• Germany's news in English

Merkel denies suggesting Greek vote on euro

The Local · 19 May 2012, 19:34

Published: 19 May 2012 13:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 May 2012 19:34 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Merkel spoke with Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Friday, after which the Greek government said she had made such a suggestion, which her office immediately denied.

But the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Saturday that the euro finance ministers had quietly given their Greek colleague Philippos Sachinidis the task of “creating the possibility of talking about a referendum in Athens.”

No politician has spoken openly about the idea. Merkel took the time on Friday to “inform [Papoulias] of the situation,” the paper said.

Der Spiegel magazine backed the claims, saying Merkel had suggested a referendum be held alongside general polls.

Der Spiegel however insisted the chancellor did indeed make the suggestion and added the idea had already been floated by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble during a meeting with his eurozone counterparts on Monday.

He had argued that a "yes" vote in a referendum on eurozone membership should also be an endorsement of the austerity measures decided by the previous Greek government, the news magazine reported, without naming its sources.

Merkel's purported suggestion caused a stir in Greece, where political leaders have repeatedly complained of German interference.

“The Greek people have no need for a referendum to demonstrate their choice for the euro, they have already made enough costly sacrifices to show that," said Antonis Samaras, leader of the conservative New Democracy party which won inconclusive May 6 polls.

Merkel's suggestion, "above all coming in the run-up to the election, is regrettable and unacceptable," Samaras said in a statement. "The Greek people have the right to respect from its (European) partners."

Story continues below…

Until now, Merkel has insisted that Greece must stick to the austerity terms in the bailout deal or risk losing access to debt funding – effectively forcing it out of the eurozone.

But in recent months, calls for the focus to be rebalanced towards growth have increased, notably with Francois Hollande's election as French president.

AFP/DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:23 May 19, 2012 by smart2012
Guys, merkel is lost.. Obama, Cameron, hollande, Monti, isolate her..
15:28 May 19, 2012 by Eastard
I disagree... The Greeks continue to find fault with anyone but themselves and Merkel is a visable target. How important is it really what she may or may not suggest about what the Greeks should do...? They almost never do what anyone suggests.. At some point the news needs to quite fueling their pathetic behaviour by burning those who are trying to help... If I were Germany, I would ask for a specific answer on whether they intend to manage their debt before I would fund them anymore... You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink...
17:56 May 19, 2012 by McM
Not sure about who said what or what opposition is having a mid life crisis but when is someone going to get serious about the rotting banana that haunts my Local news when I check out lately. I know, it pays the rent by hey give me break!
18:54 May 19, 2012 by ProgandaLady
A Referendum would have meant Democracy. There is a 0% chance she suggested it.
19:22 May 19, 2012 by smart2012
Guys, having a referendum now asking if greece should leave europe would mean to get a sure answer ie "yes". This would be the same if u ask in Germany people if they want to stay in Europe or not. Answer would be the same, ie that they want to leave eu. And the same in other eu countries. The reason is that eu political merkozy strategy failed for everyone. That is why I go back to my first note.

And to propaganda lady's point: this would not be a sign of democracy, as standard people cannot judge what is better or worse as we do not have the full picture and knowledge to answer this question. It would be a way for our management to delegate an answer that they have to figure out. And so far merkozy was not able to do it.
20:00 May 19, 2012 by ProgandaLady

'this would not be a sign of democracy, as standard people cannot judge what is better or worse as we do not have the full picture and knowledge to answer this question. It would be a way for our management to delegate an answer that they have to figure out. And so far merkozy was not able to do it. '

oh people are so stupid, aren't they? Its a miracle they are allowed to vote at all. Good thing there are smart people like you to tell them what to do.
21:26 May 19, 2012 by holyindus
All the European leaders must understand that pure economic cycle is at play in Europe. This is very natural process and inevitable. Some of the european countries (EU minus France and Germany) thrived on agriculture, industries and services that required relatively low labour cost,were labour intensive and required relatively low IQ (routine).As the cost of labour input increased these jobs were gradually outsourced to Asian countries. Please mind that these jobs form major employment in any country.

The mindless European leaders kept on spending money to keep their electorate happy by taking debt from the rich partners. As a result this caused an upward-shift in the the lifestyle of the population and the spending habits changed (high wine and dine). With low population growth or even negative population growth in some countries and weak demogaphics made industries in their region to look for new cost effective places to setup their factories. This vicious cycle spiralled down and all the these low end and middle end jobs moved to Asia.

When few of these countries which will inveitably fail and they will be forced to move out of the euro zone then the unemployment will peak. As a result in the labour cost in the region will come down substantially (at competitive levels as in China or India). And if such a situation hangs on in for few years coupled with austerity measure in place then the people will be forced to balance their lifestyle. If there is positive population growth (and demographics) in the region then again demographics will be in faour of this entire region as a result low end/low tech/low IQ mass employment generating service and manufacturing jobs will return back to these european countries.Untill then Europeans will have to bear this pain.

On the lighter side on austerity plan, Germany wants the people of Greece, Spain, Italy etc to give up the habit of WINE and instead develop the habit of BEER as days of fine wine and dine are over.
22:45 May 19, 2012 by wolfgang60
Before attacking others be sure that the person been attacked will not found the pandora box or else it becomes nasty.
23:11 May 19, 2012 by rizzcool78
When it goes wrong, it becomes easy to blame. Merkel tried her best to keep the EU countries together. One must remember, that in the game of International politics, there are countries who won´t favor the integrated Europe and here the chance for them. No doubt Greece responsibility is far greater, to utilize the financial support given. However, EU stretched themselves to far with the bail out packages, resulting in the current situation.
10:25 May 20, 2012 by siddal
Europe as a place we can all be chums is a good idea and in fact didn´t need German interference to achieve since it was already so.

The Germans have something completely different, they have a political agenda and that will turn very nasty.

Don´t want to see your bullying, Merkel, it ain´t pretty and and it ain´t smart.
12:04 May 20, 2012 by smart2012
@propaganda lady. If u read my comment I consider myself a stupid too on eu matters, as I (we) cannot judge on this matter. I am actually a very high democratic person

@holyindus: I agree with u, except that France and Germany are facing the same issue... Do not be blind, and if u think Germany can make it on its own, propose merkel that Germany leaves eu. This would save eu
10:29 May 21, 2012 by AlexR
This is hilarious. Just few months ago, the Greek Prime Minister has announced a similar referendum and Merkel got furious. Immediately Merkozy summoned the Greek PM at the G20 meeting in France, where they demanded to take back the announcement or no money will be given. The referendum was canceled. Now, it's the same Merkel who is proposing a referendum, the very same Merkel who was strictly against it few months back.

@Eastard: "How important is it really what she may or may not suggest about what the Greeks should do...? They almost never do what anyone suggests.."

You clearly need to get informed more before posting ignorant comments. The EU/IMF/ECB have "suggested" (or better demanded) the harshest austerity program in any country in the recent history. In just two years, for example, the Greek government cut the salaries and pensions 40-50%, eliminated the Christmas/holiday bonus (that most European countries still have it), introduced at least 11 extra crisis-taxes (between 200-1000 euro each), to name a few. This resulted to reduction of the deficit as big as 7.5% of the GDP, in *just* two years; this is an unprecedented reduction for any western country in recent history. Do you or anyone you know, had their income cut in half, any bonuses eliminated and/or had to pay 11 extra taxes in just two years and not complaining about that?

What Greeks didn't manage to do (or better, fully implement) are the structural reforms. But those clearly need more time to be implemented, they cannot be completed in just two years. And I find it very hypocritical for Merkel & co to demand that when a simple 20km road construction takes 14 years to complete.

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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