By G. Kampourakis
The Tsipras government appeared surprised and unable to intervene in the contentious negotiations between Berlin and the IMF over the Greek debt issue, in the wake of a fruitless Eurogroup meeting on Monday. The negative result means that the latest "unofficial deadline" to conclude a second review of the bailout program and to resolve the other major differences over the Greek program (debt relief, fiscal targets after 2018) have been bumped to the next Eurogroup meeting on June 15.
An obvious sense of discomfort on the part of the government and top SYRIZA party cadres succeeded numerous high-profile statements from previous days, including by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself, which essentially guaranteed a medium-term debt relief package for Greece in tandem with the long-expected conclusion to the second review.
Debt relief would give the increasingly unpopular Tsipras government a much-needed fillip on the internal front, while finally concluding the review would unblock a tranche of bailout money necessary to pay off loan maturities in July.
Only a bevy of SYRIZA MPs were left to defend the development on Tuesday.
During a regular press briefing on Tuesday, the government spokesman merely reiterated that if debt relief isn't extended then the recently passed austerity measures will not be implemented, a leitmotif judged as aimed mostly for domestic consumption and not a serious threat aimed towards creditors.
Several experienced SYRIZA MPs and party cadres, in private conversations, have admitted that any attempt to rescind the recently passed omnibus bill - loaded with 140 "prior actions" demanded by creditors -- will generate immediate political reverberations on the domestic front but will not positively influence creditors' stance in the slightest.
The "long-term strategy" now emerging from the ashes of previous planning by the beleaguered leftist-rightist coalition government is based on a handful of major investments taking place, and with the recession-battered Greek economy finally coming full circle and entering into a recovery in the wake of any "comprehensive agreement".
On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos directly pointed the finger at the IMF-Germany disagreement for the unproductive Eurogroup meeting on May 22.