• Germany's news in English
 

Merkel: Greek bailout deal possible on Monday

Published: 21 Nov 2012 15:02 GMT+01:00

In a wide-ranging speech on Germany's budget in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Merkel said there was "a chance there will be a solution on Monday" for debt-wracked Greece after a Eurogroup meeting collapsed overnight.

But she reiterated there would not be "one action, one solution in one fell swoop, one truth" to overcome the three-year crisis that has brought the 17-nation eurozone to the brink of being torn apart.

"It is a process and what has been done over years and decades cannot be resolved overnight and therefore we will continue to proceed step by step," added the chancellor.

With less than a year until elections in Europe's top economy, her Social Democratic rival for chancellor, Peer Steinbrück, once finance minister in a coalition under Merkel, lashed out at her efforts to put out the eurozone's fires.

"Tell it how it is," he said, to cheers from his supporters, urging her to admit that saving Greece would require German taxpayers to make greater sacrifices and incur more costs.

"Your dance of the seven veils [was] to the tune of 'not a cent for the Greeks' [in 2010]," he said, adding that it had now changed to "'there'll be no additional money for Athens'".

But he warned: "The moment of truth is here. There must finally be ... concrete relief for Greece's state debt."

"The finance gap cannot be closed. We have long been in a liability union. Tell this finally to the German taxpayers," Steinbrück said in an animated address.

Merkel hit back, saying that the proposals for Greece's economy would set the embattled country back on the road to growth.

"If you read the 500 pages that we sent you on reforms in Greece, then you will know that it's not just about savings," she stressed.

"It is about savings - especially in the public sector - but it is also about a necessary and deep restructuring of the Greek state so that in the long run the Greek people can live again in prosperity and shape their own future," she added.

Eurozone finance ministers failed at an emergency meeting Wednesday to strike a deal to unblock bailout funds needed to keep Greece from bankruptcy and said they would try again on Monday.

A day earlier, they had expressed confidence that a deal would be reached to release €31.2 billion in aid to Greece and resolve a rift with the IMF over how to get the debt-stricken state's economy back on track.

But the talks ended nearly 12 hours later, in the small hours of Wednesday morning, without the desired result.

By the end of the year, Athens is also due to receive two more aid payments, worth €5.0 billion and €8.3 billion, in exchange for which it has pledged to implement a series of unpopular austerity budget measures.

Under the current bailout, private sector creditors agreed to write off €100 billion of Greek debt, and it has been suggested that official creditors should now do the same - an option the EU and the ECB have ruled out.

The ECB meanwhile cannot accept a write-down because doing so would mean in effect that it was giving a government direct financing, which its rules forbid.

Under its bailout terms, Greece was supposed to reduce its public deficit - the shortfall between government revenue and spending - to the EU limit of 3.0 percent of GDP by 2014, but last week a delay to 2016 was agreed.

AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

20:26 November 21, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Merkel hit back, saying that the proposals for Greece's economy would set the embattled country back on the road to growth.

LOL Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde. Not with all that austerity and loan sharking you are hitting them with.
Today's headlines
North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale
Kim Jong Un has accidentally wounded his dignity while trying to stop his dignity being wounded. Photo: DPA

North Korea mistakenly outraged at Berlinale

North Korea turned harsh diplomatic language against Berlin's film festival in the mistaken belief that The Interview, the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy about a murder plot against dictator Kim Jong Un, will be screened there. READ  

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor
Muslims at prayer in Berlin's Sehitlik mosque. Photo: DPA

Let's officialize Muslim community: Berlin mayor

SPD party leader Raed Saleh wants to create a contract with the Muslim community similar to the one between the town hall and Christian and Jewish groups that grants them official status. READ  

Cities see slower house price growth
Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg. Photo: DPA

Cities see slower house price growth

A trend for ever-faster growth in house prices across Germany was reversed in 2014, as prices rose by four percent compared with seven the previous year 2013. READ  

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school
The monk at his court appearance in Munich on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Court probes abuse at Catholic boarding school

A monk and former teacher at a boarding school in the Bavarian alps pleaded not guilty on Thursday at his trial for abusing two pupils and attempted abuse of two more. READ  

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists
Bribery photo: Shutterstock

'Fight harder' against corruption: activists

Campaigners say the states can do more to fight corruption after a report showed that Brandenburg, Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg had the highest numbers of cases. READ  

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour
Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi speaking in Florence. Photo: DPA

Renzi woos Merkel amid Florentine splendour

The eurozone's deep divisions were set to be given an airing in Florence on Friday as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel days before crucial elections in Greece. READ  

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement
Photos: DPA

Merkel offers Russia free-trade agreement

Germany would be prepared to negotiate a free-trade agreement between the European Union and Russia as a way out of the deadlocked Ukraine conflict, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. READ  

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister
Photo: DPA

Get more 'gigaliners' on roads: Minister

Environmentalists and train companies reacted with outrage to Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt's plan to allow more giant "gigaliner" trucks on motorways before they've passed a trial period. READ  

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder
Demonstrators in Dresden with photos of murder victim Khaled Idris Bahray

Police arrest suspect in asylum seeker murder

Police in Dresden have arrested a man on suspicion of killing his flatmate, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, on Monday January 12th. READ  

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism
Photo: DPA

Meet the women fighting German tabloid sexism

After a false dawn for campaigners against daily topless models in Britain's Sun newspaper, The Local talks to the women campaigning against sexism in Germany's biggest-selling tabloid. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,441
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd