• Germany's news in English

'Stick to the plan': Germany to Greece

AFP/DPA/The Local · 26 Jan 2015, 12:55

Published: 26 Jan 2015 08:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Jan 2015 12:55 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"In our view it is important for the new government to take action to foster Greece's continued economic recovery," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

"That also means Greece sticking to its previous commitments."
He said Germany, the paymaster for eurozone bailout packages, intended to offer "to work with" the new government, while listening closely to what it said about how it sees its "future reform course and the fulfilment of its commitments".
Earlier mainstream politicians had reacted sternly to Syriza's election victory in Greece, while the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would not take a 'haircut' on Greek debts it holds.

"The Greeks have to bear the consequences of their own actions and can't saddle the German taxpayer with them", Christian Democratic Union (CDU) deputy leader in the Bundestag (German parliament) Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild's Monday edition.

With 36.4 percent of the vote, Syriza won't govern Greece alone, but will negotiate a coalition with a smaller right-wing party.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras promised his voters an end to years of deep cuts in public spending and hopes to write off some of Greece's debt, which currently stands at 175 percent of GDP.

Greece has been supported with loans from fellow EU member countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of around €240 billion.

But he promised other EU countries on election night that Greece was ready to talk about a "just and achievable solution" - starting at a meeting of EU Finance Ministers on Monday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had begged Greek voters not to turn their back on its European partners, asking them to "remain part of our story" at a meeting with the Italian Prime Minister last week.

But the Chancellor will face difficulties given the hostility of Greeks to perceived German interference and the stern reactions of German politicians to the election result, especially those from the CDU who form the majority of the governing coalition.

"We cannot honour breach of contract" said Wolfgang Bosbach, head of the Bundestag's Interior Committee, adding that any leniency shown to Greece would send the wrong signal to other struggling countries.

Thomas Oppermann, leader of the Social-Democratic Party in the Bundestag, maintained that "Germany will continue to stand in solidarity with Greece".

But he called on the new government to continue reforming the country and fighting corruption and cronyism in government and the economy – key factors in meeting Greece's commitments to the so-called "Troika“ of the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission and IMF.

Meanwhile, ECB board member Benoit Coeure told business newspaper Handelsblatt that Greece couldn't expect any leniency from the Frankfurt-based central bank.

"It is not up to the ECB to decide whether Greece needs debt relief," since that was a political decision, Coeure said.

"But it's absolutely clear that we cannot agree to a debt relief that includes Greek bonds that are located at the ECB," he said.

"That's impossible for legal reasons," he added.

During the debt crisis, the ECB bought up huge amounts of Greek debt and still has some of it on its books.

Cutting that debt would be tantamount to so-called monetary financing - printing money to get a government out of debt - which is strictly forbidden under the ECB's own statutes.

Story continues below…

The only voices showing sympathy to Syriza in the German political spectrum came from the left-wing opposition, with both the Left (Linke) Party and the Greens expressing their support.

Green Party leader Simone Peter said that countries in crisis couldn't be fixed just by a "rigorous policy of cuts" and "tightening the noose".

The enforced cuts were leaving no space for Greece to invest in the future, she told the Hamburger Abendblatt on Monday.

Meanwhile Left leader Katja Kipping told Bild that the election result was a "clear rejection of the cuts diktat, which is a social catastrophe and irresponsible for the national economy".

"We are now hoping for a red spring in Europe", she concluded.

SEE ALSO: Merkel to Greece: 'remain part of our story'

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
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.

Ex-chancellor Schröder to mediate in supermarket row
Gerhard Schröder. Photo: DPA

Can Gerhard Schröder bring an end to the Kaiser's Tengelmann saga?

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