Angela Merkel has delivered an unusually sharp rebuke to the Greek government, accusing it of failing to implement necessary structural reforms while insisting a last-minute deal was still possible to keep it in the eurozone.
In a parliamentary speech she said that although Greece had received “unprecedented help from its partners”, it had failed to honour commitments it made to lenders. She quoted from agreements Athens had signed earlier this year, saying they had been broken.
In an atypically rowdy session of the Bundestag on Thursday, with Merkel receiving both applause and jeers as she spoke, the chancellor stressed that Germany would like to see Greece stay in the eurozone.
“It remains the case that Germany’s efforts are concentrated on keeping Greece in the eurozone,” she said. By praising countries such as Spain, Portugal and Ireland, which she said with the help of other partners and their own efforts, had got “back on their feet”, she expressed her disapproval of Greece’s attitude.
“These countries used their chances,” she said. “In the economic and monetary union, self-reliance and solidarity go hand in hand.”
But she said a last-minute deal which would help Greece to secure an agreement with its creditors, the EU, the IMF and the ECB, was still a possibility. “I’m still convinced where there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said. “If those in charge of Greece can mobilise the will, an agreement with the three institutions is still possible.”
Gregor Gysi, of the far-left Die Linke (the Left party), accused Merkel’s grand coalition of “total failure” in its handling of the Greek crisis. “You are endangering the euro ... and with that European integration,” he told parliament. Gysi said the Greek government had inherited a financial “mess” from his social democrat and conservative predecessors, but had nevertheless managed to repay a total of €7bn (£5bn) of debt to creditors.
“The Greek government is prepared to save – but just not there where you would like them to,” Gysi said, pointing a finger at Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble.
If Greece defaults, Germany, as the biggest contributor to the EU’s financial bailouts, stands to lose billions of euros.
This article was written by Kate Connolly in Berlin, for theguardian.com on Thursday 18th June 2015 11.44 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010