Angela Merkel says Greece should never have been allowed to join the euro

German leader blames predecessor, Gerhard Schroder – and sparks anger in Athens

Athens

Greece’s former Finance Minister, who steered the country into the single currency, has chided Angela Merkel after the German Chancellor said the debt-strapped country should have never been allowed to join the euro.

“She [Angela Merkel] should be more careful in what she is saying,” Yannos Papantoniou told The Independent. “I don’t really think Ms Merkel really believes what she says – it’s part of the party games played ahead of [German] elections.”

Ms Merkel, pictured, has been on the campaign trail for weeks now as she battles to win a third term when Germany holds its general election on 22 September. Speaking to supporters in the northern German river town of Rendsburg on Tuesday, Ms Merkel criticised her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, for admitting Athens into the single currency.

“The crisis emerged over many years, through founding errors in the euro. For example, Greece should not have been admitted into the euro area,” she said.

Mr Papantoniou, who served as Greece’s Finance Minister from 1994 until 2001 under successive socialist Pasok governments, pointed out that Germany – alongside France and Italy – was among the first eurozone member countries, to break the fiscal rules that regulate the common currency.

While Greece has often come under fire for the accuracy of its statistics, Mr Papantoniou rebuffed claims that the acceptance of Greece in the bloc was undeserved and that membership was approved on the basis of false data provided by Athens.

“Full answers have already been provided and have not been challenged,” the former minister said, attributing a numerical discrepancy to a 2004 change of accounting rules for registering defence expenditure.

As her political rivals criticise her handling of the Greek crisis, Ms Merkel’s Finance Minister Wolfang Schäuble inflamed her critics when he recently admitted that Greece would be needing another loan – albeit much smaller than the two it has already received.

Greece’s current Finance Minister, Yiannis Stournaras, calculated the cost of a potential fresh bailout at about €10bn.

The German Chancellor was quick to allay angry voters who feel the German taxpayer continues to foot the bill for Greece’s financial mistakes. According to recent polls conducted by the Forsa institute, Ms Merkel remains the most popular German political leader by some distance.

Ms Merkel’s campaigning has been focused on her successful safeguarding of the German economy while she maintained a tough stance over the euro crisis.

Experts say Ms Merkel’s recent remarks over Greece reflect her overall electoral strategy to highlight differences between her party and the centre-left political rivals that supervised the admissions of the euro members.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea