With the Athens stock market plunging on the first day of trading after a five-week closure, capital controls still in place, business activity all but stalled, and ongoing political instability, there’s relatively little to celebrate in Greece.
Nevertheless, following the chaos of the last few months, Greece’s lenders like to highlight even the smallest successes.
After some to-ing and fro-ing, the negotiators representing the group of lenders – the European Union, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Stability Mechanism – have finally been able to move into their usual hotel, the Hilton in the center of Athens, and have access to the ministries. On Friday, the representatives of the newly named quadriga started talks with Greek officials over the country’s third bailout in five years.
The European Commission in particular cannot seem to heap enough praise on the little progress that has been made. It believes that talks on the €86 billion rescue program are going well.
“They want an agreement at any price,” says one representative of the euro zone, referring to the Greek government.
The French finance minister, Michel Sapin, in an interview with Handelsblatt also voiced praise for Athens. “Neither in Germany nor in France would so many reforms have been approved in only one week. I can see that things are progressing,” he said.