German leaders dismiss call for Greek euro exit

Chancellor Angela Merkel in TV interview in Berlin, 26 Aug 12 Mrs Merkel says the eurozone is in a "very decisive phase" in the crisis

Germany's centre-right government has criticised a leading conservative politician for suggesting that Greece will have to leave the eurozone.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said "bullying" of Greece must stop.

And in a TV interview Chancellor Angela Merkel said "everyone should weigh their words very carefully".

Earlier, Christian Social Union general secretary Alexander Dobrindt, an ally of Mrs Merkel, said he expected Greece to leave the eurozone in 2013.

He said he saw "no way round" a Greek exit. He also called the European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi "Europe's currency forger".

His party, a junior coalition partner of Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), is preparing for an election in Bavaria and Germany's general elections next year.

Last week Mrs Merkel reiterated that she wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone. And on Sunday she told German ARD television that "we are in a very decisive phase in combating the euro debt crisis".

Greece is under pressure to speed up far-reaching reforms, including privatisation and civil service job cuts, in order to continue receiving instalments of its 130bn-euro (£103bn; $163bn) international bailout.

It is the second massive bailout agreed for Greece since the 2008 debt crisis shook the global economy and German politicians have made it clear they will not stomach a third.

Dispute over ECB role

Mr Westerwelle warned that remarks like Mr Dobrindt's could harm Germany's reputation as the eurozone tackles the debt crisis.

Comments by the head of Germany's Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, also signalled divisions at the top over the ECB's handling of the crisis.

Greece discussions timetable

  • Early September: Troika staff go back to Greece
  • 14-15 September: Gathering of European finance ministers in Cyprus
  • Troika's review of progress to be published by the end of September
  • 8-9 October: Finance ministers attend two days of meetings in Luxembourg

In early August Mr Draghi announced plans for the ECB to buy the bonds of countries like Italy and Spain, whose borrowing costs have reached levels widely regarded as unsustainable.

He is expected to give details after a 6 September meeting of the ECB's governing council.

But Mr Weidmann, one of 17 eurozone central bank chiefs involved in ECB policy, said the plans risked making central bank financing "addictive like a drug" for struggling eurozone governments.

He warned that it was "close to state financing via the printing press" and could be a violation of EU rules preventing government-to-government subsidies.

Traditionally the ECB has been reluctant to undertake large-scale bond-buying because it is seen as inflationary, and the ECB's priority is to keep inflation under control.

But during the eurozone crisis the ECB has been buying up sovereign debt to help ease the market pressure on struggling, debt-laden eurozone countries.

At the weekend the German and French governments indicated that Greece's plea for a two-year "breathing space" in meeting its bailout obligations was unacceptable.

Eurozone leaders are waiting for a crucial report on Greece's finances, due in late September. It will be delivered by the troika supervising Greece's fulfilment of the bailout conditions - the ECB, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Commission.

Greece's continued access to the bailout lifeline depends on a favourable report from the troika.

Athens is trying to finalise a package of 11.5bn euros of spending cuts over the next two years.


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    274 Letsbe_Avenue
    If you are a Greek with a wrecked Economy why should you bother if the rest of Europes Banks and Taxpayers lose out and get dragged into recession, you're already there and it can't get much worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    The big gorilla in the middle of all of this is "The People, regular Joe's all over the world resent being taxed and going without because of the mess made by the politicians.
    Yes, they were voted in
    Yes, they lied
    Yes, we should know better
    Where in the world does it look like it's great right now?
    Can anyone on here name a government that is not corrupt and looking out for themselves & family

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    I think we all want and need an Integrated Europe of some sort. The problem is to what level we want that integration - ie a common currency, a federal Europe, a trade association etc. Whatever that level of integration we need to have the politicians who internal nationalist politics aside can provide something for the greater good of all Europeans - where are they ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    272 Bill6521
    The UK would have joined in with everyone else BUT we had had the ERM disaster with Majors Govt and so the Treasury knew what would happen to us if we joined and (to his credit) Brown stuck to his guns.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    269-Bill6521 : I sure as heck do not know of a single one here in the U$A
    And to make matters worse, you have Megalamaniacs like Grover Norquist who is proud of having every GOP member possible under his thumb in the name of "a promise to the people"
    No - It's all about getting to Retire with Millions in your IRA account that you never paid taxes on and no one knows where it came from

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    What you forget is that once a country acceedes to the euro there's no way back. Once a country has debts in euro then to return to the old currency will double/treble the debts. Which means either the economy will be laden with a debt it can never pay back/broken economy or the country defaults and European banks/taxpayers lose money and europe gets dragged deep into recession

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    The same Samaras who is nonsensically claiming he does not want more money but only more time did everything to obstruct efforts by two previous Greek govts as he wanted to be PM himself. With its present political culture, Greece will never make it. Think of what has just happened on the island of Hydra: local thugs prevented tax auditors from doing their work. Greek-style freedom fighters!

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    271 - absoultely true but wouldnt it have been nice if say ten years ago some Greek, Irish , Spanish or even Italian political voice had stood up and said - hey this euro ideal is great but it is not working for me - thank you and good bye I may comeback later - where were the dissenting voices in these countries. In democracies you can always say no - a la UK !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    The sensible answer is for the countries which cannot support their membership of the EZ should leave however Politics intrudes on sense and ambitions for a US of E requires that this misery continues. The majority of the UK want no part in this political construct and I suspect will voice this with growing clamour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Banks world wide have one goal, and one goal only.
    They gamble and play with depositors money on the Futures Market, cover the bets with Credit Default Swaps and hide billions from the tax man in every country they can
    Tax Money that is collected by the governments is seen as a new source of revenue, so they are all going after "Tax Breaks" or "Tax refunds" to bolster their profits

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    264 and 266. Both of what you say are true but we elect governments to manage our countries wisely and for the greater good of all - as we all know that is not happening. There are no politicians any more who have actually experienced real life - the majority are clones of their respective parties systems. Are there actually any politicians who do not serve some self interest group or themselves

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Corruption is everywhere, U$A acts like they are perfect, but look at what Congress is up to and you see the real deal is collecting money for a campaign (no matter if it is 4 years away) and doing what the highest paying corporation wants, like special wording in a regulation that can be "worked" around by those in the know and a new investment vehicle is created that banks pay no taxes on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    The EU has never been financially sound. Have they ever produced a set of accounts that have been honest and approved ?

    From this starting point and where everyone knows the distribution of VAT / funds is unequal / unjust how can there possibly be general agreement about how the Euro should work ?

    The totally different cultures do not help, plus a superb banking system that rips off everyone ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    .. we should stop creating bogeymen like the Germans and lay the blame at the feet of the relevant Greek governments

    its no use creating a bogeyman out of Greece either (like Germany has done). Greek governments have been incompetant but that bogeyman is hiding the real problems, Greece didn't rule Italy or Spain or Ireland & the last two obeyed the SGP rules better than Germany

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Germany has to leave the euros. They are the problem. Out they could be the solution. With a much higher valued new DM, it would cost them less to pay off basket case value euros for countries in trouble. Do they want to save the EU or the euros, they cannot keep both. Empires are expensive to own as they are finding out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    257 Bill6521
    True, to a degree. This was always a Franco-German grand plan. And despite the gravest of warnings, old man Kohl and Miterrand pushed on with project euro (a condition of Miterrands for not opposing German reunification). The thing was flawed from the start as was the admission of so many countries. Ironically, one of the few countries that met the euro accession criteria was the UK

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Special Interests that have lot's of money, like banks and Oil corps and Pharmaceutical Companies can all afford to throw money at the governments all over the world, they are manipulating governments all over the world. Let's face it, Greece would not be where it is without the help of the Bankers who covered up their growing debt
    Banks kept loaning money and buying CDS's to cover the loans

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    The people who run for office are not even aware of how corrupt they are.
    They think is is just business as usual
    but lobbying has changed politics and the court decision to give corporations the power to influence the vote with money has turned the cart upside down
    Congress is now SOLD to the highest bidder & "The People" have been forgotten in the rush to get money to run a successful campaign

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    249 goenzoy
    It depends on what you call a bailout. The money Greece is being lent by Germany, not given, will be repaid, if the the German govt stop the loans then Greece will default and the loans will become expensive guarantees that German taxpayers will have to pay back/add to their own deficit. I should've thought 100% of German taxpayers don't want that/will thank Merkel at the next election

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    Weidmann, according to Spiegel, is known by journalists as the talking paperclip, as well as president of the Bundesbank he has been a main economic adviser of Angela, when he opened his mouth her words came out but not anymore. He is the main opponent of Draghi in ECB management stopping change


Page 2 of 15


More Europe stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.