Helped by cheap funds from the European Central Bank, borrowing costs have come down steadily. Yields on Italy's 10-year bonds are now around 5.5 percent, compared with almost 8 percent at the height of the crisis late last year. That is still high but no longer at the levels which pitched Greece into seeking an international bailout in 2010. The pressure on Rome has palpably diminished.
By contrast Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank, is facing resistance to reforms from the three parties that make up his emergency coalition government and open impatience from foreign creditors, especially European paymaster Germany, which despairs at Greece's chaotic response to the crisis.
The Athens government has passed brutal cuts to public spending and steep tax hikes but even with a gun to its head, it seems powerless to reform the inefficient public administration or overcome resistance from unions and lobby groups to open up its markets to more competition.
"It's all very well crying for the poor Greeks but they have hardly undertaken a single one of the key reforms," said one senior international official, who is closely involved in negotiations with Athens on a new bailout. (Reuter)Because the Greeks don't give a shit about their country.