Saturday

4th Feb 2023

Merkel accused of 'lying' over new Greek bailout

  • Merkel. Bundesbank says Greece will need more German money after the September election (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

German opposition parties have piled pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel after the country's central bank claimed that Greece would need a further loosening of the terms of its rescue package.

The attacks come after German weekly Der Spiegel quoted a leaked internal report by the Bundesbank saying the EU would "certainly agree a new aid programme for Greece" by early 2014.

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The German central bank - the most hawkish critic of the EU's €240 billion aid programme for Greece - noted that the existing package carries "extremely high" risks.

It also described as "politically motivated" a decision by the so-called troika, which represents the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to approve the latest €5.8 billion tranche of money for Athens in July.

Social Democrat budget spokesman Carsten Schneider quickly accused Merkel of deceiving German people about the real situation in Greece.

"There will be a rude awakening after the election," he said in a statement on Monday (12 August).

"By disputing the need for additional aid for Greece, the Chancellor is lying to people before the election," he added.

Bernd Lucke, the leader of the recently formed eurosceptic party, the Alternative for Germany, also accused Merkel of "throwing sand in the eyes" of voters.

The Bundesbank itself has refused to comment on the reports.

The German finance ministry, headed by Merkel ally Wolfgang Schaueble, also declined to comment on the leak.

But with German voters set to go to the polls on 22 September, the timing of the revelation is potentially toxic.

Merkel's Christian Democrats are currently polling at around 40 percent - 15 points ahead of the Social Democrats.

But the weak standing of her coalition partner, the Liberal Free Democrats party, could topple her administration.

German finance minister visits angry Greece

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is due in Athens Thursday just as the Greek parliament, amid large street protests, passed a bill that will see thousands of public sector jobs cut.

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