The lack of meetings between Greece and its lenders until Wednesday afternoon meant that the government’s efforts to dispel rumours of a rift between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos dominated political discussions during the course of the day.
There was a low-key start to the negotiations between Greece’s lenders and government officials in Athens on Tuesday.
The resumption of talks between the Greek government and the institutions is just a few hours away and the coalition faces its toughest test so far as the exact nature of the measures it will have to adopt comes under public scrutiny.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took his turn on Friday to defend the concessions his government made to Greece’s lenders, insisting that it represents an “honourable compromise” and displaying optimism that it will lead to the conclusion of the review.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos admitted in Parliament on Thursday that there would be “winners and losers” from any agreement the government reaches with its lenders on the measures and counter-measures needed to conclude the review but did not provide further details.
The climate between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders deteriorated dramatically last Wednesday when a meeting was cancelled after Mustafa Akinci refused to attend. Akinci also cancelled this week's meeting and decided to attend the Islamic Conference next week, leaving no room for the United Nations to take new initiatives to host another meeting of the two leaders in the coming days.
The government’s efforts to lay to rest any concerns within the coalition about the agreement with Greece’s lenders began in earnest on Tuesday, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos addressed SYRIZA’s political committee.
Athens is greatly concerned about the further escalation of tension in the Aegean after Turkish coast guard patrol boat fired real ammunition during a military exercise in the area around the Greek island of Farmakonisi last Friday.
The Greek government has wasted no time in rolling out its strategy for ensuring the passage of measures being discussed with the lenders and the conclusion of the drawn-out second review.
Monday’s Eurogroup culminated in an agreement for the institutions to return to Athens in the coming days, which was probably the most positive development that could have been expected at the start of the day but also leaves a lot of ground to be covered in the coming weeks.