also particularly stress that things are still hard for the majority of Greeks in their everyday lives.
The Times report from Athens that while the austerity marathon is over, “the pain goes on and on.” The newspaper’s correspondent likens Greeks to Pheidippides, who died from exhaustion after running back to Athens from Marathon’s battlefield to announce his fellow-Athenians’ win over the Persians.
A pensioner tells the paper that Greeks are suffocating after so many years of harsh austerity and cuts.
In a technical analysis the Financial Times remind the readers that according to IMF projections Greek output will still be 17% lower in 2023 than what it was in 2007 – while Portugal and Spain have regained the lost economic ground.
The same analysis shows that while Greeks were 21% richer than the Portuguese in 2007 and had more or less the same level of income with the Spanish, today they are 9% poorer than the former and almost 40% poorer than the latter.
The FT also stress the importance of Greece hitting the targets, even if they include the debatable high primary surpluses over the next years. The paper also mentions that the banks need to be “fixed”, i.e. handle the dangerously high non-performing loans, the economy to be given a stimulus, something that requires lower taxes and the investors to see a friendlier environment.
The Guardian describes the Greek bailout as “a colossal failure”, and “a tale of incompetence, of dogma, of needless delay and of the interests of banks being put before the needs of people.”
The BBC focuses on the Greek youth’s hardship, the high unemployment and the massive brain drain. As it notes, the country has lost almost 4% of its population, with more than 400,000 people emigrating…. / IBNA