In a Vox column, Jeremy Bulow and Ken Rogoff argue that perceptions of Greek net debt repayments over the last years are wrong.
[C]ontrary to widespread popular opinion, the net flow of funds (new loans and subsidies minus repayments) went from the Troika to Greece from 2010 to mid-2014, with a modest flow in the other direction after Greece stalled on its structural reforms.
They also make some other points:
Cash withdrawals, non-performing loans and capital losses in the wake of the 2012 Greek government debt default hurt the Greek banking system.
Mistrust of the Greek government by European partners and Greek citizens slowed down the recovery.
Greece has incentives to avoid a default on its official loans since default might trigger lower EU subsidies; the loss of other benefits of EU membership; less ELA funding and other forms of financing at below market rates. (Harris Dellas and I have argued the same in our paper Credibility for Sale.)
As Greece approached the point of being a net payer its bargaining stance hardened.
In a Vox column, Thomas Philippon suggests a 3% rather than 4.5% primary surplus target on fairness grounds. His central points are:
Greece ran a reckless fiscal policy during the boom years, wasting much of the money that it received. There is no question that Greece needs a strong dose of fiscal consolidation. However, Greece’s debt should have been restructured much earlier. This restructuring was prevented by legitimate fears of contagion, and it is not fair to ask Greece to pay for that delay, which reflected a general lack of preparedness among Eurozone policymakers.