German mass media provided extensive coverage on Friday of the previous evening's passing in Greek parliament of a latest round of austerity and reform measures, essentially the linchpin in unblocking funding from the current (third) bailout program.
Nevertheless, most of the reports from Athens pointed to the latest gambit by an increasingly embattled and cornered Alexis Tsipras and his slim Parliament majority, 153 deputies out of 300. The latter are comprised mostly from the former's leftist SYRIZA party but also from the junior coalition partner, the rightist-populist Independent Greeks' (AN.EL) party.
"If things go the way the Greek prime minister wants, we may see an unusual spectacle in Athens: Alexis Tsipras with a tie," according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and an article bylined by M. Martens. The tongue-in-cheek observation, of course, comes from Tsipras' previous quip of wearing a tie only when a common solution over the massive Greek debt is found.
FAZ echoed the position that the latest austerity measures will reach roughly five billion euros, with the highest echelon of social security beneficiaries in the country seeing their monthly payments sliced by an average of 18 percent.
"The Greek government wants to approve ... a package of measures before Monday's Eurogroup in Brussels, in order to receive, in exchange, a positive message over debt relief by June. Such a favorable development in negotiations is Tsipras' ace in the hole; such a success is considered necessary, given that for several months now SYRIZA, in all opinion polls, is behind New Democracy and the opposition leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, by at least 10 percentage points".
Ηandelsblatt notes that after a preliminary agreement between Athens and its creditors earlier in the month, the Greek debt's sustainability - a standing and major point of interest for the IMF -- will now come center stage at the Eurogroup setting.
The German daily reports that Tsipras and the rest of the leftist-rightist government offers a resounding "no" when asked about the country's debt sustainability, with European creditors expected to come under pressure to write-off a portion of the debt or extend maturities.
In its conclusion, FAZ said the biggest advantage in Tsipras' favor is that he isn't facing "an opposition leader by the name of Tsipras ... the difference from when Tsipras was in the opposition is the fact that Kyriakos Mitsotakis isn't promising much, but is focusing on managing the crises."
Spiegel Online chose to focus on the protests against the latest measures, which were dramatically smaller and less vocal than when previously anti-bailout, anti-austerity SYRIZA was in the opposition.
"The government of Greece is referring to one last sacrifice: a new austerity package must be ratified in the middle of the night, in exchange for a debt write-off..."