Angela Merkel says Greece should never have been allowed to join the euro
German leader blames predecessor, Gerhard Schroder – and sparks anger in Athens
Wednesday 28 August 2013
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.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...