Angela Merkel dashes Greek hopes of rescue bid

German chancellor refuses to rescue Greece’s ailing economy amid Berlin’s domestic austerity

Ian Traynor
Guardian [UK]
11 February 2010

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, mounted stiff resistance tonight to any swift bailout of Greece, as a rift opened up between European capitals over how best to tackle the risks posed to the euro.

Despite a show of Franco-German unity on the crisis and the first statement from EU leaders pledging to safeguard the currency’s stability, hopes on the markets of a German-led rescue plan to shore up Greece’s critical public finances were dashed by Merkel, who repeatedly emphasised that Athens would need to put its own house in order and brushed aside all questions of financial support.

“Germany is stepping totally on the brakes on financial assistance,” said a senior EU diplomat. “On legal grounds, on constitutional grounds and on principle.” Another senior diplomat said of the Germans: “They’re not waving their chequebooks.”

An EU summit of 27 government chiefs in Brussels was the first opportunity to tackle the Greek crisis and also send a strong message to the financial markets, which have been betting against the euro for the last week…

…”Germany cannot justify its taxpayers having to finance the lovely lives of the Greeks,” said a senior diplomat.

Rather than bailing out Athens, Berlin is insisting on rigorous policing of the Greek austerity programme by a triple force from the commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund, an exercise never attempted in the eurozone…

The complete article is at the Guardian.

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