Germany tells Greece to stop whining and get with the program
Well - whatever the diplomatic equivalent...
Greece's new government should stop asking for more help and instead move quickly to enact reform measures agreed to in return for previous bailouts from its European partners, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday.
Schaeuble told Bild am Sonntag in unusually blunt language that Greece has forfeited much of Europe's trust during the sovereign debt crisis, as reflected in an opinion poll covering the euro zone's four biggest nations and published in the paper.
"The most important task facing new prime minister (Antonis) Samaras is to enact the program agreed upon quickly and without further delay instead of asking how much more others can do for Greece," said Schaeuble, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Europe's most powerful finance minister.
Greece's new three-party coalition government said on Thursday it would renegotiate the terms of the 130-billion-euro bailout deal that is helping the country avoid bankruptcy.
The coalition's platform particularly challenges euro zone paymaster Germany, which has offered to adjust the lifeline's terms to make up for time lost as a result of two Greek elections since May, but refuses to revise it radically.
Greece wants a two-year extension to the 2014 deadline for it to cut its budget deficit to 2.1 percent of national economic output, from 9.3 percent in 2011. The extension would require an extra 16 to 20 billion euros in foreign funding.
"The ball is now in Greece's court," said Schaeuble. "It's in their hands to win back the confidence of the people of Europe. They're only going to accomplish that with concrete actions and deeds."
The poll of 4,000 people in Germany, France, Spain and Italy showed 78 percent of Germans and 65 percent of French people wanted Greece to leave the euro zone, with 51 percent in Spain and 49 percent in Italy also backing a Greek exit.
If Greece doesn't get the extension there will be a lot of angry Greeks. One of the big issues late in the campaign was the generous bail out terms for Spanish banks that many Greek people saw as Germany setting a double standard for Greece. If Samaras can't get Merkel to renegotiate, the fall out will be severe. He may even lose a coalition partner over such a debacle.
Greece will be on a very short leash when it comes to their austerity program. One gets the feeling that Germany especially might be just looking for an excuse to cast Greece adrift from the euro and let them all hang. Greece fails to realize this at their peril.