A massive rescue package for Spain and looming elections in Greece that could lead to its exit from the eurozone - Europe's newspapers had some strong things to say this week about the latest euro turmoil.
In an editorial titled, "Europe is no bowling club," Germany's conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Thursday argued that members of the European Union couldn't just join and leave the group as they pleased. "The Greeks who lied their way into the currency union once promised a lot in Brussels but have not stuck to most of it," the paper said, adding that the eurozone should hold up the rule of law and not accept Greece tearing up deals that its government had signed just a few weeks ago. "If the Greeks don't want to be a part of [the eurozone], they should try their luck somewhere else," it concluded.
Greece's future in the eurozone was the focus of France's Liberation newspaper too. It predicted that Sunday's parliamentary elections in Greece, will be marred by "anger and fear." The paper said it will be the "last chance" for the people of Greece to choose between "waging a tug of war with Brussels and accepting the sacrifices" necessary to keep them in the eurozone.
A 'twilight zone'
British broadsheet The Guardian took a pessimistic view. "Euroland has finally entered the twilight zone: an extraordinary, frightening situation has been visited upon ordinary folk in 17 countries, who now await a dreadfully macabre twist," the paper wrote. "The sad truth for Greece is that a mere cessation of the austerity program won't stave off a decade-long depression; what's needed is the kind of stimulus program that it cannot afford and the eurozone won't pay for," it added. "For the rest of the euro club, and the world, this mess will drag on without resolution - but with plenty of buck-passing."
But Belgium's left-leaning Le Soir newspaper argued that "Europe, not Greece is the problem." The Brussels-based daily said the case of Greece is a symptom rather than the cause of the malaise that is now affecting Europe. "Democracy and politics have never been more ineffective at a time when solidarity between European countries is more necessary than ever before. We will have to find renewed political courage and a faith in powerful ideas if we are to follow a common path towards a prosperous future," it said. "If we prove unequal to this task, democracy will collapse along with the euro."
Hopes on Merkel changing course
Meanwhile, the press in Spain and Greece stuck with their own financial troubles. Spain's El Pais newspaper heaped scorn on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for portraying a 100-billion-euro rescue of the country's banks as a triumph, expressing skepticism about whether the plan will work. "Rajoy makes himself out to be the savior of the euro and parades the pressure tactics he used to get us this marvelous gift of a tailor-made rescue," it wrote. "And, what's more, he has pulled it off by sliding forward the trump card that 'size matters', because Spain is too big to be left to sink or swim. It's a bluff Merkel has not dared to call."
As Greeks decide on Sunday between more austerity and a possible euro exit, conservative newspaper Kathimerini called on voters to opt for New Democracy, the main center-right party led by Antonis Samaras, which supports the bailout deal with the EU and IMF, although will seek concessions if they win.
It said "all hopes of the Europe-friendly parties are pinned on German Chancellor Angela Merkel changing course" on her strict austerity-above-all policies under pressure from New French President Francois Hollande and US President Barack Obama. "Under these circumstances, rows with the EU or belief in the doctrine ' the pressure of the masses will force the powerful to change their positions' is either very risky or far removed from reality," the paper wrote.
Compiled by Sonia Phalnikar
Editor: Joanna Impey