• Germany's news in English

Bailout for Greece just a 'last resort,' Germany says

AFP · 12 Apr 2010, 14:02

Published: 12 Apr 2010 14:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Greece has itself clearly let it be known that the time for an 'ultima ratio' has not yet been reached," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Christoph Steegmans told a regular briefing in Berlin. "The fact that a fire extinguisher has been mounted on the wall does not mean that it will be used."

Michael Offer, a German finance ministry spokesman, added: "Most fire extinguishers just get refilled after one or two years and nothing happens."

Steegmans said that any bailout would not be automatic following Sunday's talks, but that it would first have to be agreed at an EU summit.

Finance ministers from the 16 countries using the euro single currency agreed in a conference call on Sunday on the details of a possible aid package to Greece worth €30 billion this year.

Europe's biggest economy Germany would provide in theory around €8.4 billion, but according to Offer, there is strong opposition among voters to any bailout for Greece.

Several German newspapers on Monday attacked Merkel over Sunday's agreement, with the Handelsblatt business daily saying that Berlin's tough position was now "history."

Berlin also defended the interest rate of around five percent agreed on any three-year loan to Greece - well below the rates that Athens currently pays when it borrows on capital markets.

Story continues below…

"It is still well above Germany's refinancing rate, and clearly higher than that of all eurozone member states. It would also be much higher than on any IMF loan," Offer said. "If you look at Greece, then the average rate of interest in the past few months has been around 5.5 percent, for three-year bonds anyway. This confirms that the interest rate of roundabout five percent is roughly at market level."

He added that Germany "of course shared the opinion of Mr. (Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude) Juncker, who said this morning that the rate of interest was not subsidised."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:52 April 12, 2010 by William Thirteen
famous 'last resort' words!
16:38 April 12, 2010 by dagger
well from we just maybe a little closer to a federal europe...but a lot of things need to be reshaped...
16:09 April 13, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Last resort my @ss. Last straw is more like it. Merkel caved, just as we knew she would. Get ready to pay higher taxes to support the profligate PIIIGS. Who's next in line for a handout ... er.... bailout?
17:10 April 15, 2010 by Bensonradar
Bailing out Greece will only burden it with more debt that it will have to pay interest on. This means that unless they get their fiscal policy sorted out, they will be paying back interest and capital forever.

Applying stringent fiscal policy internally is the only way Greece can save itself. Living on handouts is not. A smaller government sector and better tax-raising powers on the middle class would be a good start.
Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd