by Stefan Wagstyl
July 10, 2015
In five years of managing the Greek crisis, German chancellor Angela Merkel has maintained and even enhanced her reputation as Europe’s most successful political leader — both at home and around the world.
Not any more. As EU leaders this weekend make a last-ditch effort to keep Greece in the eurozone, the cautious 60-year-old chancellor faces what one of her MPs calls “a lose-lose situation”.
She must decide whether to back a new loan programme and keep a troubled country in the common currency — or save the money and face the unpredictable consequences of Grexit and the ignominy of a first-ever reversal in the long history of EU integration.
For the chancellor, a rescue risks widespread complaints from German taxpayers, who have already borne the brunt of two Greek bailouts. It could also provoke a large revolt in her conservative CDU/CSU bloc where MPs are fuming not only at the demands by Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras but also his seeming contempt for the country’s creditors.