The size of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s task in keeping his party united through the challenging process of implementing the agreement his government has reached with Greece’s creditors became evident on Wednesday night.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras began on Wednesday his effort to quell any unrest within his party after Friday’s Eurogroup agreement and the reform proposals agreed by lenders on Tuesday signalled a retreat from many of SYRIZA’s pre-election pledges.
The reform proposals sent to Greece's lenders on Tuesday include a number of ambitious goals that are likely to receive wide support within the country but also contain several points which will sit uncomfortably with members of the government.
The European Commission confirmed on Tuesday morning that it had received a list of reform proposals from the Greek government, which is likely to be checked by the Euro Working Group and, if approved, a Eurogroup will be held later in the afternoon via teleconference to give the final green light
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s effort to keep his party on board with the terms of the agreement at Friday’s Eurogroup begins in earnest on Monday when lenders are due to examine the government’s initial reform proposals, which are due to form the basis for the four-month extension.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis walked away from Friday’s Eurogroup with the promise of a four-month extension of Greece’s loan agreement, which has some concessions for the coalition but overall is a deal that he and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras might find difficult to sell domestically.
In a substantial climbdown, the Greek government on Thursday submitted a request to the Eurogroup for a six-month extension of its programme, although it remained vague on what measures and fiscal targets it would accept.
Greece is expected to ask for a six-month extension to its loan agreement with its creditors at some point on Wednesday but it is not clear if this will be accepted as Athens is specifically rejecting the option of lengthening the bailout because it rejects the terms that come with it.
In a somewhat controversial choice, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chose former Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos as his party's presidential candidate yesterday.
For the second Eurogroup running, Greece and the eurozone failed to reach an agreement on how to move forward. However, an apparent acrimonious falling out may be less damaging than it first appears and, in essence, the two sides do not seem to be far apart from a deal.