Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Greek-German relations at new low as eurozone crisis rumbles on

February 15, 2012

There may never have been much love lost between Germany and Greece but on Wednesday it was clear relations between Europe's paymaster and its most indebted state had reached a new level of hostility.

If there was any doubt that the gloves were off it was removed by Evangelos Venizelos, the Greek finance minister early in the day. "Our country," he said, "is waging a battle of survival within the eurozone. This is because, manifestly, there are now powers in Europe who are playing with fire, who believe not all requirements will be met … and who consequently want Greece out of the eurozone."

Three years into the debt crisis it was clear that any diplomacy that might have dominated attempts to end it thus far had been replaced by anger and exasperation. And not just in the capitals of northern Europe.

Venizelos's outburst, hours before a crucial teleconference with eurozone counterparts over Athens's ability to apply cuts in return for the €130bn in rescue loans it desperately needs to stay afloat, was proof that tempers were being sorely tested in Greece, too.


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