Germany gets tougher on Greece
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Monday that Berlin opposes handing over financial aid to Greece without Athens first presenting a credible
programme of debt reduction. Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund and European Union officials are trying to make a plan to help Greece before the country is due to pay back billions of euros of debt.
"Making promises of concrete aid too soon will only have the effect of taking the pressure off Greece," Westerwelle said when he arrived for talks with his EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
On Friday, the Greek government asked for a 45 billion euro EU-IMF loan plan to help the country out of its increasing debt and deficit crises. Germany is expected to contribute about 8.4 billion euros to the plan.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Monday voiced concern at Germany's stance.
"I am concerned by the intransigence Germany is showing," he said. "There can be no doubt that if the house is in difficulty we have to save the walls because we are all in this house.
"This is not a rescue operation. This is a consolidation of Europe's walls, the walls of the euro, it's a rescue for all of us."
The yield on Greek 10-year debt reached 9.116 percent Monday, up from 8.680 per cent on Friday. This is the highest rate Greece has had to pay since the country joined the eurozone in 2001.
The Greek problem dominated IMF and Group of 20 meetings in Washington at the weekend. Officials want to have a plan in place before May 19 when some 8.5 billion euros of Greek debt is due to be repayed.
Greek officials insisted over the weekend that there was absolutely no question of Athens restructuring its debt, but prices fell on debt issued by Portugal, Spain and Ireland over the weekend as investors worried about the eurozone.
"Federalists were all good Marxists," one analyst told RFI. "Create correct economic conditions and political infrastructure will follow. They knew political integration was impossible so they designed an integrated economic system that would inevitably blow up and the ensuing disaster only resolved by political union."