The outlines of what the new Greek government is aiming to ask of its eurozone partners in terms of debt relief emerged on Monday evening, when Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis spoke to the Financial Times after meeting with British Chancellor George Osborne and investors in London.
After a troubling first few days in office, the new Greek government appeared to get a better grip on the tough situation it finds itself in but also revealed that it is totally reliant on the European Central Bank’s support if it is to achieve its goal of reaching a new settlement with the eurozone.
A meeting between on Friday Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem that ended with a terse handshake and the Dutchman’s obvious displeasure has heightened concern that Greece and its lenders are heading towards a perhaps irreparable rift.
New Democracy finds itself in a state of unrest after its election defeat on Sunday, with former leader Costas Karamanlis taking an increasingly central role in developments.
The new government has had a turbulent first few days as European leaders, international media and markets displayed unease at SYRIZA’s first moves in office. However, this scepticism is unlikely to lead to an immediate shift in tone or direction for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his ministers.
Foreign policy, rather than bailout terms or debt relief, is emerging as the first potential point of conflict between Greece and the European Union after the SYRIZA-led government indicated displeasure over calls for further sanctions against Russia due to fighting in eastern Ukraine.
The new 41-member Greek cabinet – a mixed bag in terms of politics and reputations – was sworn in on Tuesday. Some of the appointments, particularly in the areas of justice and tackling corruption, have been well received but the bakgrounds of the new defense and foreign ministers has caused concern.
Defeats for New Democracy and PASOK in Sunday’s elections look like triggering developments in both parties over the next few weeks.
Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in on Monday after electing to form a government with right-wing Independent Greeks, raising further concern about whether the new administration will be able to negotiate successfully with Greece's lenders.
Final election results in Greece confirmed what had been expected in the last few days: A convincing win for SYRIZA that leaves the leftist party without a parliamentary majority.