QUITO -- No country -- including Greece -- should expect to be offered debt relief on a silver platter; relief must be earned and justified by real reforms that restore growth, to the benefit of both debtor and creditor. And yet, a corpse cannot carry out reforms. That is why debt relief and reforms must be offered together, not reforms "first" with some vague promises that debt relief will come in some unspecified amount at some unspecified time in the future (as some in Europe have said to Greece).
The outcome of this Greek drama is not up to the Greeks anymore. It now depends on how European leaders will react. Whether they will view the referendum result as an opportunity for a big deal or a chance to rid themselves of the Greek issue, putting all the blame on the Greeks, remains to be seen.
The fiscal adjustment we have accomplished was done much less through reform, i.e. reorganizing the management of our country, public sector and economy, and more through cuts and taxes. However this has placed an inordinate burden on the middle class, it has created an army of young unemployed and many households are under the poverty line.
Does anyone in their right mind think that any country would willingly put itself through what Greece has gone through, just to get a free ride from its creditors? If there is a moral hazard, it is on the part of the lenders -- especially in the private sector -- who have been bailed out repeatedly.
BERLIN -- Not long ago, German politicians and journalists confidently declared that the euro crisis was over; Germany and the European Union, they believed, had weathered the storm. Today, we know that this was just another mistake in an ongoing crisis that has been full of them. The latest error, as with most of the earlier ones, stemmed from wishful thinking -- and, once again, it is Greece that has broken the reverie.
ATHENS -- The strong mandate he got from the polls, has put a burden on Mr. Tsipras to fulfill the great expectations he produced. If he succeeds, the Spanish Podemos, the French Front National and Italy's Bepe Grillo could all follow suit and question Berlin's fiscal orthodoxy. The much feared domino effect set off by Greece at the outset of euro crisis in 2010 could now materialize in another way.
The internal political situation is highly polarized between political forces playing with fear and insecurity and others capitalizing on anger and despair. This inflates extreme right and left populism. Much irresponsible and opportunistic rhetoric abounds. This polarization is squeezing out moderate left of center forces that historically have been fundamental in promoting democracy and reforms in Greece.