Tsipras splits creditors

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If nothing else, the greatest achievement of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras is to sow division among the Eurozone creditors. And that puts him in a very strong position.

The Guardian reports that Germany’s ruling coalition appears to be deeply split over Greece’s latest reform proposals ahead of the climactic meeting of EU leaders at the weekend. Senior Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, welcomed the list of concessions from the Greeks but members of her own conservative bloc were scathing about Greece’s position.

Business leaders in Germany are saying Greece has squandered its credibility, and that if Merkel agrees to a third bailout for Greece, she could also be signing up to the continuation of the crisis for years to come, thereby risking her chancellorship.

Old divisions are running deep across the continent, and the Greek crisis has brought them back to the surface yesterday as Europe’s financial superpowers squabbled like children at playtime. Watching gleefully from the wings was the Russian president Vladimir Putin, who took the opportunity to stir the pot by ringing Tsipras and offering to strengthen “Russian-Greek co-operation”.

Wolfgang Munchau in the Financial Times says Tsipras has managed to split the creditors. The International Monetary Fund insists on debt relief. The French helped the Greek prime minister draft the proposal and were the first to support it openly. President François Hollande is siding with Mr Tsipras.

“And that changes the stakes for Angela Merkel,’’ Munchau writes.”If the German chancellor says no now, she will stand accused of taking reckless risks with the eurozone and the Franco-German alliance. If she says yes, her own party might divide similarly to the way the British Conservatives divided over Europe.”

That means one thing. The moment of truth is coming for the Eurozone. And it’s coming this weekend.

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